Author Topic: Prayer and Religion in Public Life  (Read 491611 times)

Agnostic007

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #650 on: June 03, 2019, 09:03:44 PM »
A person sinning proves God doesn't exist.  O.k..... gotcha.

If that's what you took from that, I obviously overestimated you,and wasted my time and at least an hour for you formulating that response...

Humble Narcissist

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #651 on: June 04, 2019, 02:33:59 AM »
If that's what you took from that, I obviously overestimated you,and wasted my time and at least an hour for you formulating that response...
There are over 1 billion Christians on planet Earth, of course you can find bad people in that group.  How does that mean Christianity itself is bad?  Do you think Christianity caused those bad actions?

Agnostic007

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #652 on: June 04, 2019, 12:49:14 PM »
There are over 1 billion Christians on planet Earth, of course you can find bad people in that group.  How does that mean Christianity itself is bad?  Do you think Christianity caused those bad actions?

Re read my post, I think you missed the point entirely. It had nothing to do with one bad anything. After that, I will be happy to further explain it if you still aren't clear

Dos Equis

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #653 on: June 10, 2019, 11:07:25 AM »
Harvard Study Reveals Religious Upbringing Better for Kids’ Health, Well-Being
By TRISTAN JUSTICE
Published on October 11, 2018

A recent Harvard study reveals that children who had a religious upbringing are likely to be healthier and have a higher degree of well-being in early adulthood than those who did not.

The study, conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and released last month, shows a link between a religious upbringing and better physical and mental health in young adults.

Researchers found that people who attended religious services weekly or who practiced prayer or meditation daily in their youth reported having a higher life satisfaction and positivity in their 20s.

Individuals were found less likely to smoke, have symptoms of depression, use illicit drugs, or have sexually transmitted infections than people who engaged in less regular spiritual practices.

“These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices,” said first author Ying Chen in a university press release. “Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being.”

The researchers followed 5,000 young people for between eight to 14 years, controlling for variables such as maternal health, socioeconomic status, and histories of substance abuse or symptoms of depression.

Results show that those who went to religious services at least once a week as children were about 18 percent more likely to report higher levels of happiness as young adults between the ages of 23 and 30 than those who didn’t. They were also shown to be 29 percent more likely to volunteer in their local communities and 33 percent less likely to engage in the use of illicit drugs.

Those who prayed or meditated at least once a day in their youth were shown to be 16 percent more likely to report higher levels of happiness as young adults and were 30 percent less likely to have become sexually active in their adolescence. These individuals were also 40 percent less likely to have contracted a sexually transmitted infection than those who never prayed or meditated.

Emilie Kao, the director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, said she was not surprised by the researchers’ findings, noting that the Harvard study joins a long list of studies showing a positive link between religion and well-being.

“I think they’re consistent with other research that we’ve seen that shows religious beliefs give people spiritual strengths that lead to healthy habits and build their social networks and gives them the ability to overcome obstacles in their lives,” Kao said.

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Though the positive effects of growing up in a religious household is clear, religiosity in America is declining, particularly among millennials.

Gallup data shows that the number of Americans regarding religion to be “very important” in their lives is at a 24-year low, at 51 percent.

In addition, data from the Pew Research Center shows religiosity among Americans consistently declining for the past five generations, with 36 percent of millennials born between 1990 and 1996 unaffiliated with any religion.

By contrast, only 11 percent of those in the “Silent Generation,” born between 1928 and 1945, according to Pew, were unaffiliated with a religion.

Jon Cadle, a senior from Minnesota at George Washington University, said he thinks the decline is because young people today are too distracted, and he blames technology as the source of the problem.

“Where once it was a family activity every Sunday, now it’s about football and ‘Fortnite,’” Cadle said, referring to a popular online video game for children and teenagers that parents even started hiring tutors for their kids to play. “There’s so many more distractions in our culture today than in past generations.”

Hunter Wilson, another student at George Washington University, agrees that the decline in the importance of religion among young people is a result of changing values between generations.

“With the combination of religion not being taught as much in the home, in addition to its declining presence in the public square, it’s easy to understand how religion is declining in importance among my peers,” said Wilson, who hails from Michigan.

