Indiana – an international embarrassment


The Financial Times reports…

“Indiana Governor Mike Pence has signed a bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian patrons on the grounds of “religious freedom”, even as some of the state’s largest business interests oppose the measure.

Mr Pence, a potential 2016 presidential contender, said he signed the bill because “many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action”.

He added: “If I thought it legalised discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it.”

But critics argue that the bill does just that. Some of the state’s largest employers have expressed concerns, including pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, engine manufacturer Cummins and Salesforce, the tech company.

Marc Benioff, chief executive of Salesforce, said on Twitter that the $43bn company is “forced to dramatically reduce our investment in (Indiana) based on our employee’s and customer’s outrage” over the bill. He said the company would cancel “all programmes that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination”.

Greg Ballard, the Republican mayor of Indianapolis, has said that the Indiana law sends the “wrong signal”. “Indianapolis strives to be a welcoming place that attracts businesses, conventions, visitors and residents,” he said in a statement Wednesday….”




Benny Hinn heart condition – updated*


Charisma News reports…

“On March 25, Steve Strang interviewed Benny Hinn and his daughter Jessica Hinn-Koulianos regarding his recovery after being rushed to the emergency room on March 20. Here is an edited transcript of that exclusive interview.

Strang: Tell me what happened to your heart.  

Hinn: My heart was in AFib for months. (That’s what the doctor said.) When a heart is doing 200 beats a minute or close to it, it stops giving oxygen. You’re not getting your blood going where it should go. So, slowly, over five days my organs were filling up with fluid. I was basically losing function in my organs. And my heart, my lungs were filling up with fluid. So when I came back from Brazil, not realizing it, I was basically drowning in my own fluid.

Eating became a very scary challenge because even eating, my strength was not there. I was fatigued. It was really frightening. But, you know, finally my daughter came and said, “You’re going to the doctor now.” That was on Friday. We found the top specialist here in Orange County and he looked at me, not even five minutes and he put me in the ambulance. He didn’t even talk. He just said, “You’re going now.”

So they rushed me in on Friday. I was so full of fluid that I was actually dying without realizing it. And I could (have), there was a lot of activity around me. One nurse, for example, was trying to talk to another and she screamed back at her, “I’m trying to save his life.” And I thought they were talking about someone else. I didn’t realize this was all about me.

So then, they put me immediately in ICU and began a work and began to drain me out of all these fluids, kidneys, liver, the lungs. And they had to bring my heart under control because it was in AFib, Atrial Fib. And they tried tests, you name it, to me. I’ve been exhausted with tests. You think about it, they did it.

So today is the first day that the sun is shining again somewhat. It will shine more I’m sure later, but … And then they told me that I have an enlarged heart because of the, well they weren’t sure at first if it was the AFib or something other was causing it. So when I asked how enlarged was it, he said, “Significantly.” So it was scary. That was day before yesterday.

So they, of course, began to treat the heart immediately, brought the AFib under control and when the AFib came under control, the medication and naturally they used other meds to flush me out. It took about four days before the liquids were almost (normal), only yesterday, I think, they told me. They said yesterday my liquids were normal, or I don’t have any liquids in my lungs, I have no liquids in any other organs. And so now, what they have to do, and this morning they shocked me. They did it (a couple of days ago) but it didn’t work and the doctor said (it was) because my heart was too weak.

Strang: So is this like shocking your heart after someone has a heart attack?

Hinn: No. They were not shocking because I was dying. They were trying to shock my heart back into rhythm. What they do is they can shock the heart back, or they try to shock it back into rhythm. If that doesn’t work then they put you on medication for a period and then you can choose to do what is called ablation. Ablation. Basically, they go in and they burn the cells in my heart that are causing the rapid heart rate. So today, they came in at 8:00 and they shocked me again and, thank God, it helped. It took. So I have been in normal rhythm now for two and a half hours.

Strang: Explain about a heart attack, because The Christian Post online reported that you had a heart attack.

