Rape Pastor Victor Barnard, Who Claimed He’s Jesus, Is Caught in Brazil After a Long Manhunt

The year-long manhunt for Victor Barnard, an American pastor charged with 59 counts of sexual assault, is over. Barnard, who was on the U.S. Marshals Service’s Most Wanted List, was arrested in a beach town in Brazil on Friday. I previously wrote about him here.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

The arrest took place in a condominium by Pipa Beach, considered one of Brazil’s most beautiful coastal locations. Barnard was reportedly staying with a 33-year-old Brazilian woman who previously lived in the United States. Federal police confiscated religious papers, diaries, computers, flash drives and cellphones from the condo.

From CNN:

The 53-year-old suspect was wanted by the Pine County, Minnesota, Sheriff’s Office for allegedly sexually abusing two young girls who were members of his church, the U.S Marshals Service said. … [P]rosecutors in Pine County, Minnesota, issued a criminal complaint that accused him of 59 felony counts of criminal sexual conduct. The manhunt began after a two-year investigation into allegations from two women about Barnard’s alleged conduct while he was preaching to a religious group in Finlayson, Minnesota.

As a pastor, Victor Barnard inspired his congregants with his charisma and apparent devotion to the teachings of Jesus Christ. “I had never met anybody that I thought loved the word of God as much as Victor Barnard did,” [said] Ruth Johnson, a former member of Barnard’s River Road Fellowship.

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Kansas Senate Approves Bill That Criminalizes Teaching Material Deemed “Harmful to Minors”

The Kansas State Senate on Wednesday passed S.B. 56, with twenty-six Republican senators supporting the measure, and six Republicans and eight Democrats opposing. The bill is ostensibly designed to protect students by making it illegal to display or present material that is “harmful to minors,” such as pornography. But the broad categorizations and vague language [Read More…]

Did Jesus Die On a Cross… Or On a Pole?

You learn something new every day.

For centuries scholars have known that the Greek New Testament word “stauros,” which is translated into English as cross, can refer to a device of several shapes, commonly a single upright pole, “torture stake” or even tree.

The Romans did not have a standard way of crucifying prisoners, and Josephus tells us that during the siege of Jerusalem, soldiers nailed or tied their victims in a variety of positions.

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A Most Unsettling Trend: Christians Rejoicing in ISIS

Charisma News is praising a video in which families of murdered Egyptian Christian Copts thank ISIS for making martyrs of their loved ones. In it, a smiling man named Beshir who just lost two brothers to ISIS chats with an audience and callers:

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What ISIS Teaches Us About the Value of Arts and Humanities

The U.S., on the whole, embraces economic progress and relentless production to such an extent that art and humanities are seen as “nice to have,” rather than necessities.

Sarah Skwire, in a short, smart piece for (of all things) the Foundation for Economic Education, presents ISIS’ heartbreaking destruction of Assyrian museum pieces as a solid argument in favor of the two embattled academic disciplines.

There is a long history of fundamentalist Islamic groups destroying cultural treasures. The Buddhas of Bamiyan. The “end of the world” gate in the ancient city of Timbuktu. Over 95 percent of ancient Mecca. Countless thousands of ancient manuscripts. [Links added by TF.] Groups from ISIS to the Taliban to Wahabist Saudi clerics have made it clear: everything must be obliterated.

They claim, of course, that these things must be destroyed because they are idolatrous in themselves or might inspire idolatrous thinking in others. But I think it is far more likely that ISIS wants them destroyed because these objects prove the falseness of their version of history.

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