Roads, rates, rubbish and complete garbage – updated*


Reuters reports…

“A Tennessee county commission Tuesday turned down voting on a resolution asking God to spare the county from divine wrath sparked by the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing gay marriage.

The Blount County Commission voted 10-5 to reject an agenda that included the resolution and adjourned without debate. Onlookers crowding the meeting room, most dressed in red in support of same-sex marriage, yelled in frustration, and one shouted “cowards” at the commissioners.

Commissioner Karen Miller, who introduced the resolution, said she had no idea that the agenda would be turned down.

“I was totally in the dark,” she said. Miller said she was “very disappointed, because people have a right to speak.”

Miller said she likely would reintroduce her resolution. Maryville is a town of about 27,000 people 15 miles south of Knoxville.

Her “resolution condemning judicial tyranny and petitioning God’s mercy” called on the state to join Blount County in fighting against the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing gay marriage in June.

The text requests that God “pass us by in His Coming Wrath and not destroy our County as He did Sodom and Gomorrah.”

A similar resolution without the appeal to God’s mercy was passed last month in nearby Greene County. A bill in Tennessee’s legislature introduced two weeks ago calls on the state to nullify the Supreme Court ruling.

In the neighboring state of Kentucky, county clerk Kim Davis has gained national attention for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because of her religious beliefs.

Protesters from the Tennessee Equality Project, a gay rights group, filled most of the meeting room and about 100 outside the building were unable to enter. Many had been protesting throughout the day.

“I respect others’ opinions. I don’t agree with those opinions, but I feel like when it comes down to it, religion has no place at all in government,” said Ashley Abbott, a Blount County resident and TEP member.

Khristrine Weick, one of the two anti-gay marriage protesters outside the commission building, said she backed Miller’s resolution.

“I believe if we continue to spit God in the face, we’re going to get it,” she said.”


Lutherans gone wild


KVLY reports…

“Same sex marriage is legal, but causing controversy in a local Lutheran church. The Senior Pastor at Messiah Lutheran in north Fargo just resigned after feeling pressure from his parishioners for not performing same sex marriages.

Messiah Lutheran is a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The ELCA does not condone nor endorse same sex marriage.

Messiah Lutheran Pastor Steve Berntson told his church Sunday he would be resigning after months of difficulty since the legalization of same sex marriage. Berntson stated his views in June to his nearly 1,000 worshippers at Messiah.

“Based on what the scripture says about God’s design for marriage I would not be able to participate or officiate same gender weddings,” said Steve Berntson.

Berntson says he decided to step down since his view differed and caused a [rift].

The Eastern North Dakota Synod, Bishop Terry Brandt said the following in a statement;

“Each congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has made or will make a decision on whether the congregation will or will not conduct same sex weddings. This conversation requires prayerful and respectful conversation. The majority of our congregations are navigating these difficult conversations quite well; however, it is most difficult in settings where the pastor and congregation members find themselves at odds with one another. I am deeply saddened this is the case at Messiah Lutheran. That being said, we believe in a God who is present with us in the most uncertain of times. God will not abandon this group of faithful who seek to follow God’s will.”

Pastor Berntson says there has been a cultural change within the church and that he now falls into the minority view regarding same sex marriage. He thinks this situation and experience will teach everyone a valuable lesson: to be more tolerant.

“It does strike me sometimes how little tolerance in certain circles there are for people with biblical views. That has kind of struck me in the midst of all of this,” said Berntson.

Berntson has three Sundays left at Messiah Lutheran and says only God knows what is next.

Valley News Live reached out to Messiah Lutheran for a statement regarding the Pastor Berntson resignation but have not heard from them yet.”


I’m coming out


The Irish Times reports…

“On the eve of the Catholic’s Church’s Synod on the Family, the Holy See was rocked on Saturday by the public coming out of 43-year-old Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a senior official at the Vatican’s Congregation For the Doctrine Of The Faith (CDF), ex-Holy Office.

In an interview in Saturday’s Corriere Della Sera, timed to coincide with Sunday’s opening of the Synod, Monsignor Charamsa declared himself to be gay.

“I want the Church and my community to know who I am – a homosexual priest, happy and proud of his own identity.

