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Member since: Sat Jul 3, 2010, 12:24 PM
Number of posts: 19,705

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God gave my son autism because I once had an abortion

In her new autobiography, R&B singer Toni Braxton said that she believes God gave her 11-year-old son autism as punishment for an abortion she had years before.

According to The Frisky, Braxton wrote in Unbreak My Heart that she found out she was pregnant when she was taking the powerful acne drug Accutane.

The drug, which shrinks and eliminates sebum-producing cells in the skin, was first used as a chemotherapy drug for pancreatic and brain cancers. Women are urged not to take the drug if they are pregnant or may become pregnant because the chemical attacks rapidly reproducing cells like those of a developing fetus. Embryos exposed to the drug can have severe birth defects.


Years later, retribution came, she said, “I believed God’s payback was to give my son autism.”


Braxton gave a nod to the anti-vaccination believers by noting that she first noted changes in her son’s behavior “after my son’s first MMR vaccine.”


No exorcisms (yet), but just as delusional.

Astronomers Tell Congress They’re Almost Certain ET Exists

"In the last 50 years, evidence has steadily mounted that the components and conditions we believe necessary for life are common and perhaps ubiquitous in our galaxy," said Werthimer in his written testimony, adding: "The possibility that life has arisen elsewhere, and perhaps evolved intelligence, is plausible and warrants scientific inquiry."


This story is going around, and I want to ask a question from the religious perspective:

Considering the very Earth-centric nature of most religion on this planet, how would the discovery of life (not necessarily intelligent life, just life itself) play into these beliefs that place us all at the center of it all, special in every way?

Megachurch Pastor Confesses to Protecting Child Molester for Years

A megachurch pastor confessed to covering up sexual abuse claims during this week's trial of a youth leader accused of molesting several boys. Nathaniel Morales, 56, was convicted Thursday of sexually abusing three young boys between 1983 and 1991.

Covenant Life Church former pastor Grant Layman admitted on Tuesday while testifying about allegations against Nathaniel Morales that he withheld incriminating information from the police about the abuse.

Public defender Alan Drew asked Layman if had an "obligation to report the alleged abuse?"

"I believe so," he replied.

"And you didn't?" asked Drew, to which Layman responded "no."

According to Brent Detwiler, who attended the trial and is a former Sovereign Grace pastor who now runs a watchdog blog about the ministry of which Covenant Life Church was part until 2012, Layman acknowledged that over the course of 1992 he learned that Morales had abused two boys, but did not go to authorities with these claims.


New Study Shows That Americans Lie About How Often They Really Go to Church

In a study to be unveiled just hours from now, brilliantly titled “I Know What You Did Last Sunday,” the Public Religion Research Institute shows that Americans are lying their asses off when it comes to admitting how often they go to church.

How do they know? Researchers conducted two types of surveys — one over the phone and one online — in which they asked the same questions about going to church and belief in God. When participants had to provide answers to a human being over the phone, they were much more likely to inflate their church attendance numbers. And when they’re in front of a computer, they’re more likely to admit that they rarely, if ever, go to church.

The degree to which Americans over-report their religious participation varies considerably by religious affiliation. Among religious groups, Catholics and white mainline Protestants are more likely than white evangelical Protestants to over-report their levels of religious participation. When interviewed by telephone, fewer than 3-in-10 (28%) white mainline Protestants report that they seldom or never attend religious services, compared to 45% in the self-administered online survey.

Catholics are less than half as likely to report seldom or never attending religious services when responding to a telephone versus online survey (15% vs. 33%). Among white evangelical Protestants, the differences between modes are less stark: 9% report they seldom or never attend religious services when speaking with a live interviewer, compared to 17% who report the same in a self-administered survey. Among black Protestants, the differences between modes are also not as glaring. Only 14% of black Protestants report seldom or never attending on a telephone survey, compared to nearly one-quarter (24%) on the online survey.


Pastor facing rape charges

A Sandusky pastor who dodged a child rape conviction last year was indicted yet again this month for allegedly raping a young girl and fondling a young boy at his church a decade ago. Richard Mick, 52, of the 8000 block Ohio 101, is now facing two counts of rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition for the alleged incidents.

Both of the victims were about 8 years old when Mick allegedly abused them, and both were parishioners of his congregation, Lighthouse Baptist Church. Both are now teenage adults.

Mick was charged with similar crimes — two counts of rape — in 2012 for allegedly raping another young parishioner on two occasions years ago.


The Bellevue-area girl Mick is now accused of raping told Sandusky police Detective Ken Nixon there were two instances in which Mick allegedly abused her — both occurring on church grounds. She recalled the abuse happening on days her family attended church services, Nixon said.

Meanwhile, the Sandusky boy Mick allegedly fondled said those incidents occurred two or three times. At the time, the 8-year-old boy occasionally had accidents. Mick allegedly accompanied the child into the bathroom to help him change his clothes, but would inappropriately touch him while doing so, Nixon said.


