Killing over tithes

 

WJHL reports…

“The Unicoi County Sheriff’s Office reports an Erwin man is facing first-degree murder charges after his wife died from injuries in a weekend shooting.  The Unicoi County Sheriff told News Channel 11 the shooting stemmed from an argument over tithe money.

“The argument started over some tithe monies that he had that was going to go to a church and he was accusing her of stealing the money,” Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said.

Officers say 76-year-old Norman Tobey McKinney alerted a deputy in front of the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Office that ‘he believed he had just killed his wife’.

Officers responded to a home on Masters Street where they found an 81-year-old woman with a gunshot wound to the head.

She was airlifted to the Johnson City Medical Center where she later died.

“All in all they were good people. Never did have nothing out of the ordinary. The neighbors up there told me that they was real nice to them, never did hear anything out of the way. It’s just a tragedy,” Hensley said.

McKinney is currently being held in the Unicoi County Jail. His bond was set at $300,000 in General Sessions Court on Monday.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the incident.”

From http://wjhl.com/2015/08/31/unicoi-county-tn-man-tells-deputies-i-believed-i-just-killed-my-wife/

Lightning Rod

 

The Newcastle Herald reports…

“Transfield chairwoman Diane Smith-Gander has asked to meet with Newcastle Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson about the priest who won’t stop talking about Jesus, morals and asylum seekers.

Father Rod Bower’s sign “Hesta Divests Transfield. Good on ya!” outside his Gosford church on August 18 after the superannuation fund divested its Transfield shares, and a tweet saying “Don’t invest in evil”, led to a call from Transfield and a request for a meeting.

It followed a series of increasingly strong public statements from the priest about Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and Transfield’s role managing detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

“I think the tweet upset the chair of Transfield,” Father Bower said.

Bishop Thompson said the Transfield chairwoman was “concerned to engage with the church in the light of Father Bower’s messages”.

He supported his priest, even if Transfield saw him as troublesome.

“Transfield is the operator of detention centres where we have grave concerns about the treatment of children and vulnerable people,” Bishop Thompson said.

“I endorse that we should not support companies involved in practices that do not protect the vulnerable, as we ourselves have not protected the vulnerable in our care in the past.”

Bishop Thompson said he welcomed a meeting.

“This is clearly an important challenge for all leaders to face up to what’s being done in our name,” he said.

“Australians can’t remain spectators on the issue of asylum seekers while so many people are displaced in Europe because of conflict.”

Father Bower led a rally in Gosford on August 21 during a visit by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, and had a private meeting with the minister about Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers.

He spoke strongly on the subject because “it’s what Jesus would do”.

He condemned the federal government’s decision to approve another five year contract for Transfield to run the detention centres.

“It is beyond belief that Transfield, a company that has presided over Australian concentration camps amidst allegations of child sexual abuse, rape, torture and murder, could be awarded an extended contract,” Father Bower said.

“It is indicative of the delusion that now operates in the Abbott government, and the consequences of unchecked power. This level [of] disregard for human suffering is reminiscent of the worst days of the church now being exposed by the royal commission.”

The contract was also condemned by the Australian Churches’ Refugee Taskforce, which said Transfield and its sub-contractors should have been punished because of their poor performance.

Transfield failed to respond to repeated requests for comment on Tuesday.”

Flashback

 

Pastor accused of fiancee’s murder

 

The Macon Telegraph reports…

“Several pastors testified Tuesday about the good character of a Perry pastor accused in the June 12 shooting death of his fiancee.

They described William Pounds as a man of integrity.

But when some were asked if they knew Pounds was engaged to two women and that he had a criminal past, they said they didn’t know those details about the 47-year-old bi-vocational minister who leads Kings Chapel Memorial CME Church.

Bibb County prosecutor Jonathan Adams alleged Pounds, who was arrested Aug. 14 in the death of 46-year-old Kendra Jackson, has been living a “double life.”

About 70 people packed a Bibb County courtroom for the hearing in which Pounds’ lawyers tried to persuade a judge to set a bond for their client.

