"Hi ya', George. What you got there you're studying on so hard?"
"It's a paper I got in the mail. It tells here all the college courses I c'n take with them an' then I can make lot's a money an' maybe even be famous. Hard ta' read tho. Got lots a' big words."
"College? You're looking to go to college? You don't even have a High School diploma. How do you expect to get into college."
"I got me an eight grade edji'cation. I'm smart enough ta' get inta' any ol' college, I betcha'"
"It's not just smarts you need, dopey. You got to have the right credentials to get in to college. Besides, the competition is stiff to get into college, and expensive too."
"I c'n do anything I puts me mind on. And I got me mind set on gettin' me a edji'cation. An' I'll do it too, you just wait an' see."
"Ok, I'm waiting. But what college are you going to attend, and what's going to be your major?"
"Major? It ain't no Army I is goin' inta', stupid. Just get me high-falutin dee-plomer is all. I don't got to be a major ta' do that. 'Sides, I got a appointment with a college counselor an' he'll set me on the right road, you just wait an' see."
"Sit right down, son, make yourself comfortable. Here, have a cigar."
"Don't rightly smoke no stogies, mister. Mind if I smoke a hand-rolled?"
"Go right ahead. How do you like your coffee? Cream and sugar?"
"Just sugar, please."
"Now, to your curriculum. Just what is it you have in mind? What is it you plan on majoring in?"
"There's that major thing again. I ain't hankerin' on joinin' no Army or the like."
"No, I mean, what subject do you want to study. What is it you're looking to become? A contractor? A mechanic?"
"Well, I had me hankerings set a mite higher. I was thinkin' on somethin' more akin ta' a lawyer or a scientificist or somethin' on that order. You know, like aim fer' the top. Maybe even make me'self one a' them there politicky guys. Ya' got anything what c'n make me like a gov'nor or somethin' a' that sort?"
"Well, a hem! I think that's a little out of your line. Besides, I don't think they have a curriculum specifically oriented toward governorship. But maybe we can find something that will take you in that direction. But first, let's learn a little about you and see what you might qualify for. For instance, what is your education level, and how much was you intending to spend on your education? Also, how much time was you planning on investing toward your education?"
"I'm rightly edji'cated ok. Got me a eight grade edji'cation. I nearly come upon goin' into the ninth, only me pa done got sick an' I was needed ta' take care a' the farm an' the folk. But I got lots a' moneys. No problem there, lest it comes nigh on to five hun'ert dollars or so. An' fer' time, got lots a that too. I was figerin' on spending maybe a month or so in school. Maybe even a year if I had it demanded a' me."
"Um, yes, I see. Well my boy, I think I know just what it is you need. You're looking to better yourself with a show of education without having to invest too much time and effort. That is commendable, and very good thinking as well. And it so happens I have just the thing for you. It requires very little money, and you can have your degree in just a few days."
"Day-gree? What's that? I was countin' on a dee-plomer or somethin' on that order."
"A degree is what they call a diploma when you graduate from college. A degree is much high than a diploma."
"Higher? That's the thing fer' me ok. Sounds just like what I was a lookin' fer'. When can I start?"
"Right away. All you have to do is fill out this form and bring it back to me along with the tuition indicated for the degree you desire."
"Tuition. That's money. I accept cash, checks and credit cards."
"Harold, I was a wonderin' if you'd kind a help me out with this here applicatable thing I gotta' fill out. I think they done sneaked some fe'r'n words in on me or somethin'"
"Foreign words? It all looks simple enough. What is it you have here? It looks like an application for some school, but it doesn't appear to be very complete, and the grammar is pretty bad. Where did you get this?"
"I got it from that there councilor I saw yesti'day. He said I should fill this out and bring him a tuit'n an' some moneys, and I can get on with me schoolin'."
"This isn't for enrolling in any school, George. It's for buying a degree without going to school. All you're doing is buying a piece of paper that says you went to school. You don't learn a thing. All you get is a paper that tells the world you went to school and earned whatever degree you bought."
"You mean ta' stan' there on yer' two feets an' tell me that I ain't even got ta' go ta' school an' I c'n have the same thing those what did go gets?"
"That's about the size of it. Only it's lying. It's cheating. It's making out to be something you aren't. You wouldn't want...."
"That's the thing fer' me! How 'bout's that! All I got ta' do is pay some moneys an' I c'n be whatever I hankers to be. What's it cost ta' get one a' those there day-greeable things?"
"It's a degree. But you don't want to get a degree this way. You want to earn it and learn what the degree says you know...."
"How much it cost me ta' say be a doctor or a lawyer? How 'bouts a seni-tor?"
"It doesn't work that way, George. If you say you know something you don't, it'll just get you into trouble. What if you pretend to be a doctor and someone comes to you for advise? You could lead them wrong and cost them their life, or worse."
"I don't aims on tellin' nobody nothin'. All I wants ta' do is frame the thing an' hang it on the wall. No crime in that is there?"
