30 Dec 2010

Head of church-backed probe into Belgian clergy crimes says the Pope must set an example and resign



Expatica.com - October 1, 2010

Pope must resign: head of Belgian paedophilia probe


AFP


Pope Benedict XVI should resign over the Catholic Church's priest paedophilia scandal, the head of a church-backed probe that revealed hundreds of abuse cases in Belgium said Friday.

Child psychologist Peter Adriaenssens was quoted as saying in the Flemish-language newspaper De Morgen that the pope should take responsibility for the crisis.

"The pope should not content himself with just expressing regret," Adriaenssens said. "He should offer his resignation."

"We should be able to say that after everything that has taken place within the Church, one person is taking responsibility," he said. "Since the problem is not just in Belgium but has spread worldwide, the pope must set an example."

Adriaenssens released on September 10 a report by a commission he led which revealed that nearly 500 people reported abuses by priests since the 1950s and 13 victims committed suicide.

Revelations of abuse carried out by priests in Belgium, Ireland, the pope's native Germany and the United States have plunged the Catholic Church into its worst crisis in decades.

The pope expressed sorrow and shame in a meeting with victims of clerical abuse during his four-day visit to Britain last month.


This article was found at:

http://www.expatica.com/be/news/belgian-news/pope-must-resign-head-of-belgian-paedophilia-probe_100240.html


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Former Mormon child 'bride' forced to marry at 14 says reality TV show is unrealistic, polygamy breeds child abuse

New York Post - September 30, 2010

'Wives' could be dangerous

Ex-polygamist speaks

By LINDA STASI


Polygamy is so hot on TV right now, it threatens to infect people who aren't even blond.

Between "Big Love" and the newest reality-TV hit "Sister Wives," you'd think that sharing a husband is not just fun, but frees up a sexually sated wife to pursue all sorts of glamorous things -- like creating business empires and running casinos.

"Free? Not at all," says Elissa Wall, author of the moving biography "Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect."

"It's all rather unrealistic."

What about the fact that before they got their own TV show, several of the "Sister Wives" filed for bankruptcy and one was on food stamps? Is it common for these families to expect the government to support their illegal lifestyles?

"When there are three wives and 14 kids to feed, the mothers are forced to turn to the government," Wall says.

"In reality, there is lots of sadness and lots of contention between the wives," says Wall, who was married off at 14. "I will never say it's all wrong -- but, in my experience, polygamy becomes a breeding ground for child abuse."

And there's nowhere for wives or kids to turn. In her sect, for example, the local cops were polygamists, too.

So, the whole happy sister-wife-as-entrepreneur thing is as false as a polygamist's promise to be true?

"No, not always," she said. "There's the Centennial Group. The women are well-educated and many are entrepreneurs married to educated men who are well off. But that's really, really an anomaly."

Sounds like the stuff of TV.


This article was found at:

http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/tv/wives_could_be_dangerous_qwkipjT9tjqHVmp7fOAEUK


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Former member of Quebec Catholic order says superiors and Vatican knew about years of abuse but kept silent



CBC News - Canada September 29, 2010

Catholic order knew of alleged abuse: document


A Roman Catholic order in Quebec was aware of allegations of sexual abuse by brothers in the religious group, according to evidence discovered by Radio-Canada.

A nine-page document, written by a long-term member of the Order of Holy Cross, chronicles specific allegations of abuse over the years at Montreal's College Notre Dame. The document lists a dozen Holy Cross brothers from various institutions.

It also outlines how alleged abusers at the order's flagship private school were not reported to the police and instead were allowed to stay on as teachers or support staff.

The document said in at least one case, the college paid $250,000 to buy the silence of a family that complained.

Wilson Kennedy, a former member of the religious order, told Radio-Canada in an exclusive interview that while he was with the order he spoke to a Vatican official about the problem.

"Rome was informed and the Superior General asked me for clarification on several cases," Kennedy said.

He said there was a culture of silence that protected alleged abusers.

"You protect a group. Was it wrong? Yeah, it was wrong," Kennedy said.

The Order of Holy Cross was responsible for the care and education of thousands of Quebecers over the years. It ran institutions for people with handicaps, halfway houses and private colleges in Montreal and other areas of the province.

Allegations of abuse at College Notre Dame began to surface a couple of years ago. The college is right across the street from the iconic St. Joseph's Oratory, which was also built by the Order of Holy Cross.

A family has launched a lawsuit against the order and formed a support group.

The order said it won't comment while the case is still before the courts, but it did issue a statement saying it vigorously condemns all forms of misconduct.

With files from Nancy Wood


This article was found at:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/09/29/notre-dame-order-allegations.html


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Vatican names Spanish archbishop to investigate cult of consecrated women associated with disgraced Order

Google News - Associated Press September 29, 2010

Vatican taps investigator for group tied to Legion

By NICOLE WINFIELD (AP)


VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has named a Spanish archbishop to investigate a cult-like group affiliated with the Legionaries of Christ, the conservative religious order disgraced by revelations its founder sexually abused seminarians and fathered three children.