“ I am ready to pay the consequences of this but the moment has come for the Church to open its eyes to gay believers and to understand that the solution which it offers to gays, namely total abstinence from a love life, is simply inhuman.”

Monsignor Charamsa, who has been in Rome for 17 years, is a senior official at the CDF and a theology lecturer at the prestigious Jesuit-run Gregorian University in Rome.

Later on Saturday he will attend a meeting of the Global Network of Rainbow (LGBT) Catholics in Rome which will also be attended by former Irish president Mary MacAleese is due to give a public interview on the theme of “Catholic Encounters with LGBT People and their Families”.

Monsignor Charamsa said on Saturday there was a day when “something breaks inside you”, adding that God guided him to this decision, “which should be the most simple for any homosexual”.

He said: “It seems to me that, in the Church, we don’t know homosexuality because we don’t know homosexuals, yet we have them all over the place. With my story I want to shake the conscience of the Church a bit.”

“I will personally reveal my identity to the Holy Father with a letter. And I will inform the universities where I teach as to who I am. (I do this) with immense regret since I will probably no longer be allowed to teach in Catholic schools.”

In relation to the Synod, which was already certain to have had the Church’s pastoral approach to homosexuality on its agenda, Monsignor Charamsa said: “I would like to tell the Synod that homosexual love is a family love and one that needs the family. Every person, including gays, lesbians, transexuals desire love and a sense of family.”

Asked how he deals with Catholic teaching which defines the practise of homosexuality a “sin”, Monsignor Charamsa replied: “The bible never talks about homosexuality. Instead it talks about acts which I would call ‘homogenital’, acts which can be carried out by hetrosexual people, as happens often in prisons.

“In that case, these acts may be a moment of infidelity to one’s true nature and thus a sin. Those same acts carried out by homosexuals, however, express their true nature. The biblical sodomite has nothing to do with two gays today in Italy who love one another and want to get married.”

Acknowledging the serious consequences his coming out is likely to have, including his eventual laicisation, Monsignor Charamsa said he was not doing this so that he would be free to live with his partner.

The reason was much bigger, he said. “I think that on these issues (homosexuality), the Church is way behind in relation to the level of understanding reached by humanity”.

The Holy See’s reaction to Monsignor Charamsa’s interview was immediate with senior spokesman Father Federico Lombardi calling him irresponsible for having made “such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the Synod” saying it would place the Synod under undue media pressure.

“Monsignor Charamsa will certainly be unable to continue to carry out his previous work in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical universities, while the other aspects of his situation shall remain the competence of his diocesan Ordinary.”


Priest not so civil


The New York Daily News reports…

“A football loving New Jersey priest was arrested Friday for allegedly pointing a musket at an 8-year-old boy who committed the cardinal sin of cheering for the Dallas Cowboys.

Father Kevin Carter, a devout Giants fan, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated assault by pointing a firearm after allegedly threatening to shoot the child for rooting for the Giants arch-rivals, authorities said.

The 54-year-old pastor, assigned to St. Margaret of Cortona Roman Catholic Church in Little Ferry, N.J., was being held on $15,000 bail.

Carter allegedly approached the boy as he and his family arrived for Mass services at the church on Sunday, Sept. 13, hours before the Giants and Cowboys faced off in their first game of the season, and asked to see him in one of the rectory rooms.

Prosecutors said several witnesses watched in horror as the priest stood against the wall and allegedly pointed the Civil War-era musket at his head.

“As he raised his weapon and pointed it at the boy, he said, ‘I’m going to shoot you,’” Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said. “The young boy was apparently a fan of a particular football team, the priest was not. So perhaps we have indication it started out as that.”

Big Blue suffered a heartbreaking 27-26 loss to the Cowboys that night.

A parishioner who witnessed the bizarre incident contacted Newark Archdiocese officials on Sept. 25, and the Archdiocese in turn contacted the Bergen County prosecutor’s office on Sept. 28.

Little Ferry police interviewed and arrested the priest at the St. Margaret rectory Friday.

A search of Carter’s room turned up the weapon, described as a “functioning civil war style musket,” as well as gunpowder, ammunition and other items associated with the firearm, authorities said.

“There’s no such thing as joking around with a weapon when you’re dealing with an 8-year-old kid,” Molinelli said.

