Two Down, Six to Go

Herbert and Catherine Schaible of Philadelphia had eight children. Four years ago, they refused to take their then-two-year-old son to the doctor when he contracted bacterial pneumonia. Instead, they decided to prove their faith in God by praying for their son to get better.

And prove it they did. The boy died.

The Schaibles only got probation, and the court ordered the parents to immediately consult with a doctor if any of their other children became sick, and to follow the doctor’s recommendations.


So they went home and multiplied some more, and somehow the fruit of their loins got unwell again — this time, it was an eight-month-old baby boy — and lo and behold, the other day, Jesus called him home too. For some odd reason, the Schaibles’ prayer had failed again.

A couple that was sentenced to probation after their 2-year-old died in 2009 from pneumonia have had another child die.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible, fundamentalist Christians who believe in the power of prayer ahead of modern medicine, recently had their 8-month-old son die, according to Philadelphia Police spokeswoman Jillian Russell.

It wasn’t clear when the child died, or the cause of death, but the death hasn’t been ruled suspicious, Russell said. The child was taken to a funeral home by an as yet unknown individual and the undertaker alerted police, Russell said. An official cause of death is pending an autopsy, according to police.

In 2010, a jury convicted the Schaibles, who [then had] seven other children, of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment in the death of their 2-year-old son Kent. The Schaibles were each sentenced to 10 years of probation — they could have faced prison time.

Whatever medical afflictions may yet befall the Schaibles or their remaining kids, I’m sure it’s nothing that more and better praying won’t take care of.

[image via eurweb]

What’s the Difference Between Pray and Prey? Pastor Crime Ring Involved In Petro Stock Fraud.

Opening statements are expected today in the trial of five people, including alleged ringleader Isreal Owen Hawkins, accused of selling unregistered worthless shares to more than 9,000 investors.

Petro America Corp, a Kansas-based oil company, had no oil, no evident plans for buying, transporting or storing large amounts of oil, no assets to speak of, and no employees beyond president and CEO Hawkins (photo).

Isreal: is fake

Isreal: is fake

Petro America did have revenue, however. Lots of it. Not from oil-market transactions, but from the thousands of people who were persuaded by their pastors to sink their savings into the shadowy company.

According to the U.S. Justice Department,

Investors lost from $100 to $100,000 each. Initially, many of the investors were drawn into the scheme with the promise that $100 would buy 100,000 shares of Petro America stock, the affidavit says, which Hawkins claimed was “book valued” at $2 per share. As the scheme progressed, conspirators raised the price to invest and claimed an ever-higher “book value” for the shares. The affidavit alleges that this allowed conspirators to unload shares to new investors at an increasing profit.

Which makes it a classic Ponzi scheme.

Hawkins allegedly promised “meteoric returns” on investments. At the height of the scheme, the affidavit says, up to $700,000 flooded into the company each month.

In the end, more than 9,000 gullible victims invested more than $7.2 million.

Where’d the money go? Hawkins and his co-conspirators went to pimp town and spent wads of cash on luxuries such as fancy cars, expensive jewelry, a $5,700 fur coat, a $37,000 boat, and a $5,200 piece of Louis Vuitton luggage.

The scheme probably wouldn’t have been nearly as successful if it hadn’t been for two holy men: the Rev. Edward D. Halliburton of Kansas City, Kan., and his colleague Joseph Harrell, of Waco, Texas.

Harrell, acting as the CFO of Petro America, told anyone who would listen that the company was worth as much as $284 billion (which would have made it bigger than Wal-Mart and the Coca-Cola Co.). When touting the “once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunities” to his eager marks, the good reverend often wrapped those sales pitches in Bible talk, stressing that Petro was a blessing from God.

Oh, and while he was bilking believers out of their nest eggs and living the high life, Harrell also enjoyed the comfort of having a little revenue stream on the side: government handouts, including food stamps.

Meanwhile, Halliburton, a pastor of more than 20 years, was the president of the Ministers Alliance, a group of about 15 ministers (mostly from the Kansas City area) who aggressively sold the worthless Petro shares to their congregants and others. The faux-pious hoodlums informally called themselves the White Hat Guys, as each of the ministers received a white fedora. All participated in regular Thursday night conference calls with hundreds of investors in dozens of states. Following the calls, many of the White Hat Guys went to the Epicurean Lounge, a local night club for people looking to get it on.


Like Hawkins, the men of God spent investors’ money with abandon. The Reverend Halliburton paid off his mortgage and purchased a Mercedes S500. Through it all, educating himself about the word of God™ was never far from his mind: for the low low price of $1,794, he also bought a doctorate degree from Tabernacle Bible College, for which he did no actual course work.

In separate appearances before a magistrate judge, both Harrell and Halliburton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud.

The trial that’s scheduled to start today involves Hawkins (by all accounts the chief crook) and four other accused scammers charged in connection with Petro America. All have pleaded not guilty.

According to the Kansas City Star, whose early reporting on Hawkins and Petro America tipped off investors that something was amiss, among those expected to testify are:

• A 79-year-old California man who still hasn’t told his wife about investing in Petro for fear it would worsen her already serious health problems.

