Former Hill$ong pastor wants taxpayers’ millions spent on lucrative love-offering circuit speakers venue


“NBA team or not, some business leaders in Virginia Beach think an arena could support itself.

One city official says he has to turn clients away because there is no venue big enough for their prospective events.

The proposed 18,500-seat arena would be built on land near the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Construction depends on the $150 million in funding the city council has requested from the state.

There are two main groups city officials would like to cash in on: faith-based groups, who hold arena assemblies and amateur sporting events. ACC tournament officials have already expressed interest in using the arena.

The city marketing team says large events, such as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, are just the tip of the moneymaking iceberg. They say an arena would allow for much more. “We feel we have a good chance, if the arena is built, to bring some of those amateur sporting events to Virginia Beach,” Vice President of Convention Sales and Marketing at the Convention and Visitors Bureau Al Hutchinson. Hutchinson said events like U.S. figure skating championships, regional basketball tournaments and arena lacrosse are all examples of what Virginia Beach is missing out on. “The real challenge right now is we can’t even talk with some of these groups without an arena,” Hutchinson said. “They’re meeting in the cities, like the San Jose’s of the world, the Omaha, Nebraska’s and we feel we have a similar product and we could go after those groups.” The other big markets Hutchinson would like to bring to the Beach are faith-based groups, who hold arena assemblies.

Steve Kelly, Pastor at WAVE church, says he knows big names like televangelist Joel Osteen could fill the arena and have expressed interest in doing so. “I’ve talked to Joel Osteen and let him know that this is an arena that could possibly be built here,” said Kelly. “He [Osteen] said he would love to make use of that, and consider using it, as well as Joyce Meyer.” From a business standpoint, Hutchinson says amateur sports and faith-based groups are attractive clients because they would use both the arena and the convention center simultaneously, and stay for several days at a time. “It would definitely be a game changer if the arena were to happen,” Hutchinson said.

Many citizens worry city officials overestimate the revenue an arena would bring. At Tuesday’s arena town hall meeting, citizens expressed concern about how the city is going to pay for the project.

Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms says the city must have a firm commitment from the unnamed NBA team, before Jan. 9, when the General Assembly convenes.”








Why the Westboro Baptist Church wants to picket the Connecticut massacre funerals

“Nate Phelps, the son of Westboro Baptist Church’s founder Fred Phelps, appeared on HuffPost Live Wednesday to discuss the controversial organization’s plans to picket funerals of children killed in the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre. Nate Phelps left the parish at 18 years old and has since become [an advocate] for LGBT rights.

Nate left the church with three other siblings who are also estranged from the organization. He currently identifies as an atheist and is a public speaker on child abuse and religion. Phelps has publicly stated that his father was abusive and his church was simply a pulpit for his father to vent his rage.

Currently, Nate serves as the Executive Director of the Centre for Inquiry Canada, a secular organization that educates and advocates for reason and science. He also serves on the board of directors for Recovering from Religion, an organization which offers education and practical support for people moving away from religion.

In his conversation with HuffPost Live, Nate slammed the church for its plans to picket the funerals and touched on Anonymous’ hacking of a Westboro Baptist Church Twitter account.”


How to shut up a noisy church

Pic:David Taylor


The Queensland Times reports…

“A man living next door to a church became so incensed at the choir practice he repeatedly turned his hose on the devout group, an Ipswich court heard.

The group practised every Tuesday night at St Agnes Anglican Church in Esk and neighbour Rodney Allen Hyde had had enough.

The 61-year-old lives at the caravan park behind St Agnes and his window backs directly onto the church. Despite asking the church to close the windows during practice, their hymn singing didn’t let up.

Ipswich Magistrates Court that heard on December 4 Hyde decided enough was enough.

After yelling abuse at the choir from his caravan, Hyde grabbed a garden hose and pushed it through the window of the church.

The water soaked the choir, but they kept singing. Twice more Hyde hosed them down, and as he sprayed them with water he yelled at them to stop their songs.

The court heard he also threw objects at the church. When police arrived, Hyde told them he was “annoyed” at the singing and the group “weren’t responding to his demands to stop singing”.