Monsignor Ricardo Blazquez, archbishop of Valladolid, Spain, will head the probe into the so-called consecrated women of the Legion's lay movement Regnum Christi, according to an internal e-mail from the Legion's administrative branch. The Vatican confirmed the nomination late Wednesday.

Regnum Christi is a community of some 70,000 Catholics in 30 countries who have regular jobs and families yet help promote the movement's aim of bringing people closer to Christ through missionary-type work.

Some 900 of Regnum Christi's most devout are "consecrated women," single lay Catholics who make promises of poverty, chastity and obedience much like nuns do and work full-time for Regnum Christi, recruiting new members by running schools, summer camps and adult programs.

In an investigative report over the weekend, The Associated Press exposed the cult-like conditions in which these women live. [see links below] According to the testimony of former members and Regnum Christi's own unpublished statutes and rules, family members are kept at a distance, minute rules dictate nearly every hour of the day, members are told how to eat, speak and dress and what types of TV they can watch — all in the name of God's will.

The Vatican announced in May it was investigating the consecrated members after a series of abuses came to light during an eight-month Vatican probe into the Legion, a secretive religious order beloved by Pope John Paul II but now discredited by the revelations of the double life led by its founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel.

Maciel had been dogged for decades by allegations he sexually abused seminarians. But his Vatican protectors prevented any action from being taken against him until 2006 — a year after Pope Benedict XVI was elected pope — when the Vatican ordered him to a lifetime of penance and prayer.

He died in 2008 at age 87.

Benedict in May appointed a papal delegate to take over the Legion and rewrite its constitutions. The delegate in turn named four commissioners to help, including Monsignor Brian Farrell, a high-ranking Vatican official and Legion priest, as well as the Rev. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, a canon lawyer and former rector of the Jesuits' Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Their names, and that of Blazquez, were announced in an internal e-mail obtained Wednesday by the AP from Grupo Integer, the Legion and Regnum Christi's administrative and management branch.

Current and former consecrated members say the last few months have been full of upheaval.

"It's not an easy time. I certainly never dreamed things would turn out this way," Mary Mather, who was consecrated in 1996 and now runs Regnum Christi youth programs in Chicago, said during a conference call this summer with the Legion's communications' director.

"But I have to trust that God works in mysterious ways, and there's so much good that I have experienced in the Regnum Christi movement," she said. When asked what good had been done, she cited missionary work in Mexico and Haiti and some weekly Spanish-English translations she had done for her local archdiocese.

But Margaret, a former consecrated who asked that her full name not be used, said no amount of good the movement might do cancels out the means used. After being consecrated a year after she graduated high school, Margaret said she required a full-on intervention staged by her family to extract herself from the movement.

She says she realized she was in trouble when she disobeyed her family's wishes and opened a secret e-mail account so she could be in constant touch with her superiors while home on vacation in 2007.

"I was lying to my parents, lying to the bishop. All my siblings thought I was being objective and fair and the whole time I'm totally tethered into all the structure of the mind control systems of the consecrated life," she said.

She said she left after her family discovered her e-mail account and "this house of cards began to fall."


This article was found at:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ihLqsvrFpWF_gOYkMrRaWdzcaeWQD9IHQNE00?docId=D9IHQNE00


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UK atheist says churches are full of families faking religion to get their kids into local state schools

The Independent - U.K. September 30, 2010

'I faked religion to find a school'


When Andrew Penman admitted he'd become a churchgoer to get his children into the local primary, he little imagined the furore his confession would create




Odious, despicable, hypocrite – those are just a few of the words that have been used to describe me since the publication of my book School Daze: Searching for Decent State Education. My sins? There are two, according to my critics.

The first is that I faked being a Christian to get my children into the local Church of England primary school. My plea: guilty. I am an atheist, but for at least two years before my son reached primary-school age I went along to the local church, along with my wife. And so it came to pass that our son got the school place.

My mitigation is this: whose fault was it that we had to go to church to get our son into the local primary school? I didn't choose the selection criteria that meant that half the places were reserved for churchgoers, thus discriminating against local families who did not follow this particular brand of religion. This was not a situation of my choosing. I went to church under duress, because that was the only way to be sure of a place, even though that school was literally the other side of the road from our house. I didn't pretend to be a Christian for several years because I wanted to offend anyone, or because I thought it was fun – I promise you it wasn't. I did it because I wanted my son to attend the local state primary school. Is that too much to ask?

Christians who are offended by my behaviour – and I've heard from plenty – perhaps need to become a little more realistic, because every Sunday across the country churches are full of families doing exactly what I did. If churches do not want bogus Christians coming through their doors there's a simple solution: stop using religion as a criteria for admission to state schools.