The hearing concluded without the judge announcing a decision.

Jackson’s death at Pounds’ rental townhouse off Stinsonville Road initially was ruled a suicide but was subjected to additional scrutiny after deputies later deemed it suspicious.

While Pounds’ lawyers argue that he cooperated with authorities, Adams said the pastor has given six different versions of what happened on the night Jackson died.

Early on, Pounds told deputies the couple had argued about separating before Jackson placed a .40-caliber handgun belonging to Pounds to her head, according to an initial incident report.

Pounds tried to take the gun away, but was too late, he told deputies. When authorities arrived, Jackson was lying on her back in a bedroom with a gunshot wound to her head, according to the report.

Pounds was arrested on Robins Air Force Base where he has a job as a senior master sergeant assigned to the 116th Air Control Wing.

Franklin J. Hogue, one of Pounds’ lawyers, said Pounds holds Top Secret military security clearance and had just passed a re-clearance in May, just before the shooting, after undergoing an Air Force investigation into his life.

About 55 people attended Tuesday’s hearing to support Pounds.

A group of 47 church and family members gathered at the Bibb County jail last week for the hearing that was postponed to Tuesday because of the crowd.

Pounds’ sister, Jamie Thomas, said her brother’s congregation, of which she’s a member, “truly believes he is innocent.”

She described Pounds, the youngest of four siblings, as a “great father” to his six children. He’s been a minister for 13 years, two of them at King’s Chapel.”

Iglesia ni Cristo ends protest

 

ABC News reports…

“Thousands of members of a politically influential Christian sect on Monday ended five days of street protests that set off huge traffic jams in the Philippine capital and sparked outrage from motorists.

Evangelist Bienvenido Santiago of the Iglesia ni Cristo church said without elaborating that his group had ended their protests peacefully in Manila after holding talks with government officials.

“The Iglesia and the government have talked and explained their sides,” Santiago said. “Everybody is now calm.”

President Benigno Aquino III, who convened a meeting with his Cabinet, the national police chief and military chief of staff, late Sunday to discuss the then escalating protests, welcomed the sect’s decision to abruptly halt the protests, which were starting to spread to key provinces.

“Through good will and the convergence of efforts, the rule of law has been upheld,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said. “We were resolved not to inflame passions, which could have given an opening to those with selfish agendas to further exacerbate conflict.”

The Iglesia group began protesting after Justice Secretary Leila de Lima took steps to investigate a criminal complaint filed by an expelled Iglesia minister against church officials, citing the church’s right to be accorded religious autonomy under the constitution.

De Lima said it was her duty to investigate criminal complaints and legal experts added that failure for her to do so would constitute a crime.

Thousands of sect members rallied at de Lima’s Manila office on Thursday and then shifted their protests to the main EDSA highway, site of two “People Power” uprisings that have toppled two presidents in nearly three decades. The crowd at one major intersection swelled to more than 20,000 at one point, according to police.

The large gatherings worsened traffic jams in a bustling district of shopping malls, and office and residential high-rises. Commuters vented their ire on social media, prompting a protest spokesman to apologize.

The 101-year-old religious group wields political clout because its large numbers of followers vote as a bloc in national elections. Politicians have courted its vote, and administration and opposition candidates eyeing next year’s presidential elections issued carefully crafted statements on the protests.

The secretive church has been wracked by infighting, with some of its ranking leaders facing and denying allegations of abducting ministers critical of the leaders and of misusing funds. After the internal strife became public, a minister filed a complaint for illegal detention against several sect leaders, an allegation the church called as a lie but which de Lima said had to be investigated.”

From http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/influential-christian-sect-ends-protests-philippines-33424553

 

Flashback

Fiji and Fred Nile

 

SBS News reports…

“A threat by Fiji’s prime minister to “track down” and jail Fijians living in Australia and elsewhere who support a Christian secessionist movement has been dismissed as a diversionary tactic from domestic problems.

More than 60 people allegedly linked to anti-Muslim separatists have been detained in Fiji, accused of plotting to create a breakaway state on the western part of the main island of Viti Levu.