The Archdiocese did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Carter, a Jersey City native, was ordained in Newark in November 1986 and has been at St. Margaret of Cortona since February 2013. He also serves as the Little Falls Police Chaplain and had previously acted as the police chaplain for the Jersey City Police Department.”


Tanya Levin arrested at Hill$ong Conference – updated*


Pic:Daily Mail/Nine Network


Tanya Levin blogs…

“It was about midday on the 8th of September and I was just about to go out. I heard a man call out “Hello?” and I went to the door. There’s lots of construction going on in my block so there’s lots of tradespeople around.

There stood a man who was wearing a leather jacket and he had a couple of papers in his hand. He sort of looked around and said he had a letter for me. He didn’t ask who I was or for any ID. He handed me a piece of paper with a Hillsong logo on the top. Its title was Banning Notice. 

He showed me the email he had been sent with his instructions. He said he’d just come from Sydney which is about an hour and a half from my house, depending on which part of Sydney you mean. 

“All the way just for me?” I asked him. “Yes,” he said. The email had said he would be paid $132. It was from Hillsong legal. Tim someone. 

He told me that he had nothing to do with either party and that I probably wanted to shred the paper. Hardly. “You’ve probably had lots of dealings with this guy,” he said. “No actually”, I told him. He had called himself a court processing server, but he produced no ID either. Still, he didn’t seem to really know what was going on. 

We shook hands and said our goodbyes, and I came inside and started shaking. I don’t know why. Maybe because I hadn’t slept enough the night before. Maybe because I was just about to go shopping and this was out of the blue. Maybe because the document just didn’t make sense to me at all.  And I wound up crying a lot. These things can affect you in different ways. 

After my arrest on 1 July, this year, which is something I’ll be talking much more about soon, there’s no way I have any interest in darkening their doorsteps any time soon. As it was I had not been near any Hillsong branches in over ten years, so there seems no need to remind me. 

What is puzzling me most is the similarity to the original ‘banning notice’ from 2005, which I dug up recently from an eon ago. 


Who writes these things? Why have they used the same phrase ‘significant disruption’ again? What does this even mean? All it does it reinforce a tag line I can use at a later date. 

But as I’ve always wanted to know, How could you cause significant disruption at Hillsong, unless maybe you were Justin Bieber. They still can’t name the deeds of which I am accused. But they seem to really like the wording. Ten years later. 

Do I honestly have to go and help with their PR machine because it’s really, really bad?

The author of this letter, George Aghajanian, has been the General Manager and Brian Houston’s right hand man for a long time now. He was also a friend of my dad’s. After he signed off on the first letter above in 2005, he called my dad up and said, “So, what do you know about a book?” 

These people will send your daughter a banning letter and call you up in the same breath and pretend to be your pal. Maybe that’s why I cried. Same shonkiness. Different decade. 

Don’t trust them with anything, most of all writing official letters. As a dear funny friend of mine wrote on Facebook, “For people with all that money to spend on plastic surgery, you’d think they’d spend money on real lawyers.”

Weird. There wasn’t even an envelope for the paperwork. 

Some people have called it intimidation and harassment. I don’t know but it felt creepy. And I’ve got a feeling this isn’t going to make sense any time soon. 

Oh and yes, you are all welcome to attend Burwood Local Court on 1 October to see me on trial for trespass. #asweforgivethose :)



The real Warren Jeffs


CNN reports…

“It’s hard to imagine that a convicted child rapist would be allowed to lead a church from prison, but that’s exactly what’s going on with Warren Jeffs.

Jeffs leads a polygamist sect known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It gained worldwide attention in 2006 when authorities accused Jeffs of sexual offenses against girls he took as wives. At one point Jeffs disappeared, prompting the FBI to put him on its 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list until he was captured.

In 2008, authorities raided the church’s sprawling Texas ranch. Police removed more than 460 children from the property, including mothers under 18 years old. Authorities seized and shut down the ranch last year.

Eventually, Jeffs was convicted in 2011 of “sexual assault” and “aggravated sexual assault” of two girls ages 12 and 15. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years.

The FLDS broke away from the mainstream Mormon church more than a century ago because its members refused to renounce polygamy.

The church allegedly exercises control over the adjacent towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah — an area informally known as Short Creek. Other enclaves exist in Mancos, Colorado; Boise City, Oklahoma; Custer County, South Dakota; and a Canadian community known as Bountiful, British Columbia.