We live in a secular society. Depending which survey you read, roughly 900,000 people attend Anglican mass each Sunday in the UK, and the figure for Catholic mass is similar. That's out of a population of more than 60 million. Why do we allow such tiny minorities to have such sweeping control over our state education system?

Those figures for churchgoers mask the true position, because many of those filling places in church each Sunday will be unbelievers like me who are only there because they care about their children's education. That's why churches will not be advocating an overhaul of the education system: they can use their control over school admissions to get heathens through their doors each Sunday.

It's an abhorrent situation, and one that is made worse when parents are forced to play a system that they didn't create and are then accused of being odious, despicable hypocrites.

So, on to my second sin. I didn't send my son to the local comprehensive. There are those, if I've got the argument correct, who think parents should send their children to the local secondary school irrespective of how that school is performing. Parents who get their children into grammars or move closer to better schools are, apparently, condemning their local comp to eternal failure. This is an argument that has its logic back to front. Poor schools are the cause of families looking elsewhere for their children's education, not a consequence of it.

When we began looking at the state secondaries near our then home in Merton, south-west London, just one third of pupils at the nearest one achieved five or more GCSEs, English and maths included, with a grade C or better. By the time parents were selecting comprehensives last winter, the results had gone up to 49 per cent. A great improvement, but I wanted better for my child – and I was not alone. The father of a child still at the primary school my son attended tells me that just two boys from this summer's leaving year went on to that local comprehensive.

Overall in Merton, one third of children at its primary schools do not go on to its secondaries. Some families move house, some find the money to go private, some get places at grammars in nearby Sutton and Kingston.

"In my circle of friends, I know probably half a dozen people who have moved specifically to be in the catchment area of schools," I was told by Dave Hill, then Merton's director of Children, Schools and Families. "It's like a national disease.I make no judgment. The system is set up in such a way. I hope we can persuade people like you in the future to see the results, see what's happening here, and say 'I'm going to stay in Merton, I can get a good education here.'"

He also candidly told me: "I do think that if you live in any area and you've got a school that's not scoring around 60 per cent, I don't know if I'd really want to send my kid to that school. And I think people have a right to choose something else. We've had schools down in Mitcham scoring 18, 15 per cent – it's just not acceptable. Why would your want your bright kid, with all your family support, to go to a school where clearly that school is not going to be able to improve [his or her] chances? You'd be mad to."

One of the schools that is improving is the local comprehensive – Rutlish – that I was so keen to avoid. Its GCSE results for 2010, as yet unpublished, have gone up to 61 per cent. I'm delighted to hear of this transformation, I'm glad to hear of any school improving, because at the heart of this problem is that fact that there are too many dreadful schools that caring parents are understandably desperateto avoid.

During my research for School Daze I encountered an interesting divide. Pretty much everyone I interviewed in Merton, the borough I abandoned, disapproved of my actions. One comprehensive head told me I'd wasted my time, though he was kind enough to add: "But I understand why you've done it. There are thousands of people who've done what you've done, or who will subject their children to enormously long journeys to get into certain schools. Lots of more able children leave after year six or go into private education. Friends of mine have not sent their children here. I understand that. We still get on."

Conversely in Surrey, where we now live, there was universal approval, one headteacher even admitting that he had once moved house because he didn't think the local primary suited his children.

Back in Merton, a regular at the church I once so diligently attended recently emailed me, mainly to accuse me of "conning and lying" to get my children places at the local Anglican school and "proudly admitting you exploited the old and infirm" (I had volunteered for the car rota to help the elderly get to and from church).

He then went on: "Funnily enough, it now looks as if the joke is on you because you have spent 40k on moving house to a so-called posher area where your new local comp only has a 2 per cent better GCSE pass rate than Rutlish."

I think he's saying that I should have hung around Merton in the hope that the local comprehensive would improve. But I was never going to take that risk with my son's education, nor was I going to sacrifice it for someone else's political or religious dogma.

This article was found at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/schools/i-faked-religion-to-find-a-school-2093403.html


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Brazilian police capture Catholic priest who disappeared in 2008 after he was convicted of molesting girls

Washington Examiner - Associated Press September 29, 2010

Fugitive Brazil priest convicted of child abuse caught at hospital


By: STAN LEHMAN


SAO PAULO — Police say they have caught a Roman Catholic priest who disappeared after he was convicted of sexually abusing young girls in southern Brazil.

A police officer in the state of Rio Grande do Sul says the Rev. Avelino Backes was arrested Monday after being found in a hospital in the town of Santa Rosa.

The officer said Wednesday he does not know why Backes was hospitalized. He asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Backes disappeared in 2008 after being sentenced to seven years in jail for molesting girls aged 9 and 10 in the neighboring state of Santa Catarina in the 1990s.

The 70-year-old priest will be sent back to Santa Catarina after leaving the hospital.


