Alabama Pastor Has Sex With Church Members … and Knowingly Exposes Them to AIDS

It’s not unusual for a sermon to draw boredom and stifled yawns. But pastor Juan Demetrius McFarland of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama found a very special way to make congregants hang on his every word these past few Sundays.

Last month, he began admitting, right from the pulpit, that he’d done some bad things. And bit by bit, over several weeks, it all came out: how he’d been using drugs, and how he’d “mishandled” church money.

But those revelations were nothing compared to this bombshell confession: McFarland not only said that he’d been having sex with women in his flock — in the church building, no less — but also that he’d wittingly exposed his sexual partners to the HIV virus.

For the last six years, he said, he’d known that he has full-blown AIDS.

Church deacon Nathan Williams Jr. told Channel 12, the local NBC TV news affiliate:

“He concealed from the church that he had knowingly engaged in adultery in the church building with female members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church while knowingly having AIDS.”

Five days ago, the church decided to oust McFarland.

You’d think that prosecutors are by now throwing the book at him, intent on trying him for (let’s say) reckless endangerment or attempted manslaughter. But to avoid further scandal, and to safeguard the identity of of the pastor’s victims, the church may not press charges.

Also, Channel 12 learned that McFarland holds a leadership position with the Alabama Middle District Baptist Association, a group that has 34 member churches all over the state. It seems he’s still got his job there.

Calls to association leaders indicate that at this time there are no discussions to remove McFarland from his position.

It’s a timely story in a way. Just two days ago, I wrote about uber-Christian investment scammer Ephren Taylor, and about the victims who didn’t come forward because they thought it would reflect badly on their congregation if the truth was publicized. That same evening, I happened to drive past a church close to where I live, and I was struck by the message on its sign. So I took a picture:

Love is… deafness when scandal flows.

Well, there’s your problem.

Freedom From Atheism Foundation Trolls Atheists By Falsely Accusing Them of Trolling

Lying for Jesus, anyone?

Here‘s a roundup of two studies about Internet trolling, courtesy of Live Science:

“Trolls” — people who intentionally incite discord in online communities — may have a lot in common with real-life sadists, new research suggests. In two studies conducted online, researchers examined personality traits and the online commenting styles of 1,215 people. The investigators found that Internet trolls tended to have personality traits related to sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism — a term used by psychologists to describe a person’s tendency to deceive and manipulate others for personal gain. The link between trolling and sadism was the strongest out of all three traits, the researchers said.

So what could explain the links between trolling and sadism? Simply put, some people seem to enjoy being argumentative and purposefully disruptive, according to the researchers. “Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others,” the researchers, from the University of Manitoba in Canada, wrote in the study. “Sadists just want to have fun … and the Internet is their playground.”

There are no apparent data that show that the ultra-religious do more trolling than the moderately religious, or vice versa — or that the non-religious like trolling better than believers. Neither atheism nor theism/deism are mentioned at all in the piece, because religious feeling, or the absence of it, wasn’t a focus of the studies.

But here‘s how the Freedom From Atheism Foundation spun the Live Science article.

Atheists who spend their time trolling religious facebook pages, comments sections, etc. were found to have personality traits related to sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism. Perhaps its time for these atheists to realize that they have a problem that needs to be fixed.

Note that the FFAF even changed the headline (“Atheist Behind the Screen: the ‘Internet Troll’ Personality”) — maliciously replacing the word ‘Sadist’ with ‘Atheist’ and passing that new title off as the Live Science original.

If that isn’t trolling (and bearing false witness to boot), I don’t know what is.

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P.S. A little potpourri of the responses:

(Top image via Shutterstock)

Muslims and Hindus Riot in India Over a Jokey Facebook Picture

As they’ve often done since at least the eighth century, Mo fans and Shiva supporters have been violently clashing in India:

The police have made hundreds of arrests in the past several days in an attempt to stop religious riots in the Indian city of Vadodara, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat. So far, the violence has been confined to stabbings and the torching of around a dozen vehicles, D.J. Patel, a senior police official in Vadodara, said on Monday.

“We have deployed a large enough number of police to control any situation,” he said. He said none of the injuries were serious. The clashes began last week, after a Hindu man posted an image to his Facebook account showing the face of a Hindu goddess superimposed on a stone venerated by Muslims, Mr. Patel said.