Their supporters in Australia have vowed to fight on and are raising a legal defence fund. 

“I’m not frightened or scared at all,” said Oni Kirwin, who describes herself as attorney-general of the Ra and Nadroga Christian state.

“There is a takeover in Fiji and it is not a good one. We’re concerned by Muslims. Their influence is very, very high.”

Ms Kirwin blames the 2013 secular constitution introduced by prime minister Voreqe Bainimarama, guaranteeing equality for all Fijians.

She points to Muslims holding high office in the Bainimarama government, including attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. 

About seven per cent of Fiji’s population is Muslim.

The Fiji-born, Australian-based Ms Kirwin has now reportedly been banned from returning to Fiji.

Some of those detained in Fiji for allegedly plotting to create a breakaway Christian state are also accused of being involved in ‘military-style’ training.

A week-long search by hundreds of Fijian police and soldiers has not found any firearms.

Prime minister Bainimarama on Friday issued a warning to Fijians living overseas who support the Christian state movement.

“If you encourage sedition you are committing a serious offences. If you urge violence in Fiji, you are committing a serious offence. The hand of the law is very long and authorities will not rest until you are brought to justice,” he said.

“People behind this international don’t believe in democracy or listen to the will of the people. They want to impose their will on everyone else. 

“They are enemies of the state and enemies of the Fijian people. They are enemies of investment and they are enemies of a modern Fiji. They are enemies of a prosperous Fiji and we are going to track them down and bring them to justice.”

Critics of the Bainimarama government say his response is an attack on freedom of speech. 

“I think, as some critics suggest, it’s a diversionary thing from criticism of the government and diversion from the economy,” said professor Brij Lal, Indo-Fijian historian at the Australian National University.  

“He (Voreqe Bainimarama) has in his sights people who are critics of the government. He equates criticism of the government as an attack on democracy.”

Mr Lal is also baffled by the separatists intentions.

“You have crazy people all over the world, it’s simply ridiculous. Western Fiji is fully integrated into the economy. This is a nonsensical.”

Supporters of the Christian state have allies in Australia.

They were blessed by the Reverend Fred Nile during a meeting with a group led by Ms Kirwin  in the New South Wales upper house of parliament in April.

“I had a request for a deputation to meet me, tell me what was happening in Fiji and they showed me the flags they were adopting,” Mr Nile said.

“It was all news to me. Obviously I’m pleased to be helping promoting the Christian faith.”

From http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/08/31/fiji-pm-distracts-overseas-plotter-threat

‘Snake pastor’ inquiry

 

Eyewitness News reports…

“The CLR Rights Commission says it will issue subpoenas for two Pretoria pastors as it begins its investigation into church leaders taking advantage of communities.

Hearings are expected to be held for Soshanguve based Pastor Penuel Mnguni and Pastor Lesego Daniel from Garankuwa who will have to explain their controversial church antics.

The two are accused of making congregants drink petrol with others being fed snakes, grass and objects during services.

The commission says it will also address incidents of religious malpractice in other parts of the country. 

Officials say they will interrogate the religious merit of the church leaders’ actions as well as whether their churches are properly registered.

Commission chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said, “We are trying to get hold of the two pastors in question so that our hearings can start. We’ve set up a committee.”

From http://ewn.co.za/2015/08/31/CLR-Rights-Commission-to-subpoena-two-controversial-pastors

 

Pastor turns purple on Gayby Baby

 

Junkee reports…

“After a series of articles, op-eds and editorials in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph claiming community “outrage” over a Sydney high school’s plan to screen Gayby Baby, a documentary about the kids of same-sex families, the NSW government banned schools across the state from showing the film during school hours.

By day’s end, the issue was beginning to take on a life of its own that neither the Tele nor the government could have anticipated. Everyone from Senate Opposition Leader Penny Wong to the students of Burwood Girls High themselves (the school at the centre of the original Tele coverage) heavily criticised the Tele‘s claim that the movie was “propaganda,” as well as the Baird government’s decision to ban the film. The backlash even started gaining the attention of Tele sister sites like News.com.au and RendezView, and other outlets like the Guardian began finding some pretty serious holes in the Tele‘s original assertions about the extent of the so-called “outrage”.

