March 14, 2018

And they call it Christian love: Many conservative Christians are taking pleasure in the false idea that Stephen Hawking is burning in Hell.

In a deplorable but not surprising development, many religious conservatives are claiming that Stephen Hawking is burning in Hell after the legendary British theoretical physicist and intellectual giant died peacefully at his home in Cambridge, England, at age 76.

Hawking, an outspoken atheist, is being attacked and maligned on social media by many religious conservatives threatened and offended by the implication of the scientific truths Hawking shared with the world.

For example:

Bottom line: Stephen Hawking is not in heaven, nor is he in hell. He is simply dead. Full stop.

There is no heaven, and there is no hell. Death is final, and that is tragedy enough. There is no afterlife. All we can do now is mourn the loss, and celebrate the life.

In the end, the fact that many conservative Christians are taking pleasure in the false idea that Stephen Hawking is burning in Hell only demonstrates the poverty of their intellect, their character, and their religious superstition. 

Conservative Christians Claim Stephen Hawking Is Burning In Hell (Image via Twitter)
February 13, 2018

A Pennsylvania pastor is charged with lewdness and indecent exposure after being busted in a parked car with a naked and bound man.

Pastor George Gregory, the pastor at Waterfront Christian Community Church, is facing criminal charges after he and another man were found by police in a car parked on a quiet residential street.

According to reports, when the police found Pastor Gregory and his “friend,” Gregory was adjusting his clothing while Gregory’s “friend” was naked and tied-up with nylon rope.

The good news, both Pastor Gregory and Pastor Gregory’s friend insist that the encounter was consensual.

KDKA-TV reports on the criminal complaint against Pastor Gregory:

The criminal complaint says when officers asked what was going on, Gregory told the officers that they “were just playing” and he and the other man “meet up from time to time to play with each other.”

The other man confirmed that what they were doing was consensual.

The man who reported the suspicious vehicle told police that at one point he saw the second man get out of the vehicle without any clothes on, and he was concerned because the car was parked outside his daughter’s window.

Gregory allegedly told the officers he thought they were in a private place, and when an officer said their vehicle was on a well-lit public street in clear view of several homes, Gregory told police, “I know.”

However, the Pennsylvania pastor denies any untoward conduct, and is angry about the criminal charges, telling CBS:

I was counseling a young man with a drug problem. It did turn strange, but it wasn’t my doing, OK? And I was adamant that I’m participating in that way. And so that’s when the police pulled up, and they assume things, but I’m standing by my story. It’s not true.

I won’t deny that he began to take his clothes off and propositioned me, but I will deny, on a stack of Bibles with God as my witness, that I did nothing.

Pro Tip: If you deny you did nothing, you are admitting you did something.

Writing for The Stranger, Dan Savage sums up the situation:

So… the cops either came across two men engaged in consensual bondage play (something a lot of people enjoy) in a public place where the participants might get caught (something that turns a lot of people on) and Pastor Gregory and his bondage buddy used standard-issue BDSM lingo to describe what they were doing when the police arrived (“play,” “playing,” “consensual”) or the cops caught Pastor Gregory mid-faith-based-drug-counseling session, something he does in his car late on Friday nights, and the addict he was counseling propositioned Pastor Gregory and then, after Pastor Gregory rebuffed the addict’s advances, the addict proceeded to rip off all his clothes, get out of the car to briefly air out his genitals, and then get back in the car and tie himself up in the front seat just before the police arrived.

I’m inclined to believe the pastor when he says, “I’m standing by my story. It’s not true.” He is standing by his ridiculous story and it’s not true.

Bottom line: A kinky Pennsylvania pastor is busted playing bondage games with a naked and bound man in a parked car on a quiet suburban street. 

And so it goes.

Pennsylvania Pastor George Gregory Busted With Bound Naked Man In Car (Image via Twitter)
January 11, 2017

Rex Tillerson argues Saudi Arabia is making progress on human rights, and refuses to label the theocracy a human rights violator.

In his confirmation hearing today, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be secretary of state said he is not sure if Saudi Arabia violates human rights.