Kao warned this decline in religiosity among Americans could drive up the unhealthy behaviors that religious upbringings are shown to reduce, such as drug and alcohol addiction and depression.

“Whether it’s drugs or suicide, it’s the strong personal connections and social networks that insulate against addictions and unhealthy behaviors and suicide,” she said.

Kao said there is a lesson for policymakers to be learned from studies showing the positive influences that growing up with a religious upbringing can have.

“What policymakers need to do is allow religious institutions to operate in the public square without trying to force them to change their beliefs,” she said. “I think there’s a movement to push religious organizations out of the public square because people don’t share their values or think their values are too traditional.”

The Harvard study, “Associations of Religious Upbringing With Subsequent Health and Well-Being From Adolescence to Young Adulthood: An Outcome-Wide Analysis,” was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

https://stream.org/new-study-reveals-religious-upbringing-better-kids-health-well/

Skeletor

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #654 on: June 10, 2019, 06:19:50 PM »
As San Francisco District Attorney, Kamala Harris's office stopped cooperating with victims of Catholic Church child abuse

Kamala Harris, surrounded by thousands of cheering supporters, kicked off her presidential campaign in Oakland earlier this year, declaring that she has always fought “on behalf of survivors of sexual assault, a fight not just against predators but a fight against silence and stigma.”

Fighting on behalf of victims of sexual abuse, particularly children, has been central to Harris’s political identity for the better part of three decades. Harris specialized in prosecuting sex crimes and child exploitation as a young prosecutor just out of law school. She later touted her record on child sexual abuse cases and prosecuting pedophiles in television advertisements, splashy profiles, and on the trail as she campaigned for public office.

But when it came to taking on the Catholic Church, survivors of clergy sexual abuse say that Harris turned a blind eye, refusing to take action against clergy members accused of sexually abusing children when it meant confronting one of the city’s most powerful political institutions. Just six months before Harris took office, a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturned a California law that had retroactively eliminated the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution of child molestation cases. That shifted the focus to holding predators among the clergy accountable through civil cases and through a broader effort to bring attention to predators who had been shielded by the church.

Hallinan, the radical district attorney who Harris ousted in a contentious election campaign, believed that the clergy abuse files were a matter of public record; Harris refused to release them to the public.

In her seven years as district attorney, Harris’s office did not proactively assist in civil cases against clergy sex abuse and ignored requests by activists and survivors to access the cache of investigative files that could have helped them secure justice, according to several victims of clergy sex abuse living in California who spoke to The Intercept.

https://theintercept.com/2019/06/09/kamala-harris-san-francisco-catholic-church-child-abuse/

Dos Equis

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #655 on: June 20, 2019, 10:06:39 AM »
Supreme Court: Cross Can Stand On Public Land In Separation Of Church And State Case
June 20, 2019
Nina Totenberg
Domenico Montanaro


A World War I memorial cross sits in Bladensburg, Md., just outside Washington, D.C. The federal government asked the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the cross.
Becky Harlan/NPR

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a 40-foot World War I memorial cross can stay on public land at a Maryland intersection.

The cross "has become a prominent community landmark, and its removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions," the court wrote. Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion for the court.

"And contrary to respondents' intimations, there is no evidence of discriminatory intent in the selection of the design of the memorial or the decision of a Maryland commission to maintain it. The Religion Clause of the Constitution aim to foster a society in which people of all beliefs can live together harmoniously, and the presence of the Bladensburg Cross on the land where it has stood for so many years is fully consistent with that aim."

The decision was 7-to-2, but had multiple parts and not all of the seven agreeing on every aspect. The decision reverses a lower-court ruling that said the memorial is unconstitutional because it is on public land and maintained at taxpayer expense. The high court's ruling is a major victory for religious groups and the American Legion, which warned that if this cross had to be moved, so too would other crosses that serve as war memorials.

Alito argued that the cross had essentially become secular. He invoked the history of World War I memorials noting the rows and rows of crosses and stars of David at cemeteries that memorialized those who died in that war and that established in people's minds, in his view, that that was a way to honor to dead.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in dissent, disagreed with Alito's history. She noted that it's clear what the purpose and meaning of the cross was from the start — it was religious. She argued Americans knew what it meant then and know what it means now.