FLDS leaders seldom speak with the news media and did not respond to CNN’s multiple requests for comment on this story.

So, what’s the status of FLDS today? Several key issues continue to play a role in the church’s future:

Although day-to-day leadership of the church is run mostly by Jeff’s brother, Lyle Jeffs, Warren Jeffs actively directs church matters from prison, said Sam Brower, a private investigator who’s been closely following FLDS activities for 10 years.

Brower’s New York Times best-selling book “Prophet’s Prey” inspired a documentary of the same name, which debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. He played a key role in the FBI’s investigation of Jeffs’ and his eventual conviction.

First obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune, a child custody petition filed in a St. George, Utah, juvenile court by Lyle Jeffs’ estranged wife Charlene Jeffs describes a group of followers called “seed bearers.” “A seed bearer is an elect man of a worthy bloodline chosen by the Priesthood to impregnate the FLDS woman,” according to Charlene Jeffs’ petition. Under a new doctrine, “FLDS men are no longer permitted to have children with their multiple wives. That privilege belongs to the seed bearer alone,” the petition said. “It is the husband’s responsibility to hold the hands of their wives while the seed bearer ‘spreads his seed.’ In layman terms, the husband is required to sit in the room while the chosen seed bearer, or a couple of them, rape his wife or wives,” according to the document.

Utah juvenile court records are not usually available to the public, so it’s unknown if anyone filed documents disputing any details in Charlene Jeffs’ petition, or the veracity of the petition’s allegations. Lyle Jeffs eventually agreed to share custody of their two teen children with Charlene Jeffs — the Salt Lake Tribune reported — with the children living with their mother.

Brower said he was able to confirm similar reports of “seed bearers” through his own sources. “It’s ritualistic procreation,” Brower said, “performed on a ritualistic bed-slash-altar.” As part of this new system, Warren Jeffs has withheld any relationships between husbands and wives, Brower said. Any touching between spouses outside rituals like these, even a simple handshake, can now be considered adultery in the church.

When asked about his sources for this information, Brower would only say he didn’t want to violate confidences. “I’m 100% satisfied as a private investigator that it exists,” he said.

There has been no response to CNN’s multiple attempts to connect with an FLDS representative to get their side of the story.

In the midst of his legal troubles, Jeffs resigned as church president in 2007. He retook control of the church four years later, after followers said he appeared to get more access to phone calls outside prison.

Chris Wyler — a lifelong church member until his expulsion in 2012 — told CNN that he witnessed instances when Jeffs was “patched in” by phone so he could speak with church leaders.

Also, members were instructed to pray for God to free Jeffs, whom they call “the Prophet.”

“We were told to pray for our Prophet’s deliverance,” said Wyler, age 38. “It meant the Lord would deliver him however he’d be delivered. Even if somebody was commanded to go get him out.”

All these years after Jeffs’ arrest, the FLDS continues to be targeted by federal law enforcement officials.

A 2012 Justice Department civil rights lawsuit accuses Hildale and Colorado City of operating “as an arm of the FLDS, in violation of the … United States Constitution.” Town marshals are practicing “illegal discrimination against individuals who are not members” of FLDS, according to Justice documents.

Brower stopped short of saying the federal government is trying to take the church down. “But, when you start chipping away at them like that, that starts causing problems,” he said.

Brower, who likens the FLDS network to a crime syndicate, isn’t the first to make that comparison. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has described polygamous sects generally as “a form of organized crime” that goes largely unchecked by law enforcement. Brower said this wave of federal action simply reinforces that idea.

The governments and marshals of Hildale and Colorado City have been “deployed to carry out the will and dictates of FLDS leaders, particularly Warren Jeffs and the officials to whom he delegates authority,” the Justice complaint said.

Town marshals committed various offenses, including “returning at least one underage bride to a home from which she had fled,” according to the complaint. They failed to investigate crimes against non-FLDS members and refused to arrest FLDS individuals who committed crimes against nonmembers, the complaint said.

The towns now face a federal trial, which is set for January.

In an exclusive report in 2012, CNN recorded video of the FLDS using women and children to harvest pecans at a ranch not far from Hildale. That story spurred a federal lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Labor against church leaders, alleging child labor law violations. The suit seeks payment of $1.9 million in penalties and back wages for the women and children workers.

