Nigerian Pastors Fleece Believers USA-Style: Bishop David Oyedepo Owns a Gulfstream Jet and Several BMWs

Nigeria has long been known as the home country of countless Internet scammers, but Reuters reminds us that some of the country’s megachurch pastors have devised their own get-rich-quick schemes modeled after shining U.S. examples like Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, and Jim Bakker.

Some of the churches can hold more than 200,000 worshippers and, with their attendant business empires, they constitute a significant section of the economy, employing tens of thousands of people and raking in tourist dollars, as well as exporting Christianity globally. …

[TB] Joshua draws miracle-seekers from all over the world with claims that the holy water he has blessed cures otherwise incurable ailments such as HIV/AIDS.

And Ebola!

“We see giving as the only way to be blessed. Blessing other people is a way of keeping the blessings flowing,” said [David] Oyedepo (pictured), whose blessings include a Gulfstream V jet and several BMWs.

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Houston Subpoenas of Anti-Gay Pastors Went Too Far, but There May Still Be Reason to Investigate Their Churches

Earlier this month, about 1,800 evangelical Christian pastors across the country participated in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” where they defied the law by endorsing political candidates from the pulpits of their tax-exempt churches. The law basically says that non-profit groups, including churches, don’t have to pay taxes, but in exchange, non-profit leaders (including pastors) can’t tell members how to vote. They can, however, discuss policy issues without the threat of punishment.

The IRS ignored these candidate-endorsing pastors for years due to (what they say were) bureaucratic reasons, but they recently settled a lawsuit brought about by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and promised they would prosecute pastors who violated the law.

Which brings us to what’s happening in Houston, Texas right now.

The city has what’s called the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). Recently, an amendment was added onto it that offers protection so that transgender individuals could use a bathroom at a public facility that matches their gender identity.

Conservatives were unhappy with that for the usual reasons; some believe that the law would let men walk into a women’s bathroom (or vice versa) on a whim, some are opposed to LGBT rights in general, Houston’s mayor is a lesbian and some people are still angry about that, etc. They wanted a voter referendum on the ordinance change, so they began to collect the signatures necessary to get the issue on the ballot. According to city officials, many of those signatures were invalid, putting a stop to the challenge.

That’s when conservative groups filed a lawsuit against the city.

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Justice Scalia: “Religious Beliefs Aren’t Reasonable”

The Supreme Court just heard oral arguments in a case, Holt v. Hobbs, that’s all about a Muslim inmate from Arkansas, Gregory H. Holt, who wants to grow a half-inch beard in accordance with his beliefs.

The problem is that Arkansas happen to be one of the only states that forbids beards of any length for security reasons. Hence, the legal battle. (For the record, more than 40 states allow prisoners to have half-inch beards and most allow even longer ones.)

During oral arguments last week, Justice Antonin Scalia asked a fair question about how serious this religious commandment really was. After all, if Holt’s beliefs required him to have a full beard (which they do), then wouldn’t permitting him to have a half-inch beard still violate his faith?

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Christians Just Found a Way to Ruin Rap Battles…

I know Christian culture is famous for taking mainstream pop culture, “sanitizing” it with a few too many doses of Jesus, and making all of us cringe when we experience the byproduct… but I didn’t realize they could make rap battles uncool, too:

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That’s One Reason the Harry Potter Series is Different from the Bible

There are plenty more reasons where that came from.

You can find this image and many others like it on the Friendly Atheist Facebook page!

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