Reli-Fraud Is Under-Discussed and Under-Reported in Churches; Ephren Taylor’s Jesus Scam

How do religious shysters build entire financial empires? Why do they get away with running obvious Ponzi schemes for years on end, while no one appears to ask them any hard questions?

Cathy Lerman, a Florida lawyer who is representing several victims of religious fraudster Ephren Taylor (sometimes dubbed “the black Bernie Madoff”), offers at least part of the answer:

Religious-affinity fraud is quite common, but it’s not discussed inside the church, and that’s one of the problems. No one wants to admit that it occurs, and that’s how [Taylor] did this for so long. A lot of these people were ashamed, or they felt from a religious standpoint that what happens in the church stays in the church, and you don’t go telling anybody and you don’t have him arrested and you don’t do anything.”

“Who would dream that someone would come into your church and use your faith as a weapon to steal?” said Lerman. “All of them believed that they were the only ones; they thought they had been stupid.”

From 2007 to 2010, Taylor gave “Wealth Tour Live” seminars in churches around the country.

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This Ignorant Christian Parent Misunderstood Her Child’s History Homework and Caused a Stir Online

When I was teaching math — let’s say it was trigonometry — I always tried to put a question on the unit test that looked like this:

Explain to an intelligent 8-year-old why the value of sine can never be greater than 1.

In other words, could you explain what “sine” meant using basic terminology in a simple, straightforward way?* I could always tell from their responses who really understood the material and who was just regurgitating something out of a textbook.

So when a high school history teacher at Jenison High School in Michigan was discussing world religions and asked his students to “introduce Islam to 3rd graders,” I knew exactly what he meant. He wanted the students to design a pamphlet about Islam that just covered the basics.


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Creationists May Have Given Up More Than $18,000,000 in Tax Rebates Because They Want to Discriminate in Hiring

Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham‘s ministry, is a religious non-profit. That’s why the Creation Museum can require you to sign a “statement of faith” if you want to work there.

Ark Encounter, the Noah’s Ark theme park that’s eligible for millions of dollars in tax rebates, is a for-profit business. They cannot discriminate in hiring.

Sounds simple enough.

But if you looked at the job listings at AiG’s website (since taken down), the requirements for some jobs made no sense at all:

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From Europe, Evidence That More Schooling Leads to Less Religiosity… and a Reduction in Superstitious Beliefs

There is a deep anti-intellectual streak that runs through much of religious America, and it’s entirely justified. No, I’m not saying that we ought to give the thumbs-up to poor thinking skills and the inability to distinguish facts from fiction. I’m saying, rather, that fundamentalists are right about academic learning: the more of it you do, the less likely you are to attend church or to talk to God.

New research by economists at Louisiana State University offers some tantalizing evidence:

The study finds that more education, in the form of more years of formal schooling, has “consistently large negative effects” on an individual’s likelihood of attending religious services, as well as their likelihood of praying frequently. More schooling also makes people less likely to harbor superstitious beliefs, like belief in the protective power of lucky charms (rabbit’s feet, four leaf clovers), or a tendency to take horoscopes seriously.

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Canadian Wilderness Guide Denied Job Because Employer Says She Went to an Anti-Gay Christian School

Usually, when I hear stories of Christians being discriminated against, it’s complete bullshit. They probably did something wrong, they were punished for it, and now they’re hiding behind their religion. But in this instance, it actually looks legitimate.

Trinity Western University is the Christian school in British Columbia that recently made headlines after a few provinces said they would not allow graduates of its law school to practice in the region. The reason? Trinity won’t allow gay students who embrace their homosexuality to attend the school.

Bethany Paquette went to their undergraduate campus, which works the same way. The river rafting guide recently applied for a job at Amaruk Wilderness Corp. where she figured her experience could be put to good use… but after sending the company her cover letter and resume, she was surprised to see the response from the hiring manager:

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