ABC’s Nightline Shines Light on Child Sex Abuse at Jehovah’s Witnesses

The story is painfully familiar. Children are sexually abused in a closed-off cult that is averse to secular justice. The victims either don’t dare accuse their influential tormentors, or, if they do, no one believes them. If the leaders can finally be convinced that the abuse took place, the offenders receive a slap on the wrist; and within a few months or years, as scrutiny slackens, the abuse cycle begins anew, with fresh prey.

ABC Nightline presents the case of Candace Conti, now in her 20s, who says she was sexually assaulted many times when she was a child, by a fellow Jehovah’s Witness named Jonathan Kendrick.

When Candace was 9 years old she says she was abused by a well-liked member of her small congregation in Fremont, California. While door-to-door evangelizing, which Candace would do without her parents, she says Jonathan Kendrick began taking her to his house and molesting her. She testified that he abused her several times a month for what she says felt like two years.



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NFL Star Antrel Rolle: God Told Me to Sign with the Chicago Bears by Sending Me an Email from Orbitz

You know how I know God doesn’t exist?

Because no loving God would ever tell an NFL safety to sign with the Chicago Bears.

But that’s what Antrel Rolle just did — for three years and $11.25 million — and just wait till you hear why he signed the contract:



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12-Year-Old Boy Was a Normal Schoolkid in France Last Year; Now He’s an ISIS Executioner

Killing for Allah can run in the family:

Schoolchildren in southern France are in shock after seeing a former classmate executing a hostage in a video released by the Islamic State (ISIS). The Islamist group posted online gruesome propaganda video showing a boy in military fatigues shooting an Israeli-Arab teenager in the head. The [victim] had been accused of working for Israel’s spy agency Mossad.

In the video the child, aged 11 or 12, is flanked by a bearded man, who is believed to be his stepfather.



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I Have Serious Concerns About “We Are Atheism”

In 2011, a website called We Are Atheism was founded to “promote education, activism, and philanthropy about atheists and for atheists.” The co-founders, Amanda Brown and her husband Adam Brown, also began a project for non-religious people modeled after the “It Gets Better” campaign. (I even made a video for them.)

Then, at the end of 2012, Sandy Hook happened.

In response, We Are Atheism immediately began raising money to help families affected by the shootings (and the Newtown community at large). They called the program “Atheists Giving Aid.” Due to the overwhelming response, the Browns began fundraising after every major tragedy in the months to follow, including the Boston Marathon bombings, the Oklahoma tornado, and the West (Texas) fertilizer plant explosion.

In November of 2013 — nearly a year after Sandy Hook — I received an email from an anonymous source who went by the pseudonym “Mark Felt” (a name familiar to anyone who knows about Watergate). The email was actually sent to a long list of atheist bloggers, organization leaders, and several other people, and the gist of it was that there were a lot of problems with what We Are Atheism (WAA) was doing.

One of the concerns was that the money didn’t go where the Browns said it had gone… a pretty serious allegation. As it turned out, I had looked into this matter myself months earlier. I checked with the organizations WAA said they had given money to and confirmed that, yes, the money had indeed been received in the amounts stated. Nothing to worry about.

At that point, since my mini-investigation checked out, I dismissed Felt’s other concerns.

I’ll admit, though, that I’ve been hesitant to mention the group on this site since then. At the very least, I wanted to see more transparency from them. It shouldn’t be my responsibility to verify their donations went to the right places, after all.

More recently, We Are Atheism began promoting a project called the “Good 1% Club,” in which they’re asking atheists to pledge 1% of their total income to the organization (kind of like a smaller tithe). For some people, that could mean a lot of money.

I wasn’t ready to participate because of my concerns… but I thought I should at least take a deeper look into the organization before saying no.

I wasn’t alone. Todd Stiefel, the philanthropist who has made sizable donations to a number of atheist groups, was doing the same thing.

Over the past few weeks, using Mark Felt’s email as a foundation, and with additional research provided by Stiefel, myself, and others I’ve spoken to, we’ve looked into We Are Atheism’s finances and public statements in order to answer a handful of important questions, including:

  • Has We Are Atheism always been an official non-profit group?
  • Did the donations go where donors thought they would go?
  • Does We Are Atheism’s website list accurate information about the various fundraising campaigns?

It appears the answer to all those questions is “No.”

I now believe there’s serious mismanagement within the organization that should concern anyone who’s ever given money (or is considering giving money) to them.

I don’t believe in posting something like this without giving the other side a chance to respond. So I informed the Browns of all the major concerns I list below. Their responses are included, with the knowledge that I would be quoting them in this piece.

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Finnish Band Nightwish Releases Latest Single, Featuring Narration by Richard Dawkins

The Finland-based symphonic metal band Nightwish is about to release their new album, drawing inspiration from the natural world and the work of Richard Dawkins. (In fact, Dawkins appears on the album as a narrator for two of the songs.)

I posted the first single last month. Today, they released their latest single (audio only), “Shudder Before The Beautiful,” and it’s one of the songs featuring Dawkins (albeit briefly):



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