"I don't know, I guess not, but it's cheating."
"I cheated ta' gets ta' the eight grade. Why not a tad more ta' get me a college edji'cation?"
"George, this isn't something you should ought to be doing. I don't think I should be a part of this. Maybe you should get someone else to help you fill out this paper."
"Well, if that's the kind a' friend you be, Harold, just maybe that is what I ought ta' do."
"Mister, I got the moneys here, but I got ta' get somebody ta' help me with the big words on this here paper you gived me. I was wonderin' if you could sorta' lend a hand."
"Certainly, my boy. Have a seat. Coffee?"
"Sugar, no cream."
"Got it. Now, let's see that paper. I see you have your name and your age here, and your education level. All you didn't fill out is what degree you wanted to buy, er, that is, that you wish to earn."
"Lots a' those there words I can't rightly spell out. Some I knows, but there's a bunch what looks feri'n to me."
"No problem. The only one we really need to know is the degree you desire. Did you decide on a specific degree?"
"Not 'specially so, no. I wants the best, the highest there is. What's the highest? Maybe like Pres'dent or king or somethin' like that?"
"Well, a hem! I don't see anything on that order listed. Maybe if I knew just what line of work you're interested in pursuing. That is, what job are you looking to further yourself in?"
"I wasn't rightly lookin' ta' get no job. All's I want is ta' hang a shingle up on me wall what says I has made somethin' a' me'self. Kinda' like what you done got on your wall. I sees you has got a bunch a' them. What is they all fer'?"
"They're for many different accomplishments I have achieved. For instance this one says I am a Doctor of Psychiatry. Then this one indicates that I have the right to practice dentistry. This one up here indicates that I am a qualified medical practitioner. This one down here proves that I have PhD in Sociology. Then there's these two that I am especially proud of that indicates that I have completed my education in Religious studies. In other words, I hold a doctorate in Divinity, and a Th.D. in Theology."
"Religious stuff? Is you a religious fella then?"
"Oh yes, very much so. I am the pastor of the largest church in this city."
"I'll be switched. I'm a guessin' that you is a pretty fanatical Christian then."
"Well, to be honest with you, I actually have a strong bent toward the Buddhist philosophy rather than that of the Bible."
" 'Zat so? I takes it you knows y'r Bible pretty strong an' sees the Buddhist way told in it?"
"Not exactly. I haven't really read the Bible except for a few of the Psalms that I sort of like. But I am highly versed in the Tao De Ching."
"Dao-da-chinee. That's a Bible book I takes it."
"Not exactly, but kind of like it."
"Le' me get this straight in me head. You has gone ta' all these here schools an' learn't all this stuff you touts. But you is so young. How'd you do all that? Don't it take a tastle a years to learn all that?"
"Normally yes. But there are other ways in which to earn a degree. For instance, you can have your past experiences and hobbies serve to qualify you for your certificate of accomplishment. I, for instance, used my reading of the Book of Mormon to gain my Th.D. from the Southerland Gap Baptist Seminary. My wife used her hobby of collecting perfume bottles to gain her degree in Anesthesiology, and my daughter her hobby of collecting butterflies to acquire her Masters in Veterinary Medicine, and my son his interest in history comic books to gain the degree he used to become a teacher at the local Junior High School."
"Your wife's a nurse then I takes it?"
"Oh yes. And a very highly regarded nurse at that. She has used her many degrees to become head nurse of the largest hospital in the state."
"But, don't the schools an' the hospitals an' stuff like that check up ta' see if that there day-gree thing is real? I mean, ain't it again' the law ta' get a job with a illegit piece a paper?"
"Yes it is, but there is nothing illegitimate about our doctorates and degrees. They are fully accredited and accepted world-wide. We have our own accreditation board and a staff of highly qualified retired professors and educators. There is nothing to be concerned about on that part."
"Don't the gover'ment look out over such fanaglings? I mean, don't the US of A want the top folk teachin' the kids and doctorin' and such? An' how's 'bout those upity-ups headin' this here school. Does they hold a paper like you has?"
"Probably. But that does not reduce their qualification by an iota. Consider that many of those students attending full colleges are merely trying to gain what you will have acquired here in this office, but without nearly the concern and desire to achieve as you possess. And again, consider the number of students who cheat their way through school, not learning any more than the minimum required of them to gain their degree. Which would you rather have teaching your child, a teacher who is really interested in teaching and willing to purchase a degree in order to do so? Or would you rather have a person who attended a regular college, but slept through their classes?"
"I s'pose you is right, but...."
"Absolutely I'm right. As for our school being recognized by the governments, it truly is. There is nothing whatever illegal about our operation. It is true that the US government has not approved our line of business, but there is no federal law against it either. The constitution protects freedom of religion, and there is nothing that states that a business can not call itself a University. Because of this, many such businesses are set up and established in this fine country. Besides this, there are some states that do approve and accept such businesses as ours, and most such business are established in those states. We are located in one of those states where low priced degrees are allowed. Also, there are what is called 'off-shore' firms that conduct such business as well, and they are also entirely legal. You have nothing to fear."
