Showing posts with label Evangelicals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Evangelicals. Show all posts

February 12, 2019

#Me Too Goes To The Evangelical Church With More Than 200 Ministers Found Guilty of Sexual Abuse



                             Image result for southern baptist convention

By Corky Siemaszko

For more than a decade, a Baptist preacher in Oklahoma has been what he calls "a lone voice in the wilderness."

Pastor Wade Burleson called on the Southern Baptist Convention to protect its flock by creating a database that would track church workers accused of sexual abuse.

Such a list was published Monday, but not by the Baptists.

The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News in an expansive investigation named 220 pastors, ministers, deacons, volunteers, Sunday school teachers and others who were found guilty of sexually abusing churchgoers over 20 years.

More than 250 have been charged. And roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct involving more than 700 victims, the report found. That includes those who were convicted, credibly accused and successfully sued.

Some of the victims were molested repeatedly and some were as young as 3, according to the report. 

#MeToo goes to church: Southern Baptists face a reckoning over the treatment of women
The news outlets' yearlong investigation also found that three dozen pastors and workers who have been suspected of being predators continue to work for Baptist churches.

“The thing that makes me saddest is that we didn’t do it ourselves,” Burleson told NBC News of the report. “That’s why you need a free press in America.”

Calling the report a “punch in the gut,” Burleson predicted it will lead to real change in the way the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant organization in the country, grapples with an issue that has also forced a reckoning in the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Jewish community.

“The analogy I would give is this: I recently had a cancerous lesion removed from my skin and it hurt and the hole left behind was deep. Was it good? No, it was needed.”

“They can avoid an Oklahoma pastor who is a lone voice in the wilderness, they can’t avoid this,” Burleson said. “This will guarantee action is taken.”

Burleson said he intends to renew his call for having an independent nonprofit run and monitor a database of church predators.

Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear responded to the report in a series of tweets, declaring “we should have been fighting for" victims, and vowing to stop the “predators in our midst.”

He also called for “pervasive change,” and, in an apparent reference to the relative independence of individual Baptist churches, said, “church autonomy should never be a religious cover for passivity towards abuse.”

Image: Wade Burelson
Image: Wade BurelsonWade Burelson speaks during Christmas Eve Services at Emmanuel Enid on Dec 24, 2016.Courtesy Brian Sallee
                                    

 

Burleson, who is 57 and affiliated with the Emmanuel Enid church in Enid, Oklahoma, said his first proposal for a registry was rebuffed in 2008 because the convention said it could not tell the 47,000 churches under its umbrella who they could hire or ordain. 

Then last year, amid the #MeToo movement and accusations against several prominent Southern Baptist leaders, Burleson once again called for the creation of such a database.

“Southern Baptist pastors need to recognize that we have a responsibility to protect women and to protect children from men, particularly ministers, who move toward them in sexual or physical abuse,” he told reporters.

The convention wound up passing a nonbinding resolution condemning all forms of abuse and supporting of victims.

“We call on all persons perpetrating and enabling abuse to repent and confess their sin to Jesus Christ and to church authorities and to confess their crimes to civil authorities,” it read.

Lesley Wexler, a law professor at the University of Illinois, who studies how large institutions react to the #MeToo movement’s demands for change, said she doesn’t share Burleson’s optimism that the Southern Baptist Convention will make meaningful changes.

“Sometimes institutions reform when massive bad behavior is brought to light and sometimes they don’t,” she said. “If you think about the Catholic Church and the aftermath of the Boston Globe reporting, even today we don’t see them being as nearly as proactive as they should be.”

Asked what else the Southern Baptist Convention could do to protect churchgoers, Wexler said “they could be more explicit about the conditions under which they ought to break off affiliations with local churches who hire people with allegations against them.”

“Another thing I haven’t seen is much discussion in the use of positive moral persuasion,” she said. The convention must come up with a list of best practices and reward churches that, among other things, “help identify harassing behavior,” she said.

“There are a lot of things the SBC can do if it has the political will,” she said.