Gods Will

"The parents told deputies they locked the child in the room because he was possessed by demons."

In rural Canadian County, Sheriff’s deputies say they found the worst case of child abuse they have ever seen. Lawmen say the parents, Edward and Krystal Everett, locked their little boy up in a bare room. When deputies discovered him Thursday, they say he was in the fetal position covered in bruises.

Neighbor George Heupel drives past the quiet, country home. He says he was clueless. “I wouldn’t even treat my animals that way,” said Heupel.

Investigators say the parents kept the six-year-old in a room with a small mat to sit on and a bucket to use the bathroom. Investigators also say the parents only came in to feed him once a day and to shock him with a cattle prod.

The parents told deputies they locked the child in the room because he was possessed by demons. They claimed he heard voices and hurt himself.

“It’s really an outrageous case of child neglect,” said Undersheriff Chris West.

Three younger children were in the home too. Lawmen rescued them all.


And religion played NO PART in this whatsoever, right?

Toon misses the mark.

This was posted in N2doc's toon round up in GD, and I think it totally misses the mark.

To me, it implies that Islam itself is not part of the problem, but an innocent.

I'd say the same if the labels were changed to "Christianity" and "Christian Extremists".

What say you?

Nebraska Senate Nominee Says Religious Beliefs Can Justify Breaking Any Law

“[O]ur right to the free exercise of religion is co-equal to our right to life,” according to the campaign website of Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican who won his party’s nomination to the United States Senate on Tuesday. Nebraska is a solid red state that preferred Romney to Obama by a massive 21 point margin in 2012, so Sasse is now all but certain to succeed retiring Sen. Mike Johanns (R) this November. If he does, Sasse promises to promote an almost anarchistic vision of religious liberty as a member of the Senate. According to Sasse’s website, “[g]overnment cannot force citizens to violate their religious beliefs under any circumstances.”

Here’s a screenshot of the relevant part of Sasse’s website:

The question of when religious belief exempts believers from following the law is at the forefront of our national debate right now, with the Supreme Court poised to decide whether religious business owners can refuse to offer birth control coverage as part of their employer-provided health plans, even when doing so would violate federal law. Yet, even the plaintiffs before the Supreme Court acknowledge that religious liberty is not an absolute right to violate any law at any time. As the crafting chain Hobby Lobby says in its brief to the justices, the government may limit religious believers actions when it uses “‘the least restrictive means of furthering’ a ‘compelling governmental interest.’” This is the standard set by federal law, although there is some uncertainty about how the justices will interpret this legal standard in its Hobby Lobby decision.

Sasse, however, apparently believes that this law does not go far enough, even if the Court gives Hobby Lobby everything it is asking for. His proposed rule — that government cannot require someone to act counter to their religious beliefs “under any circumstances” — would mean that literally any law could be ignored by someone who held a religious belief counter to that law. According to National Geographic, for example, “[h]undreds, if not thousands, of women are murdered by their families each year in the name of family ‘honor,’” and while this practice “goes across cultures and across religions,” some of the perpetrators of honor killings are motivated by their religious faith. Under Sasse’s formulation of religious liberty, a person who killed his own sister because he believed he was under a religious obligation to do so would be immune from prosecution for murder.

Similarly, religious beliefs have been used to justify discrimination against racial minorities, women, and LGBT Americans at different points in American history. In an opinion upholding Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage, a state judge wrote that “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” Former Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett offered a similar view in 1960, claiming that “the good Lord was the original segregationist.” The conservative Bob Jones University drew a similar connection between religion and racism to justify excluding African Americans entirely until the early 1970s, and then to justify a ban on interracial dating and marriage among its students.


Losing My Religion and Going Public on Facebook

Lots of people lose their religious faith and just keep quiet about it. They have great reasons for doing so. Entire communities and family relationships are built on agreement that God is real. Publicly express doubt and you risk becoming an outcast in both social and family circles. Thus, many people go through the motions. What’s the harm in believing a beautiful lie?

The problem for me was that the lie’s not harmless. Scratch the surface and you quickly expose a dark underbelly of rules designed to keep people in bondage: Women are to be submissive to men. Gay relationships are abominations. Natural sexual urges are sinful. This life is relatively meaningless compared to the afterlife. Suffering is purposeful and justified. And so on. This system of beliefs is not only harmful but, pushed to extremes, can result in devastation on a societal scale. Truth matters after all.

When I walked away from my faith and decided to go public, doing it through social media was a natural way for me to do it. For me, Facebook is a kind of “truth serum”—a place where people air all kinds of things, from trivial (what they just prepared for lunch) to intense (political and religious debates). I had used it a great deal over the years to air my challenges to skeptics in a public forum, so I thought it was only fair to use it as the platform for my admission that I was now convinced I’d been wrong.

I began by publicly announcing I was separating myself from religion and letting people know that in the days that followed, I would be outlining the high points as to why I no longer believed in the supernatural. I tried to be painfully honest about my fears in going public.


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