To air out all sides of the debate, last night The Project hosted a debate-slash-interview between openly gay Sydney state MP Alex Greenwich and Presbyterian Minister Mark Powell, and it got pretty heated. Powell was instrumental to the Tele‘s foundational claim that the Gayby Baby screening had provoked community outrage — in the original Tele story he claims that “many parents” were upset by the prospect of their kids watching the movie at school, and declared Gayby Baby is “trying to change children’s minds by promoting a gay lifestyle.”

For people watching at home, it didn’t take very long to figure out where Powell stood on the issue of teaching LGBTI acceptance in schools more generally; he argued that the timing of the film’s release was “propaganda” designed to promote “a political ideology being enforced on our children,” and repeated his claim that the Burwood High screening had resulted in a substantial amount of upset to students and parents.

“We’ve got all these girls in tears coming to us and saying they feel victimised, like if they don’t participate in this they’re basically ostracised from their peers and even from some of their teachers at the school, and that’s the nub of the issue,” Powell said. When pressed by Project co-host Carrie Bickmore, though, Powell was unable to provide any details:

Carrie Bickmore: “Mark, how many girls have come to you? How many parents have come to you?”

Mark Powell: “Look Carrie, there’s been heaps. And the thing is, is that –“

CB: “What’s ‘heaps’, Mark? ‘Heaps’ is three or ‘heaps’ is a hundred?”

MP: “Well, ‘heaps’ in terms of more than students at Burwood Girls that actually identify with being gay.”

How Powell knows the number of Burwood Girls High students who identify as LGBTI wasn’t explored; given his views on the film, which he admits he hasn’t seen, it’s unlikely they would confide in him. But he was equally strident in claiming that screening the film was tantamount to “forcing” a certain ideology on kids.

“In a liberal free democracy, good education is about seeing alternative views. But don’t force those views onto other people, making them do things,” Powell said. “If we’re in a really good educational environment and we want to create and develop critical thinking, why don’t we show the film in one hour, and then show an alternative view in the next hour and let girls decide?”

In response, Greenwich pointed out that schoolkids “get that alternative view every single day of [their] lives, when [they’re] told about heteronormative relationships,” and said the film was important to show in schools because “young LGBTI people are one of the highest risk groups for youth suicide and mental illness.”

“What does that do to a kid who’s in a family with same-sex parents who are told that they’re not normal? Or a kid who’s raised by a single parent? Or by their grandparents?”

But Powell was seemingly unmoved, interrupting with: “It’s not about saving lives! It’s not about saving lives! It’s about promoting — it’s about political –” before Greenwich fired back, saying that Powell “obviously [doesn’t] understand how hard it is to be a gay kid in a high school.”

“I find it sad that you think families are political, that families raised by loving same-sex parents are political,” Greenwich said. “They’re not. They’re part of everyday society.”

From http://junkee.com/a-gay-mp-responded-brilliantly-to-a-pastor-who-thinks-gayby-baby-is-propaganda-on-the-project-last-night-4/64146#GkrmU8fjqYIoXHdv.99

Oliver! – updated*

 

The Washington Post reports…

“In just one week, John Oliver has received thousands of dollars in donations for Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, the ministry the HBO host said he founded to draw attention to the tax-free practices of prosperity gospel churches.

“And we asked you to send us money at this address,” Oliver said, displaying a P.O. box number on the screen during Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight.”

“To be honest,” he added, “slightly more of you responded than we were expecting.”

Oliver, moving into the pseudo-reverend character he uses to speak about his new ministry, then displayed a large pile of letters (and at least one FedEx package), surrounded by several U.S. Postal Service bins filled with additional donations.

There were thousands of letters in all, he said, equaling thousands of dollars in donations.