This article was found at:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/world/fugitive-brazil-priest-convicted-of-child-abuse-caught-at-hospital-104030133.html

Wisconsin senate candidate who fought child victims law while working for Catholic diocese now urges more openness from church

Chicago Tribune - September 29, 2010

Wis. Senate candidate urges openness from diocese


By DINESH RAMDE | Associated Press Writer


MILWAUKEE - U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson called Wednesday for the Green Bay Diocese to be more open about its investigation of alleged pedophile priests, although the activist group that urged him to make the statement said it didn't go far enough.

Johnson previously served on the diocese's finance council. In January, while in that role, he testified before the Wisconsin Legislature, arguing that a proposed bill for victims of child abuse could have harmful -- if unintended -- consequences. [see video below]

His call for transparency from the diocese came a few hours the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said it would hold an afternoon news s conference asking that he issue such a demand

Johnson's campaign released a statement in which the Republican candidate called on diocese officials to "provide the utmost transparency," saying it would help answer any lingering questions from child-abuse victims and others.

SNAP spokesman Peter Isely said he approved of Johnson's sentiment but said Johnson should also have told the diocese to stop blocking the release of the names of other clergy members accused of abuse.

SNAP's request of Johnson, a Republican challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, came in connection with ongoing legal action. A civil lawsuit from a sexual-abuse victim accuses the diocese of keeping secret the indiscretions of a known pedophile priest, quietly transferring him to other parishes to avoid scandal.

The priest was John Patrick Feeney, now 83, who has since been defrocked. He was convicted in 2004 of sexually assaulting two brothers who were 14 and 12 and is serving a 15-year prison term.

An attorney for the plaintiff is asking the diocese to release additional documents that list other clergy members who sexually abused children, but the diocese has resisted such efforts. Its attorneys say the documents contain confidential material such as the names of other victims who want to remain anonymous.

The defense also accused the plaintiff's attorney of seeking the information only "to ascertain whether he can turn any alleged victims into clients to generate additional litigation."

It wasn't clear whether Johnson's statement would change things. When asked whether the diocese would do anything different in light of Johnson's call for transparency, Deacon Ray DuBois declined to say.

His organization doesn't comment on statements from political candidates, he said, even if Johnson once served on its financial council.

"I'm not going to respond, other than to say we're fully cooperating with any proceedings under way," DuBois said.

Johnson, a Lutheran, sat on the diocese's financial council when he argued against a state bill that would have made it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers.

The Child Victims Act, which was defeated, would have erased the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits against child sex abusers. That could have led to a flood of lawsuits against a number of Wisconsin churches.

Opponents of the bill, including Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki, said such lawsuits could drain resources from charitable causes and could drive dioceses under.

Johnson agreed. He told a panel the bill could create "economic havoc" for countless private organizations that serve children.

"I believe it is a valid question to ask whether the employer of a perpetrator should also be severely damaged, or possibly destroyed, in our legitimate desire for justice," he said at the time.

He defended those comments Wednesday, saying they shouldn't be interpreted as sympathetic toward child abusers. He said his concern was simply to warn legislators that the bill as written left open the possibility of unintended consequences against private organizations.

John Kraus, a Feingold campaign spokesman, dismissed that explanation, saying Johnson's true motive was to defeat the legislation outright.

"People deserve a senator who is going to fight for victims of abuse, not lobby against them," Kraus said. "If he won't stand with children who are victims of abuse, voters can't trust him to fight for them."


This article was found at:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-wi-johnson-childpred,0,7531137.story






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Southern Poverty Law Center - Hate Watch September 23, 2010

The Words of Bishop Eddie Long

by Robert Steinback


Long before Bishop Eddie L. Long became embroiled this week in allegations of using his leverage as pastor and mentor to compel three teenage boys into sexual relationships, the leader of the Atlanta-area New Birth Missionary Baptist Church recorded a sermon – and sold copies of it in the church bookstore – denouncing homosexuality and attributing society’s problems to men becoming more like women and women more like men.

“The problem today and the reason why society is like it is, is because men are being feminized and women are becoming masculine,” Long says. He then rejects the notion that homosexual orientation can’t be changed. “You can not say, ‘I was born this way’… I don’t care what scientists say, If you say you were born this way, then you’re saying, ‘God, you’re a liar! And I see this thing down here but I’m going to ignore it!’ ”

With the church’s website down this week, it isn’t known if copies of the undated sermon, entitled “Back to the Future,” are still offered for sale. The Southern Poverty Law Center purchased a VHS copy while producing stories on Long and other African-American church leaders who opposed gay rights for its Spring 2007 edition of Intelligence Report. [see below]





Much of Long’s sermon is devoted to the theme of proper gender roles. “It is the most unattractive thing I have ever seen, when I see women wearing uniforms that men would wear, and women fighting to get in the military!”

Long later mocks lesbians and female self-gratification. “So the woman gets converted, or perverted, to turn towards woman. Why would she turn toward woman? Because, she’ll turn toward woman because woman is acting like man.”

