Category Archives: Uncategorized

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……”

John MacArthur confrontation

 

The Christian Post reports…

“A man clad in black declaring himself to be a prophet took California megachurch pastor John MacArthur and congregants by surprise when he purposefully stormed the altar to deliver a message of rebuke that he claimed was from God during a recent Sunday service.

The man clad in black and wearing a black backpack stepped onto the podium while MacArthur was addressing congregants at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, on Sunday, Aug. 16, according to a video of the encounter published on YouTube.

The man whistled as MacArthur spoke, immediately commanding the attention of all in the packed sanctuary. He then declared what he said was his message from God while pointing at the 76-year-old pastor, author and seminary president.

“You’ve grieved the Holy Spirit of God. Your doctrine of cessation is in error,” the man declared in an unknown accent while looking directly at MacArthur, who also met the self-declared prophet’s gaze. “He has been grieved, John MacArthur. He has sent me here to tell you that.”

“You’re sharpening the sword, and they are cutting each other,” the unknown man added while pointing at the congregation. It was then that two men in suits began leading him away from the podium.

As he was shuffled down the stairs away from the stage, the man looked over his shoulder and continued addressing MacArthur: “You may not believe in prophets, but you’re looking at one.”

“Your doctrine of cessation is in error,” the man repeated, raising his voice as he was rushed down the aisle and out of the sanctuary.

As murmurs, presumably from the congregation, become audible in the video, the man yells for “sinners” to “repent.” He tells the onlookers “God bless you,” as he is shuffled out of the door. At that point, MacArthur can be heard speaking, although it is unclear what the pastor says, as the video ends.

The doctrine of cessation that the unknown man claimed God was displeased with was the focus of a high-profile conference led by MacArthur and hosted at Grace Community Church in October 2013. The Strange Fire conference, as it was called, took on what MacArthur described as the excesses of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements within Christianity. The conference was timed with the release of MacArthur’s book that takes on the same subject: Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit With Counterfeit Worship.

As a Cessationist, MacArthur does not believe that spiritual gifts such as speaking in strange or unknown languages (glossolalia), prophecy, or the power to heal others are made available by the Holy Spirit to Christians today, as they were among early Christians. Those who subscribe to Continuationism, on the other hand, believe the Holy Spirit still imparts such charismatic gifts to believers.

“What I’m talking about is the Charismatic movement that offers to God unacceptable worship, distorted worship. It blasphemes the Holy Spirit. It attributes to the Holy Spirit even the work of Satan. People are caught up in it, deceived, led astray,” MacArthur said at the time.

During the conference, which was accessed during a livestream by viewers in more than 170 countries, there were at least 15 different talks given by the various guests. In one of MacArthur’s talks, titled “An Appeal to Charismatic Friends,” the Calvinist theologian insisted that the Strange Fire conference was for “the true Church” so that they can “discern, be protected from error … and be a source of truth for others outside the Church.”

He went on to claim that the Charismatic movement was “alien,” led by the greater culture, seeker-driven and depreciates and diminishes the glorious way the Holy Spirit worked in the foundation of the Church, The Christian Post previously reported.

“The broader Charismatic movement has opened the door to more theological error than any other doctrinal aberration in this modern day,” MacArthur added.

MacArthur met resistance from quite a few prominent Christians during and after the Strange Fire conference, including from former Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll, who allegedly crashed the conference and had an encounter with security at the venue. John Piper, like Driscoll, believes spiritual gifts like prophecy and speaking in tongues are still available to modern-day Christians.

Piper clarified his position on the matter after the Strange Fire conference, and revealed that he not only affirms spiritual gifts but believes Christians ought to pursue them in obedience to Scripture. Dr. George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God denomination that claims more than 66 million Pentecostals worldwide also threw his hat into the ring. Wood acknowledged in a letter that indeed “there have been isolated aberrations of behavior and doctrine over the past century among those who self-identify as Pentecostal or charismatic.” But the Pentecostal leader insisted that “the movement as a whole has proved a vital force in world evangelization.”

The Christian Post spoke with a representative of Grace Community Church requesting comment on the outburst during Sunday’s service and to inquire if the church knew the man and if they were pursuing charges against him. CP’s request for comment was not met by press time.”

From http://www.christianpost.com/news/prophet-confronts-pastor-john-macarthur-with-message-from-god-that-he-is-in-error-before-congregation-143308/#rUYhPEqRD5BtYCDs.99

Commercialisation of religion investigation

 

News 24 reports…

“South African churches and traditional healing practices will be the subject of intense scrutiny by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission).

The commission on Thursday announced that it was launching an investigation into the way the groups conducted their practices and the reasons behind it.