"Decades ago," Ginsburg wrote, "this Court recognized that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution demands governmental neutrality among religious faiths, and between religion and nonreligion. ... Numerous times since, the Court has reaffirmed the Constitution's commitment to neutrality. Today the Court erodes that neutrality commitment, diminishing precedent designed to preserve individual liberty and civic harmony in favor of a 'presumption of constitutionality for longstanding monuments, symbols, and practices.'"

She adds, "The Latin cross is the foremost symbol of the Christian faith, embodying the 'central theological claim of Christianity: that the son of God died on the cross, that he rose from the dead, and that his death and resurrection offer the possibility of eternal life.' ... Precisely because the cross symbolizes these sectarian beliefs, it is a common marker for the graves of Christian soldiers. For the same reason, using the cross as a war memorial does not transform it into a secular symbol, as the Courts of Appeals have uniformly recognized."

The decision could have sweeping implications in terms of symbols, like crosses and the 10 Commandments that are already constructed. Those that are already there, likely will be able to stay; it's a question of removal, not putting them up. It could still be contested, however, if someone wanted to construct something new, because the purpose would be better known than something historic.

The concrete cross at the center of the court's decision is located in the middle of a busy median strip and directly across the street from a large pawnshop in Bladensburg, Md.

It was erected nearly 100 years ago when bereaved mothers in Bladensburg decided to build a World War I memorial to honor their fallen sons. When they ran out of money, the American Legion took over the project. But by the 1930s, a local parks commission had taken over the memorial and the responsibility for its maintenance.

Today, the cross is more grungy than grand. The concrete is crumbling; a canvas tarp covers the top, and without the $100,000 that the parks commission has budgeted for repair, the monument looks like it may not be long for this world.

The American Humanist Association challenged the placement of the cross, contending that "there is no meaning to the Latin cross, other than Christianity." A federal appeals court agreed, declaring that its placement violated the Constitution's ban on establishment of religion. The appeals court ruled that the cross should be moved to a private location and funded without taxpayer money.

Now the Supreme Court has reversed that ruling.

https://www.npr.org/2019/06/20/731824045/supreme-court-cross-can-stand-on-public-land-in-separation-of-church-and-state-c

Humble Narcissist

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #656 on: June 20, 2019, 10:10:42 AM »
Of course Ginsberg and Sotomayor were the two who opposed.

Dos Equis

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #657 on: June 20, 2019, 04:12:32 PM »
Of course Ginsberg and Sotomayor were the two who opposed.

Surprised Breyer and Kagan got it right. 

Dos Equis

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #658 on: June 20, 2019, 04:12:47 PM »
Justices reject challenge to 'In God We Trust' on U.S. money
By Alex Swoyer - The Washington Times - Monday, June 10, 2019

The Supreme Court rejected a case Monday brought by an atheist who wanted to scrub “In God We Trust,” the U.S. motto, from the nation’s currency, claiming it was an entanglement of state and religion.

Michael Newdow, an activist who previous challenged reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in schools, had set his sights on money, but lost at the district, circuit and now Supreme Court levels.

On behalf of a group of atheists, Mr. Newdow argued America’s money lacked an reference to God until 1864, when it was added in. He said that amounted to an endorsement of religion.

“By mandating the inscription of facially religious text … on every coin and currency bill, defendants have turned petitioners — among whom are nine children — into ‘political outsiders’ on the basis of their most fundamental religious tenet,” he argued in his petition to the Supreme Court.

The justices rejected his petition without comment.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in its ruling last August against Mr. Newdow said the Establishment Clause of the Constitution doesn’t force the government to purge itself from all religious reflection.

“Precluding general references to God would do exactly that,” the federal appeals court ruled.

Mr. Newdow lost a similar challenge in 2014 when the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a previous effort to strip the motto from currency. Four other appeals courts, dealing with the issue before, also have upheld the motto’s place on American money.

