The Kent Hovind trial


The Pensacola News Journal reports…

“A crowd of demonstrators gathered outside the federal courthouse in downtown Pensacola Monday to support a polarizing local evangelist.

Kent Hovind, founder of the Creation Science Evangelism ministry and the theme park Dinosaur Adventure Land, is scheduled to be tried on charges of contempt and mail fraud over the next two weeks. This morning, a group of about a dozen supporters crowded around the intersection of Garden and Palafox streets with signs and words of support.

The group is planning to be here for the duration on the proceedings.

“We pray for justice that Kent be liberated at the shame of the government,” said Alan Hoyle, who came to Pensacola from North Carolina last week for the trial. “They’ve persecuted a non-violent person who has done no wrong.”

The demonstrators — who came from as far away as Texas, Ohio and Colorado — stood on street corners and the courthouse steps holding an array of “Free Kent” signs.

Hovind currently is approaching the end of a 10-year prison sentence for tax-related crimes, but he accrued six new charges from prison while allegedly disputing the government’s right to sell his forfeited property.

If convicted of the charges — mail fraud for sending “fraudulent” documents contesting the government’s right to sell his property and contempt of court for violating a federal injunction instructing him not to file any more documents — Hovind could have decades more tacked on to his sentence.

Many of Hovind’s supporters have maintained that he is being targeted by the government because of his religious beliefs.

Hovind is a young Earth creationist, a subset of Christians who believe that the Earth was created approximately 6,000 years ago. Hovind’s theme park supported this idea and featured exhibits suggesting humans and dinosaurs existed at the same time.

Ernie Land, a former member of Hovind’s board of trustees, said the government has shown religious bias in the case, delayed the trial repeatedly to aid prosecutors despite protest from Hovind, and pursued mail fraud charges against Hovind at great cost to the American public despite the fact that Hovind’s actions ultimately did not impact the government’s ability to sell his land.

“They’re supposed to give him a fair trial, and I’m having a problem seeing that,” Land said.

Jury selection was Monday, and the trial will be held over approximately the next two weeks with Chief U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers presiding. Hovind will be alongside a co-defendant, Paul John Hansen.”



Church car park rage


The Sunshine Coast Daily reports…

“Holy smokes! Surely that’s not the Christian way. 

A road rage incident has been caught on film outside a Maroochydore church complex.

The tense altercation resulted in one driver hitting the accelerator and ramming into the front of another car before speeding off.

This was despite being warned by a witness that the whole thing had been caught on film.

While it’s unclear what set the driver off he was angry enough to damage his car to the point where it lost a bumper. 

Youtuber ‘Lachlanthegreat’ uploaded the drama to Youtube which has had more than 9,000 views since Saturday.

Please note: Those in the video are not members of the church featured.”


Pastor washes sins with detergent and bleach


Pulse Nigeria reports…

“A bizarre video making rounds on the Internet shows a Pastor having a ‘sin cleansing’ session with his church members.

The yet to be identified pastor is seen wearing a white vest, cradling the heads of his church members one after the other,  while another member pours detergent over their heads, rinsing it with ‘bottles of bleach’ in an attempt to wipe away their sins.

The country where the church is situated is also yet to be revealed.

It would be recalled sometime in 2014, a South African pastor ordered his church members to drink fuel he says turned to ‘pineapple juice’.

Another pastor in Ghana had stepped on a pregnant woman’s stomach to rid her of demons.”


Ex-gay camp – updated*


Gay Star News reports…

“US-based Vice, known for its guerrilla-style and constroversial documentaries, has released a three-part documentary investigating gay conversion therapy – a practice that has been denounced by medical communities and partially banned by several states including California and New Jersey.

For the documentary, Vice sent their cameras to Journey Into Manhood, a gay conversion program, where men pay more than US$600 to attend a weekend retreat where they participate in exercises and activities to ‘cure’ themselves of their attraction to other men.

Vice reports on their website that the only qualification to become a staff member at the retreat is to have successfully completed the program.

Dr Joseph Nicolosi, the founder of reparative therapy, is seen saying in the film, ‘Everyone is heterosexual. The idea that some people are naturally homosexual, or naturally gay, is just a social construct. So when you have individuals with same-sex attraction, we it as something went wrong developmentally and we try to resolve the issue and put them back on the path toward their natural heterosexuality.’

He added, ‘You cannot be Christian and gay. You can’t. You can be homosexual and Christian but can’t be gay and Christian.’

It also investigates the controversial legal battle to fight conversion therapy for individuals under 18 years of age.

Sam Brinton, a survivor of reparative therapy who is today a nuclear engineer as well as co-chair of Born Perfect which works to end reparative therapy, spoke of being physically tortured during his therapy sessions during which he was shown erotic pictures of men while his hands were ‘wrapped in hot coils’ and ‘shocked with electricity.’

The documentary also travels to the annual Gay Christian Network Conference in the US and speaks with former ‘ex-gay’ leaders including John Smid of Love in Action, who is now married to his gay partner.