Children who were put to work included at least 125 who were younger than 12, at least 50 between ages 12 and 13, and at least 25 between 14 and 15, according to the suit. All performed tasks during school hours such as mowing, pruning and bagging pecans, the suit said.

Wyler, the former FLDS member, said his two oldest children — both under age 16 — took part in a pecan harvest a few years ago — working 12 or 13 hours a day for about four days. His feelings about the practice are “mixed,” he said.

“I think it’s cool that people could go and help,” Wyler said. “But if they’re turning a profit, then the kids should be paid. Also, they shouldn’t be taken out of school for that.”

Since the 1940s, the church has been depositing real estate assets into a religious charitable trust called the United Effort Plan, which is now estimated to be worth around $100 million. Utah took control of the trust in 2005 after authorities began investigating the church. Many of these homes are owned by the trust — but are occupied by FLDS members.

FLDS funds itself through ownership of various businesses. The church’s major sources of revenue come from huge farming operations and widespread manufacturing and construction companies, said Brower.

The FLDS also raises money through tithes — a practice where followers make mandatory donations of 10% of their income. Church members have been asked to give “consecrations” — special monthly donations, sometimes around $1,000, Wyler said.

It was a financial disagreement that led to Wyler’s departure from the church three years ago. He said he was told to give all his “earthly possessions” to the church — or face expulsion. “I had a concern with that.”

The number of followers in the secretive church is impossible to know for sure. At its peak many years ago, total FLDS membership may have been as high as 15,000, Brower said, but by his educated guess the number now — in the wake of Jeffs’ imprisonment and the civil lawsuit — is somewhere near 10,000.

Brower said several thousand have left the church or been expelled within the past few years.

FLDS members did not send their children to public schools, which may explain reports of skyrocketing enrollment in public schools. Enrollments have been rising, as more members are expelled or leave the church.

Some members have been leaving FLDS with the help of advocacy groups in the region, such as Holding Out Help. “I’ve served hundreds of people here,” Holding Out Help’s director Ruth Olson told CNN’s Lisa Ling. “We try to establish ourselves here so they can feel safe.”

Jeffs’ fourth child, 31-year-old Becky Jeffs, recently left the church. She said she had suffered abuse at the hands of her father. “So many people in the FLDS said, ‘Oh you have the neatest father in the world,'” Becky Jeffs told Ling. “Now I just think, ‘If you only knew…'”

It’s hard to offer the FLDS perspective on all the allegations. The church didn’t respond to multiple requests by CNN to defend itself.

For the leaders, Brower said, “it’s about sex, money and power. And that’s what drives them. But they also convince themselves … that there’s some meaning to their madness.”

He said many rank-and-file members desperately want to stay with the church and follow the religious traditions of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. “They want to believe that the horrible things that are happening to their church are just a test that’s being placed on them.”

As for Wyler, he expects the church to survive.

“There’s always going to be people that believe in it,” he said. “No matter what evidence is presented to them.”


103yo kicks out church – updated*


The Athens Banner-Herald reports…

“Genora Hamm Biggs, the 103-year-old woman ousted from Union Grove Baptist Church in Elberton, can return to church Sunday without the shadow of banishment that was cast over her in August.

In a surprise move Wednesday, an attorney representing the Rev. Tim Mattox and his flock, announced Mattox is leaving the church, the “active members” were withdrawing the letter revoking Biggs’ membership, and they have withdrawn restraining orders obtained in court against Biggs’ grandson and three others.

The church has been under constant attack and its members want to redirect their energies to positive action, Atlanta attorney Adrian Patrick said as a reason for the decisions.

The banishment of Biggs, a retired school teacher who was a Union Grove member for 92 years, caught national attention in the press and on social media. In the wake of the publicity, Patrick told a news conference outside the Athens-Clarke County Courthouse, that Mattox was unfairly criticized for the decision.

“Any blame for the decision should be placed on the members, not Pastor Mattox and his family,” Patrick said.

Mattox will start a new church in Elberton, which he said would be called Bethel Baptist Church.

“We are disassociating ourselves from Union Grove Baptist Church, officially closing this horrific chapter in these members’ church lives,” Patrick said.