Officers asked why Hyde hadn’t called the police himself, to which he said he’d resolved to take matters into his own hands.

Hyde, who had no previous criminal record, pleaded guilty to public nuisance.

He told the court he’d previously asked the choir if they’d mind shutting their windows during practice because he had trouble sleeping at night. Hyde said he didn’t want to move his caravan because he was established.

He said the choir would now practise in the community hall. Hyde was fined $120 without a conviction recorded.”


Chinese cult arrests

CNN reports…

“Members of a fringe Christian group in China have been rounded up for spreading rumors of an impending apocalypse, pegged to the Mayan calendar.

Known as the “Almighty God” cult, the group latched on to the Mayan doomsday scenario to predict the sun will not shine and electricity will not work for three days beginning on December 21, an official with the Department of Public Security in the northwest province of Qinghai told CNN.

Group members would spread doomsday rumors door-to-door or at public venues and claimed only they could save people’s lives, according to authorities.

The state-run Xinhua news agency reported that almost 100 people have been arrested so far, including 37 in Qinghai and 34 in Fujian province in the east of the country.

A large number of banners, discs, slogans, books and printing machines were seized by police, Xinhua said.

According to Xinhua, the cult was established in 1990 in central China and requires its members to surrender their property to the group.

December 21, 2012, is the endpoint of a more than 5,000-year Great Cycle marked on the “Long Count” calendar of the Mayans — an ancient native American civilization.

Some say this date marks the end of the world, while other suggest it marks the beginning of a new era.”



Charisma Magazine reports…

“Late last April, Internet sites reporting on China’s Christians were abuzz with a deeply disturbing story: 34 of the top leaders of one of the largest house-church networks in China, the China Gospel Fellowship (CGF), had been mysteriously kidnapped by a vicious Chinese cult group, Eastern Lightning (EL). No one knew where they were being held or what was happening to them.

To those who have followed closely China’s Christian developments over the years, the news wasn’t just disturbing, it was terrifying. The EL cult is by far the most violent in a long roster of Chinese cults that have arisen over the years. The CGF has long been considered one of the most vibrant of China’s house-church groups.

Through history, China has been riven by social upheavals originating with strange religious sects. After Protestant missionaries began to impact China with the gospel in the 19th century, in mid-century a Chinese claiming to be the younger brother of Jesus led a rebellion, called the Taipings, which caused the deaths of 20 million people.

Another uprising, the Boxers, in 1900 claimed the lives of some 30,000 Chinese and Western Christians. Boxer rebels believed they were invulnerable after engaging in mass spirit-possession.

EL claims to want to convert the whole world to its views. Along the way, it has set out to destroy the key leadership of China’s evangelical and charismatic Christians.

The EL doctrine asserts that there are three distinct periods in history in which God has appeared to humans: the Old Testament, when He was called Jehovah; the New Testament, when He “created” Jesus; and today’s era, when He has supposedly returned to earth “as lightning from the east” (see Matt. 24:27).

This time, EL asserts, it is in the form of a middle-aged woman in Henan province. The EL rejects the Bible even while quoting from it, claiming that only those who follow EL’s teachings will escape divine judgment.

If a lunatic cosmology were EL’s only problem, China’s Christians wouldn’t have much to worry about. But for half a decade, at least, the group has taken to brutal coercion to get “converts.”

Kidnapping, beating, torturing, poisoning, bribing, sexually compromising, even killing key Christian leaders has become standard EL practice. The CGF leaders were deceived into attending a meeting where they supposedly were to meet key Christian teachers who had flown in from Singapore.

On arrival at the designated meeting point, the leaders were divided into groups, deprived of their cell phones and shoes, and locked in apartments and houses.”

“I realized immediately it was the EL,” one of the recently released leaders told me. “I wanted to fight my way out, but I was concerned about the safety of two of the sisters I would be leaving behind.” When two other women and two men did escape, all raised the alarm.

The leader I spoke with was held for 20 days. A poisonous substance initially was put in his water, causing him intense stomach pains and completely disorienting him.