“We are launching an investigative study on the commercialisation of religion and the abuse of people’s belief systems in terms of when these institutions are being run, how are they being run, where is their funding going into, who collects how much and what do they do with the money, where does the money eventually go to, what are the governing principles that are there,” said chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xalavu.

She said in recent years, scores of churches and traditional healing practices had mushroomed throughout the country, some of which placed advertisements in the media with a promise of miracles. 

Mkhwanazi-Xalavu said among the things they wanted to investigate was whether there were regulations that went into starting and running a church.

She told News24 that when certain companies placed advertisements claiming their products could deliver certain results, they were accountable to the Advertising Standards Authority of SA, which made sure that advertising was truthful.

“Why is it not the same for churches and traditional healers? If they claim they can do certain things and miracles, who holds them accountable to ensure that they actually deliver?” she said.

Practices of some religious leaders were in recent weeks were exposed when a Soshanguve pastor made headlines after he fed a rat, snake and hair to his congregants.

The CRL said their study would also hopefully give them an understanding of why certain pastors believed in these practices and what caused people to believe in them.

Academics, pastors, sociologists and psychologists would be among some of the professionals brought in to assist in the investigation.

“Government will also be roped in to see what it is they know,” said Mkhwanazi-Xalavu.

“We will be talking to the people of intelligence, the police, SARS, social development and the DTI,” she said.

She highlighted that the study would not only focus on Christian churches, but would be extended to other religious groups.

“This is not a witch-hunt for any particular church,” she said.

“We are not necessarily looking to find the negative, but we want to understand why certain things are happening,” she said.

With thousands of churches placed all over South Africa, the CRL said it would use a sampling method to get the information they needed.

Their investigation was expected to be concluded by April 2016 and would be accompanied by regulations.”

From http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Commission-to-probe-church-practices-and-finances-20150820

Jim Bakker’s worsening psychosis

 

Right Wing Watch reports…

“In his interview with fellow End Times preacher Rick Wiles this week, televangelist Jim Bakker announced that his ministry is buying horses just in case a nuclear EMP attack takes down the electric power grid.

“If the grid goes down, you’re going to be thankful to have a horse,” he told viewers, also boasting that his Model T truck “will run if the grid goes down.”

After Bakker explained the threats of an EMP attack and solar flares, he said that God is preparing to punish America for its “insane” policies on abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

“God’s judgment is coming on not just America but on the world,” Bakker said. “You cannot murder almost 70 million of our babies, you cannot take his word and turn it upside down, you cannot say that God didn’t ordain a mom and a dad to have a baby and that will be called married.”

From http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/jim-bakker-buy-horses-god-sends-emp-attack-punishment-gay-marriage#sthash.vdI38Geu.dpuf

Fraudster pastor Jim Staley jailed – updated*

Flashback

 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports…

“A controversial St. Charles pastor was sentenced to seven years in federal prison Wednesday and ordered to repay $3.3 million to the elderly investors he defrauded.

Jim Staley pleaded guilty in April to four counts of wire fraud and admitted defrauding investors out of $3.3 million, while making $570,000 for himself.

Victims and their relatives in court and in letters called him “sick, manipulative and deceitful” and a “disgusting and sickening criminal.” They spoke of the elderly investors who trusted him, some because of his professed Christian faith, and some because they were in the early stages of dementia.

Staley is the pastor of Passion For Truth Ministries, and has gathered “Christian Roots Movement” followers worldwide. Staley and other Roots Movement adherents advocate a return to core Bible teaching, before churches “started adding and subtracting from the word of God.”

None of the victims were parishioners. 

Staley has long blamed his troubles on “enemies of the Father,” and in a sermon as recently as August 1, compared himself to the biblical Joseph and said that he had simply been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Because of that, Staley lost a credit for accepting responsibility under the federal sentencing guidelines and risked more prison time.

He has also paid just $1,950 – a tiny fraction of the restitution owed to victims, despite a church salary of $127,000 and free rent in a million-dollar house, according to court testimony.

On Wednesday and in court, lawyer Scott Rosenblum said that Staley’s acceptance of responsibility for his crimes has been a process. Rosenblum said it wasn’t until last week, when confronted by Rosenblum and other lawyers in his office, that Staley had an epiphany. He stopped parsing words and his actions and accepted that he had nefarious intentions at some point in the process, Rosenblum said.

Then Staley spoke.

Holding back tears, Staley apologized for being overzealous and for failing to tell investors that they could lose money. He also said that he should have done his homework on the investment.

He said that he’d dedicated his life to people and vowed to pay back victims, saying “my faith requires it.”

In 2008, Staley formed Wealth Financial International and became a sales agent for a California company named B&B Equity Group.

Both victims in court Wednesday and officials in the past have said that Staley convinced clients to cash in annuities, knowing they would lose “substantial” sums to penalties. He also continued to sell the investment – bundled life insurance policies – and recruit salespeople after realizing that the investment wasn’t selling and after being ordered to stop, officials have said. He also failed to tell investors about the state cease and desist order.