Biggs, who objected to Mattox’s preaching style by saying it strayed from Baptist principles, received a letter in August telling her she could no longer attend the church “for any reason whatsoever.” Mattox, church deacon Glen Jackson and nine others signed the letter. When Biggs did show up for worship service, Elberton police were called, but they did not remove her.

Patrick also addressed a recent development when some former members returned to the church and voted Mattox out as pastor.

“It was an invalid vote,” Patrick said about the large group that included people from out of town.

Several “active members” attended the news conference, including an 84-year-old Elberton woman, who has attended the church for 70 years and wanted Biggs ousted from the church.

“This sweet innocent 103-year-old character that the media has portrayed as Mrs. Biggs is not the person we had to deal with each Sunday,” said Homer Heard, who served as church secretary.

Biggs was loud and disrespectful in church, Heard said.

“She has called some of our members fools and also called us stupid,” she said.

Patrick asked that Biggs, her grandson, and associates stay away from the new church property.

Mattox briefly addressed the media saying he received death threats and late night calls to his home.

“My family is very upset, angry, nervous, mad, but they are positive that we are choosing to move on,” he said.

The case was brewing for court action because Biggs and others also retained a lawyer to contest Mattox’s control of the church property.

“Its better this way than arguing before a court. It’s a good peaceful resolution. I’m very happy. I know Mrs. Biggs is gonna be delighted,” Athens attorney Ken Dious said.

As TV cameras zoomed in, Dious held up a gold-colored key to the church.

“I just told my clients and they are delighted about this,” he said. “And they will come and get this key tomorrow.”




Pic:Athens Banner-Herald


Thanks for the Memories


The Telegraph reports…

“A same-sex couple in Indiana have managed to get one-up on Memories Pizza, who made international headlines and sparked debate when they said they would refuse to cater same-sex weddings.

Robin Trevino and husband Jason Delgatto decided to renew their vows on Saturday, and decided to order from Memories Pizza to celebrate the occasion.

The pizzeria had previously announced that they would refuse to cater any LGBT weddings because they are a “Christian establishment”.

Co-owner Crystal O’Connor told local news station ABC 57: “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,

“That lifestyle is something they choose. I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head to go along with something they choose?”

The pizzeria became subject to widespread outrage, with customers vandalising their Yelp page.

One critic bought the domain and put a picture of a phallus-shaped pizza there.

However, the pizzeria also drummed up support, raising tens of thousands of dollars from a crowdfunding page.

Mr. Trevino decided to have a little bit of fun at his wedding. He drove to the pizzeria and picked up a few pizzas – filming the whole thing.

He then delivered them to the venue where he was renewing his vows. The pizzas were actually ordered from Ms. O’Connor herself.

This isn’t the first time Trevino has had comedy japes on the internet – his troupe GayCo ensemble have produced a series called 50 States of Gay in celebration of same-sex marriage being legalised across the United States of America.”


Christian school nitwits


KGTV reports…

“A five-year old girl is at the center of a fight that pits freedom of religion against nondiscrimination rights.  