• A Louisiana lawyer who grilled Hawkins in Petro’s rented Kansas City office on behalf of a Petro investor and then had to chip in $20 for gas money when Hawkins and a secretary gave him a ride back to the airport.

• A legally blind Texas investor whom Hawkins took to fancy Kansas City restaurants, often sticking him with the bill, and who was hit up for bail money when Hawkins was arrested.

[Hawkins image via COGIC Abuse Watch]

Christ Almighty: Catholic Children Throw Molotov Cocktails at Protestant Minority in Derry City

The Troubles may be coming back in Northern Ireland.

Kevin Campbell, the mayor of Derry City, told a local news team that

dissident (Catholic) republicans were manipulating mobs of up to 50 children and having them throw dozens of petrol bombs at the minority Protestant community after the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher last week.

The Protestant enclave, the Fountain Estate, consists of 400 families surrounded by a two-to-three mile security barrier in the mainly Catholic west of the city.

Mr Campbell said the attacks on the estate were “absolutely disgraceful”. He added: “There must be a sinister element involved when 25 petrol bombs are thrown — children aged nine to 15 would not know how to make petrol bombs.”


Resident William Jackson said petrol bombs have been coming within 2-3 feet of his house. “After seven nights of mayhem we have seen only one arrest,” he said. “We feel under siege 24 hours a day. … They call us Orange Huns and say things like, ‘We are going to burn you out’. I get phone calls at 2-3am saying they are going to burn me out, shoot me in the head and watch my family cry. They are not going to be happy until we are out. It is ethnic cleansing, just sectarian thuggery.”

The “Orange Huns” moniker refers to a battle the Protestants fought alongside Dutch Prince William of Orange against Catholic English king James II — in 1690.

In matters of politics and religion, grudges may hibernate, but they rarely die.

[art by Bansky via UK Street Art]

Box Office Success? Despite Prayers, Not Today.

The credits that run at the end of the new movie Not Today list an unusual job: prayer coordinator.

The film, about a wealthy young American who finds God when he travels to India and is affected by the plight of the poor, is an indie Christian endeavor whose $1.6 million budget was raised with collection-plate contributions from the members of Friends Church in Yorba Linda, California.


About the prayer coordinator, the church’s Creative Arts Pastor Brent Martz explains that the job was vital to the project.

“For us at the church, having people praying from the very beginning of this project and even up to today and this opening weekend has been a huge part of it,” Martz said. “We believe that God led us into making this film, and he’s ultimately responsible for it, and so every bit of this journey has been covered through this prayer team, and they’ve been so faithful to pray for all us during the writing and during the production and during the post-production and now during the marketing and PR.”

Whether all the earthly beseeching of the Creator of the Universe has been effective remains to be seen.

The plentiful praying certainly didn’t stop director Jon Van Dyke from filing a federal lawsuit, alleging fraud by church leaders. Van Dyke’s version of events involves a biblical deluge of internal bickering, cheating, and outright fraud. He was director of the Friends Church media department when he wrote the movie script. To hear him tell it, Martz, his boss, demanded a co-writer credit he wasn’t really entitled to, or he would fire Van Dyke. The young director says he was terminated when he raised concerns after the movie wrapped, including a claim that

the budget was “significantly inflated to include numerous illegitimate and improper expenses” in an effort to dilute profits.

According to Martz, the profits from the movie are intended to build hundreds of schools for children from India’s Dalit caste. But box office revenue this past Friday through Sunday — opening weekend, when the movie was shown on 41 screens — was only $96,347. Under a typical indie distribution deal, the producer (essentially, Friends Church) will get maybe 40-50 percent of that.

More revenue should come in from TV rights and rentals, presumably. Will it be enough to generate fat profits so that Dalit children may get an education? Let’s hope so, and let’s also hope that the lawyers don’t gobble up al the money.

If the project stays awash in red ink, I suppose the church could always hire additional prayer coordinators to get those schools built.

Judge Lets Thieving Pastor Off Easy

In pastor Kyung Soon Kim’s defense, the 10 Commandments don’t get as specific as “Thou Shalt Not Defraud Thine Insurance Company.” From The Reporter:

NORRISTOWN – With a judge ordering him to spend a few days behind bars for his role in a car insurance scam, a Korean pastor from Montgomery Township [Pennsylvania] learned the hard way, “Thou shalt not steal.”

“It’s confounding to this court why he would do this,” Montgomery County Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy said Monday as she sentenced Kyung Soon Kim to two consecutive weekends in the county jail after Kim pleaded guilty to charges of theft by unlawful taking and conspiracy to commit theft in connection with a 2008 incident involving a Lexus vehicle.


The car belonged to a friend’s son. Kim and the woman conspired to file a false police report and bilked the insurance company out of $42,000.

The judge kept racking her brain over the motive.

Reading from a presentence report, the judge noted Kim’s commitment to his church dates back to 1986 when he was pastor at a Presbyterian church in Seoul, South Korea, and then a Presbyterian pastor upon arriving in the U.S. several years ago.

It’s a bit of a mystery to me why this is the slightest bit relevant to the judicial process. Anyone else smell a double standard?