The activist has also launched a series of other legal challenges, attempting to separate religion from the public sphere. Some of his well known battles include trying to halt the Pledge of Allegiance from being said in public school due to the phrase “under God,” and also trying to stop prayers and religious references at the inaugurations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Becket Religious Liberty for All, a religious liberty focused law firm, said the high court made the right move by dismissing Mr. Newdow’s challenge Monday.

“The result is the right one, but the multiyear process is a grand waste of time and money,” said Eric Rassbach, an attorney for Becket.

He said it’s time for the Supreme Court to revisit the “Lemon test,” a framework the Supreme Court laid out in a 1971 case for reviewing when a government’s action crosses the line into unconstitutional religious entanglement. Under the Lemon test, an action must have a secular purpose, must not advance or inhibit a religion, and must avoid “excessive government entanglement with religion.”

Mr. Rassbach said the Lemon test invites cases like Mr. Newdow‘s.

The Supreme Court has a chance to retire the Lemon test in another case this term involving a nearly 100-year-old war memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland. The Peace Cross, which stands on public land, is dedicated to local soldiers who died in World War I.

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, during oral argument in that case, suggested Lemon’s usefulness was at an end.

“It’s been a long time since this court has applied Lemon,” Justice Gorsuch said. “Is it time for this court to thank Lemon for its services and send it on its way?”

A decision in the Peace Cross case is expected by the end of the month.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jun/10/supreme-court-rejects-challenge-god-we-trust-us-mo/

Humble Narcissist

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #659 on: June 21, 2019, 03:14:04 AM »
Surprised Breyer and Kagan got it right. 
I've actually been surprised with Kagan on several past rulings.  She's probably the least liberal of the four liberals.

Skeletor

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #660 on: June 23, 2019, 03:41:34 PM »
Alabama gov. signs law allowing Briarwood Presbyterian Church to have own police force

After several years of seeking to establish a private police force to adequately protect its church and school campuses, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signed legislation allowing the Briarwood Presbyterian Church to do just that despite objections from critics.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Ivey approved the legislation some two week ago.

In a statement on the approval, Briarwood said that despite having a great relationship with local law enforcement agencies, establishing a private police force had become necessary because the state was unable to provide adequate security for the approximately 2,000 students and faculty of Briarwood Christian School located on two campuses in unincorporated Jefferson and Shelby County due to budget cuts.

Randall Marshall, the executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, told the AP that the law could allow the church to cover-up criminal activity that occurs on its campuses and expects it to be challenged in courts for unconstitutionally granting government power to a religious institution.

Matthew Moore, Briarwood's church administrator, told ABC 33/40 that they won’t be hiring their own officers immediately. He added that police officers in the agency they establish will be answerable only to the church.

“Line officers will report to supervisors and supervisors will report to the director of safety and security/chief of police,” Moore said. “The director/chief reports to the administrator/chief operating officer/dean/college president, who is then responsible for reporting to the governing body, ie: board of trustees, board of education or ruling elders.”

https://www.christianpost.com/news/alabama-gov-signs-law-allowing-briarwood-presbyterian-church-have-own-police-force.html

Agnostic007

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #661 on: June 24, 2019, 08:12:31 PM »
Alabama gov. signs law allowing Briarwood Presbyterian Church to have own police force

After several years of seeking to establish a private police force to adequately protect its church and school campuses, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signed legislation allowing the Briarwood Presbyterian Church to do just that despite objections from critics.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Ivey approved the legislation some two week ago.

In a statement on the approval, Briarwood said that despite having a great relationship with local law enforcement agencies, establishing a private police force had become necessary because the state was unable to provide adequate security for the approximately 2,000 students and faculty of Briarwood Christian School located on two campuses in unincorporated Jefferson and Shelby County due to budget cuts.

Randall Marshall, the executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, told the AP that the law could allow the church to cover-up criminal activity that occurs on its campuses and expects it to be challenged in courts for unconstitutionally granting government power to a religious institution.

Matthew Moore, Briarwood's church administrator, told ABC 33/40 that they won’t be hiring their own officers immediately. He added that police officers in the agency they establish will be answerable only to the church.