Later, he adds, “…and everybody knows it’s dangerous to enter an exit!”

He continues, “And everybody knows, ladies, if you go to the store and buy this device [marital aids], it’s Memorex! It ain’t real!”

Long later says, “That’s the reason why we got sexual immorality. That’s the reason why there’s a rise in the gay agenda. That is the reason why… Church won’t say nothing — It’s amazing, church folk: ‘Well, I’m gay. Well, ‘Just don’t bother me. Or you can bother me.’ That’s the only statements. You don’t say, ‘and the Lord said.’ You’re out of order. You’ve turned the truth into the lie. You can be converted. You were not born that way! Let me pray with you. Let me tell you, don’t you be conformed to this world. But be ye transformed from the, ‘Well, I don’t know what I am.’ Tell it, take your clothes down, I’ll show you who you are!”

Later, Long says, “And God said, ‘Everybody in here that knows what’s right and ain’t practicing, and every woman that knows what to do, but still want to act like a woman that, of the 90’s that the world has described, God says, and to every man that knows what God is saying to do and you’re still acting like the boys on the corner, “God says you deserve death!”

This article was found at:

http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2010/09/23/the-words-of-bishop-eddie-long/

************************************************************************

Southern Poverty Law Center - Intelligence Report, Spring 2007, Issue Number: 125

Face Right

Black Religious Opposition to Gays Rising

By Brentin Mock


Bishop Eddie Long takes to the pulpit wearing a crisp, two-piece suit. Long's been known to dress down in tight muscle shirts and leather vests when preaching, but for this sermon it's business attire. A flock of young men from his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church near Atlanta surround Long's pulpit.

"We're raising our young boys to be just like the women," he bellows to his congregation, which today numbers more than 25,000 people. "We keep telling men to get in touch with their [sweetens his voice] sensitive self."

Almost 45 minutes into the sermon, captured on a videotape that is for sale in his church's bookstore, Bishop Long grows louder and angrier.

"The problem today and the reason society is like it is, is because men are being feminized and women are being masculine!" he roars. "You can not say, ‘I was born this way.' … I don't care what scientists say!"

The crowd erupts in "amens," laughter and clapping.

Eddie Long is just one example of a growing number of powerful, politically active African-American pastors who are increasingly aligning themselves with the white evangelical Christian leaders who have been building a religiously based anti-gay movement for more than 30 years now. Like their white counterparts, these black anti-gay preachers routinely identify the so-called "homosexual agenda" — not poverty, racism, gang violence, inadequate schools, or unemployment — as the No. 1 threat facing black Americans today. Often, they take their cues from white Christian Right hard-liners like Traditional Values Coalition chairman Louis Sheldon, who told TV pundit Tucker Carlson in January 2006 that homosexuality is "the biggest problem facing inner-city black neighborhoods." Sheldon later delivered the same message to the Congressional Black Caucus, this time accompanied by Bishop Paul Morton, a black anti-gay minister from New Orleans.

Some black ministers have been attracted to the white-dominated religious anti-gay movement by the money and power of white Christian leaders, not to mention "faith-based" grants under the Bush Administration. But it's also obvious that a segment of the black community in America has long had its own negative attitudes toward gays and lesbians. "I'm sure [black ministers] are being co-opted, but they don't need a great deal of co-optation," is how the Rev. Peter Gomes, chaplain of Harvard University, put it to the Village Voice in 2004.

"I think they come to the prejudice on their own."

Attitudes Toward Homosexuality

Public opinion among African Americans on matters concerning homosexuality is a complex phenomenon. On the one hand, African Americans are more likely than other groups to support anti-discrimination legislation protecting gays and lesbians — a reflection of their deep commitment to the ideals of equality in light of their own history of second-class citizenship.

On the other hand, polls typically show that African Americans are more likely than other groups to disapprove of homosexuality — a reflection, in large part, of factors such as the deep level of religious conviction among African Americans. As is true for many white Americans, it is not surprising that some of the most adamant opponents of gays and lesbians among black communities speak from the pulpit.

The fire of anti-gay prejudice among African Americans has been stoked by other sources as well. "Disapproval of homosexuality has been a characteristic of much of the black-nationalist ideology," Harvard African American Studies professor Henry Louis Gates wrote in The Greatest Taboo: Homosexuality in Black Communities.

Louis Farrakhan, ailing leader of the black nationalist Nation of Islam, has been a constant critic of homosexuality. "God don't like men coming to men with lust in their hearts like you should go to a female," he told a Kansas City crowd in 1996. "If you think that the kingdom of God is going to be filled up with that kind of degenerate crap, you're out of your damn mind."

The Million Man March and Millions More Movement, both Nation of Islam creations, were more heavily attended by black Christians and their ministers — Christians who found themselves very much in tune with the Nation's ideas about homosexuality — than by black Muslims like those who make up the Nation. Those tenets hold that homosexuality, along with all other "sexual perversions," originated exclusively among white Europeans. This sentiment, also popularized by black Christian ministers throughout Africa, holds that gays and lesbians, and especially black gays and lesbians, are culpable in the destruction of black civilization.