February 2, 2019

Just Like They Did in Miami Cuban Evangelicals Push Back Against Gay Marriage in Cuba




An evangelical prays during a Mass at a church in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. There is no official count of evangelicals in Cuba, whose people have historically been Catholics and followers of the African religions known as Yoruba or Santeria. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
    
By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ

HAVANA (AP) 

 A Cuban government push to legalize gay marriage has set off an unprecedented reaction from the island’s rapidly growing evangelical churches, whose members are expected to widely reject a state-proposed constitutional reform in a nationwide referendum this month.

The reform is almost certain to pass by a broad margin of Cuba’s 7 million voters - language opening the door to gay marriage is only one element of the reform - but the evangelical vote could shave hundreds of thousands of votes from its victory.


With many pastors promoting “no” votes from the pulpit, the swelling evangelical rejection of the constitution is a novel development for a state that prides itself on projecting an image of ideological unanimity. Cuban government-endorsed candidates and proposals typically receive ‘yes’ votes well above 90 percent in one of last communist nations on earth, now in the 60th year of its socialist revolution.

“I can’t vote for something that goes against my principles. It’s sad but it’s a reality,” said pastor Alida Leon, president of the Evangelical League of Cuba. Hers is one of a dozen evangelical denominations that are actively speaking out against the reform. There are an estimated 100 evangelical denominations active in Cuba, 52 legally registered, and many are taking softer lines against the new constitution, or staying officially neutral. The same is true for many Catholic and non-evangelical protestant clergy. 

There is no official count of evangelicals in Cuba, whose people have historically been Catholics and followers of the African religions known as Yoruba or Santeria. The number of evangelical and non-evangelical protestants is estimated to total a million people in this country of 11 million. Among evangelical denominations with public figures on their members, the Pentecostals, Methodists and Baptists alone say they have more than 260,000 followers.

Raul Castro handed the presidency last year to Miguel Diaz-Canel, the first top Cuban leader from outside the Castro family since the revolution. Under Diaz-Canel, the Cuban government maintains its near-total control of life on the island but has made a series of concessions to interest groups including artists, entrepreneurs and evangelicals.

In December, the government softened and delayed a series of strict new controls on artistic expression and private enterprise, and stripped language out of the proposed constitution that would have paved the way for immediate legalization of gay marriage.

The constitutional change came after widespread objection from evangelical churches and non-evangelical Cubans. According to the government, 66 percent of speakers in public meetings on the constitution rose to address gay marriage, with the majority opposing it.

The altered language nonetheless eliminates the requirement that marriage take place between a man and a woman, allowing the future passage of a gay marriage. And that has prompted evangelical pastors and lay people to continue to speak out against the constitutional reform up for a “yes” or “no” on Feb. 24.

The reform maintains Cuba’s single-party political system and centrally planned economy while recognizing private property and small businesses, which have been part of the island’s economy without formal legal status for more than a decade.


A child prays during bible school at an evangelical church in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
 
The long process of reforming the constitution began in April, with the formation of a commission that circulated a draft continuing the language paving the way for swift passage of gay marriage. That was heavily supported by Raul Castro’s daughter Mariela, the head of the government’s gay rights organization.

In June, four evangelical denominations, the Evangelical League, Methodists, Baptists and the Assemblies of God, circulated a letter decrying gay marriage.

This fall, as the constitutional draft was being debated in block-level meetings across the country, 11 denominations sent a letter to the National Assembly that was signed by 179,000 people and objected to gay marriage and made 15 other demands, including greater freedom of property ownership.

Leon said she delivered the letter to the Communist Party’s Central Committee, which acknowledged receipt but never delivered a formal response, although Leon and other evangelicals did meet with government officials.

Evangelical pastors also began speaking out from the pulpit and distributing Bibles in the street along with hundreds of thousands of pamphlets advocating for God’s “original plan” for unions between men and women. The Methodist Church organized “pro-family” services that drew more than 3,000 people.

In December, the National Assembly withdrew the gay marriage section in favor of softer language that allowed a future family code to establish marriage outside heterosexual relationships.