“Line officers will report to supervisors and supervisors will report to the director of safety and security/chief of police,” Moore said. “The director/chief reports to the administrator/chief operating officer/dean/college president, who is then responsible for reporting to the governing body, ie: board of trustees, board of education or ruling elders.”

https://www.christianpost.com/news/alabama-gov-signs-law-allowing-briarwood-presbyterian-church-have-own-police-force.html

Thats not accurate. They will also be accountable to state law governing policing. This is not much different than the University of Texas or Texas State or any number of universities across the country having their own jurisdiction and police force.  Not a big deal in my opinion

Skeletor

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #662 on: June 27, 2019, 04:36:52 PM »
Too bad this serial child molester was not discovered and punished earlier. How many others like him in this cult?

Admitted pedophile, former Savannah priest dies in prison

Instead of guiding children in their faith, a Savannah priest sexually abused them.

Now, the man behind those crimes is dead. Wayland Brown died in a South Carolina prison on June 8.

Officials with the Department of Corrections call his death “expected” and said there was “no foul play” involved.

Brown admitted back in October of 2018 to sexually abusing two boys — Alan Ranta and Chris Templeton — back in the early 1980s when he was a priest in the Savannah Diocese and at St. James School.

He was brought to South Carolina early that year to face criminal charges. Because of the laws in Georgia, he could not be criminally prosecuted there.

But by bringing the boys across state lines, to various areas of Hardeeville where he molested them, prosecutors were able to file charges against him.

Brown pleaded guilty in a Beaufort County courtroom and was sentenced to 20 years behind bars. He only served a little more than 8 months.

Brown had worn his priest's collar while abusing the boys, Solicitor Duffy Stone said, and prayed the rosary with them afterward.

https://www.wsav.com/news/admitted-pedophile-savannah-priest-dies-in-prison/

Agnostic007

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #663 on: June 27, 2019, 09:17:18 PM »
Too bad this serial child molester was not discovered and punished earlier. How many others like him in this cult?

Admitted pedophile, former Savannah priest dies in prison

Instead of guiding children in their faith, a Savannah priest sexually abused them.

Now, the man behind those crimes is dead. Wayland Brown died in a South Carolina prison on June 8.

Officials with the Department of Corrections call his death “expected” and said there was “no foul play” involved.

Brown admitted back in October of 2018 to sexually abusing two boys — Alan Ranta and Chris Templeton — back in the early 1980s when he was a priest in the Savannah Diocese and at St. James School.

He was brought to South Carolina early that year to face criminal charges. Because of the laws in Georgia, he could not be criminally prosecuted there.

But by bringing the boys across state lines, to various areas of Hardeeville where he molested them, prosecutors were able to file charges against him.

Brown pleaded guilty in a Beaufort County courtroom and was sentenced to 20 years behind bars. He only served a little more than 8 months.

Brown had worn his priest's collar while abusing the boys, Solicitor Duffy Stone said, and prayed the rosary with them afterward.

https://www.wsav.com/news/admitted-pedophile-savannah-priest-dies-in-prison/

This is one area you and I are in agreement on. But it's not just the church. It's little league, scouts, Olympic physicians  etc. It is any position where adults interact with children on a regular basis that needs to be watched. This includes Millionaire businessmen that sponsor Teen America pageants and barge into teenage dressing rooms "because they can".

AbrahamG

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #664 on: June 27, 2019, 10:46:26 PM »
This is one area you and I are in agreement on. But it's not just the church. It's little league, scouts, Olympic physicians  etc. It is any position where adults interact with children on a regular basis that needs to be watched. This includes Millionaire businessmen that sponsor Teen America pageants and barge into teenage dressing rooms "because they can".

I think you've crossed the line.  LOL.


Agnostic007

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #665 on: June 27, 2019, 11:59:47 PM »
I think you've crossed the line.  LOL.



wait..  what?  I thought we were in the trust tree in the nest, were we not?

AbrahamG

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #666 on: June 28, 2019, 02:03:04 AM »
wait..  what?  I thought we were in the trust tree in the nest, were we not?

LOL @ the Frank the Tank quote.

Skeletor

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #667 on: July 09, 2019, 03:25:42 PM »
Former pastor Haynes sentenced to life in prison

A former Toledo pastor said the 27 months he’s spent away from his children during a pending child sex-trafficking case was already comparable to a life prison sentence.