Hinn: No. I had no heart attack. Absolutely. That’s false. I asked the doctor myself. Yesterday they took me in. They put that thing inside my body, you know, angiogram and they took pictures. And they put me in a big tube and all that, day before that and said they didn’t see any sign of a heart attack or such things—no blockage. But they wanted to absolutely make sure, so yesterday they took me down and they put this thing from my leg up and they took, whatever. I don’t know how they do it. But afterward, they told me, in no uncertain terms, that I have had no heart attack. My arteries are absolutely clean. There’s no heart disease whatsoever. And I am, my heart itself is extremely healthy. My heart is weak but there’s no heart disease. I’m 63 years old and I hardly have any plaque in my heart, so it’s a healthy heart, thank God.

Strang: So if that’s the case, why was it so bad that the nurse was saying they were trying to save your life?

Hinn: OK because, see, when I came in, my heart had been in irregular rhythm for so long that I was basically drowning because of the fluid. My heart was not able to get blood into certain parts of the body properly and get oxygen where I needed properly. I would love for you to talk to one of the doctors. Here’s one of them coming in right now.

Strang: It’s official. No heart attack.

Hinn: No, never. But you know, the news media will say what they want to say to create some kind of drama, but absolutely no heart attack, thank God. My heart is beating now regularly. They did not put me on medication and they want to keep it that way and God knows what the future holds, but the good thing is I have a healthy heart and we just want to make sure the AF is under control and doesn’t come back. That’s all.

Note:  Then I talked to Jessica Hinn-Koulianos and said that the doctor confirmed that it was not a heart attack.  

Jessica:  It really wasn’t. I’m telling you, I don’t lie. It was not a heart attack and they confirmed it with many tests to make sure. You can have silent heart attacks, so that’s not a lie, but that’s why they confirmed it and they said no, that was not the case. The arteries look good. Everything, even the enlarged heart. They’re ruling out everything, so yesterday they did that test to make sure the arteries aren’t clogged, and they said that’s not the reason.  

All the doctors have reasoned that it was the enlarged heart—that the heart was weak. The reason for the fluid is all related to the AF. He’s been in AF probably for a month or two, so his heart was running a marathon and he had no idea. He thought he was tired and he was exhausted from Brazil, and when you do that your body starts to shut down, so getting him here and controlling that rhythm, that changed everything. Now his organs are all normal. The fluid is gone. The heart will go back to normal size within time and it will get stronger every day and the fact that what they did today.

It does sound scary, but it’s nothing less than when they bring you back to life. It’s very miniscule amounts of shock. It didn’t work the other day, which showed that his heart was weak and we got a little more concerned, but it worked today. The doctor said that’s a sign that his heart is getting stronger.  

Everything’s getting better and it’s a very good sign that it did work. So today’s a good day. We turned a corner and even the doctor said we’re out of the critical stage now. We’re turning a corner. They’re going to send him home to rest. Today was a good day. It’s my birthday and it’s all I wanted for my birthday, and I told him God answered all our prayers and he wanted me to tell you because the prayers of people are working. Every day he’s getting stronger and today’s the best day yet. Great day yesterday with no clogged arteries, that was a great report and then today with the heart, it took and we didn’t even know if it would—and it might not have, but it did.”


Christian band in deadly brawl


The Daily Mail reports…

“The group who got into a deadly gunfight with police in a Cottonwood, Arizona Walmart parking lot on Saturday have been identified as the eight members of a Christian family street band from Idaho. 

The Gaver family had allegedly been camping out in the parking lot for a few days when they had a confrontation with police which resulted in the death of Enoch Gaver. Ten-year Cottonwood Police veteran Sgt Jeremy Daniels, 31, and suspect David Gaver were also shot in the attack and hospitalized. 

Meanwhile, the remaining members of the Gaver family have been jailed, including an 11-year-old and 15-year-old who were sent to a juvenile detention facility.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety, who are investigating the shooting, said it was sparked Saturday when a few members of the Gaver family went into the Walmart to use the bathroom, and one of the store employees followed them into the restroom. 

At least one member of the Gaver family shoved the female employee, which led to the store calling 911. 

When police arrived on the scene to investigate the incident, they found the Gavers in the parking lot where they had been living out of a large SUV for the past few days.

DPS spokesman Bart Graves says when the police arrived, the Gavers ‘immediately’ started attacking, according to AZ Central

Witness Louie Solano told KPHO that the fight ‘looked like a riot in the middle of the parking lot’.  

‘Lots of screams. Just screeching noise, like unreal, unreal,’ Solano said. 