"What Farrakhan says is just a clear and pointed example of what basically underlies the theology and social actions of our African-American communities and churches," Rev. Irene Monroe, a lesbian black minister from Massachusetts, wrote in her essay, "Louis Farrakhan's Ministry of Misogyny and Homophobia."

"What's surprising," Monroe added in a recent interview, "is that the same kind of fervor that was employed in the last election to vote down same-sex marriage is the same fervor African Americans once experienced too around civil rights. It's a shame. It's amazing how hatred can motivate people."

But not all militant black leaders have expressed antipathy like Farrakhan's toward homosexual people. In 1970, the year after New York's Stonewall Riots — a watershed moment for the gay liberation movement sparked by a police raid on a gay bar frequented by blacks and Latinos — Black Panthers co-founder Huey Newton officially embraced the gay liberation movement. Newton said that homosexual people "might be the most oppressed in the society" at the Revolutionary People's Constitutional Convention that year.

"The terms 'faggot' and 'punk' should be deleted from our vocabulary," Newton later wrote. "Homosexuals are not enemies of the people."

Fanning the Flames

White leaders of the Christian Right have long sought to recruit blacks into their anti-gay crusade. Conservative Christian organizations with multimillion-dollar budgets have funneled money to black anti-gay churches through programs such as the Christian Coalition's ill-fated "Samaritan Project," which aimed to raise millions of dollars for black churches that "promote family values." (The Samaritan Project disintegrated after black employees sued the Christian Coalition in 2001 for allegedly forcing black workers to enter through the back door and take their breaks in segregated rooms. The coalition settled the case out of court.)

As far back as 1994, when far-right evangelicals were revving up to do battle with the Clinton Administration, Sheldon and his Traditional Values Coalition worked with several black churches to produce the "Gay Rights/Special Rights" pseudo-documentary, designed to pit African Americans against gay Americans by presenting the struggle for gay rights as a leech upon the legacy of the civil rights movement.

Homophobic white evangelicals have also made it their business to preach directly to black audiences. Rod Parsley, the head of the World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the anti-gay evangelical movement's shining stars, a man who routinely spreads such falsehoods as the idea that homosexuals die at the average age of 43 and that only 1% will die of old age. He also enjoys substantial crossover appeal among African Americans, who make up about 45% of his 12,000-member congregation.

In addition, the faith-based funding initiatives of the current Bush Administration provide financial incentives for black preachers to promote a marriage agenda that's hostile to gays and lesbians, through federal programs such as the $1.5 billion Healthy Marriage Initiative. That initiative provides funding to religious groups, mostly in inner-city areas, to promote "healthy marriages," defined as "married families with two biological parents."

After Bishop Long received a $1 million faith-based grant from the U.S. Administration for Children & Families in 2004, Esther Kaplan — a well-known commentator and author of the 2005 book With God on Their Side: George W. Bush and the Christian Right — told the Atlanta gay newspaper Southern Voice, "It cannot be bad for your career as a black minister at this point to speak out against gay marriage."

Support for anti-gay causes, of course, is far from universal among black church leaders. For instance, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago whose congregation includes Sen. Barack Obama, has come out strongly against allowing anti-gay prejudice to become gospel in black churches. His church is one of the few that has a "Same Gender Loving" ministry for congregants. One of Wright's close associates, black theologian and public intellectual Michael Eric Dyson, also has publicly supported the gay community.

Civil vs. Gay Rights

Today, more and more black preachers across the country are picking up the idea that gay rights activists have no right to cite the civil rights movement. These preachers are now becoming the new advance guard in the hard-line Christian Right's crusade to religiously and politically condemn homosexuals. They are demonizing gays in fiery sermons and hammering the message that gay rights and civil rights are not only separate issues, but also opposing forces.

Rev. Dwight McKissic, a black Texas pastor, argued last year that classifying the gay rights movement as part of the larger civil rights struggle is "insulting, offensive, demeaning, and racist." He spoke at the 2006 "Values Voters Summit," a conservative political action conference sponsored by the nation's dominant anti-gay evangelical organization, James Dobson's Focus on the Family. Also last year, anti-gay African-American Bishop Eugene Rivers told The Boston Globe, "The gay community is pimping the civil rights movement."

Of course, many gay and lesbian activists see it just the other way around — they believe that white evangelical hard-liners are cynically using compliant African-American pastors to serve their own purposes.

At "Justice Sunday III," a January 2006 religious conference sponsored by two white-led organizations, the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, black ministers stood by as white evangelicals compared the "struggles" of conservative Christians to those of black Americans in the 1960s.