That left many Cuban Evangelicals unsatisfied.


A child holds up a bible with a sticker that reads "I am in favor of the original design " during bible school at an evangelical church in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
“I’m a daughter of God. God established that man is for woman and woman is for man,” said Caridad Borges, a 31-year-old Methodist homemaker and mother of one son. “I’m going to vote against the constitution because it establishes something that I don’t agree with.”

Meanwhile, the Cuban government has launched a vigorous “yes” on state-run media and government officials’ social media accounts.

Joel Ortego Dopico, a Presbyterian pastor and secretary of the Cuban Council of Churches, said he would vote in favor of the constitutional reform but was telling members of his church to vote their conscience.

While the new constitution will be improved, he said the evangelical reaction to it was an important change in Cuban society.

“It will have a political impact in the future,” Dopico said.

______

Correspondent Michael Weissenstein contributed to this report.

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Michael Weissenstein on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mweissenstein

August 24, 2018

Only Trump Will Give us A Vice President As Bad as He Is- Meet V.P.Pence


                                                     👺👼

[, USA TODAY]
Democrats may not like President Donald Trump, but do they want the alternative?
“That is probably what we hear most from Democrats,” said Kevin Mack, lead strategist for the “Need to Impeach” President Donald Trump campaign. " 'Well, if we get rid of Trump, then we end up with (Mike) Pence.' "
As Trump’s presidency became more endangered this week with the conviction or guilty plea of two of his former aides, a new book about the vice president will stoke concerns about Pence.

1. Is he a 'Christian supremacist'?

In “The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence,” on sale Tuesday, authors Michael D’Antonio and Peter Eisner cast Pence's background – congressman, Indiana governor, Trump VP – in a harsh light, arguing that “the most successful Christian supremacist in American history” is already functioning as a “kind of replacement president” and is preparing to “fashion a nation more pleasing to his god and corporate sponsors.” A flattering preview of the book by New York Times columnist Frank Bruni – that ran under the headline “Mike Pence, Holy Terror” – already has religious leaders and other Pence supporters accusing Bruni and the book’s authors of religious bigotry. Saying he’d “never heard such hatred poured out against such a good man,” evangelist Franklin Graham urged supporters to pray that God will put a “hedge of protection” around Pence and his family.

2. It's not the first Pence warning

The authors are not the first to raise alarms about who is waiting in the wings should Trump leave office – voluntarily or involuntarily.
Arguing Pence has taken advantage of the chaos of the Trump administration to amass “enormous power” under the radar, the Human Rights Campaign launched a campaign earlier this year to highlight Pence’s record on issues important to the LGBTQ community.
Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman writes in her new memoir that Pence is biding his time until Trump resigns or is impeached.
“As bad as you think Trump is, you should be worried about Pence,” she said on "Celebrity Big Brother" in February after leaving the White House. “He thinks Jesus tells him to say things.”

August 4, 2018

Gay Couple in Root NY Are Denied Marriage License by Clerk's Office } It Repeats Again!




That's kim Davis in Florida. A copy cat tried this in NY State .





 When Dylan Toften and his fiancé, Tom Hurd, went to the town clerk’s office in Root, New York, to apply for a marriage license, they were turned away for not having an appointment — but not before the clerk told them she would not personally grant them a license because of her religious convictions.
“Town of Root clerk is a bigot!!!! Refused to do our marriage license,” Toften shared in a Facebook post earlier this week. “She said make an appointment to have her deputy do it... do your job”
“She took an oath to uphold to the NYS constitution not her beliefs,” Toften added.
Toften and Hurd, who are scheduled to marry on August 18, traveled more than 13 miles south to Cobleskill, New York, where they were immediately granted a marriage license.
Laurel “Sherrie” Eriksen, the Root town clerk and spouse of the town judge, Thomas Eriksen, was unable to be reached for comment. Calls to her supervisor, Gary Kamp, and Judge Eriksen went unanswered, as did repeated calls to the town’s attorney, Robert Subik.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement on Wednesday calling the incident “an unconscionable act of discrimination.”
“Personally I cannot believe that this could happen anywhere in this country, let alone in the State of New York,” Cuomo stated. "On behalf of all New Yorkers, I would like to congratulate Dylan Toften and his future husband on their marriage. I invite them to come to Albany, and I would be happy to offer my services as an officiant at their wedding."
Image: Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at an event in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn in New York on July 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)Seth Wenig / AP file