At the confirmation hearing Senator MarcoRubio asked Tillerson:

I’m sure you’re also aware of the the lack of both religious freedoms and the lack of rights of women in Saudi Arabia. In your opinion is Saudi Arabia a human rights violator?

When Rubio asked Tillerson if he would label the brutal theocracy a human rights violator, the future secretary of state refused to acknowledge the obvious. Instead of answering the question, Tillerson gave Rubio a lecture about applying labels like “human rights violator” to despotic regimes like Saudi Arabia, claiming such a tactic was counter-productive.

Tillerson told Rubio:

When you designate someone or label someone, is that the most effective way to have progress be able to be made in Saudi Arabia or any other country?

Adding:

I’m also clear-eyed and realistic about dealing in cultures.

Tillerson then went on to suggest that Saudi Arabia is making progress on human rights, although “the pace has been slow.” Tillerson said:

… what I do believe is it (Saudi Arabia) is moving in the direction that we wanted to move and what I wouldn’t want to do is to take some kind of a precipitous action the suddenly causes the leadership and the king of Saudi Arabia have to interrupt that I’d like for them to continue to make that progress

Tillerson’s refusal to simply acknowledge the obvious and accept the fact that Saudi Arabia is a human rights violator is alarming. Indeed, the Gulf State has one of the world’s worst human rights record.

For the record, the Saudi kingdom is a backward, ugly, mean, and repressive theocracy; a brutal regime that gives out the death penalty for homosexuality, denies women the most basic human rights, and commits many other despicable human rights abuses.

In Saudi Arabia, women are second class citizens, treated more like children than adults. Women are required to dress in black from head to toe, and require permission from a male guardian to travel, work and/or marry.

Adding insult to injury, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world which does not allow women to drive.

In addition to the abysmal treatment of women and homosexuals, Saudi Arabia is a place where migrant workers are routinely tortured and sexually abused, while young children are frequently imprisoned without trial and executed.

In Saudi Arabia, atheists are considered terrorists, and atheism is prosecuted as a crime, with lengthy prison sentences for anyone “calling for atheist thought” or “calling into question the fundamentals of Islam.”

In Saudi Arabia there is no political freedom, no religious freedom, no freedom of speech. It is, in fact, one of the most repressive regimes in recent history, and an affront to human rights and human dignity.

Saudi Arabia does not have a written constitution or an elected legislative body. There are no elections of any kind. All political parties are banned, as are most forms of association. All critical political expression is forbidden. The press is strictly regulated, and assembly is severely restricted.

In short, if any country can be called a human rights violator, it is Saudi Arabia.

Bottom line: It may not be surprising that Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, refused to condemn the appalling human rights record of Saudi Arabia, one of the largest oil producing nations in the world. However, his refusal to label the backward and brutal theocracy a human rights violator does strongly suggest that he is not qualified to serve as secretary of state.

Watch the encounter between Rubio and Tillerson below. Relevant remarks begin around the 6:00 minute mark:

Rex Tillerson (Image via Screen Grab)
Rex Tillerson (Image via Screen Grab)
October 3, 2016

Pastor gets lenient sentence after church members send letters of support.

In a disturbing miscarriage of justice, Christopher Hutchinson, a  youth pastor who repeatedly sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl, received only a 90 jail sentence for his crime, even though prosecutors had recommended a much lengthier prison sentence of at least four years.

Instead, Hutchinson, a Denver, Colorado youth pastor, received a 90-day jail sentence, was ordered to register as a sex offender, and given 20 years probation by Arapahoe County District Court Judge Natalie Chase.

Adding insult to injury, Judge Chase also gave Hutchinson credit for 66 days already served before sentencing, meaning he will actually only spend an additional couple of weeks in jail for his crime.

The Denver Post reports there were “fireworks” between the judge and prosecutors over the absurd sentence.

Shortly after the judge announced the sentence, District Attorney George Brauchler said:

At the end of the day – he got a pretty lenient sentence.

To say Hutchinson “got a pretty lenient sentence” is quite an understatement.

Last July a jury found Hutchinson guilty of one count of sexual assault on a child by a person of in a position of trust and one count of sexual assault on a child.