For his part, the late Martin Luther King Jr., generally seen as the godfather of the civil rights movement, never spoke directly to homosexuality, although Bayard Rustin, an openly gay black man and King confidant, orchestrated the 1963 March on Washington. Others who worked closely with King say that no matter what one thinks about the origins of homosexuality, all people should enjoy equality. "You can have a variance of opinion on sexual orientation," veteran civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson told a crowd of Microsoft executives on Martin Luther King Day this January. "But what should not vary is protection under the law."

Yet when King's widow Coretta Scott King died last year, her memorial service was held at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga. — the sprawling church pastored by Bishop Eddie Long, a man who has informed his congregants that God tells homosexuals that "you deserve death." Bernice King, the youngest daughter of the King family, is a minister at New Birth and, despite her mother's opposite views, an outspoken opponent of gay rights. (Outside, members of the Westboro Baptist Church led by white anti-gay extremist Fred Phelps picketed King's funeral with signs reading, "No Fags in King's Dream.")

As the debate over gay rights continues to heat up, African-American pastors preaching anti-gay theology along the lines of Bishop Long are increasingly visible — particularly in regions with large gay populations, such as the areas around Washington, D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle and the Northeast generally. At the same time, the split between those who despise gays and others in black America is widening.

The views of those who support gay rights are probably best summed up by Coretta King, who advocated for gay rights right up to her death. In 1998, speaking on the 30th anniversary of her husband's death, she made that plain.

"I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice," the civil rights leader's widow told her audience. "But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people."

This article was found at:

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2007/spring/face-right

*****************************************************************************
Slate - September 27, 2010

God's Bigmouths

Men like Bishop Eddie Long are fouling the legacy of the civil rights movement.

By Christopher Hitchens


Passing through Union Station in Washington, D.C., last week, I made my usual nod to the statue of A. Phillip Randolph. You can miss it if you are not looking for it, and it has been allowed to suffer defacement. (The sculpted pair of reading glasses held in the great man's hand was snapped off some years ago and was never replaced.) Randolph built a powerful trade union for black railroad workers and proposed the first march on Washington when Franklin Roosevelt was president. His role in the later civil rights movement was germinal and dynamic. But you never hear his name anymore, and it is not taught to schoolchildren. Nor is the name of Bayard Rustin, a charismatic black intellectual and pioneer of gay rights, who organized the March on Washington in 1963. Along with many other secular democratic heroes, Randolph and Rustin have been airbrushed from history. The easiest way to gain instant acceptance as a black "leader" these days is to shove the word Reverend in front of your name.

Or, if you are really greedy and ambitious, the word Bishop. Bishop Eddie Long of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia preaches that Bayard Rustin was a vile sinner who suffered from the curable "disease" of homosexuality. I have a rule of thumb for such clerics and have never known it to fail: Set your watch and sit back, and pretty soon they will be found sprawling lustily on the floor of the men's room. It may be a bit early to claim the scalp of Eddie Long for this collection, but I doubt I shall have to withdraw. Here, after all, is what his friend the Rev. Timothy McDonald III, of the First Iconium Baptist Church (no less!), has to say: "This is the issue: how can you be against homosexuality and you are allegedly participating in it? That is the epitome of hypocrisy." Cynicism and naivete seem to coexist happily in this statement. The Rev. McDonald does not quite seem to believe the rather unimpressive denials issued by his richly draped brother in Christ. And he talks as if fevered denunciation of homosexuality has never before been an early warning of repressed desire.

One of his alleged partners in depravity may have been on the borderline of the age of consent, but otherwise I can't make myself care about whether the self-anointed Bish was rogering his flock. What concerns me isn't even the laughable obviousness of his cupidity: the jewels and gold chains and limos and bodyguards. This is all a familiar part of the tawdry business of "Churchianity" now finding loopholes for the rich and venal at a well-upholstered religious establishment somewhere near you. No, what offends me is that Long was able to get four presidents of the United States to attend his opulent circus for the funeral of Coretta Scott King in 2006. What a steep and awful decline from the mule cart that carried her husband's coffin in 1968. And the decline can be measured out in dog collars, from the Rev. Jesse Jackson all the way down to the Rev. Al Sharpton and the venomous Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Many other charlatans have benefited from the clerical racket, and the most notorious of them—Jerry Falwell, Ted Haggard, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart—have been white. But there is something especially horrible about the way in which the black pulpit gets a sort of free pass, almost as if white society has assured itself that black Americans just love them some preaching. In this fog of ethnic condescension, it is much easier for mountebanks and demagogues to get away with it.

It is not amazing to me that the Bish is still standing and getting moist applause from the pews after the testimony of his boys brigade of LongFellows. (What the hell is that name, if not a giveaway?) It is amazing that he is still around after the ceaseless exposure of his personal finances. What I should like to know is this: How much of that funding and expenditure has been tax-deductible or written off as "charitable"? In a time of widespread discussion of the spread of the tax burden, why is it never proposed that the vast sums raised by the churches be subject to the scrutiny of the IRS? And still another question: In 2006, Long's church received about $1 million of U.S. taxpayers' money from the "faith-based initiative" of the George W. Bush administration. It was suggested at the time that this might be a quid pro quo for the Bish's militant stand against gay marriage and other homosexual abominations. If so, it would make my follow-up question even more amusing: How did Long and his young friends, "bonded" as they were in strong male "covenants," actually spend our cash?