Just last week, Oliver aired a lengthy segment criticizing the fundraising pursuits of prosperity gospel televangelists, a few months after pastor Creflo Dollar recommitted himself to raising $65 million dollars from his followers to buy a private luxury jet.

Oliver used the common seed-harvest metaphor to explain the theology: Followers give “seed faith” to their pastors, in the form of monetary donations, which, the pastors promise, will then come back to the worshipers in a harvest — provided they prove themselves to be faithful enough. That proof, it is often implied, is connected to how much that person seeds.

Which brings us to some of the donations Oliver received, but did not ask for. “I think we made it clear that seed faith is metaphorical and we did not want your actual seeds,” Oliver said Sunday.

“Which is why it was so disappointing that someone sent this gigantic bag of seeds to us, through the mail,” he said, holding up a bag that easily contained 10 pounds of grass seed.

“It was the biggest bag of seeds I’d ever seen, until the next day,” Oliver said, struggling to heft an even bigger bag onto his lap. Oliver also showed two packets of beef jerky that somebody mailed to Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption and mentioned that, much to his dismay, some followers didn’t get the message that he only wanted donations in U.S. dollars.

Oliver also received — presumably tax-free — a $5 bill attached to a note reading: “Take my seed, you rat-faced bastard.”

Another person mailed the church a $65 billion check. “You may have sent [it] in as a joke,” Oliver said. “But guess what? We’re f—— cashing it.”

Oliver’s point is not just that he finds the fundraising tactics employed by many prosperity preachers to be troubling. It’s that the ministries he singled out operate as tax-free entities, under the U.S. tax code.

“Robert Tilton, Kenneth Copeland and other pastors of their ilk have been taking advantage of the open-ended IRS definition of the word ‘church’ and procuring a litany of tax breaks,” Oliver wrote on the Web site set up for Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption.

Oliver says his church is registered with the IRS. If so, and if past practice is any indication, it is extremely unlikely that his piles of seeds, bills and beef jerky will face an audit anytime soon.

The IRS totally suspended audits on churches from 2009 to 2013, CBS News noted, citing figures from the Government Accountability Office. And between 2013 and 2014, the IRS audited just three churches.

Although the IRS has 14 criteria that define what can, for tax purposes, be called a church, some of the restrictions are interpreted very broadly by the agency.

The Trinity Foundation, a church accountability nonprofit, has long criticized the practices of prosperity ministers. Trinity Foundation president Ollie Anthony told CBS that he believes a large part of the problem comes from the IRS’s refusal to evaluate church doctrine, beyond whether it is “truly and sincerely held” and doesn’t break any laws.

Anthony added: “A few years ago, the IRS named Scientology a church. Since that happened, anybody can call themselves a church.”

Even if the IRS did, in the near future, begin cracking down harder on ministries like the one Oliver now says he leads, the HBO host has left at least one big hint that his church isn’t here to stay.

The fine print of Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption’s donation page says the ministry “may choose to wind down and dissolve in the near future. Upon dissolution, any assets belonging to the Church at that time will be distributed to Doctors Without Borders.”

From http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/08/24/john-oliver-has-received-thousands-of-donations-for-budding-televangelism-ministry/

Westboro Rick Roll’d

 

The Sydney Morning Herald reports…

“Everyone’s favourite Foo Fighter is at it again, this time trolling the anti-gay American Westboro Church. And – this is where it gets good – they employed a little Rick Astley (you remember, Never Gonna Give You Up, short redhead, bouffy hair) to do it.

It all started when the Baptist church protested outside a Foo Fighters concert at Kansas City’s Sprint Center on Friday (Saturday NZT), Billboard reported. The Foos struck back, driving past and drowning out the demonstrators with a blast of Astley’s hit Never Gonna Give You Up, to the delight of onlookers.

They held up signs saying “You got Rick Roll’d” and “Keep It Clean”. Rickrolling is an internet meme tricking people into watching Astley’s 1980s music video.

It’s not the first time the Foos have clashed with Westboro. In 2011, they videoed themselves singing a country song with lyrics like “Think I’m in the mood for some hot-man muffins” in front of another group of protesters.

