Minister Let His Bedridden Wife Die Horror Death; I Wouldn’t Want To Be the Judge In This Heartbreaking Case

A United Church minister in Ontario, Canada, accused of criminal negligence in the manslaughter death of his wife, was sentenced to three years in jail yesterday. The judge left no doubt as to the intention of the verdict.

[T]he message to the public has to be loud and clear: In this type of case, the sentence must be denunciatory and exemplary and reflect society’s abhorrence in letting someone die in such a horrific manner.

The reverend Nico Vanderstoel had pleaded guilty to the charge, which came after his wife of 44 years, Heather, became bedridden with the effects of multiple sclerosis. Vanderstoel soon stopped providing adequate care, neither requesting medical nor social help for his wife.

By the time the state intervened, Heather Vanderstoel’s fate was sealed. She died of complications from decubitis ulceration, or bedsores.

The facts of the case require a seriously strong stomach.

On March 15, 2011, a For Seniors Only employee arrived at the home to do paperwork for the provision of homecare help for Heather and “the smell of rotting flesh was overwhelming,” said assistant Crown attorney Karen Lische. The employee talked to Heather, but could only see her face as the rest of her body was covered by blankets.

The next day, For Seniors Only employees arrived to start providing homecare services and found Heather immobile, “living in a state of squalor and filth” and her body covered with infected bedsores.

[Read more...]

Georgia Legislators Want to Begin a Legal Battle by Installing Ten Commandments Monument on Capitol Grounds

Georgia legislators, in their infinite wisdom, are trying to imitate Oklahoma, which is rarely a good idea.

Republican Rep. Greg Morris is sponsoring a bill to install a Ten Commandments monument on or around the state Capitol grounds… and it just passed through the House on a 138-37 vote.

One Democrat attempted to warn him about what’s going to happen…

[Read more...]

An Atheist Speaks About Her Miscarriage

Shanon Nebo became pregnant with her second child at about the same time her brother’s wife got pregnant with their first. Simultaneous joy in the family, right? Well, everyone was thrilled… for a few weeks. That’s when Shanon got some heartbreaking news:

[Read more...]

‘Blasphemist’ Jaber Mejeri Is Freed From Tunisian Prison

In 2012, Jaber Mejeri (pictured below) was convicted to seven years in prison for posting cartoons critical of Islam that a Tunisian court deemed “disturbing [to] public order and public morals.”

Now, he’s out of jail, but not out of danger:

The lawyer for a Tunisian blogger sentenced to seven years in prison for posting cartoons deemed insulting to the Prophet Muhammad says her client was freed late Tuesday.

[Read more...]

In Memory of Eric

A couple of weeks ago, we lost a really fantastic atheist activist, Eric Broze. One of the co-founders of the Coming Out Godless project, Eric’s work was always meaningful and helpful, yet he never gave up his sense of humor in the process. (See: The United Church of Bacon, which he also helped create.)

I was looking back at my email exchanges with Eric over the past several years and what stands out is how committed he was to the work he was doing, even when his name wasn’t going to be the one in the spotlight. When he had an idea, he would pursue it wholeheartedly. Ed Clint has a beautiful writeup about Eric here.)

I had a chance to meet Eric and his wonderful wife Rose a few years ago in Las Vegas and they were as fun to be around as their online personas would suggest:

Appropriately, his memorial service was a celebration of his life, just as he would have liked. It took place at a bar, with his closest friends sharing their favorite memories of Eric:

You can read more about Eric here. Rose is accepting donations at the Paypal address

[Read more...]