 It’s a fight that some say could wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court in the near future.
“I love my two moms.”  
Those were the words of a little girl, who sat in front of a coffee table drawing pictures of her family instead of sitting in a kindergarten classroom at Mt. Erie Christian Academy with her peers.
The girl learned a few days before school started that she was no longer welcome at the place where she had attended both preschool and summer school.  The reason, according to one of her mothers, is the school doesn’t want anything to do with homosexuals.
“They told us, ‘oh this is not about your child,’ but it is about my child,” said Sheena, who asked 10News not to use her last name.
Sheena is a stay-at-home mom.  Her wife, Lashaune, is in the Navy and is now away on deployment.  
“If we knew from the beginning that this was unacceptable, they didn’t condone or believe in this, if it was such a big deal, we would have never started her off there,” Sheena said. “I would never put my child’s emotional wellbeing in an unstable setting like that.” 
Sheena told Team 10 she and her wife were summoned to the school the Friday before Labor Day, where they were shown to a room to meet with the pastor.  After a prayer, Sheena said the pastor dropped the bombshell.
“It was heartbreaking,” Sheena said. “I didn’t finish the conversation with them when they took us in the room because I just, I didn’t want to look at them any longer.  I just couldn’t believe that they did that.” 
Now the mothers are looking for an attorney to file a civil rights lawsuit against the school.  
A woman, who only gave the name “Kailyn” and described herself as the director of Mt. Erie, told Team 10 the school has a non-discrimination policy. When asked whether it was discrimination to bar the 5-year old from attending kindergarten because her parents are lesbians, Kailyn responded: “The Bible says homosexuality is a sin. We don’t condone any sinful lifestyles.”
Several phone calls and visits to Pastor Walter Wells went unanswered.  
Sheena provided Team 10 with a copy of the school’s parent and student handbook, which was revised in June 2015. On page four, right after the statement of nondiscrimination it reads: 
“Mt. Erie Christian Academy is a religious, Bible-believing institution providing education in a distinct Christian environment, and it believes that its biblical role is to work in conjunction with the home to mold students to be Christ like. On those occasions in which the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home is counter to or in opposition to the biblical lifestyle that the school teaches, the school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, living in, condoning or supporting sexual immorality; practicing homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity; promoting such practices; or otherwise having the inability to support the moral principles of the school (Leviticus 20:13a; Romans 1:21-27; Matthew 19:4-6; I Corinthians 6:9-20).”
On page 14 of the handbook under the section entitled VALUES, it reads:
“MECA seeks to: Teach students the importance of loving and respecting each other, because all people are valuable in God’s eyes, regardless of physical, social, economic, ethnic, or other factors.”
Sheena said her family is loving and respectful. The fact that there are two moms isn’t unusual. 
“What does our family life have to do with anyone else? Like no one’s gonna be in danger.” 
Team 10 reached out to the ACLU, the LGBT Center and San Diego Pride.  None of the groups were willing to speak on the topic.  An administrator at Pride said, “It is what it is.”
San Diego attorney Eugene Iredale said the First Amendment gives Mt. Erie freedom of religion, allowing it to bar a student whose parents’ lifestyle doesn’t meet their religious beliefs. 
“Religions and religious institutions, that do not in their activity receive public money, have the right to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation if that is part of their religious tradition,” Iredale said.  
According to filings with the federal government, Mt. Erie does not receive any public funds.
Iredale said both California and federal cases have upheld the right of private institutions to bar membership based on religious beliefs.  That is exactly the opposite of discrimination laws that pertain to publicly-funded programs and businesses that cater to the general public.
“Now the question is where do you draw the line?” Iredale asked. “If you have a religion that believed in human sacrifice or amputation of the arm or the hand for theft, would we permit that in the interest of permitting the free practice of one’s religion? I don’t think so, and one could argue that psychologically… this is as devastating to the little 5-year-old girl as some of those other vicious practices.” 
Iredale said he believes that in the next five to 10 years, the U.S. Supreme Court will have to decide a case like the one involving Mt. Erie because of changing public policy regarding homosexuality.
Sheena said she’s ready to fight for it. 
“I want my baby to be safe when she grows up. I don’t want her to ever have to be discriminated against because of her lifestyle. That’s not fair.” 
Meanwhile, her daughter waits to be accepted to a new kindergarten. 
“I miss my friends. I miss my teachers,” she told Team 10.
Team 10 reached out to the National Center for Lesbian Rights.  
“This type of policy is out of touch with reality,” said Cathy Sakimura, deputy director and family law director for the NCLR.  
Sakimura said barring Sheena’s daughter from school could create a culture of fear among children at the school, allowing children to think it’s not OK to be LGBT or divorced. She hopes the Mt. Erie situation will start an important conversation within the church community, one that leans toward better acceptance. She said many parents within the church and school community may be ready to change the policies to better reflect that.  
The National Center for Lesbian Rights has a helpline for people with questions about their rights.  The number is 800-528-6257. Or log on here.
San Diego’s LGBT Center has compiled a list of 59 religious organizations that are LGBT friendly.  To see the list, click here. “

Jim Bakker’s worsening psychosis – updated*


Right Wing Watch reports…

“Last week on “The Jim Bakker Show,” televangelist Jim Bakker said that America will soon get its comeuppance for mocking God, claiming that divine judgment is on its way.

Urging viewers to purchase survivalist food buckets from his ministry, Bakker said that people must prepare for the worst since, after all, “a person that I understand knows what they are talking about ISIS has already infiltrated every single church in America.”



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