Fox 31 reports the original arrest affidavit details three encounters at local parks between Hutchinson and the victim. The third encounter describes the two laying on the grass when “he rolled on top of her and was straddling her with his hands beside her on the ground and his waist and lower body on her.” It also said that the victim felt his groin area on her.

Hutchinson met his victim while serving as youth pastor at South Fellowship Church in Littleton and was serving as youth pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Parker when he was arrested for his crime.

The 13-year-old girl’s father, who was a church elder at the time his daughter was sexually assaulted, asked for prison time for Hutchinson, who once had been a close family friend. The father told to the court:

How do I wrap my mind around Chris Hutchinson, a trusted friend who sexually assaulted my 13-year-old daughter?  We have been hurt so severely by someone we held so closely.

The father also addressed the 48 church members who wrote letters in support of Hutchinson, and the dozens who sat behind him in support of Hutchinson in court, noting:

It’s not their daughter who was assaulted. They need to get over their denial and come to grips with what this man did and what he could have done to one of their daughters.

The father said the entire family has suffered isolation and depression and loss friends because of the assault.

Bottom line: 48 church members wrote letters defending this despicable pedophile, and dozens of church members supported him in court. Such behavior is a powerful testament to the toxic nature of organized religion. The fact that so many church members turned their backs on the young victim and her family is a sad and striking commentary, and only confirms the proposition that religion poisons everything.

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

Steven Weinberg 

Christopher Hutchinson (Image via Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office)
Christopher Hutchinson (Image via Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office)
August 11, 2016

Despicable: Daily Beast outs closeted gay athletes at the Rio Olympics.

In a truly revolting display, a writer for The Daily Beast used a Grindr account to exploit and harass closeted gay athletes at the Rio Olympics.

Nico Hines, who is covering the Olympic Games for the Daily Beast, used the gay dating app Grindr to lure and deceive gay athletes staying at the Olympic village for a story he was writing on the supposed gay hook-up scene at the Rio Olympics.

Hines admits he is a straight male with children, and had no interest in a gay hook-up. Hines admits he created a Grindr account for the sole purpose of deceiving gay men, men he wished to exploit for his Daily Beast article.

In the article, Hines tries to justify his sleazy, despicable, and dishonest practice:

For the record, I didn’t lie to anyone or pretend to be someone I wasn’t—unless you count being on Grindr in the first place—since I’m straight, with a wife and child. I used my own picture (just of my face…) and confessed to being a journalist as soon as anyone asked who I was.

Oh, the irony! By creating a Grinder account Hines is pretending to be someone he is not. By creating a Grindr account Hines lied to every man who saw his profile on that app. Full stop.

Hines’ article is still up, despite widespread outrage at his dishonest and despicable practices. Writing for Slate, Mark Joseph Stern comments on Hines’ article for The Daily Beast:

Hines entices his (often closeted) subjects under false pretenses; effectively outs several closeted athletes who live in repressive countries; then writes about the whole thing in a tone of mocking yet lurid condescension. By 10:30 a.m. ET, the Daily Beast had, in response to criticism, edited out the most identifying details about closeted athletes—but that’s too little, too late.

Later Stern notes:

Hines proceeds to out athlete after athlete, providing enough information about each Olympian he encounters for anyone with basic Google skills to uncover their identities. (After several minutes of Googling, I surmised the identities of five of the gay athletes Hines described.) I’m not going to repeat his descriptions, because—as Hines himself acknowledges!—some of them live in “notoriously homophobic” countries and remain closeted at home.

The Daily Beast has acknowledged concerns about the article, but offered no real apology for the breathtaking homophobia and gay sex-shaming.  In a follow-up note, Daily Beast editor John Avlon writes:

There was some concern that the original version of this story might out gay male athletes, even by implication, or compromise their safety. This was never our reporter’s intention, of course. No names were ever used and some of the profiles described were of straight women. But there was a concern that even mentioning the home nation of some gay athletes could compromise their safety. As a result, we have removed all descriptions of the men and women’s profiles that we previously described.