Maybe there are two religions of peace? God help us.

(Image via Shutterstock)

Oklahoma Muslim Tries to Convert Co-Workers, Gets Fired; Then It’s Time For a Beheading

Alton Nolen, the Muslim ex-con accused of an ex-colleague’s brutal beheading in Moore, Oklahoma on Thursday, identified strongly with the violent ways of his extremist foreign brethren.

In March, Nolen took to his Facebook page, where he calls himself Jah’Keem Yisrael, and posted an image of a beheading by Islamic fundies, captioned with a verse from the Qur’an:

I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off of them.

 

That same day, he added a photo of a protest sign reading

Islam will Dominate the World: Freedom can go to hell.

Another public missive of Nolen’s featured a picture of the burning World Trade Center in New York City, along with the observation that

Everything God says don’t do Amerika does.

By that, Nolen clarified, he meant the consumption of alcohol and bacon, the legalization of same-sex-marriage, and the availability of sex toys — among multiple other complaints.

Nolen/Yisrael made a habit of signing all his status updates with “****InfoFromAMuslim****.” Over the last half a year, he sometimes posted photos of himself in prayer, frequenting the Oklahoma City mosque.

This past Tuesday, two days before went on his rampage, he wrote what appears to be a religious tirade against masturbation:

SHALOM ALHAKEIUM (O YE MUSLIMS) ALLAH (sWT) SAYS IN THE LAST DAYS “PEOPLE WILL BE LOVERS OF THEMSELVES, PROUD AND UNHOLY”. SO TO ALL OF U THAT’S MASTURBATING WHICH I THINK IS 80% OF THE WORLD AND FOR WHATEVER THE DESIRE IT IS IN YOUR HEART THAT U DOING IT FOR-U CAN GET! (WARNING) THIS IS THE LAST DAYS….2ND TIMOTHY 3:2

Nolen had recently been fired from the Vaughan Foods plant in Oklahoma where he met his two female victims, including Colleen Hufford, whose head he severed. His former co-workers said that during his employment, he’d been trying to convert everyone to Islam, but it’s unclear if that was the reason for his dismissal.

His second victim, Traci Johnson, whom he was stabbing and slashing when he was shot by the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Mark Vaughan, is said to be in stable condition and is expected to survive. The same is true for the beheader himself.

Christian Radio Host Excited About Ebola Virus Killing Atheists, Sluts, Gays

Atheists and people in same-sex relationships could use a little “attitude adjustment,” believes Christian end-times evangelist Rick Wiles — and Ebola might just the ticket.

With thanks to Right Wing Watch, here’s what Wiles had to say recently:

This Ebola epidemic can become a global pandemic and that’s another name for plague. It may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming.

Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion.

Can you feel the Jesusy love?

Sufi Holy Man Arrested For Killing Volunteer He Failed to Bring Back to Life During ‘Miracle’

Pakistan’s Express Tribune reports that in Mubarakabad, Punjab, a pir (Sufi master) named Muhammad Sabir was so convinced he could perform miracles, he asked for a volunteer he could murder. Not to worry, Sabir told his followers: after killing his victim, he would reanimate the dead man and make him as good as new.

He announced that he could breathe life back into a dead man. The pir gave the condition that the victim must be married and have children.

I mean, who doesn’t like a high-stakes bet, amirite?

When told of this amazing opportunity, 40-year-old Muhammad Niaz, described as “a daily wage worker and father of six children,” decided to give it a go.

On Wednesday, Niaz was placed on a table in a square and his hands and legs were bound. [A] police spokesman said Sabir then sliced his throat as people looked on. Meanwhile, an anonymous caller informed the police about ‘the miracle.’ By the time police reached [the scene], Niaz had died. Witnesses said Sabir uttered some words to bring him back to life. They said when he realized his ‘miracle’ had not worked, he tried to flee. He was detained by the villagers and handed over to the police.

Detained? Arrested? But, but… freedom of religion! Sanctity and inviolability of deeply-held beliefs!

The villagers may have found sufficient reason to nab the Sufi superman, but the victim’s sister seems to think that the mystic is one misunderstood genius, writes the Express Tribune.

Samina, sister of the victim, [said] that her brother had sacrificed himself for the spiritual leader. “Why should I mourn when I know that my brother is in heaven?” she said. “He will be rewarded for his services for the spiritual leader in [the] afterlife.” She said her brother had volunteered for the miracle and that the pir should not have been arrested.