Then began the brainwashing about EL’s doctrines. Efforts were made to break his resistance by sending to him for “counseling” a very pretty young woman determined to seduce him. In this leader’s case, and miraculously with all 33 other CGF leaders, the relentless psychological and physical assaults were resisted.

In the case of the CGF kidnappings, China’s Public Security Bureau, which often suppresses genuine evangelical groups on the spurious grounds that they are cults, agreed to help track down the EL kidnapping locations. In return, the CGF agreed to share with the police any information they had on EL activities.

Despite these terrible events, CGF’s leadership is far from downcast today. “This event seems like a tragedy,” said one, “but I see it as a kingdom blessing from God.”

He said the attack on the movement had stirred up such unity in prayer that a revival had broken out in much of the church. That is deeply encouraging, but much more prayer is needed on behalf of China’s Christians before the EL threat is  eliminated.”


Pastor Sam Morris reassures us that home-schoolers aren’t a bunch of crazies

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Raw Story reports…

“A Tennessee pastor on Sunday told his congregation that the number of mass shootings were escalating because schools were government “mind-control centers” that taught “junk about evolution” and “how to be a homo.”

Old Paths Baptist Church Pastor Sam Morris began speaking about last week’s school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut by warning that “this sermon will not be pleasant.”

“We get all up in arms about 20 children being shot in a day care but we don’t give one good-glory rip about the 4,000 that were removed violently from the wombs of their mothers [in abortion procedures] the same day,” he explained. “I believe they use children and Christmas and all that to pull on our heart strings about gun control. That’s what it’s all about.”

Morris asserted that equal rights was a “sham” because it’s “equal immorality” and that authorities should take the body of the suspected shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, “and string him up in public and set his body on fire and leave it out there to let the birds pick his bones.”

“We’re going to see more of this,” he continued. “Because notice, the first thing in America we start yelling about is gun control. Have you noticed that? Gun control. No one’s even thought about the fact that these shootings only happened at places where guns are banned. Have you noticed that? They have never had a mass shooting at a gun show, where you can find over a thousand loaded guns at one time.”

“Why do you still send your kids to the governmental schools?” the pastor asked the congregation. “What’s behind this shooting that we saw on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Connecticut and the other one’s like it? What’s going on. Well, number one, deception… I got news for you, when you kicked God out of schools, you’re going to be judged for that.”

Morris insisted that “humanism” in schools taught Lanza that he was God and “he can just go blow away anybody he wants.”

“When I got in high school, man, I started learning all this kingdom, phylum stuff, all this junk about evolution,” he recalled. “And I want to tell you what evolution teaches — here’s the bottom line — that you’re an animal. That’s what it teaches.  So, you’re an animal, you can act like an animal. Amen.”

“So, here you are, you’re an animal and you’re a god! So, what are we going to teach you about in school? Well, we can teach you about sex, we can teach you how to rebel to you parents, we can teach you how to be a homo! But we’re definitely not going to teach you about the word of God! Amen.”

He added: “They think homeschoolers are a bunch of crazies, man. But I’m going to tell you something, I’ve never seen a police officer or a metal detector at a home school. Never. Amen. Now, there’s plenty of guns at my home school. Amen. I guarantee you we’re not going to have a mass shooting at any of the schools that are represented in this building today. I guarantee you, if there is a shooting, it won’t last very long. Amen.”

“I guarantee you there’s at least six or seven guns in this place right now. Amen.”

Morris confirmed to Raw Story on Monday that he had preached the sermon uploaded to but declined to answer any additional questions.”


Time for Jesus to come out

Pic:John Selkirk/Fairfax NZ

Auckland Now reports…

“Jesus may have been progressive in more ways than one, according to a new billboard in Auckland. 

The St Matthew in the City billboard, which is released each Christmas, this year depicts the baby Jesus in his crib surrounded by a halo of rainbow colours. 

“It’s Christmas,” the billboard reads. “It’s time for Jesus to come out.” 

Reverend Glynn Cardy said the sign was about trying to lift the humanity of Jesus. 

“The fact is we don’t know what his sexual orientation was.” 