Anthony Haynes, 40, the former leader of Greater Life Christian Center, told visiting U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman Thursday that he doesn’t deserve life in prison for grooming a then 14-year-old girl to have sex with him and then-pastors Cordell Jenkins and Kenneth Butler.

“I don’t deserve life. I don’t deserve life,” Haynes said during a sermon-like speech. “Like I said, I’ve been doing life for 27 months while I’ve been away from my children and this hurts ... my need today is for you to have mercy on Anthony Haynes.”

While Judge Friedman said he felt sympathy for Haynes’ five children, they were not the ones who committed the crimes. The judge said he didn’t even think such a case would exist because of the “disgusting, horrible” things that occurred. Additionally, Haynes displayed a lack of remorse, Judge Friedman said.

It started when the teenage girl moved in with the Haynes family in 2014 after her mother could no longer provide adequate care for her, investigators said.  Haynes then facilitated the victim to have sex with Jenkins, the leader of Abundant Life Ministries, and Butler, a Detroit-area pastor. They each previously pleaded guilty and have been sentenced — Jenkins to life in prison, Butler to 17½ years.

https://www.toledoblade.com/local/courts/2019/06/27/former-toledo-pastor-anthony-haynes-sentenced-to-life-in-prison/stories/20190627138

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #668 on: July 09, 2019, 09:35:20 PM »
Former pastor Haynes sentenced to life in prison

A former Toledo pastor said the 27 months he’s spent away from his children during a pending child sex-trafficking case was already comparable to a life prison sentence.

Anthony Haynes, 40, the former leader of Greater Life Christian Center, told visiting U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman Thursday that he doesn’t deserve life in prison for grooming a then 14-year-old girl to have sex with him and then-pastors Cordell Jenkins and Kenneth Butler.

“I don’t deserve life. I don’t deserve life,” Haynes said during a sermon-like speech. “Like I said, I’ve been doing life for 27 months while I’ve been away from my children and this hurts ... my need today is for you to have mercy on Anthony Haynes.”

While Judge Friedman said he felt sympathy for Haynes’ five children, they were not the ones who committed the crimes. The judge said he didn’t even think such a case would exist because of the “disgusting, horrible” things that occurred. Additionally, Haynes displayed a lack of remorse, Judge Friedman said.

It started when the teenage girl moved in with the Haynes family in 2014 after her mother could no longer provide adequate care for her, investigators said.  Haynes then facilitated the victim to have sex with Jenkins, the leader of Abundant Life Ministries, and Butler, a Detroit-area pastor. They each previously pleaded guilty and have been sentenced — Jenkins to life in prison, Butler to 17½ years.

https://www.toledoblade.com/local/courts/2019/06/27/former-toledo-pastor-anthony-haynes-sentenced-to-life-in-prison/stories/20190627138

What's your point in posting all this?  Does this show everybody that God is bad?  That God isn't real? That Jesus is poison?  That atheism has the moral high ground? Or does it demonstrate that some people are truly evil?  Even those that profess Christ but live in opposition of him.

Eh post whatever...it's just a game to entertain yourself.

Skeletor

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #669 on: August 29, 2019, 02:35:12 PM »
Former youth pastor jailed in segregation after conviction

A former Mid-South youth pastor was found guilty on all counts in the sex abuse of an under-aged boy.

It took a Tipton County jury only an hour and a half to deliberate.

On March 2018 Gorton was indicted for 47 different sex crimes:
5 counts of aggravated sexual battery
17 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure
2 counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child (Child Protection Act)
16 counts of statutory rape by an authority figure
2 counts of exploitation of a minor by electronic means
2 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor
2 counts of purchasing alcohol for a child and
1 count of rape

He was charged in another 44-count indictment with similar accusations and two more victims in July 2018.

The former pastor was found guilty on more than 20 counts involving child sex abuse: exploitation of a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, furnishing alcohol to minors, sexual battery by an authority figure, statutory rape and continual abuse of a child.

The abuse began the day the victim moved into Gorton's Drummonds home and, said the teenager, intensified over the next year and a half. He testified Gorton, who was then the pastor of The Awakening Church in Atoka, used the Bible to manipulate him into believing his inappropriate behavior was okay.