‘During the course of the fight, we believe there was a struggle for the officer’s gun,’ Graves said. 

That’s when three shots were fired, though it’s not clear who had the gun at that point. 

The shots killed Enoch Gaver and injured relative David Gaver and Sgt Jeremy Daniels.

Sgt Daniels was shot in the leg, while David Gaver was hit in the abdomen. 

A Walmart employee who came to the aid of police suffered a sprained arm and cuts in the fight. Other officers were treated for lacerations, bruises and a twisted ankle.

As of Tuesday, David Gaver was still hospitalized but once he is released he will be taken to jail to join four of his adult relatives. 

Jeremiah Gaver, 28, is currently jailed under suspicion of aggravated assault, Peter Gaver, 55, for hindering prosecution and resisting arrest, Nathaniel Gaver, 27, for assault on a law-enforcement officer and Ruth Gaver, 52 for the same charge. 

A boy and girl from the Gaver family are currently being held at the Prescott Juvenile Detention facility. Their identities have not been released.

Dwight D’Evelyn of the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office says the Gavers are being held on bonds ranging from $25,000 to $75,000.

The Gavers are due in court for their first hearing on March 31. Graves says the family have not been cooperating with the DPS investigation. 

According to Facebook, the family is part of a band called ‘Matthew 24 Now’ (they are also go by ‘Busking in the Son’ back in Idaho). The name refers to a Biblical passage dealing with the end of times. 

In a message on the Facebook page, the family writes: ‘We won’t do any events where there’s gonna be illegal drugs. Or any form of promiscuity.’ 

A local Idaho station reported that the family sometimes played music outside an Albertson’s grocery store in Boise.”

Ex-pastor says ‘mindless following’ rampant

The Manawatu Standard reports…

“One of the founding members of a Palmerston North parish that has come under fire for its “cult-like” practices says he knew something was awry but was unable to speak out.

Former church members have expressed concerns about practices including financial coercion, relationship manipulation and spiritual abuse.

Jeff Phillips, from Phoenix, Arizona, was sent to New Zealand with two other pastors from the Faith Christian Church in Tucson in 2003 to set up a sister parish in Palmerston North.

A minister from New Life Church in New Zealand encouraged the leader of Faith Christian Church, Steve Hall, to consider Palmerston North and he chose Phillips, Peter Tomlinson and Joel Miller for the mission.

The trio first joined the Gateways Christian Fellowship, a pentecostal church in Palmerston North, but the intention was always to create their own church, with Miller as senior minister, Phillips said.

“The goal was we would come and spend some time as members of that church in order to become acclimated to the culture and to give us some credibility in the community, so it wouldn’t appear like we were coming in as brazen Americans.”

Phillips, who had come over with his wife and then three-month-old son, had noted something was off about Faith Christian Church and Hall’s teachings, especially concerning the expectation to hit babies into submission.

“When we were away from that immediate oversight from the church in Tucson we began to start to think for ourselves and start to use some common sense,” he said.

“We began to question the whole teaching and training about spanking infants and that was the first thing we disagreed with . . . but we did not dare tell Joel or anyone else because if we had told them we would have gotten into trouble. But that did open up a can of worms for us and we began to reassess the church’s practices.”

In 2005, Phillips left New Zealand to help set up another off-shoot of Faith Christian Church, in Florida, and Miller established Palmerston North Victory Christian Church.

Phillips said he was concerned at teachings regarding romantic relationships, marriage pairings, financial coercion, alienation from parents, public shaming of members, leaders’ authoritative attitude and excessive control over members, but he couldn’t speak out for fear of being shunned.

However, problems did become more apparent over time and Phillips left the religious movement in 2010, setting up a Facebook page called “Former Members of Faith Christian Church Tucson and its OffShoots”. Tomlinson also left.

Miller remains the senior pastor of Victory Christian Church in Palmerston North. He has not replied to calls and emails.

“The mindless following that goes on in these churches is rampant,” Phillips said. “The thing about it that is so insidious is that the leadership teaches that they are God’s authority . . . and to disobey or to disagree is tantamount to disagreeing with God and it goes beyond what the scripture says.”

Through the Facebook page Phillips has been in contact with about a dozen people connected to Victory Church. It has a subsidiary branch called New Zealand Campus Ministries Trust. Messages to the trust have gone unanswered.”