A senior member of the Cuomo administration confirmed to NBC News on Thursday that the governor had spoken to at least one of the two men, but it is unclear whether they will take him up on his offer to officiate their wedding.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in New York since 2011 — four years before it was legalized across the U.S. The state’s Marriage Equality Act was signed into law by Governor Cuomo. 
Cuomo referred Toften’s case to the New York Division of Human Rights, which confirmed it is investigating the matter.
“We have full enforcement powers; we have the power to subpoena witnesses,” Rachelle Dickerson, a spokesperson for the division, told NBC News. “Our investigation would be comprehensive.”
Dickerson did not give an indication as to how long the investigation would take.
Lauren Eriksen is not the first town clerk to make headlines for refusing to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. The most well-known, perhaps, is Kim Davis of Kentucky. Davis spent five days in jail for refusing to follow court orders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and was met with praise from religious and social conservatives across the country. 

June 21, 2018

Trump Stands Firm on Separating Families Because Supporters Remain on His Side





 


Calling the shots as his West Wing clears out, President Donald Trump sees his hard-line immigration stance as a winning issue heading into a midterm election he views as a referendum on his protectionist policies. 
“You have to stand for something,” Trump declared Tuesday, as he defended his administration's immigration policy amid mounting criticism over the forced separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. The chorus of condemnation includes Democrats, as well as Republicans, who are increasingly worried that reports about bereft children taken from their parents could damage the GOP's chances in November. 
Still, Trump believes that his immigration pledges helped win him the presidency and that his most loyal supporters want him to follow through. He made a rare trip to Capitol Hill late Tuesday to meet with GOP legislators and endorse a pair of bills that would keep detained families together, among other changes, but he remains confident that projecting toughness on immigration is the right call, said five White House officials and outside advisers who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. 
“It's amazing how people are surprised that he's keeping the promises he made on the campaign trail now,” said Trump political adviser Bill Stepien. 
While the White House signaled Trump may be open to a narrow fix to deal with the problem, the president spent the day stressing immigration policies that he has championed throughout his surprise political career. He has resisted calls to reverse the separation policy, saying any change must come through Congress. 
In a speech to a business group earlier Tuesday, Trump said he wanted to see legislation deal with family separation, which, he said, “We don't want.” He also emphasized border security and again made the false argument that Democrats are to blame for the family separation problem. Said Trump: “Politically correct or not, we have a country that needs security, that needs safety, that has to be protected.” 
Several White House aides, led by adviser Stephen Miller, have encouraged the president to make immigration a defining issue for the midterms. And Trump has told advisers he believes he looks strong on the matter, suggesting that it could be a winning culture war issue much like his attacks on NFL players who take a knee for the national anthem. 
Former Trump senior adviser Steve Bannon said the president is emphasizing the policies that brought him to the White House. 
“I think this is one of his best moments. I think this is a profile in courage. This is why America elected him,” Bannon said. “This is not doubling down, it is tripling down.” 
Still, Trump, a voracious watcher of cable news who is especially attuned to the power of images, appeared to acknowledge later Tuesday that the optics could be doing damage. 
During his closed-door meeting with lawmakers on the Hill, Trump said his daughter Ivanka had encouraged him to find a way to end the practice, and he said separating families at the border “looked bad,” according to several attendees. 
“He said, ‘Politically, this is bad,'” said Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas. “It's not about the politics. This is the right thing to do.” 
Trump's immigration standoff comes as he escalates his nationalist trade moves, imposing new tariffs on imports and threating more. With few powerful opposing voices remaining in the West Wing, Trump is increasingly making these decisions solo. Some key advisers have left, and chief of staff John Kelly appears sidelined. 
Republicans, particularly those in more moderate districts, are worried they will be damaged by the searing images of children held in cages at border facilities, as well as by audio recordings of young children crying for their parents. The House Republicans' national campaign chairman, Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, said Monday that he's asking “the administration to stop needlessly separating children from their parents.” 
Other conservatives also raised concerns, but many called for Congress to make changes instead of asking Trump to directly intervene. Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith & Freedom coalition of evangelical voters, added to the drumbeat to end the child separation policy Tuesday, calling on Congress to pass legislation that would end the process as part of a broader immigration overhaul. 