It’s worth remembering that Sufism is purportedly the inward-looking, mystical, non-violent version of Islam, described here as a journey “towards the Truth, by means of love and devotion… towards the perfection which all are truly seeking.”

I guess we can quibble about the exact definitions of love, truth, and especially perfection.

August Was a Great Month For God and His Son Appearing in Clouds … and on a Moth

A little roundup:

God’s face appeared in a cloud over a soon-to-be-demolished drive-in movie theater that was showing (this gives me chills, people!) God’s Not Dead. He’s perched over the girl’s left shoulder, looking like the product of a supernatural tryst between a drunk Dionysus and Charles Darwin.

Fiona Finn, writing for the Huffington Post in one of its finest pieces of journalism to date, believes the following picture — supposedly, that’s the Almighty and an archangel in clouds over Cape Coral, Florida — is “proof that God is speaking to all of us.”

Inexplicably, God has an amputated hand in that image, but relief set in when an English believer found the missing body part protruding from the heavens over Kent:

(Is this the hand of God? asked the Express. To which Argentinian soccer fans can confidently say, No, but this is.)

Finally, the Carpenter’s Son Himself showed up on the wings of a moth, at least according to Yvonne Esquilin, a Jesus fan in Texas.

To the untrained eye, the pattern might look like a youthful Gandalf or Merlin (with a yarmulke, no less), but Esquilin believes that the appearance of the “Jesus moth” is too uncanny to be coincidental, as

… she had recently been asking God to help her find a way to continue assisting her daughter with her schooling.

So God sent a moth rather than, say, a tutor. Or a few thousand bucks.

Mysterious ways indeed.

Irish Septic Tank Holds the Bones of 796 ‘Illegitimate’ Children Who Died in Catholic Home

(UPDATED BELOW)

Years after a Galway-area Catholic home for unmarried Irish mothers closed its doors, two boys playing on the grounds made a gruesome discovery:

… partially broken concrete slabs covering a hollow — a disused septic tank — “filled to the brim with bones.”

So began the latest scandal to swirl around the Catholic Church, an institution whose reputation in Ireland and elsewhere is in tatters due to a gigantic child sex-abuse scandal and the subsequent cover-up. Irish Catholicism was also rocked by revelations about the cruelty and exploitation that were endemic in the Magdalene Laundries, which I previously wrote about here.

The Galway bones turned out to be human and are thought to be all that’s left of almost 800 children who died miserably in the institution that was referred to locally as, simply, “the Home,” infamously run by Bon Secours nuns. The deaths occurred over a period of 36 years, between 1925 and 1961, the year the Home was finally shut down.

There do not appear to be death certificates for some of the children, which is why a police investigation is now underway. Where there are records, the causes of death have typically been recorded as “malnutrition, measles, convulsions, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis and pneumonia.”

Unwed mothers and their children lived at the Home surrounded by eight-feet-high walls, in overcrowded and sometimes squalid conditions. The child death rate at the Home may have been as high as fifty percent, a number also seen in other Catholic institutions that purported to take good care of “fallen girls.”

The Sean Ross Mother and Baby Home, portrayed in the award winning film Philomena this year, opened in Roscrea, County Tipperary in 1930. In its first year of operation 60 babies died out of a total of 120, a fifty percent infant mortality rate, more than four times higher than in the general population at the time.

Statistics show a quarter of all babies born outside marriage in the 1930’s in Ireland died before their first birthdays. As observers have remarked elsewhere, these were infant death rates from the 17th century.

In one year alone in the mid 1940’s in the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home in County Cork, out of the 180 babies born, 100 died.

Many who were warehoused at the Home near Galway died because of lack of nutrition and medical care.

A local health board inspection report from April 1944 recorded 271 children and 61 single mothers in residence, a total of 333 in a building that had a capacity for 243.

The report described the children as “emaciated,” “pot-bellied,” “fragile” with “flesh hanging loosely on limbs.” The report noted that 31 children in the “sun room and balcony” were “poor, emaciated and not thriving.” The effects of long-term neglect and malnutrition were observed repeatedly.

It will probably cheer some Vatican lovers that

… the “illegitimate” stigma was not confined to Catholics alone. Reports show that 219 infants died in the Protestant Bethany home in Rathgar, County Dublin between 1922 and 1949.