To those young friends, then, "Thank you all very much for coming out"—as Sen. Larry Craig actually did say at the opening of his own post-men's-room press conference. The day can't be far off when Long follows the traditional script and starts to yowl for prayer and repentance. And this would all be the greatest fun if it didn't also involve the degradation of the King family and the steady erosion of the real memory of the civil rights movement, which is not safe when left in the keeping of God's bigmouths and tree-shakers.

This article was found at:

http://www.slate.com/id/2268796/


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CNN - September 29, 2010

Accuser's message for Bishop Eddie Long: 'You are a monster'


By the CNN Wire Staff


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Long drops plans to attend Florida pastor installation
  • "I cannot forget the way that he made me cry," accuser tells WAGA
  • The lawsuits allege that the pastor enticed young male church members into sex
  • Long's spokesman says the televangelist "categorically" denies the allegations

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- A prominent Georgia pastor accused of sexual coercion has canceled plans to attend a pastor installation at a Florida church, a spokeswoman for that church said, "due to recent developments."

Pastor Eddie Long had planned to travel to Miami for the installation of a new pastor at Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church this weekend, spokeswoman Beverly Rodrigues said.

But four lawsuits filed last week accusing the televangelist of coercing young male church members into having sex with him, changed his plans.

"He was involved in the installation service of our new pastor, Rev. Jeremy Upton," Rodrigues said. "Bishop Long sent us a letter informing us that he would not be attending due to recent developments."

One of the young men who has accused Long told Atlanta television station WAGA that he wanted to send a message to Long: "You are not a man. You are a monster."

"I cannot get the sound of his voice out of my head, I cannot forget the smell of his cologne and I cannot forget the way that he made me cry many nights when I drove in his cars on the way home," Jamal Parris, 23, told a WAGA reporter who traveled to Colorado to interview him.

Parris -- a former church employee and personal assistant to Long -- filed one of four lawsuits last week accusing the Baptist televangelist of coercing young male church members into having sex with him.

Long's spokesman, Art Franklin, has said that the pastor "categorically and adamantly denies" the allegations, adding that they were "a case of retaliation and a shakedown for money by men with some serious credibility issues."

Long's Attorney Craig Gillen said Wednesday that Long's accusers and their lawyers were unfairly trying the pastor in the media.

"The appropriate place to try lawsuits is in the courtroom," Gillen said. "There are rules on how civil litigation is to take place and how counsel should conduct themselves, we intend to follow those rules."

Speaking from the pulpit of his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Sunday, Long said he would fight the allegations, but did not address specific accusations.

"I am not the man that has been portrayed on television," he told his congregation.

Again, on Tuesday night, Long alluded to the lawsuits, telling his congregation that sometimes he has to speak in code and with "encrypted messages" that the media would not understand.

"I am not speaking about individuals and all of that," he said. "This is spiritual warfare. And I pray for mercy for all who are involved."

Parris told WAGA that his suffering was real, and he had a message for Long.

"That man cannot look me in the eye and tell me we did not live this pain. While you can sit in front of the church and tell them that you categorically deny it, you can't say that to our face," he said. "And you know this. You are not a man. You are a monster."

Parris' suit accuses Long of manipulating and deceiving him into thinking the sexual acts were a "healthy component of his spiritual life," giving him, money, trips and gifts.

It says Parris left the church in late 2009, "disillusioned, confused and angry about his relationship with Defendant Long."

Parris joined New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in 2001, when he was 14. Long counseled Parris when the latter talked about his strained relationship with his father and got him a job as a summer camp counselor at New Birth, the suit states.

"What you have to understand is this man manipulated us from childhood. This was our father and we loved him," Parris told WAGA.

The lawsuits accuse Long of using his power and influence within the 25,000-member church to lure young male church members into sexual relationships. The suits allege that the relationships, which began when the men were in their teens, lasted over many months.

Long took the young men -- all of them teens at the time -- on trips, including to Kenya, according to the suits. He allegedly enticed the young men with gifts including cars, clothes, jewelry and electronic items.

Long engaged in intimate sexual acts with the young men, such as massages, masturbation and oral sex, the lawsuits say.

The accusations are particularly controversial because Long, who is married, has preached passionately against homosexuality over the years.

"I've been accused, I'm under attack," Long told his suburban Atlanta congregation Sunday.

"I want you to know, as I said earlier, that I am not a perfect man. But this thing, I'm going to fight," he said. "I feel like David against Goliath, but I've got five rocks and I haven't thrown one yet."

This article was found at:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/09/29/georgia.pastor.sex.charges/index.html


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