The non-apology is too little, too late. For those willing to look, the original article, with all its identifying details, can still be found on the internet. Those gay athletes living in repressive homophobic countries who were tricked into meeting with Hines will now forever live in danger, looking over their shoulder, wondering…

Writing for The Orbit, Greta Christina correctly identifies the story as “grossly irresponsible journalism,” before declaring:

Nico Hines needs to be fired. His editor needs to be fired. And Daily Beast needs to do a major overhaul of its practices, to find out how the hell this shameful display of shoddy journalism happened in the first place, and to make sure nothing like it ever happens again.

Bottom line: Nico Hines and The Daily Beast were wrong to treat gay athletes at the Rio Olympics as little more than sexualized circus freaks to be exploited for page views. Using a Grindr account to entrap gay athletes was a wildly unethical, wildly immoral stunt that put lives at risk while promoting the most base homophobia and gay sex shaming. In a word, it was, and is, despicable.

If readers want to write to The Daily Beast about this, their email address is editorial@thedailybeast.com. Their Twitter handle is @thedailybeast.

(Image via Twitter)
(Image via Twitter)

 

January 25, 2016

Tensions run high as a “Christian Patrol” armed with wooden crosses marches through the streets of a predominantly Muslim area in the U.K.

In a viral video members of the right-wing party Britain First are seen carrying crosses, handing out newspapers, and confronting local Muslims at Bury Park in Luton.

The video description provided by Britain First reads:

Bury Park in Luton is an area notorious for Islamic extremists, ISIS fanatics, hate preachers and terrorists.

It is perhaps the worst hotspot in the whole country for Islamists.

In response to the recent imprisonment of an ISIS supporter (who is from Bury Park) Britain First carried out a “Christian Patrol” along the High Street and encountered ferocious hostility from local Muslims.

What followed was a shocking look into the Islamisation of our beloved country.

Our activists were attacked and pelted with eggs. Verbal abuse was rife. Muslims claimed they have “taken over” Luton and the UK. This is the future of Britain.

Huffington Post reports the tense viral video showing Muslims and Christians clashing has been viewed over 15 million times on the Britain First Facebook page.

At one point in the video the Britain First marchers yell:

Reject the false Prophet Muhammad and follow the true savior of the world, Jesus Christ our Lord!

Other Christians in the area spoke out against the Britain First protest, offering flowers to local Muslims in a show of solidarity.

This is not the first time the far-right group has targeted the Bury Park area. In June 2014 Britain First leader Paul Golding and other members were filmed storming into Luton Central Mosque and Bury Park Mosque to hand out leaflets and bibles, according to Luton Today.

IBT reports Britain First is notorious for aggressively confronting Muslims, patrolling London’s Brick Lane, entering mosques, and even tracking down controversial Muslim preacher Anjem Choudhary to his east London home before confronting him on his doorstep.

Watch the video below –

(Image via Screen Grab)
(Image via Screen Grab)
November 27, 2015

Onward, Christian soldiers: Research shows the majority of states where shoppers are most likely to experience violence while shopping on Black Friday are located in the Bible Belt.

According to research recently released by Estately management the top ten states where people are most likely to get into fights over discounted deals on Black Friday are 1) Arkansas, 2) Tennessee, 3) Alabama, 4) Louisiana, 5) Missouri, 6) West Virginia, 7) Oklahoma, 8) Indiana, 9) Kansas, and 10) South Carolina.

On the other end of the spectrum, some of the safest states to shop on Black Friday are located in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest: Massachusetts, followed by Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut, Washington, Utah, New Hampshire, Colorado, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Maine were at the bottom of the ranking of states where shoppers are most likely to experience Black Friday violence.

As for Black Friday 2015, the New York Daily News reports brawls broke out at Walmart retail stores and other shopping centers across the country on Thursday evening, the official start of Black Friday.

Black Friday violence has become a fixture of what is billed as the busiest shopping day of the year. Every year there are multiple reports of violence as mindless crowds clash for bargains. In one particularly infamous incident, a Walmart worker on Long Island was trampled to death by swarming shoppers in 2008.

Bible Belt USA (Image via Twitter)
Bible Belt USA (Image via Twitter)
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