I’m pretty sure that in the case of a non-clergy defendant, the presumed answer to the question of motive would be, “Because he is a greedy sonovabitch.”

I’m also pretty sure that if you or I stole 42 grand, we’d do some serious time.

The Reverend Kim, however, could count on the judge’s leniency, and received a jail term of only four days. He doesn’t even have to serve that puny sentence as one block of time: instead, he gets to do it in stretches of 48 hours during two consecutive weekends.

[photo by Shawn Wheat via Gwinnett Daily Post]

Extraordinary Claims, Extraordinary Evidence?

The Eclectic Quill‘s got a point.

2U.S. Government Responses to Immortality Claims | The Eclectic Quill

Hyperbole Watch: ‘Homo-Fascists’ Will Pin ‘Yellow Stars’ on Anti-Gay Christians

Bryan Fischer is the nominally Christian clown ex-pastor who, just weeks ago, compared being gay to robbing banks. While the Westboro Baptist Church is being taking seriously by absolutely no one beyond its few dozen crackpot members, Fischer has adopted a sheen of mass-media respectability by dint of his job as the Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association. He also has his own radio show, Focal Point, on American Family Radio.

Over the weekend, on the airwaves, Fischer told his followers that “homo-fascists” were going to take over and force anti-gay Christians to wear badges — just like the Jews during World War II.


Watch the video here. Homo-fascism allegations start at 1:50; yellow-star comparison starts at 9:03.

Partial transcript:

“If you don’t believe in sodomy-based marriage, if you’re not prepared to endorse and sanction sodomy-based marriage, then … Remember when the Jews in Nazi Germany, they had to wear a yellow Star of David on their sleeve? We’re getting to the point now, that’s what they’re going to make us do. We’re getting to the point where these homofascists are going to force us to wear on our sleeves some kind of identifying marker so that the people can know who the racists and the homophobes and the bigots are.”

The tiresome Christian persecution complex is being driven to new nadirs here.

Dear Mr. Fischer: Three out of four Americans are Christians. More than 90 percent of our members of Congress self-identify as followers of Christ. There is a church on just about every other street corner. Are you really going to tell me that you are being “oppressed” — and now, targeted for genocide! — by a small minority (8 to 10 percent of the population) who are gay?

And do you think perhaps your hyperbole might run counter to recent history when you consider that, like Jews, gay people were actually made to wear “identifying markers” — pink triangles — so that the Nazis could more easily arrest, imprison, starve, and murder them by the tens of thousands?


Just as anti-porn feminists can barely conceal their disappointment every time new rumors about the production of a snuff film turn out to be untrue, evangelical Christians secretly desire nothing so much as for their brethren to be persecuted to within an inch of their lives. I think it’s because that way, they can claim some of the suffering for which they admire their Savior, and prove themselves worthy of him.

In other words (those of PsiCop over at Agnostic Library),

A desire to be persecuted for Jesus is part and parcel of their religion, and it has been almost since its inception. This persecutorial delusion is embedded deep in the psychopathology of Christianity. …

It’s one thing to fantasize about being a martyr because one’s religion is founded on a martyr. It’s quite another to invent persecution that’s not even happening, and to accuse others of doing things they haven’t done.

Quite so.

[top image via; bottom image via]

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.

Eew, Eel! Don’t Tell the Anti-Gay-Marriage Crowd

I’ve frequently heard from rightwing Christians that if we let men marry men, and women marry women, we’ll have to let them marry chickens and dogs too, and soon they’ll all be having butt sex with hippos, or something.

Here’s a cartoon that yuks it up in that regard. Pretty sure I recognize the hand of the reliably dreadful New York Post cartoonist Sean Delonas.

Delonas artoon

In this charming worldview, gay people are on a par with molesters of livestock; and the notion of equal rights for all men and women is as preposterous as a sheep wearing a bridal veil.

The idea that this is not an intellectually legitimate way of looking at the issue was only slightly undermined the other day, when a tellingly unmarried 39-year-old man in southern China had relations with an eel. That is, he introduced the eel’s head to his rectum, and there was, let’s say, a love connection. So much so that the eel, perhaps hungry for a post-coital snack, ate through his BFF’s colon, and doctors had to operate. Here’s the story. And via the Huffington Post, here’s a picture of the eel, who, we’re told, didn’t survive the extraction:

FUNNY EELING - Porn stunt With Live Eel Backfires

Please nobody tell Sean Delonas or the Post, or we’ll never hear the end of it.

Children’s Pastor Is Secretly a Child-Porn Fiend reports that

A children’s pastor at an Albuquerque [NM] church is facing federal charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.

Pastor Derek Schwartzrock, 34, was arrested Wednesday by agents from Homeland Security Investigations and the New Mexico State Police, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He is expected to make his initial appearance in court on Friday.

The agents, acting with a search warrant, seized a computer and related media from Schwartzrock’s home and later reported [they found] 12,000 images that appeared to be “consistent with child pornography.”

Schwartzrock may be facing more charges than just those related to possession of child pornography. Police say he failed a polygraph test when he was asked if he had ever touched a child inappropriately.