Rosenblum asked for a sentence of five years. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dianna Collins asked for something within the federal sentencing guidelines of about nine to 11 years.

U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber, in sentencing Staley to seven years, cited Staley’s solid marriage and home life and his complete lack of a criminal record or any drug or alcohol abuse. Webber said Staley had “very little interest so far in making restitution” and had repeatedly downplayed his conduct since his indictment.”

From http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-charles-pastor-gets-years-for-million-fraud/article_9db523fc-f686-532d-86dc-2240e65d9003.html

The whore of Babylon

Flashback

 

The Christian Post reports…

“A former Tennessee state legislator and his two sons have been charged with multiple counts of wire fraud for allegedly conning more than 300 Christians into buying gold and silver through their financial consulting company, and did so by convincing victims they needed to guard themselves against “mystery Babylon,” a reference to the End Times.

Larry Bates and his sons, Charles “Chuck” Bates and Robert Bates, were indicted ..  in Memphis, Tennessee, for using their financial company, First American Monetary Consultants, to sell gold and silver coins and other rare metals to mostly Christian and elderly customers.

According to the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice, the men, who presented themselves as knowledgeable Christian financial and political advisors, got away with taking people’s money and failing to deliver the promised goods for more than 12 years. The Bates’ alleged victims span numerous states, including Texas, Alabama, Kansas, Vermont, Oklahoma, Missouri, Florida, and Massachusetts.

“As the indictment alleges, the defendants defrauded unsuspecting victims of more than $18 million by promising to purchase gold and silver coins on their behalf,” U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton III said in a Wednesday press release. “Unfortunately, hundreds of these victims never received the coins they purchased. Instead, their money was used by the defendants to fund lofty salaries and exorbitant lifestyles.” Some of that funding might have also gone to Bates’ numerous properties, including a three-story multimillion-dollar mansion with an elevator.

Ironically, Bates reportedly used to chair the Committee on Banking and Commerce during his time in Tennessee’s House of Representatives, which was from 1971 to 1976. In one 2010 video pitch for an upcoming book, Bates touts his expertise by stating, “As a former bank CEO, I have literally created millions of dollars out of thin air with the stroke of my pen and I charged interest on that which I created out of nothing.”

According to the indictment, the Bates trio used their broadcast company, Information Radio Network, “as a means of advertising, promoting, and soliciting the sale or purchase of gold and silver to and from individuals nationwide,” according to the FBI and the DOJ. Bates claimed after a 2008 merger with U.S.A. Radio Network that IRN was “one of the largest radio news networks in America, and the largest Internet radio news product on the market.”

Pivotal to their alleged scam was convincing IRN listeners, potential customers, that it was vital to shield themselves from impending economic, political and religious upheaval, a period Larry Bates referred to as mystery Babylon.

The phrase mystery Babylon appears in Revelation, the final book of the Bible. In Revelation 17:5, an apocalyptic picture is painted with the description of a woman: “And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.'”

While there are numerous theories as to the identity of mystery Babylon — whether the Bible text is describing a person, place or system, for example — Larry Bates taught his viewers, listeners and readers that it was a “demonic blend of the world system of economics, politics and religion,” as he states in one of his dozens of videos promoting himself and his books.

Whether Bates, who presented himself as a “man of God,” truly believed his End-Times theories, or used it to finance his companies, as the government alleges, he and his sons convinced enough of their IRN listeners they needed to buy gold and silver from them to forestall against a future economic collapse.

In addition to his numerous videos about the pending political, economic and religious crisis in the United States, the elder Bates also wrote two books about the subject, titled The New Economic Disorder: Strategies for Weathering Any Crisis While Keeping Your Finances Intact and A Nation in Crisis–The Meltdown of Money, Government and Religion: How to Prepare for the Coming Collapse. Bates also published and edited the magazine Monetary and Economic Review.

The former politician also enjoyed airtime on Christian programs like Jim Bakker’s and Sid Roth’s television shows. Roth introduced Bates in one 2012 episode of his “It’s Supernatural” show as “a strong Christian” who he believed “has been given … wisdom from God what to do in these times.”

“I don’t know how he can call himself a Christian when he’s stealing from people,” one victim from Wyoming who lost his life’s savings said in one news report.

Before the indictments .. there were dozens of financial complaints lodged against Bates’ First American Monetary Consultants company and as well as an $80 million class action lawsuit.

In addition to being charged with multiple counts of mail and wire fraud, the Bates were also charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. The men face up to 20 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines if convicted.”

From http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-politician-and-sons-allegedly-bilked-300-believers-out-of-18-million-using-end-times-fear-of-mystery-babylon-142408/