 They put him (Trump) on the White House and they prop him on their view he is doing the right thing. Yes these are the evngelicals that elected him, the same with no heart when they think the woman is not obeying their husband, their son said he is gay and he gets thrown out of the house. The ones that believe this nation was born evangelical by only whites and it should stay that way. The rest are just ignorant and wont let any one educate them except maybe fox news.



But asked if the border policy was bad for Trump politically, Reed suggested core supporters remain on the president's side. He said the group's members are “more than willing to give the president and his administration the benefit of the doubt that this is being driven by a spike in people crossing the border, a combination of existing law and court decisions require this separation, and the fact that the Democrats refused to work with the administration to increase judges so that this can be dealt with more expeditiously.” Trump on Tuesday mocked the idea of hiring thousands of new judges, asking, “Can you imagine the graft that must take place?” 
Worried that the lack of progress on his signature border wall will make him look “soft,” according to one adviser, Trump has unleashed a series of tweets playing up the dangers posed by members of the MS-13 gang — which make up a minuscule percentage of those who cross the border. He used the loaded term “infest” to reference the influx of immigrants entering the country illegally. 
As the immigration story becomes a national flashpoint, Trump has been watching the TV coverage with increasing anger, telling confidants he believes media outlets are deliberately highlighting the worst images — the cages and screaming toddlers — to make him look bad. 
The president has long complained about his treatment by the media, but his frustrations reached a boiling point after he returned from his Singapore summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un to face news reports questioning his negotiating skills. He complained to one adviser that the media had not given him enough credit after the summit and was continuing to undermine him on immigration, according to a person familiar with the conversation but not authorized to speak publicly. 
On Tuesday, Trump argued that sticking by his policies was a winning political strategy as he took a fresh shot at Democrats. 
“They can't win on their policies, which are horrible,” he said. “They found that out in the last presidential election.”

April 24, 2018

Evangelical White Men Can't Get Enough of Trump {Power over Righteousness}










 A record number of white evangelical Christians say they support President Donald Trump.

According to a poll from the Public Religion Research Institute released of Thursday, 75 percent of white evangelicals said they had a favorable view of the president and just 22 percent saying they had an unfavorable view.

And white evangelical men are the most likely of that group to back the president, with 81 percent holding a favorable view of Trump compared with 71 percent of white evangelical women.

This is a dramatic jump in support for Trump when compared to the rest of the population, with a recent poll from ABC News/Washington Post putting the president’s approval rating at just 40 percent. Another survey from NBC News/Wall Street Journal put Trump’s approval rating at 39 percent. 


The president has also seen support fall in his previous stronghold, the South, with the majority of Southerners saying they disapprove of the president’s performance, an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll showed.

However, evangelicals appear to be flocking to Trump in droves, with support for the president in this particular group increasing over time, PPRI reported. Indeed, despite fluctuating at various points since Trump’s inauguration, support for the president from white evangelicals has never fallen below 65 percent. 

Given the support Trump received from white evangelicals in the 2016 presidential election (with Pew Research Center showing 81 percent voted for Trump), the president has taken several steps to repay the support since his inauguration, signing both a religious freedom order and reinstating the Mexico City Policy—which blocks funding to overseas abortion providers

Trump also reportedly has a number of evangelical Christians “on speed dial,” with one member of the president’s board of evangelical advisers, Johnnie Moore, telling Newsweek evangelicals had more of a voice under Trump than under former president Barack Obama.