"I forget the verse, but he said holding each other is just a way to show love," he told the court. "He said it was normal."

https://www.wmcactionnews5.com/2019/08/29/former-youth-pastor-jailed-segregation-after-conviction/

Skeletor

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #670 on: August 29, 2019, 02:49:01 PM »
Another meaningless "resolution" but politicians will do anything for a vote.

Democratic Party embraces nonreligious voters, criticizes 'religious liberty' in new resolution

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) passed a resolution Saturday praising the values of "religiously unaffiliated" Americans as the "largest religious group within the Democratic Party."

The resolution, which was unanimously passed at the DNC's summer meeting on Aug. 24 in San Francisco, Calif., was championed by the Secular Coalition of America, an organization that lobbies on behalf of atheists, agnostics, and humanists on public policy. The group celebrated the DNC's move as the first time a major party "embraced American nonbelievers."

"Religiously unaffiliated Americans overwhelmingly share the Democratic Party’s values," said the resolution, which adds they should advocate for "rational public policy based on sound science and universal humanistic values."

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/democratic-party-nonreligious-voters

https://secular.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/DNC-Resolution-on-the-Nonreligious-Demographic.pdf

Skeletor

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #671 on: August 29, 2019, 02:52:56 PM »
Ninth Circuit Upholds Verdict Against Sect-Run Arizona Town

An Arizona town that let a Mormon sect run the government deprived non-church members of their constitutional rights, a Ninth Circuit panel held Monday, affirming a federal judge’s 2016 finding.

“We conclude that because of the overwhelming evidence that Colorado City deprived non-FLDS residents of their constitutional rights, it is more probable than not that the court would have reached the same verdict on the United States’ [Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act] claim,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Milan Smith Jr., in a 21-page opinion.

The U.S. government sued the towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale City, Utah, in 2012, for letting overseers of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) appoint city leader and marshals.

Following a 44-day trial in 2016, U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland, a Ronald Reagan appointee, awarded a total of $2.2 million to apostates denied access to water utilities as well as a former city councilman wrongly arrested and charged with felony theft.

The FLDS was handpicking city marshals to “ignore violations of the law – such as underage marriage, unlicensed drug distributions, and food stamp fraud – by FLDS members,” Smith wrote in a summary of the trial.

Law enforcement on the town payroll helped church leaders duck the FBI, kept tabs on unfamiliar license plates that rolled through, hid church leader Warren Jeffs from the FBI for more than a year and destroyed evidence against him.

Moreover, the marshal’s office “selectively enforce[ed] the law based upon religion,” arresting several non-FLDS members without probable cause.

The church also employed its own security detail nicknamed the God Squad.

https://www.courthousenews.com/ninth-circuit-upholds-verdict-against-sect-run-arizona-town/

https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/FLDS-9CA.pdf

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #672 on: August 30, 2019, 04:26:52 AM »
Just imagine living in those towns as a non FLDS.  I stopped there at a diner to eat once while traveling and it was a really weird place.  People all over were staring at me and not just because of my good looks. ;D

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #673 on: September 11, 2019, 12:34:04 AM »
Church Leaders Indicted in Forced Labor Conspiracy

A dozen leaders of Imperial Valley Ministries, including the former pastor, are charged in an indictment unsealed today with subjecting dozens of mostly homeless people to forced labor, coercing them to surrender welfare benefits and compelling them to panhandle up to nine hours a day, six days a week, for the financial benefit of the church leaders.

The defendants were arrested today in El Centro, San Diego and Brownsville, Texas and charged with conspiracy, forced labor, document servitude and benefits fraud. The local defendants are scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in El Centro today at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Bermudez Montenegro.

“The indictment alleges an appalling abuse of power by church officials who preyed on vulnerable homeless people with promises of a warm bed and meals,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “These victims were held captive, stripped of their humble financial means, their identification, their freedom and their dignity.”