“God bless America! It takes all kinds. I don’t care if you’re black or white or purple or green, whether you’re Pennsylvanian or Transylvanian, Lady Gaga or Lady Antebellum, men loving women and women loving men and men loving men and women loving women — you all know we like to watch that. But what I’d like to say is, God bless America, y’all!” Grohl said at the time.

Westboro’s website says members have protested nearly 53,000 events including concerts and military soldier funerals.”

From http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/dave-grohls-foo-fighters-troll-westboro-church-20150823-gj5qel.html

Katy Faust – the woman raised by her father and his girlfriends, her mother and her same-sex partner and her grandmother who is now against gay marriage

 

Lance  (Group Sects) writes…

During several media appearances in Australia,  US anti-gay marriage campaigner Katy Faust has been repeatedly described as having been ‘raised by lesbian parents’.

That’s partly true but mostly false.

Her father also raised her,  but her relationship was better with her mother and her mum’s same-sex partner than with her father.

Ms. Faust detailed her true family history in a US Supreme Court submission in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case which resulted in gay marriage being legalised in all US states.

“[pg. 7] SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT

….. Katy Faust split time between the home of her
father, and the home of her mother and mother’s
partner, from the time she was 10 years old. While
her mother and her mother’s partner offered her love
and stability, her father had a distinct and
irreplaceable impact on her development…..
…..B.
Katy’s Story
My parents struggled, valiantly I would say, to
keep their marriage intact. But ultimately they
divorced when I was 10. Contrary to what some
might assume, their marriage did not dissolve
because my mother was a closet lesbian. It was, like
most divorces, complicated. I am devoted to my
parents completely and strive to honor and respect
them in the telling of my story. I will do my best to
honestly share my thoughts without revealing
sensitive information about them. The most
important thing that you need to know about them
is that I love them.
My parents’divorce was the beginning of several
transitions in my life. Immediately following their
announcement my mom moved to a rented room at a
nearby house. My father then purchased his own
place and my mother returned. She then fell in love
with her first and only partner who moved in with
us. My father also had a live-in girlfriend that came
into their relationship with a child. Three years
later, after my father had moved again and had a
new woman in his life, I moved out of state to live
with my grandmother for a year. Despite splitting
time between two houses, both of my parents strove
to stay connected with me and involved in my life.
While they wisely did not expect me to treat their
partners as my parent, there were certainly changes
in house rules and dynamics with the arrival of a
new adult.
In my mother’s home, I was part of their
community of women. I attended their soccer games,
parties, and cheered on the marimba band that my
mother and her partner lead. For the past 28 years
both my mother and her partner have been involved
in my major life events including graduations, my
wedding, raising my children, and holiday
celebrations, and my Fulbright year of study in
Taiwan.
While I wouldn’t say that I had “two
moms,” I accepted my mom’s partner as an
important part of her life and member of the
household. I now consider her my friend.
If childrearing were just about providing stability
by any two parents regardless of gender, then my
mom and her partner would have been everything
that I needed in life. They cared for me. I cannot
remember major strife in their home stemming from
their relationship with each other or with me. But
that was not enough.
My father and I have traveled a rockier path. We
love each other and, like every girl, I longed for his
affection. But there have been challenges that we’ve
had to overcome to remain in relationship with one
another. Despite those challenges, I can honestly say
that there is a big piece of me that simply would not
exist without my father’s investment and love.
It’s not just because an adult took an interest in me, it’s
because HE took an interest in me. A man cherished
me from birth to adulthood. Interacting with him
made me confident and calm when I was around
other men. He thought I was beautiful and told me I
was smart and strong.
My mom and her partner said the same things as I grew, but there is a distinct filling of the heart when those words come from your
father. And to this day, very little can compare to his
words of approval. He is an imperfect father loving
his imperfect daughter and his role in my life is
irreplaceable.
Some might object that my story does not qualify
in this discussion because I am not completely the
product of gay parenting, rather, I am the product of
divorce……”
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