While some conservative Christians might point to the more absolutist parts of the Old Testament as proof of the Messiah’s sexual preferences, Cardy said that homosexuality was not even a word until the 19th century. Any mention of it would therefore have been a mistranslation. 

More importantly the billboard was meant to ask whether Jesus’ desires in the bedroom would make a difference for those of faith. 

“Would it make a difference if he was gay? Would that change the picture for you? Would it mean what we revere about him changes?” 

St Matthew’s billboards have something of an international reputation. Last year its exposure through Facebook had a reach of over 21 million, brought 30,000 visits to St Matthew’s website in a week and was featured internationally in blogs and internet news sites including the Huffington Post. 

For some, however, any deviation from conservative Christian doctrine has been a step too far. Last year a poster portraying the Virgin Mary holding a pregnancy test was ripped in half by a Whangarei man leading a Catholic Action Group protest. Cardy said such actions also seemed to be part of the tradition. 

“In the internet age though the image will be out there forever. They can do what they want to it.”


Former Westboro Baptist Church picketer on Connecticut killings

Lauren Drain writes…

“In light of today’s terrible tragedy here in CT, and upon hearing the news that WBC intends to picket such a devastation, I felt it was an appropriate time to answer a question many have asked me in hopes that I might help block the spread of their heinous message via media.  The question I’ve been asked is how are people supposed to respond to the terrorizing the WBC does when people are struggling to mourn the loss of their innocent loved ones? Please see the attached video…”


Connecticut tragedy blamed on prayer ban in schools

The Huffington Post reports…

“As the nation reeled from reports of the horrifying mass shooting at at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., most Americans responded with an outpouring of sympathy.

However, Bryan Fischer made some notably controversial comments in the wake of the tragedy.

The conservative Christian who has continuously drawn the ire of groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and GLAAD for his anti-gay rhetoric and vitriolic tirades on behalf of the American Family Association, said on his radio show that God did not protect the victims of the Connecticut shooting because prayer has been prohibited from the public school system:

The question is going to come up, where was God? I though God cared about the little children. God protects the little children. Where was God when all this went down. Here’s the bottom line, God is not going to go where he is not wanted.Now we have spent since 1962– we’re 50 years into this now–we have spent 50 years telling God to get lost, telling God we do not want you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you in our schools, we do not want to pray to your before football games, we don’t want to pray to you at graduations, we don’t want anybody talking about you in a graduation speech…

In 1962 we kicked prayer out of the schools. In 1963 we kicked God’s word out of ours schools. In 1980 we kicked the Ten Commandments out of our schools. We’ve kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, ‘Hey, I’ll be glad to protect your children, but you’ve got to invite me back into your world first. I’m not going to go where I’m not wanted. I am a gentlemen.


“The ultimate solution here is not the Second Amendment, but the First Amendment,” Fisher continued. “Maybe it’s time for some school board and administrators to say, we don’t care, the lives of our children are just too important to us. We are going to pray in our schools, at the beginning of the day, we are going to pray for protection.”

Fischer’s comments are his latest attempt to politicize a senseless tragedy.

In November, Fischer said that terrorists who attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001 were “the agents of God’s wrath” because they prompted “God Bless America” to be sung at Major League Baseball games, which is one “one of the reasons we haven’t been hit since 9/11,” Raw Story notes. He has also said that gun rights are based on God’s teachings, that being gay may be a “birth defect” and that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal will increase pedophilia.

However, Fischer is not the only one to make controversial comments regarding the Sandy Hook shooting.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee made similar remarks on Friday.

“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee said on Fox News. “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”


TB Joshua ‘prophesied’ Connecticut massacre

Zambian Watchdog reports…

“A video purporting that TB Joshua prophesied the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, USA has emerged.

According to the video on Youtube, TB Joshua was shown the tragedy by God on August 6, 2012.

In the video, Prophet T.B. Joshua advised that we must look deeper into our issues of homeland security. He spoke on August 6, 2012 at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations, broadcast live on Emmanuel TV, stating that we must come together, pray and focus on homeland security in the nation of America because he sees the massacre that occurred at the Colorado theatre, continuing…..”