“Human trafficking robs victims of their most basic human rights,” said FBI Special Agent-In-Charge Scott Brunner.  “Victims of human trafficking are often unseen by society, left pleading in silence. Today, the FBI is proud to break up the labor trafficking alleged to have been committed by the leaders of Imperial Valley Ministries in Imperial Valley and San Diego. This investigation is an example of the tireless and dedicated work undertaken by FBI agents and our partners at the El Centro Police Department in combating this heinous crime.”

Imperial Valley Ministries, or IVM, operates a non-denominational church headquartered in El Centro, and has opened approximately 30 affiliate churches throughout the United States and Mexico, including locations in Los Angeles, Santa Ana and San Jose in California; in Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; and Brownsville, Texas. IVM’s stated purpose is to “restore” drug addicts at faith-based rehabilitation group homes and raise money to open churches in other cities to do the same.

In addition to the church and main office, IVM owned and operated three group homes the El Centro area, plus one in Calexico and one in Chula Vista. Many victims were recruited from outside of El Centro, including San Diego, and as far away as Texas. IVM leaders allegedly induced many to participate with offers of free food and shelter with the false promise that victims would be provided with resources to eventually return home.

According to the indictment, defendants checked in the victims at the IVM group homes, where they were required to sign agreements to adhere to rules. Many victims, including many who did not require drug rehabilitation services, claimed they were later held at IVM properties against their will.

The indictment alleges that church leaders locked victims inside group homes with deadbolt locks; confiscated identification documents such as driver’s licenses, passports, immigration papers and identification cards, in order to prevent victims from escaping; stole victims’ welfare benefits; and required adherence to rules such as, “you are not to discuss things of the world” and “the only thing to be read is the holy bible” and “if any of the rules are broken there will be discipline.”


Windows were nailed shut at some group home locations, leading a desperate 17-year-old victim to break a window, escape, and run to a neighboring property to call police. The teen was brought to the El Centro Medical Center for cuts sustained from the escape.

Defendants are alleged to have extorted the surrender of participants’ Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards obtained through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), administered by the CalFresh Program, by using actual and threatened fear of economic loss. The IVM leaders allegedly then used the SNAP benefits for improper purposes, including providing them to ineligible persons, and improperly instructing the intended recipients to not seek or accept outside employment.

Leaders of IVM, including former Pastor Victor Gonzalez, refused to return the confiscated EBT cards and personal property to participants who asked to leave. IVM members also allegedly used various means to coerce participants to stay and continue panhandling for IVM’s financial benefit by saying their children would be taken away if they left, that they would not receive transportation home, or that loved ones had rejected them and they must stay because “only God” loved them. Punishments for violations of home rules, including talking about the outside world, allegedly included the withholding of food.

In another instance, church leaders allegedly refused to allow a diabetic victim to obtain medicine, medical supplies and even food in response to low blood sugar. She was able to escape and get help.

All of the identified victims are now free. Victim specialists have been on standby to provide immediate assistance to any additional victims we find in order to provide them with shelter, transportation or any necessary support services.

“This is the most significant labor trafficking prosecution in this district in many years,” Brewer said. “These cases are few and far between because many victims live in captivity and fear, powerless to report the crimes against them. My office wants victims to know that we are here to help you.”

Brewer praised the FBI and prosecutor Christopher Tenorio for their excellent work on the case. And he expressed appreciation for the assistance of the Imperial County District Attorney’s Office, the El Centro Police Department, the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Border Patrol and Imperial County Social Services, for their assistance with this case.

To report suspicions of labor trafficking, please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324) or https://tips.fbi.gov/. If you know someone who is a victim of human trafficking, resources can be found at National Human Trafficking Hotline – 1-888-373-7888.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Tenorio is prosecuting the case with assistance from the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Conspiracy – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 371
Maximum penalty: Five years in prison and $250,000 fine

Forced Labor – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1589
Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison and $250,000 fine

Document Servitude – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1592
Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison and $250,000 fine

Food Stamp Act (Benefits Fraud) – Title 7, U.S.C., Section 2024(b)
Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison and $250,000 fine (If the benefits were $5,000 or more)

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdca/pr/church-leaders-indicted-forced-labor-conspiracy

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Re: Prayer and Religion in Public Life
« Reply #674 on: September 11, 2019, 07:38:44 AM »
Good movie material.