He says in the documentary, ‘Today I’m very offended at the concept of change therapies for homosexuality because the message that someone who is gay has something intrinsically wrong with them is a shame-producing, negative message that hits at the core of a human life and I’m offended that the message is still in any way communicated.”


Pell spending leaked


Reuters reports…

“The Vatican has condemned the leaking of documents that according to a media report show a power struggle in the Holy See over economic reforms and excessive expenses by the cardinal charged with carrying them out.

L’Espresso magazine said it had seen minutes of meetings and emails showing mostly Italian cardinals felt that Cardinal George Pell had accumulated too much power.

Cardinal Pell, a former archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney, is an outsider brought by the pope to Rome to oversee the Vatican’s often muddled finances after decades of control by Italians.

Pope Francis was given a mandate by the cardinals who elected him in 2013 to clean up after a series of financial scandals, mostly involving the Vatican bank.

Pope Francis set up the Secretariat for the Economy last year and gave Cardinal Pell, as its head, broad powers to clean up the Vatican’s often troubled and murky finances and bring them in line with international standards.

“Leaking confidential documents to the media in order to stir up polemics and fuel arguments is nothing new but it is always something to be condemned and is illegal,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.

Father Lombardi said it was “normal” to have disagreements on complex financial and legal issues and condemned the article as “undignified and petty” because of its personal attack on Cardinal Pell.

Cardinal Pell could not be reached for comment.

The magazine said Cardinal Pell’s department had run up 500,000 euros in expenses in its first six months, mostly on staff and equipment but some spending was personal, including 2,508 euros ($3,595) for clerical clothing Cardinal Pell allegedly bought from a well-known clerical tailor in Rome.

It also said the department had spent tens of thousands of euros to renovate and furnish a Rome apartment for use by a business manager who the cardinal brought over from Australia to help him clean up Vatican finances.

The spokesman said Cardinal Pell’s department was moving ahead with reforms and would in a few months publish for the first time financial statements for 2014 for each Vatican department.

The “Vatileaks” scandal in 2012, in which the butler of former Pope Benedict was arrested for leaking the pope’s private papers to the media, alleged corruption in the Holy See, something the Vatican denied.”


The school of hard Knox


SBS reports…

“The NSW head of the Uniting Church, Jim Mein, has been implicated in the destruction of documents relating to the sexual abuse of students at Knox Grammar School.

At a royal commission hearing on Friday, the former school council head Robert Wannan was questioned about a series of emails in 2009 regarding draft apologies from the school relating to abuse by teachers.

Mr Wannan received an email from a solicitor for the school and sent it to a number of people.

David Lloyd, counsel for the commission, said the email reached Dwane Feehley, who handled insurance for the Uniting Church.

Mr Feehley then sent an email to another person warning: “Keep an eye on this we are dealing with a range of political issues, Jim is quite a problem for us at the moment”.

Mr Wannan, who had not seen the Feehley email until just before the commission hearing on Friday, said he assumed “Jim” was Mr Mein.

The email continues: “The solicitor who drafted this is the one who had been advising the school to destroy documents, with Jim (sic) assistance.”

He denied having any knowledge about the destruction of documents.

Mr Wannan, who is a solicitor of the Supreme Court, said he did not know who (solicitor) Mr Feehley would be referring to in the second paragraph.

Mr Lloyd: “Do you deny that you were at any time involved in giving advice to Knox Grammar to destroy documents?”

Mr Wannan: “I emphatically deny that.”

He said he had never been at a meeting at which the destruction of documents was discussed and no one at Knox had ever said they destroyed documents.

A joint apology from Knox and the Uniting church was issued in December 2009.

Mr Wannan said he recalled Mr Mein had an ex-officio role on the school council because he was director of the school ministry for the church.

He also told the commission he recalled a close liaison between Mr Mein and the school.

Asked whether there was ever any suggestion Mr Mein might have destroyed documents, Mr Wannan replied: “Never, and he is not the sort of man that would consider that.”

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is continuing.”


Pastor Bieber – updated*


Inquisitr reports…

“Justin Bieber has not qualified as a lay preacher and has absolutely no plans to preach in a televised series filmed at Hillsong Church in Los Angeles, says Hillsong Church.

Contrary to an erroneous claim by Irish tabloid, The Sunday World, Bieber did not become a lay preacher “following an intensive, three month bible study course” to “preach to the masses and spread the good word as a part-time televangelist.”

The tabloid also claimed Hillsong Church Los Angeles were negotiating to fill a “prime time small screen slot on Sundays with two networks” via their new Hollywood agent — William Morris Endeavor Entertainment Ltd.

The Sunday World said Bieber not only wants to “boost ratings” for this alleged television deal, but also wants to help by preaching and appealing for donations on-camera.

However, despite a number of media outlets picking up the claim, it has been exposed as fiction by Hillsong Church. A PR rep for Hillsong Church stated on Twitter that The Sunday World story is “totally fabricated.”

The rep also relayed a comment from Brian Houston, co-founder of the original Hillsong Church in Australia, who added that it’s “not true that Justin Bieber has qualified to be lay preacher.”

On Wednesday, February 25, Lyall Mercer, head of Mercer PR, which handles media for Hillsong Australia, tweeted: