Honorable mention — Elizabeth Cullen: Women’s rights and bibliolatry in the United States

By Elizabeth Cullen

It is well-known that men and women are prescribed different roles by the bible. Those Christians who practice a literal interpretation of the book preach that women should be submissive and seen but not heard. Just as dangerous to society are those who interpret the spirit of the text, because although they may grant women more rights and broader roles, completely discarding the underlying attitude of male dominance is incompatible with a biblical lifestyle. This has historically caused hurdles for women in the workplace and limited domestic protections. The #Metoo movement represents a drastic move away from the biblical oppression of women, and by harnessing the momentum of the movement, we as a society may be able to resolve many of the issues women face.

The bible often describes the relationship between man and wife, almost exclusively to the theme of female oppression. Although in the first creation story of Genesis, God creates man and woman at the same time, the second creation story takes a different tone. In the second creation story, Eve is presented both as subservient to Adam and as more flawed. In the story, God creates Eve as a companion from Adam’s rib, thus symbolizing male preeminence as well as women’s role as supporters of men. Later on, Eve is tempted by the serpent, eats the apple, and then offers it to Adam. This story places blame for Adam’s sin on Eve, who is presented as the original source of sin in the world.

Both literal and figurative interpretations of this story provide a biblical justification for victim blaming, especially in cases of sexual assault, as Eve’s actions with the apple allegorize a female temptress seducing a man.

It seems inconsistent that women are both blamed for seducing men while also being bound by the law to submit. Ecclesiastes 7:26 states: “And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.” Contradictingly, Colossians 3:18 says: “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as it is fitting in the Lord.”

In addition to marriage roles, the bible presents numerous rules and guidelines for women’s behavior in public and places in society. According to Leviticus, women are forbidden to become priests. Other classes excluded from the priesthood include the sick and disabled. The Hebrews believed that anyone with a defect was ill-suited to approach the altar, and it is very telling that women are placed in this category. Proverbs 11:22 restricts the types of behaviors that are becoming for women, “like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.” First Corinthians has much to say about women’s behavior, including in verse 14:34: “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submissions, as the law says.”

Both the Old and New Testaments provide dress codes for women that are stricter than those for men.

Deuteronomy 22:5 (Old Testament) states: “A woman shall not wear man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the lord your God.” Although most Christians would consider the laws of Deuteronomy to pertain only to the Hebrews of the Old Covenant, the same general attitude about women’s dress continues into the gospels and letters. First Corinthians mentions several times that women should keep their hair long, and First Timothy 2:9-10 states: “Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control.”

All of these examples from the bible have long informed public policy in the United States, but there has been a dramatic change in recent discourse. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 inaugurated the fight for gender equality in the workplace, but there is still work to be done as a society through legislation. The #Metoo movement has brought women’s rights to the forefront of public discussion, and there is momentum to tighten harassment laws through bills such as the Me Too Congress Act of 2017. Our country is p

Elizabeth Cullen

oised for dramatic change in the protection of women, as the current liberal galvanization provides both a widespread desire for change and strength to move forward. Harassment, equal pay and sufficient maternity leave are just some of the issues that can be resolved through aggressive legislation and enforcement, and it is encouraging to see this happening throughout our country.

Elizabeth, 29, from Shepherd, Mich., attends Michigan State University and is seeking a master’s in finance and supply chain management. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with an undergraduate degree in music education. Elizabeth already holds a Master’s of Music degree from Central Michigan University.

Honorable mention — Shelby Burton: Laughing at the Lemon test

By Shelby Burton

In founding America, the Constitution’s framers strived for the United States to become a secular nation where no one would be subjected to the theology of the rulers. Unfortunately, we have a surplus of rulers who have trained our citizens to see “religious freedom” as freedom for the religious majority to suppress the will of the rest of the country, as opposed to “freedom from religion,” as it was intended.

Despite the Lemon test, a ruling by the Supreme Court in 1971 that the government cannot specifically endorse a religious belief that doesn’t fulfill a secular purpose, officials are pandering to a base that intends to create laws that fulfill exclusively religious purposes. New candidates are being elected to carry out this misguided and unconstitutional task, as well.

As a future medical provider, I’m particularly concerned about the continued teaching of creationism in public schools. Unfortunately, when we continue to misinform students in even basic science courses by failing to explain evolution, anyone pursuing a future profession like mine is at a disadvantage among peers by being introduced to such a crucial topic late in her education. Furthermore, when the public has no grasp of evolution, they’re subject to a lack of understanding of mechanisms that directly impact them, such as antiretroviral therapy, antibiotic resistance and climate change. Less benign than ignorance is the outright contempt and discrimination justified in the name of religion, codified into laws.

While I was in college, my town was trying to pass what was called a “non-discrimination ordinance” to add gender identity and orientation to the protected classes, allowing townspeople to combat homophobia. In letters to the editor, people opposing the bill only cited religious reasons for why LGBTQ people shouldn’t share their rights. In other states, legislators have cited religious freedom as an excuse to stigmatize people they don’t agree with — leaving those people defenseless against an onslaught that’s difficult enough to face on a personal level, let alone a legal one. The same problem is faced by women seeking reproductive rights. The extremism exhibited — to the point of defunding public health services because of a small proportion of controversial practices — especially impacts those who most need the law on their side. The law is being used as a weapon with which true believers can carry out “the will of God.” When the death sentence is proposed as a punishment for women who have an abortion, it’s obvious we have strayed from our constitutional purpose. It creates a state of fear when low-income women have no access to family planning tools and then must be wary that their legislators want to kill them for having an abortion.

The most concerning of these infringements on rights and progress is the underlying mentality that has been a

Shelby Burton

llowed to permeate our society. Religious voters recently have been electing individuals who will fight for their “religious freedom” at the expense of true religious freedom or, in some cases, any freedom at all. When people are willing to select candidates carrying out unconstitutional goals, as in the case of Roy Moore and Mike Pence, we arrive in our current state of affairs. It’s this lack of concern for those unlike us — especially in a country that was intended to allow equal rights for all — that points to a much deeper problem. This imposition of one set of beliefs upon others who do not share those beliefs denies them the true freedom they were promised as Americans.

Shelby, 26, from Henderson, Nev., attends Touro University Nevada. She is working toward a D.O. degree in osteopathic medicine. As an undergrad, she attended Rocky Mountain College and graduated with a degree in biology. She hopes to become a pediatric oncologist.

Photos, cartoons, marquees (Nov. 2018)

U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney and FFRF’s Greater Sacramento Chapter President Judy Saint each accepted a prestigious award at the annual California Freethought Day on the grounds of the State Capitol building on Oct. 14.

Sacramento chapter represents

FFRF’s Greater Sacramento Chapter participated in the California Freethought Day Festival, handing out or selling FFRF nontracts, stickers, shirts and Dan Barker’s books. Chapter President Judy Saint remarked, “We spoke with so many more people this year at our booth than in previous years. The public definitely counts on FFRF to act for all of us in this time of heavy religious infiltration into government.”

Judy reports that some visitors took her aside to tell their horror tales, and even slipped cash into her hand for the chapter as their sign of appreciation and encouragement.

Speakers and attendees at the festival included notable leaders such as Debbie Allen of Secular Coalition for America, Rebecca Friedman of Ask an Atheist radio show, U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney, who co-founded the Freethought Caucus, Rebecca Hensler, founder of Grief Beyond Belief, Evan Clark and Ryan Bell of Secular Student Alliance, and others.  This annual freethought event gives freethinkers throughout the state a venue for encouragement, insights, hope, leadership training, and entertainment of a secular nature, on the public tree-lined grounds of the California Capitol building. The Sacramento Chapter also participated in the annual Leadership Conference always held the day prior to the main event.

Thanks to Janet Thew and John Lucas, chapter board members, and Kathy Johnson and Marc Thew for their steadfast help!

FFRF’s Greater Sacramento Chapter President Judy Saint hands literature to a lifelong local activist during the annual California Freethought Day Festival.

Letterbox (Nov. 2018)

South Carolina governor prays, quotes scripture

South Carolina’s Republican Gov. Henry McMaster prayed and quoted bible scriptures on every televised conference he had during the hurricane. I actually laughed and emailed the governor’s office and reminded him of church and state separation. He should not be quoting bible scriptures or having other people quoting scriptures at any time, especially during a disaster like Hurricane Florence. If they felt they should pray to a fairytale god, they should do it on their own time and not in public. That’s not why you get paid from taxpayers’ money.

Stewart Singletary

South Carolina


Thanks, FFRF, for the ad in the N.Y. Times

Thank you, a bit late, for the great full-page ad (“It’s time to consider quitting the Catholic Church”) in The New York Times. It really catches your eye! It’s a great public service. I hope you received some good responses to it.

I have been getting my copies of Freethought Today and reading them cover to cover. I am so glad I rejoined FFRF. What great articles, letters and bios! It makes me feel like I could picket again!

Jan Moffitt

Massachusetts


Message of hope more comforting than prayers

Karen Barron is a Life Member of FFRF. Some of Karen’s friends sent her religious prayers of hope to help sustain her in her fight against cancer. However comforting these prayers may be to those who sent them, they are of no help to Karen, so she wrote her own, needs-no-god, inspirational “prayer of hope.”

I Will Keep Hope

I will keep hope,

however slight it is;

hope for a good week,

hope for a good day,

hope for a good moment. 

Hope for more ease.

I will keep hope through all suffering and loss and darkness. 

I will keep the last hint of hope close to my heart. 

Hope for simple comfort, for peace, for acceptance. 

I will hope for those left behind, hope for all life.

I will hope that tomorrow is yet a chance for more hope.

Jim Barron

Washington


Catholic League rating poor compared to FFRF’s

Of the more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations evaluated by Charity Navigator, fewer than 30,000 earn a four-star rating, the highest bestowed. I was pleased to discover that the FFRF has earned that sterling rating for eight consecutive years, with an overall score of 97.17 (out of a possible 100) assigned in February 2018. Meanwhile, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a constant critic of the FFRF, has been assigned a dismal two-star rating, with a pathetic overall score of 77.17. Blowhard Bill Donohue, the league’s president, earned a salary of $483,000, amounting to fully 16 percent of his organization’s revenues based on the most recent financial statement.  I guess having to defend the Church from its burgeoning clerical sex abuse scandal does have its rewards, if not in heaven, then in this life. 

Dennis Middlebrooks

New York


Seeking to be 1st openly atheist Eagle Scout

I am in fifth grade and have to do my Boy Scouts “Duty to God” requirement again. This year, I am going to join FFRF. That is my duty!

I am glad to know that the Boy Scouts now allow nontheists such as Buddhists, Unitarians and Jains to join. But this still contradicts the Scouts’ statement “that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.”

I know that more than half of the kids in my Scout den do not believe in God. So, basically, it’s a lot of us kids lying. Kids are lying so they can make Eagle Scout. However, I am very opposed to lying about my atheism.

I have eight years to complete the rank of Eagle Scout. It is my goal to be the first openly atheist Eagle Scout, but I would be happy if someone beat me to it.

Trenton Downing

California 


Contest winner gets at how Christianity began

I cannot stop chuckling to myself about the caption contest winner from the October issue.

I memorized the limerick. It is so clever and so well done.

Then, I got to thinking: So, this is how the Christian religion got started!

Pat Hall

California

Editor’s note: Here is the limerick, written by Steve Haack, that Pat references:

“There once was a woman named Mary,

Whose impotent husband was wary,

So she claimed it was God,

Who slipped her the rod,

It was really a shepherd named Larry.”


‘In Reason We Trust’ stamper a great buy

I love my “In Reason We Trust” stamper! For years, I would carefully mark out “God” and print “Good” in its place on my money. Now it just takes a nanosecond to de-God my cash.

Before my friend went on a vacation in Utah, I stamped all of his bills that he was going to hand over to the Mormons. It felt great!

I think all of our members should purchase this stamper. It not only spreads the word, it also feels so good.

Ed Burk Colorado

Editor’s note: To order a stamper, go to shop.ffrf.org. See our ad on page 11.


Student essayists were eloquent, poignant, brave

It was with great pleasure that I read the “Students of Color” essays in the September edition.

The eloquence displayed by every single entry left me spellbound, and my emotions were further moved by the poignance of each writer’s personal challenge of being a freethinker in a heightened environment of bigotry and prejudice. I think it’s hard enough being an atheist as a privileged white person.

Because of the social ostracism and loneliness that that people of color must face to embrace logic and reason, these young people rise to the level of heroes in my eyes. And because they have come to their level of reason in more of a vacuum, it makes their words even more powerful.

To all the essayists, you have moved me, and this letter is a dedication to your convictions and bravery. I look up to you all.

Cliff Cuhna

Idaho


Making good on a pledge to support FFRF

I made a pledge to myself, and to a very conservative friend, that if Brett Kavanaugh was approved by the Senate for the Supreme Court, I would become a Lifetime Member of FFRF. I have done so. Go to work.

John Roberg

Minnesota


I enjoy every issue of Freethought Today

Thanks for your wonderful newspaper! I always enjoy it a lot!

Steven Roesch

California


Thanks to everyone at FFRF for all you do

Many thanks to all of you at FFRF to free us from the utter nonsense of religion.

Joanie Barker Nichols

Washington


Essay winners are role models for nonreligious

I was deeply moved by the “Students of Color” essays and congratulate them on their bravery. A time will come when you are free of economic dependence on religious families, and can operate freely to build a sensible society.

It is sad to read of many of you being ostracized by family and friends. You may find it safer to be alone, at least for a while. You are already role models for all nonreligious youth.

On another topic, I saw this sign at the local Baptist church: “All of creation shows the beauty of God.” Really? Alligators, rats, lice, poison ivy?

David M. Shea

Maryland


We need more women in leadership roles

Pedophilia is a crime. Discrimination against women is inhuman and morally nauseating. Awarding tax advantages to organizations practicing these notions is repulsive, against common sense and possibly in contradiction of the law. I would like to propose a new law significantly decreasing the probability of both of these menaces: Any tax-exempt organization should prove that at least 50 percent of its leadership is female. That’s it.

Being reasonable, existing religious tax-exempt groups will lose only 20 percent of their tax-exempt status each year until they satisfy this simple criterion. I firmly believe that the Vatican wouldn’t cover up the crimes of pedophile clergy under the leadership of a female pope. A female mullah won’t send her children to holy war, etc. Everybody wins!

Dr. Peter Szabo

Florida


Youth may save us from theocratic rule

As indicated by a recent survey of freshman students at Universty of California-San Diego, every cloud has a silver lining. The category for religious affiliation shows that nearly 50 percent of our young population shares the nonbelief of FFRF. If a majority of them vote, we may save this country from theocratic rule.

Warren Dunn

California


So that’s what was   meant in Leviticus!

For those who haven’t heard, Washington state recently passed two laws. It legalized gay marriage and legalized marijuana.

The fact that gay marriage and marijuana were legalized on the same day makes perfect biblical sense. Leviticus 20:13 says: “If a man lies with another man, they should be stoned.” Apparently we just hadn’t interpreted it correctly before!

Madison Arnold

New York

Secular invocation: Nick Lee

Nick Lee

San Antonio Council

Nick Lee

Sept. 13, 2018

Mayor, Council Members: This morning, I do not ask you to bow your heads in prayer. Rather, I draw your attention to the citizens who are gathered here today to do business with the city. They come from all parts of the city, and from different economic circumstances and ethnic backgrounds. Yet, they all hope to receive from you an equitable hearing of their concerns.

And beyond this room, I ask you to remember all one-and-a-half million people whom you are collectively pledged to serve. Bear in mind the diversity of cultures, economic interests and religious backgrounds which are represented in this community. In terms of religion, this includes not only the many varieties of Christians, but also Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, atheists and others. At this point, I draw your attention to the religious leaders who are gathered behind me here this morning in support of this secular invocation.

Every citizen of San Antonio looks to each of you to apply wisdom, integrity, and rational thinking to the affairs of the city, and to treat all fairly and without favor. As a secular humanist, I believe that we have the power within ourselves to solve life’s problems and challenges through logic, reason, compassion, and compromise. As our elected representatives, we hope your decisions today will be based on the common good and with an eye to their impact on all citizens and on future generations.

On behalf of the many atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and secular humanists who live and work in this community and contribute to its prosperity, I thank you for this opportunity to present what I believe to be the first secular invocation in the 300-year history of the city of San Antonio. I hope it will not be the last.

Thank you.

Nick is the past president of Freethinkers Association of Central Texas, a past vice president of Texas Freethought Convention, a past president of Atheist Alliance International, and  a past Chair of Secular Coalition for Texas. 

Black Collar Crime (Nov. 2018)

Compiled by Bill Dunn

Arrested / Charged

David English Jr., 33, Joanna, SC: 2nd-degree domestic violence and unlawful conduct toward a child. English, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Clinton, is accused of assaulting his wife, Jennifer Bunting English, and of being aware of her drug addiction and of taking her to buy illegal drugs.

Bunting English, 31, is charged with kidnapping and unlawful conduct toward a child for taking a 2-month-old child she was babysitting to her home and refusing to communicate with the mother. The child was recovered 3 hours later. Source: WYFf, 9-24-18

Franco Mulakkal, 54, Jalandhar, India: Rape. Mulakkal, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, is accused of raping a Missionaries of Jesus nun in her 40s at least 13 times in 2014-16. The Vatican relieved him of his duties at his request.

The alleged victim filed a 114-page police complaint in June and also accused Mulakkal of sending her inappropriate text messages and obscene photos. He denied the allegations and said he’ll accept the death penalty if they’re proven. India has about 27 million Christians, about 2.3% of the population. Source: BBC/Washington Post, 9-21-18

Gary Miller, 41, Springfield, IL: Forcible rape and forcible sodomy. Miller was pastor in 2012 at Sycamore Baptist Church when his accuser said she got a letter from an anonymous sender that threatened harm against her loved ones if she didn’t video herself having sex with Miller. After she told Miller, they met and he allegedly told her he didn’t want to have sex but felt like he had no choice.

The woman eventually gave in and Miller recorded the encounter, an affidavit said, and he then tucked her into bed and prayed with her. Police only recently became aware of the alleged scheme while they were investigating other abuse allegations against Miller. Source: News-Leader, 9-19-18

James C. Landes, 28, Bryan, TX: Online solicitation of a minor. Landes, junior high youth minister at First United Methodist Church, is charged with arranging to have sex with an undercover officer he thought was a 14-year-old girl. He allegedly agreed to meet at a public park during a work break but later messaged the officer that he couldn’t because of time constraints, adding he would “make it up to you.” Source: Bryan Eagle, 9-16-18

Shin Ok-ju, pastor of Grace Road Church, and 3 senior church leaders were arrested in S. Korea and charged with beating church members in Korea and others who had relocated with them in 2014 to Fiji to escape a predicted famine. It’s also alleged she confiscated passports, forced people to work without pay and perform ritual beatings on each other on so-called “threshing floors.” The church has branches around the world, including in the U.S.

Videos show Shin calling members forward during her sermons, hitting them on the face and pulling and cutting their hair. In one she tells a girl to slap a woman, believed to be her mother, while saying “you’re hitting the cheeks of the enemy.” The girl hits the woman 25 times. Later the woman is shown repeatedly hitting the girl and pulling her hair. Source: The Guardian, 9-16-18

José U. Rendon, 52, Nacogdoches, TX: Continuous sexual abuse of a child. Rendon, pastor at Iglesia Templo De Fe, is accused of more than 50 assaults on a child in 2004-05. Rendon had agreed to meet with investigators but never showed up and is considered a fugitive from justice. Source: Morning Telegraph, 9-13-18

Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, 60, Richmond, TX: 4 counts of indecency with a child. He’s accused of offenses when he was pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe. A girl who attended the parish school where he taught alleged in 2001 to the Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston that La Rosa-Lopez kissed her and touched her breasts in April 2000 in the church kitchen after a rehearsal for “The Passion of the Christ” play. He allegedly told her they couldn’t have sex until she turned 16.

In August 2018, a 36-year-old man alleged to the archdiocese that the priest molested him when he was a high school student between 1998 and October 1999.

Daniel DiNardo, archbishop since 2006 and now a cardinal, has come under fire recently. The woman alleged DiNardo promised her several years after she reported the abuse that La Rosa-Lopez would be removed from any contact with children but later found out he remained in active ministry at St. John Fisher Parish, about 70 miles away.

The man said he was told that reports were filed with civil authorities but, according to court documents, a police investigator searched for those records and didn’t find any. Source: KTRK, 8-12-18

Dmitri J. Daniels, 18, Miami Gardens, FL: Sexual battery. Daniels, a parishioner and youth volunteer at Mt. Pisgah Seventh-day Adventist Church, allegedly assaulted a 5-year-old girl. “He had shown the victim in this case pornographic materials and in essence demonstrated or showed her what he wanted her to do,” said police Capt. Al Xiques, adding that Daniels “had the opportunity to be around children on a regular basis.” Source: CBS Miami, 9-11-18

Christian Ohazulume, 50, Dorchester, MA: 3 counts of aggravated indecent assault and battery of a child under 14. Ohazulume, a Catholic priest and chaplain at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, is accused of assaulting a girl when she was 7 or 8 in 2007 when he lived with her family after coming from Nigeria. Source: KTRK, 9-11-18

Kristina L. Casey, 48, Vermilion, OH: 3 counts of theft. Casey, treasurer at Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Lorain, is charged with writing about $80,000 worth of unauthorized checks to herself. Source: Morning Journal, 9-10-18

Sean E. Gaines, 43, Hampton, VA: 3 counts of indecent liberties with child by custodian and 7 counts of carnal knowledge of a child 13 to 15 years old. Gaines, pastor at Empowerment Temple and former pastor at Rising St. James Pentecostal Holiness Church, allegedly took a girl who was living with his family to a hotel to have sex. He’s married with 2 children. The girl told police their relationship started in May 2017 and ended in February. Source: WAVY, 9-7-18

Pāvels Zeila, 73, a Catholic priest in eastern Latvia, is accused of sexual abuse of a person in a state of helplessness. “One of the suspects delivered the defenseless victim for a fee. The church representative, who was the end buyer, paid the fee and then committed violent sexual crimes against the victim,” said Armands Lubarts, chief of a police task force on human trafficking in Riga. Source: Radio Latvia, 9-6-18

Charles T. Hanel, 61, Pewaukee, WI: 2nd-degree sexual assault. Hanel, pastor at Queen of Apostles Catholic Parish, is accused of groping a 13-year-old girl’s breast and leg in the confessional in December 2017. He denies the allegation.

The girl, who was a lector and altar server, reported the incident to police as Hanel was preparing to return to the parish from a months-long sabbatical, the complaint said, and she told her father she thought Hanel was “creepy” and “weird.” Source: Journal Sentinel, 9-5-18

Robert W. Rector, 29, Vancouver, WA: Assault with sexual motivation and 4 counts of child molestation. Rector, a volunteer youth leader at New Heights Church and with other church and civic groups, is charged with assaults on 3 teen boys on church trips or sleepovers at his home as long ago as a decade.

One boy alleged he woke up with his genitals exposed and Rector standing over him with a camera. Source: KGW, 9-5-18

Diego L. Berrio, 39, Arlington Heights, IL, and Edwin G. Cortez, 30, Chicago: Lewd and lascivious behavior. Cortez is also charged with indecent exposure. Both are Catholic priests and are accused of having oral sex in a parked black Volkswagen at South Beach in Miami Beach, FL. Source: WTOP, 9-4-18

Kevin Berry, Sedgwick, KS: Aggravated indecent liberties with a child between 14-16 years old. Berry, pastor at First Christian Church, is accused of inappropriate behavior with a girl “on numerous occasions” in 2016-17, starting when she was 14.

The girl told investigators Berry talked about his lust for women in her youth group “while looking right at her and her cousin.” Another time, she alleged, he opened up her jacket and stared at her breasts while commenting “Not too bad,” adding that “his hand cupped the side of her breast and that he was fondling his penis on the outside of his clothes.” Source: KWCH, 9-4-18

Kehinde S. Omosebi, 49, and Titilayno A. Omosebi, 48, Reedsburg, WI: Child neglect causing death and child neglect causing great bodily harm. The husband and wife are charged in the death of their 15-year-old son, who died Aug. 31 during a 44-day religious fast. He and his brother, 11, hadn’t eaten since mid-July, police said. The brother was so weak he couldn’t walk out of the home.

Titilayno Omosebi was also emaciated but refused medical treatment for religious reasons. Her husband described himself as a pastor affiliated with Cornerstone Reformation Ministries, but authorities believe he made that up and was never ordained.

Kehinde Omosebi told police this was the family’s longest fast and that they were waiting for a “blessing from God” that would ease their impending move to Atlanta. The younger son was holding a bible when police arrived. Source: WISC, 9-3-18

Dennis R. Creason, 48, Bonner Springs, KS: 3 counts of aggravated indecent liberties/lewd touching of a child under age 14. Creason, co-founder with his wife Robin of Oaklawn Christian School, is charged with incidents involving 3 girls between January 2015 and August 2018 when they were about 6, 8 and 10 years old.

“In 2003 God led them to build their first school,” Oaklawn’s website said, announcing a building project. “For the last two years we have been ‘pregnant’ with Church for Children, and have reached the season to birth that vision.” Source: Kansas City Star, 8-30-18

Kevin “Scott” Heffner, 48, Pelham, NC: 12 counts of disseminating obscene materials and 2 counts of statutory sex offense. Heffner, pastor of Victory Baptist Church and principal of Victory Baptist Academy, allegedly sent “photographs of his genitalia” to a person younger than 15 between June 15 and Aug. 29. Source: Charlotte Observer, 8-30-18

Seven residents of Monsey and Kiryas Joel, NY, including Rabbi Aron Melber, face various counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud from 2010-16 for an alleged scheme to fraudulently obtain $14 million from a federal school technology program meant to help underprivileged children. Others charged are Peretz Klein, Susan Klein, Ben Klein, Simon Goldbrener, Sholem Steinberg and Moshe Schwartz.

The suspects are accused of using the money “to pad their own bank accounts,” said William Sweeney, FBI assistant director in charge, calling it especially brazen because Hasidic religious schools often bar students from using the internet and other types of technology the funding covers. Source: NBC New York, 8-29-18

Ryan T. Pick, 40, Woodbridge, VA: Proposing sex to a minor and 4 counts of sex offense with a minor by computer. Pick is choir leader at St. Paul United Methodist Church and a music teacher at Cameron Elementary School. Authorities didn’t release details of the alleged offenses. He was choral director in the 2010 fall semester at Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School but resigned for personal reasons in December 2010. Source: WTOP, 8-29-18

Murray Ramnarine, 67, Ocala, FL: Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons younger than 16 and sexual offenses against a student by an authority figure. Ramnarine, an administrator and teacher at Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church School and a church elder, is accused of making sexual advances on at least 4 occasions to a 12-year-old girl and telling her he wanted to marry her when she turned 18.

She told authorities she spurned his advances. Once, she alleged, he gave her a Twix ice cream bar and asked if he could get bits of it off her lips by kissing her. Source: ocala.com, 8-29-18

Bhante S. Sujay, Bodh Gaya, India: Child sexual abuse. Sujay, head monk at a Buddhist meditation center that’s a popular destination for pilgrims, is accused of molesting an unspecified number of children and beating them if they didn’t cooperate. Most are between age 6 and 14. Source: NDTV, 8-29-18

Pleaded / Convicted

W. Thomas Faucher, 72, Boise, ID: Pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and 4 counts of possession and distribution of sexually exploitative material. Faucher, pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, was charged in February with 24 counts after police allegedly found thousands of files containing child pornography, as well as marijuana, LSD and ecstasy at his home.

“I do not remember sending that,” Faucher said in court about an email he sent with child porn. “I was not in good shape. I was drinking a great deal and under an alcohol-induced depression and dementia.” The judge refused to lower Faucher’s $1 million bond, even though he’s confined to a wheelchair, because he fantasized about “sexual violence toward children.” Source: State Journal, 9-28-18

Andrew Matheason, 65, Graettinger, IA: Pleaded guilty to wire fraud after being charged with misappropriating about $480,000 over 13 years from Bethel Lutheran Church, where he was treasurer and created false financial reports to cover it up. Source: AP, 9-15-18

Jamel Carelock, 28, Baltimore: Pleaded guilty to arson, felony destruction of property and insurance fraud. Carelock, pastor of LEAP Church (Leading, Evangelizing, Assimilating, Proclaiming), admitted setting fire to his apartment in December 2017 and filing a claim for $11,000 damage on a policy he took out 8 days before the fire.

He claimed he was in Georgia at the time of the fire but company records showed his cellphone was a mile away about 5 minutes after the alarm was pulled. Source: WTOP, 8-29-18

Sentenced

Rodney W. McManus, 50, E. Palestine, OH: 3 years in prison after pleading guilty to engaging in sexual conduct with a minor. He was charged with molesting a girl from NewLife Outreach Church, where he was pastor, from January 2014 to July 2017. Source: Morning Journal, 9-22-18

Joshua Clemons, 35, Parker, CO: 4 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation of a child and attempted sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. Clemons was a youth pastor at Crossroads Community Church from 2006-15. Sentencing is pending in a related case. Source: KDVR, 9-21-18

John M. Scheline, 41, Pasco, WA: 58 months in prison after pleading guilty to attempted rape of a child. Scheline, executive director of Ignite Youth Mentoring and former pastor at Faith Assembly, was among 26 men arrested in a 2017 online sting that used ads to identify would-be predators. Source: AP, 9-21-18

José V. Morales, 51, Phoenix: 13 years in prison and lifetime probation after pleading guilty to molestation of a child, sexual abuse and 3 counts of attempted molestation of a child for assaults on multiple underage girls while he was pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Impacto De Fe.

Court records said assaults occurred in the 1990s and from 2007-11 with victims as young as 7. He was also accused of impregnating a girl when she was 13. Source: AZ Republic, 9-16-18

Roger D. Williams, 52, Shelbyville, KY: 63 months in prison and $1.3 million in restitution after pleading guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion. Williams, pastor at King Branch Road Church of Christ, started offering bogus investment opportunities in 2001 as part of membership in an “investment club.” He provided victims, many of whom were elderly or church members, fake IRS forms to document their supposed investments. Source: News Sentinel, 9-15-18

Jason E. Kennedy, 48, Knoxville, TN: 30 days in jail and 6 years’ probation after pleading guilty to solicitation of a minor for commercial sex. Kennedy was children’s minister at Grace Baptist Church in May 2016 when he offered an undercover agent $100 to have sex with an underage girl. Upon completion of probation, the father of 3 could have the felony conviction removed from his record and his name removed from the sexual offender registry.

Zubin Parakh, 34, Oak Ridge, volunteer creative minister at LifeHouse Church, was arrested in the same sweep. Resolution of his case is pending. Source: News Sentinel, 9-4-18

Michael S. Grieve, 74, Naracoorte, Australia: 3 years in prison with 2 years suspended after pleading guilty to 9 counts of indecent assault against 9 underage boys from 1982-85 when he was a Presbyterian pastor.

At sentencing, Judge Gordon Barrett said the conduct involved “getting them over your lap and smacking them on the bottom while they were clothed.” He mentioned previous convictions, including 2 convictions for which Grieve was sentenced in 2003. Source: Naracoorte Herald, 8-31-18

Chauncey Walker, 48, Wichita, KS: 95 months in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated indecent liberties with a child and aggravated indecent solicitation of a child for molesting a 15-year-old girl while he worked at Word of Life Church as a youth pastor, teacher and soccer coach.

Her civil suit alleges Walker molested her “at least two to four times a week from June 2012 to June 2015” (288 times at minimum) and that the church and senior pastor Robert Rotola Sr., neglected to supervise him and tried to cover up allegations once they surfaced. Source: Wichita Eagle, 8-29-18

James Rankin, 79, Hurst, TX: 8 years’ probation and $800 fine after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. Rankin, associate pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church, was also ordered to post a sign at his home saying “A person on probation for a child sex offense lives here.”

He was arrested after Best Buy employees alerted police about images on a computer he’d brought in for repair. He told police he used the porn to research “a possible lesson involving Cupid, love and human trafficking.” Source: Star-Telegram, 8-29-18

Civil Lawsuits Filed

A Hawaii man suing the Diocese of Honolulu and the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers alleges he was molested in the 1980s as a child by Catholic priest James Jackson. It’s at least the 6th such accusation against Jackson, who died in 2005. It’s the first suit under a new law that opens a retroactive window for sexual abuse suits even if statutes of limitations have expired. Source: Hawaii News Now, 9-10-18

Michael Giordano, O’Fallon, IL, and 4 other Catholic Church employees are being sued by “Jane Doe,” who alleges Giordano harassed and molested her from 2009-14 while he was a coach at St. Clare Catholic School. He was 58 in 2009 and she was in 8th grade. Defendants include 3 former school principals and current athletic director Thomas Fischer, alleged to have covered up the abuse. Source: News-Democrat, 8-29-18

Brad Tebbutt, a youth pastor on leave from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, is accused by Jennifer Graves Roach of sexually abusing her for 2½ years in the 1980s, starting when she was 15. Roach, 47, now an ordained Anglican minister and therapist, also alleges in the suit that First Baptist Church officials covered up her abuse in Modesto, CA. Source: Kansas City Star, 8-24-18

Civil Lawsuits Settled

Two Jehovah’s Witnesses entities must pay $35 million to a Montana woman, now 21, who alleged national church leaders told local leaders not to report her sexual abuse as a child by a Thompson Falls congregation member, a jury ruled. A judge has yet to approve the award.

The ruling involved another woman, now 32, allegedly abused by the same family member. The jury dismissed the older woman’s claims because church elders didn’t get notice of her abuse in 1998 as she said they did. Another family member who claimed abuse was not a plaintiff. Elders expelled the abuser in 2004 but reinstated him a year later, the suit alleged, and the abuse continued. Source: AP, 9-28-18

The Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to pay $2.9 million to a victim of pedophile Catholic priest Daniel McCormack. The man, now in his 20s, alleged McCormack abused him twice as a child. A judge in July ordered McCormack to remain indefinitely at a state mental facility, even though he’d served his sentence, after he was deemed a “sexually violent person.” Source: AP, 9-25-18

Four Jewish groups have settled for $14.25 million a suit that included convicted Washington rabbi Barry Freundel as a defendant. Kesher Israel Congregation, the National Capital Mikvah, the Rabbinical Council of America and Beth Din of the USA will have their liability covered by Travelers Insurance.

Freundel was arrested in 2014 for secretly recording about 150 women in a ritual bath. Different classes of victims will get different payments. Victims who prosecutors confirmed had been videotaped will get $25,000 each and some will also be eligible for a supplemental amount. Source: AP, 8-28-18

Legal Developments

A judge in Bergen County, NJ, threw out multiple counts of a lawsuit accusing Bergen Catholic High School wrestling coach David Bell of sexual and verbal harassment of wrestler Anthony Asatrian, now 18. Bell has countersued, accusing Asatrian of negligence, false complaint of unprofessional conduct, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other acts.

Bell alleges Asatrian’s father, Harry Asatrian, was aggressive toward wrestling coaches, made anti-Semitic and racially charged comments, secretly switched a scale for weigh-ins and threatened to transfer Anthony to a rival school because Bell took him out of the lineup to give another wrestler a chance.

In an August interview, Anthony said Bell never molested him but made numerous suggestive comments. The county prosecutor’s office announced there would be no criminal charges against Bell. The judge declined to dismiss claims that Anthony suffered emotional distress due to allegations of unwanted sexual advances and text messages from Bell and that Bell disrupted his attempts to transfer to rival high schools. He urged both sides to settle the case before trial. Source: North Jersey Record, 9-8-18

Catholic Church offices in Chile of the Archdiocese of Concepción and the dioceses of Valparaíso, Chillán and Osorno were raided by the state prosecutor’s office as part of the investigation into sexual crimes against minors allegedly committed by church officials. Six other church entities were raided earlier.

Prosecutor Emiliano Arias said his office is investigating 119 cases, about triple the number announced in July. A total of 167 bishops, priests and lay members are under investigation for either committing crimes or covering them up. A recent poll showed 96% of Chileans believe the church systematically covers up abuse. Source: ACI Prensa, 9-15-18

The former nanny of Andy D. Turner, 43, Dallas, GA, was granted a restraining order after she accused the Baptist youth pastor of choking her and threatening her life while they were having consensual sex. Turner’s wife Heather, 35, died of a gunshot wound in May 2017 in their home. Turner claims it was suicide but the medical examiner ruled the cause of death as “undetermined.” The investigation continues, with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation calling her death “questionable.”

Christy Crupp told a reporter that she went out for dinner and drinks with Turner, who has 4 children, about 2 weeks after his wife died. She alleged that in addition to choking her, he said during intercourse that “he told me I should hold Heather’s ashes — that way he could be having sex with both of us.” Source: WGCL, 9-8-18

Allegations

The Catholic Diocese of San Diego added 8 priests to the list of those credibly accused of molesting children: José Chavarin, Raymond Etienne, J. Patrick Foley, Michael French, Richard Houck, George Lally, Paolino Montagna and Mark Medaer. In 2007 the diocese settled 144 claims of child sexual abuse by 48 priests and 1 lay employee for $198.1 million.

The newly listed priests were accused since the 2007 settlement or reported to the diocese earlier in files that had been tucked away or mislaid, said Bishop Robert McElroy: “They never kept good records on this stuff until recently. They kept records, but not in a very systematic way.” Source: L.A. Times, 9-14-18

Two leaders of the Sistine Chapel Choir in the Vatican are being investigated for money laundering, fraud and embezzlement. Massimo Palombella, a priest and choirmaster, and Michelangelo Nardella, administrative director, deny any wrongdoing.

The Vatican Insider, a website affiliated with the Turin daily La Stampa, wrote that the men are suspected of siphoning money from concert tours. The choir was founded in the 6th century by Pope Gregory the Great and consists of 20 adult professional singers and 35 boys aged 9 to 13. Source: NY Times, 9-13-18

Documents from the Antonio Provolo Institute in La Plata, Argentina, were seized in a raid during a probe of sexual abuse at the Catholic-run school for youths with hearing disabilities. The raid was ordered by a prosecutor investigating “possible crimes against sexual integrity,” an official said. Documents covered the 1987-2018 period. Source: AP, 9-5-18

Removed / Resigned

Donald Wuerl, 77, resigned as Catholic archbishop of Washington in the wake of claims he ignored or downplayed sexual abuse while he was bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. While accepting the resignation, Pope Francis praised Wuerl’s “nobility” in stepping down.

Wuerl will be allowed to retain his place in the section of the Roman Curia that helps pick bishops. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro criticized that decision: “He is now able to retire seemingly with no consequences for his actions.” Catholic school teacher Jack Devlin expressed similar concerns. “The way Pope Francis worded it, it was how you’d word somebody making a little mistake. This is not a little mistake.”

Plaintiff’s attorney Mitchell Garabedian added, “Instead of portraying Cardinal Wuerl as a victim who made some mistakes, Pope Francis should be instructing Cardinal Wuerl to fully reveal [his] role in the coverup while bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh for about 18 years.” Source: NBC News, 10-13-18

Jason Webb, senior pastor at Elmbrook Church since 2014 in Brookfield and Hartland, WI, resigned after admitting to “multiple marital infidelities,” said a letter to parishioners, adding that he’s seeking inpatient treatment for addiction. The nondenominational church founded in 1957 dropped its Baptist affiliation in 1968. Webb’s wife Heather will remain as global partnership director at Elmbrook.

Executive pastor Brodie Swanson resigned in February amid revelations of infidelities with another church staffer, who also resigned. Elmbrook is Wisconsin’s largest faith community and has planted a dozen sister churches. Source: WITI, 9-20-18

José Manuel Ramos, a Catholic priest in the Spanish Diocese of Astorga, was suspended for 10 years and ordered to live in a monastery outside the diocese for alleged child abuse. A church probe concluded Ramos “had committed a serious crime of sexual abuse of minors” between 1981-84. Source: AP, 9-17-18

Sal Caraviello, Winchester, MA, director of ministries for 23 years at St. Mary’s Catholic Parish, was put on leave for unspecified reasons. Richard Erikson, St. Mary’s pastor, called it a “personnel matter” that’s being kept private out of respect for Caraviello.

A church business manager in 2016 raised concerns after noting collections were lower than usual and appeared to always be round numbers. No criminal charges have been brought. Source: Winchester Star, 9-17-18

Rogelio Martinez, pastor of St. Genevieve Catholic Parish in Las Cruces, NM, was put on leave with pay due to multiple accusations of sexual misconduct with adults. Allegations have been reported to the district attorney. Source: Sun-News, 9-16-18

Cristian Precht Bañados, a Chilean Catholic priest serving in the Archdiocese of Santiago, has been defrocked by the Vatican. He was accused of sexual abuse of minors as part of a church probe into allegations against members of the Marist Brothers order. Source: Reuters, 9-16-18

Mark Darling resigned as pastor of Evergreen Church, which has 4 campuses in the Minneapolis area, after a church investigation found he had inappropriate conversations about sex with a woman who was 19 at the time. Other women made similar allegations. Darling, who founded the church, denied the allegations, but the board rescinded his ordination based on its findings. Source: Star Tribune, 9-14-18

Retired Catholic priest John J. Sardina, 86, Depew, NY, was placed on administrative leave due to a sexual abuse complaint, details of which weren’t released. Source: Buffalo News, 9-13-18

Michael J. Bransfield, 75, resigned as bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, W.VA. Pope Francis has ordered an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults by Bransfield. He’s also been accused of covering up abuse by other priests. Source: Catholic News Agency, 9-13-18

Barry J. Harmon, 55, a priest from the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, IL, has taken steps to remove himself from the clergy due to “immoral activity inconsistent with the life of a priest,” announced Bishop Thomas Paprocki. He’s been accused of misappropriating about $29,000 from parishes in Vandalia and Ramsey and of possessing pornography that didn’t portray minors. He was also charged with DUI July 31 in Decatur. Source: State Journal-Register, 9-12-18

Mark Inglot, E. Lansing, MI, is on leave from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish and St. John Student Center during a probe of “credible” sexual harassment claims by an adult co-worker. Source: State Journal, 9-11-18

David Fleck, Vincennes, IN, was suspended from his duties as a Catholic priest and high school religion teacher due to a sexual abuse allegation from “decades ago,” the Diocese of Evansville announced. Source: WIBC, 9-10-18

Charles Schmitt, 86, a retired priest from the Catholic Diocese of Erie, PA, is prohibited from public ministry and contact with minors because of an allegation of sexual abuse from the 1960s, the diocese said in a statement. Source: WJAC, 9-10-18

Mark Hession, Seekonk, MA, was removed as pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church due to financial irregularities, announced Edgar da Cunha, bishop of Fall River. A “thorough financial review” was conducted with an “emphasis on changes in cash position over the last four years,” he said. “The financial review did find excessive spending by Father Hession in areas such as dining and personal expenses that does not meet acceptable standards.”

Hession must repay the church, da Cunha said, and will be reassigned to a job as a canon lawyer in the Diocesan Tribunal. Source: Sun Chronicle, 9-9-18

Patrick Doyle, Indianapolis, was suspended as pastor at Nativity Catholic Parish due to alleged sexual misconduct from “several decades ago.” He’s been a priest for 44 years. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis also suspended John Maung due to a recent allegation he abused a child when he was pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church from 1986-88. Source: WTHR, 9-5-18

Noah Levine, 47, was removed as a teacher and board member by Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society based in California, an organization he founded. An internal investigation found Levine likely broke “the Third Precept of the Teacher’s Code of Ethics, namely, ‘to avoid creating harm through sexuality,’ ” a statement said. Levine has been accused of misconduct by “between seven and ten” people. Source: tricycle.org, 8-29-18

Gerard Sudol, Jersey City, NJ, and James Weiner, Westwood, NJ, were removed from their Catholic parishes by the Archdiocese of Newark, which has reopened investigations into alleged sexual misconduct due to new information.

Ed Hanratty alleged he was molested by Sudol and that his misconduct was well-known among parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Ridgefield Park, where Sudol served from 1986-94. Desmond Rossi, a priest in the Diocese of Albany, has accused Weiner of sexually assaulting him in 1988 in a Newark church when he was studying for the priesthood. Source: northjersey.com, 8-29-18

Eric Dudley, Tallahassee, FL, resigned as pastor at St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral, said a letter to parishioners: “Father Dudley admitted to inappropriate treatment of others, abuse of alcohol, and anger issues.” The letter also said “complaints included patterns of undesired physical displays of affection which were deeply damaging to others and contrary to diocesan harassment policy.” Source: WTXL, 8-29-18

Email: blackcollar@FFRF.org

FFRF on the road

In memoriam: Advocate, activist Renie Lauer dies

FFRF Member Dorene “Renie” Lauer, 57, died at her home on Sept. 21, following a return of cancer of the esophagus.

She was born on Jan. 23, 1961, to Roger and Frances Mortenson in Slayton, Minn. Renie attended Minnehaha Academy, graduated from Priest River High School in Priest River, Idaho. She attended Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, Minn., and Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minn.

Renie held several jobs, including grade-school basketball and T-ball coach, teaching assistant at Northern Lights Charter School, caregiver at River View Villa, and helped out at Blueberry Meadows.

She was an advocate for women’s, children’s and animal rights. She enjoyed running, biking, camping, canoeing and motorcycling.

She was an active member of Grand Rapids Atheists and Freethinkers (GRAF), Woman’s GRAF and Indivisible.

“GRAF members were deeply affected by the loss of Renie and began an effort to quickly raise some money to donate in her name to FFRF,” GRAF President Ken Eck wrote. “At this point we have $400, which is a relatively large amount for a group as small as ours and with many members having limited financial resources. She was a good friend and we are missing her greatly.”

GRAF members suggested the donation should go to FFRF’s legal fund. Eck wrote that it was important for GRAF members, “knowing we contributed to a cause that was important to Renie.” 

FFRF thanks GRAF and appreciates the gesture in her name.

“The chapter is so generous to have raised money for FFRF as a memorial to Renie,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “It is very meaningful to us.”

Renie Lauer

Crankmail (Nov. 2018)

Here is this month’s installment of Crankmail, where the voices of reason have taken a break. Printed as received.

Disgusting!: I find it DISGUSTING that the Freedom From Religion Foundation would ATTACK a Lake City MI school for posting a video of a Family Circle prayer or whatever…yet NOT a PEEP when our Public Schools provide Pray Rooms and Time Out for MUSLIMS to engage in their Religion on and in Public Schools!!! Damn Hypocrites is what you are…not to mention Nasty Anti-American Democrats on top of that!!! — Randy Stepp

Go away: STAY OUT OF THE SOUTH. People here are Bible believing people, you are going to end up pulling the wrong tail. — Barbara Best

Religion: Tour the world and notice the great monuments left behind from ancient civilizations and even not so ancient civilizations, and notice that they have something to do with religion.  Religion is in our DNA.  To deny it is similar to denying that we need food and air. Don’t take offense but what is the median IQ of your members? Something is lacking in your organization. — Joe Pino

Go to hell!: Your support of Satan is without shame. I hope you enjoy your welcome when you arrive in Hell in the arms of your hero. — Vincent Sanzone Jr.

FFRF: I hope your kids all die and rot in whatever weird perverted hell you believe in — Tony Snow

Fuck off!: You can go all fuck yourselves and stick your tyrannical leftist pro Islamic threat up your ass. You have no problem with your Islamic freinds imposing their filthy customs in our schools but we can’t pray to Jesus. We have had with your tyranny. FUCK YOU AND FUCK THE PEDOHILE PROPHET YOU WORSHIP. WE WILL CONTINUE TO PRAY TO JESUS AND IF YOU TRY TO STOP US WE WILL ERADICATE YOU. — Charles Martel

No life: Get a life.  WAIT. God is the author of life and you don’t like him so I guess you have NO life to get. — Leo Bacigalupo

You’re wrong: We always said the Lord’s prayer in school while I was growing up (a public school). Stop fighting God and stop fighting religion. God may forgive you. — Joanne Boyle

Power of prayer: I would kindly ask that you stay out of our counties buisness. I get you may not believe in the mighty God I serve but you see i have seen the power of prayer up close and personally. He has saved my life twice from leukemia and no matter what. GOD WILL be a part of our community no matter what!!! And I will pray for you! — Laura Thigpen 

FFRF cowards: It is a sad day when it is ok for athletes to kneel during the playing of our National Anthem but a coach at a public school cannot take a knee in support of his/her athletes during prayer. Them praying at a school football game does not effect you or anyone else in your Godless organization so why threaten them. That is just being a coward and a bully. — Doug Reynolds

You’re stupid: Perhaps we should strike April Fool’s Day from the calendar. That way, atheists won’t be able  to celebrate their desperate life decisions. You people really need to read some history and science books and wake up. It’s called “live-and-let-live” and “tolerance.” The idea is apparently well beyond your ability to comprehend. — Erasmus Golden

Fools: Oh my, do any of you realize how foolish you all look by protesting the National Motto, “In God We Trust” and advocating it be abolished from public schools?  Might as well also protest against having the American flag displayed, too.  Or any mention of the Ten Commandments or Biblical verses on public buildings in Washington, D.C. and other locations. Don’t you have something better to do with your time? — Suzanne Renaud

Praying for FFRF: I can’t believe what an ignorant group of. People you are, I am sure you will be played back in the next life. Organizations like yours are ruining this country. I will pray for you, God knows you need it — Ronald Schafer

Jesus is real!: You all need freedom in Christ this is a country that was based on Christ and prayer. So funny you can be intimidated by something that happed over 2 thousands years ago. Think about that one. — Wendy Pittman

Commies: I think you should relocate your organization and all your fervent members to a communist country where your ungodly efforts will be welcomed – you are not welcome in this country – until you examine your collective conscience and respect the rights of others as provided by our constitution. You are all WRONG – may God help you. — Linda Norman

LEAVE US ALONE: LEAVE THE NEW LEXINGTON HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYERS ALONE YOU AHVE YOUR RIGHTS AND THEY AHVE THIRES I AM GETTING TO GETHER A GROUP OF PEOPLE TO GO TO THE HIGH SCHOOL AND JOIN THESE PLAYERS ON THE FIELD SO THE NEST VIDEO YOU SEE WILL BE JUST THIS GOD BLESS AMERICA I AM ALL SO STARTING A GROUP CALL DOWN WITH THE FFRF IT TIME CHRISTIANS STAND UP FOR WHAT WE BELIVE IN AND THAT THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON GOD IM SORRY YOU DO NOT BELIVE THE WAY WE DO AND THATS IS YOUR YOU BELIVE IN SO PLEASE STOP HATING US BECASUE I DO NOT AHTE YOU — John Dunn

Pigs!!!: You people are Socialist pigs. Your group of sick queers is founded on hate and lies. Those are the same things that will destroy you perverts. — Gregory Galminas

Is this true?: How cowardly and pathetic you all truly are! Taking on a grade school full of innocent children who seek our wonderful Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ…what cowards and despicable creatures you all truly are. What are you going to do with this someday, “Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”?!?!?  Philip Merhalski

Wow: Atheists are total morons who don’t even believe in their own existence. — Roberto Dunbar