And “charity” this wasn’t, by and large. An adoption-rights advocate, Susan Lohan, told reporters that

“These were state-funded homes. Anybody who suggests the nuns were doing their best … they were not doing their best. They tendered for this business (and) wanted this business. They got a headage payment for every mother and child in their so-called care, which was greater at the time than the average industrial wage.”

While the mothers didn’t die at the same alarming rate as their children, they experienced pain and misery of a different kind:

Since there was simply no question of the birth mothers keeping their children — the shame was thought too ruinous — they lost all future claim to them. Their punishment was to work without wages for two or three years in atonement for their sins. In the homes they wore uniforms at all times, they had their names changed and they had their letters censored. …

In the few surviving black and white photographs taken at the site no child is smiling. Instead they simply frown at the camera, their blank stares suggesting the terrible conditions.

A local historian and genealogist, Catherine Corless, is trying to restore some honor to the almost 800 children whose remains were found on the grounds of the Home.

[A]s a schoolgirl Corless recalls watching an older friend wrap a tiny stone inside a bright candy wrapper and present it as a gift to one of [the institutionalized children]. “When the child opened it she saw she’d been fooled,” Corless says. “Of course I copied her later and I tried to play the joke on another little Home girl. I thought it was funny at the time.”

But later — years later — Corless realized that the children she taunted had nobody. “Years after I asked myself what did I do to that poor little girl that never saw a sweet? That has stuck with me all my life. A part of me wants to make up to them.”

Corless has helped the story onto many a front page. She’s now fundraising for a permanent bronze plaque marking the site, inscribed with the names of all the children who died at the Home, forgotten in life as well as death — until now.

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Update: In the days and weeks after this story burst onto front pages all over the world, questions have been raised about the nature of the infants’ ghastly resting place. There seem to be three different, mutually exclusive claims: that the space was an active cesspit at the time, which now seems unlikely; that it was a disused (stone-slate?) septic tank, perhaps cleaned and rededicated as a burial chamber; or that it was a purpose-built crypt which investigators and/or the media (or Corless?) wrongly presented as a septic tank. See also here and here. Which is it? When we have confirmation, we’ll write another update.

South Carolina Bible College President Nabbed for Slavery and Exploitation

The Good Book condones slavery and exploitation in multiple chapters and verses, so Reginald Wayne Miller, the president and founder of South Carolina’s Cathedral Bible College, can still be considered a true man of the Bible. But if the charges against him are true, there’s something else he deserves to be called: a felon.

Miller’s police mugshot

A judge put Miller on home detention and had him fitted with an electronic ankle monitor just days into an ongoing federal investigation. The probe allegedly revealed that the former pastor habitually forced foreign students to perform non-academic work on the campus and at his home for a pittance or for nothing; pay ranged from $0 to $50 a week. Prosecutors say that Miller retaliated against those who complained or refused, by blustering that he would cancel their student visas, in effect sending them packing to their country of origin.

“I don’t think we’ve identified all of the potential victims yet,” said Carrie Fisher, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case. Fisher said some victims may have already left the country and some may be former students who have yet to come forward. “Our investigation just started this week.”

Agents with Homeland Security Investigations filed a criminal complaint against Miller this week saying they have probable cause to charge him with forced labor, a felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years for each count. Investigators say Miller forced foreign students to work at the campus and his personal residence for as little as $25 per week. Miller threatened to cancel the students’ visas if they complained or didn’t comply with his demands, according to an affidavit filed this week.

Banner from the Cathedral Bible College website

Some of the students say that the school has no meaningful curriculum and that it primarily exists to trap vulnerable young people into years of forced servitude.

An affidavit filed this week with a criminal complaint against Miller outlines interviews Homeland Security investigators conducted with eight Cathedral Bible College students. Those students told investigators that the classes offered at the college “were not real” and the main focus of the school is having students work full-time hours at the school and at Miller’s home.

Federal law limits those on student visas to a maximum of 20 hours of work per week and that work must be an integral part of the student’s educational program. …

One student told investigators… that he was paid $50 per week for about 32 hours of work. Dr. Miller told [the student] if he did not like this work, he could go home or he [Miller] would call the Immigration and Naturalization Service,” the affidavit states.

Also,

Investigators said Miller misrepresented the school’s education, working and housing situations to foreign students who applied to attend Cathedral Bible College.