“It’s a totally different time now. They’re not only on our speed dial, we’re on their speed dial. In my opinion, it’s good for America,” says Moore.




December 29, 2017

UK Bishop Criticizes Conservative Evangelicals For Uncritical Support of Trump Vs. Poor


Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, accuses some religious leaders of ‘colluding with a system that marginalizes the poor’



 Church of England, York

 

A senior Church of England bishop has lambasted conservative evangelical Christians in the US for their “uncritical support” of Donald Trump, urging them to reflect on how their endorsement of the president relates to their faith.

Paul Bayes, the bishop of Liverpool, said “self-styled evangelicals” risked bringing the word evangelical into disrepute, and added there was no justification for Christians contradicting God’s teaching to protect the poor and the weak.

Bayes told the Guardian: “Some of the things that have been said by religious leaders seem to collude with a system that marginalises the poor, a system which builds walls instead of bridges, a system which says people on the margins of society should be excluded, a system which says we’re not welcoming people any more into our country. 

 Paul Bayes: ‘If people want to support rightwing populism … how are they going to relate that to their Christian faith?’ Photograph: Rebecca Lupton for the Guardian
“Whenever people say those kinds of things, they need to be able to justify that they’re saying those things as Christians, and I do not believe it’s justifiable.”

He said he regretted that “people who call themselves evangelical in the US seem to be uncritically accepting” positions taken by Trump and his allies.

“Some quite significant so-called evangelical leaders are uncritically supporting people in ways that imply they are colluding or playing down the seriousness of things which in other parts of their lives [they] would see as really important,” Bayes added.

He stressed that not all evangelicals were Trump supporters, saying there were “many, many Christians who are trying to proclaim the gospel as we’ve received it, even if that means political leaders have to be challenged”.

Last month, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, said he could not comprehend the strength of support for Trump among conservative evangelicals in the US. “I really genuinely do not understand where that is coming from,” he told ITV’s Peston on Sunday programme.

In his Christmas Day sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, Welby criticised “populist leaders that deceive” their people, in comments interpreted as being aimed at Trump. 

According to the Washington-based Pew Research Center, 80% of self-identified white evangelical Christians said they voted for Trump in the 2016 election, and three-quarters have since said they approve of his presidency.

Bayes, who has been bishop of Liverpool since 2014, said: “If people want to support rightwing populism anywhere in the world, they are free to do so. The question is, how are they going to relate that to their Christian faith?

“And if what I believe are the clear teachings of the gospel about love for all, the desire for justice and for making sure marginalized and defenseless people are protected, if it looks as though those teachings are being contradicted, then I think there is a need to say so.”

Bayes was speaking to mark the launch of a new Christian charity, which he is chairing, aimed at eliminating discrimination based on sexuality or gender.

The Ozanne Foundation will work with religious organizations around the world on LGBTI, gender and sexuality issues, as well as conflict resolution and education. It will be led by Jayne Ozanne, a prominent campaigner for equality within the C of E. Along with Bayes, the charity’s trustees and advisers include David Ison, the dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Jeffrey John, the dean of St Albans, and Martyn Percy, the dean of Christ Church, Oxford. 

Bayes has previously called for the far-reaching change in C of E attitudes to LGBTI people, saying he had been “profoundly changed” by encounters with lesbian and gay Christians, including within his own family. “I have come to believe that we need to change the church,” he said last year.

The Ozanne Foundation would provide “strong and clear advocacy, not only for LGBTI inclusion but against other forms of discrimination and hurt in the church”, he said. “There is room in the church for people who strongly and clearly advocate for change, and I want to support them.”

The church’s “institutional inertia” needed to be countered, Bayes added. “There is no doubt that the church at the moment is on a journey, and that journey needs to arrive at a place of inclusion further on than we are at the moment.

“What matters to me in terms of my own responsibility and my own advocacy is that we don’t settle for second best, that we keep trying to move the organization forward.”

Religion correspondent

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