Pupils have complained about expired food and “long periods of time without any hot water, heat or air conditioning.”

It isn’t the first time that the man of God finds himself in trouble with the law.

In 2006, the Horry County Police Department charged Miller with lewdness and prostitution after Miller exposed himself to an undercover police officer in a bath house at Myrtle Beach State Park, according to a police report. Miller entered into a pre-trial intervention program and the charge ultimately was expunged.

(Thanks to Buckley for the link)

New York Prosecutors Say Rabbi and Accomplices Stole $12 Million from Disabled Kids

In some people’s interpretation of religious morality, kids have to get fucked one way or the other.

Four men, including a rabbi, were indicted on Tuesday on charges they stole millions of dollars from a taxpayer-funded preschool for disabled kids.

Rabbi Samuel Hiller, Ira Kurman, Roy Hoffman and Daniel Laniado from the Island Child Development Center (ICDC) were busted for allegedly siphoning off $12.4 million of the institution’s $27 million state-funded budget between 2005 and 2012, using the money for themselves and for other business interests.

“The public funds provided to [ICDC] were earmarked for special needs pre-schoolers with disabilities but instead were allegedly used by the defendants for their own purposes,” said Queens DA Richard A. Brown.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli commented that the fraud demonstrated “a brazen disregard for common decency and the law.”

Jewish Journal explains that

Not only were government funds stolen but thousands of special needs children, who have no way to fight back, have had their services denied in a cynical, cruel manner.

Hiller, the rabbi, appears to be the biggest thief of the quartet. He allegedly diverted millions to summer camps and to a private girls’ school where he is the principal (none are affiliated with ICDC), but he also wasn’t above pilfering $30,000 to pay for a plumbing job at his Queens home.

Prosecutors say that the other defendants used stolen money to pay for weddings, bar mitzvahs, and home remodeling.

The four are charged with grand larceny, identity theft, and falsifying business records.

The blog Failed Messiah has more.

(Image via Shutterstock. Dreidel drollery by Terry Firma, with apologies to AC/DC)

Jesus Himself Exposed Megachurch Pastor Bob Coy’s Adultery, and His Enthusiastic Fapping

Calvary Chapel, the Fort Lauderdale megachurch founded by Pastor Bob Coy nearly 30 years ago, will have to get by with a different shepherd, after Coy was found to have “committed adultery with more than one woman.”

Also, said Outreach Pastor Chet Lowe,

“[Coy] committed sexual immorality, habitually, through pornography. … Rest assured, God will not be mocked.

There’s no doubt who ratted Coy out:

“Your sins will find you out,” Lowe said. “Jesus, because he loved [Coy], exposed him publicly.”

Though readers of this blog probably know better, John Vaughan, director of the Megachurch Research Center in Springfield, Missouri, was eager to tell the Sun Sentinel that these kinds of situations are really, really rare.

Vaughan said despite a public perception to the contrary, ministers rarely get caught up in sex scandals.

It’s not nearly as epidemic as people think it is,” he said. “When it happens, it’s big news and people extrapolate.”

Still, church leaders are as prone as any powerful man to temptation. “There are a lot of beautiful Christian women,” Vaughan said. “A pastor, as a man, would have the same kind of temptation as a man anywhere else would.”

Even the Christian Post knows that those temptations are both plentiful and readily yielded to. Its headline about the Coy ouster asks if there is “an epidemic of moral failings” among men of the cloth.

I’ll say.

(Also posted at Friendly Atheist)

Former Pastor Jeff Eddie, Alleged Child Rapist, Is Afraid His Deeds will “Inflame the Public”

More children are alleging abuse by a former Alabama youth pastor accused of molestation:

Former Highland Park Baptist Church pastor, Jeff Eddie, is being held on $1,030,000 bond on 31 counts of sodomy, sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.

Jeff Eddie

Eddie’s attorney, Billy Underwood, tells the TimesDaily of Florence his client has waived a preliminary hearing because he “didn’t want to inflame the public with what would come out from the preliminary hearing.”

Alabama Bureau of Investigation Agent Brian Faulkner declined to elaborate on how many additional victims have come forward, but said the children were affiliated with the Muscle Shoals church, past churches Eddie was involved with, and retreats he went on.

Eddie’s case is expected to go to a grand jury next month.