"Ok mister. You done sold me. What does I do now? What's it goin' ta' cost me, an' what does I get fer' me monies?"
"Good for you. A very good decision, and some very good questions as well. First, it depends on what degree that you want. If you're looking for the lowest degree that we offer such as High School diploma or an Associate degree the cost will be 230 dollars."
"I don't want no High School dee-plomer. Tha's nothin'. Ever'body done got one a those. I wants somethin' big what I can hang on me wall with pride 'n dignidy."
"Perhaps what you are seeking is a Masters degree, which will cost you 500 dollars, or maybe even a Doctorate for 6oo dollars."
"I wants the biggest they is, whatever is biggest."
"That would be the Doctorate then. Can you afford the 600 dollars?"
"It'll be a scrape, but I c'n dig it up if I gotta'. So, what does I gets fer' all that loot?"
"You will receive everything needed to back up your certificate, showing clearly and without question that you have performed all the required conditions to meet our stringent curriculum. You will receive an Accredited Degree; an Award of Excellence; a Certificate of Membership; a Certificate of Distinction; the Original Transcripts of your education; and you will receive four Education Verification letters. Also, if anyone questions your qualifications they can call me, er, that is the school board and I, I mean, they will vouch for you. Does that sound fair?"
"I' 'spose so. Don't got no idea what all those rattlytraps are. I just want somethin' t' hang on me wall."
"You can hang all the certificates and letters on your wall as well. You won't need wallpaper."
"Sounds good ta' me. Now, when does we start me edji'cation?"
"Mickey Mouse, George. All you're buying for your money is a Name it 'n Frame it scam. You could just print up a paper like what you're buying for a buck and hang it on your wall if that's all you want. Why do you want to pay 600 dollars to a thief?"
"He ain't no thief, Harold. He's legit. He tol' me all 'bout the business. He his self has got pieces a paper hangin'all over that there wall a' his just like what I is gonn'a get. It's all legal like. I wants a legal thing ta' frame. Not some ol' made-up piece a paper what ain't no good. I wants the real McCoy."
"But you're not getting the real McCoy, George. That's what I'm trying to tell you."
"Look, Harold. All I done did was ask you what kind a' dee-plomer you'd get if you was ta' go get one. I didn't ask fer' no sermon. What's the highest here, a lawyer, a doctor, a pilot, a preacher? What would you look on as 'special important if you was ta' see it hangin' behind a fella's desk?"
"None, if I knew how they got it. Having a piece of paper doesn't make you a doctor or a preacher. You have to earn that right by attending school for several years and serving on the job for many more. You can't just expect to buy a piece of paper and set up shop."
"Tha's what you know. The fella I's getting this here paper from has got all the rights ta' doctor up folks if he wants. His wife done has a paper just like it an' she teaches, maybe even teaches your kids. His daughter is a head nurse at the hospital where you is goin' to get yer' gallbladder out next month. Shows what you know."
"I don't believe that. Our government wouldn't allow such a thing."
"No? How comes they is always findin' out such peoples then? All over the place they finds out such goin's on. Fer' instance, that there church you goes ta'."
"Yeah, what about my church? It's one of the finest in the country, and it's the biggest here in town. And we also have the best preacher I've heard for a long time. There's nothing wrong with my church."
" 'zat so? Hmmm. Has you got a s'prise comin'. I got's a question fer' you, Harold. You has been goin' ta' that there church fer' a spell now. I's wonderin'. Has you gone ta' any other churches that you c'n recollect?"
"Well, sure. I've gone to a few."
"An' you believed what you done heared at the others I bet. I mean, they was the best, an' the truest a' all a 'them when you was a' goin'. Is I right? Or is I wrong?"
"Well, yeah, I suppose so. I mean I wouldn't have continued to attend if I thought otherwise."
"An now you is bein' taught different, but you believes it all the same. Has I got it true?"
"Truth has changed, has it, Harold?"
"Of course not. Truth is the truth. It doesn't change. Why do you ask?"
" 'Cause the fella what is your preacher is the same as what is headin' my school, an' he's a Buddhist tried an' true."
We are designed to follow doctrine, that is, a set of rules handed down to us by someone we consider wiser (and more in tune with God) than ourselves. Jesus taught doctrine (John 7:16); Paul taught doctrine (Rom 9:17); and God has doctrine (Titus 2:10). We are to follow doctrine and the instructions of our leaders (1Tim 4:6; Titus 1:9-12; 3:1; Heb 5:9). But not all doctrine is of God, nor are we to follow ungodly doctrine (Eph 4:14; 2John 10; Rev 2:14,15; Mat 15:9; Col 2:22; 1Tim 4:1; Heb 13:9).
We, sons and daughters of Adam, love to have the approval of others. And most of us would rather take the shortest and easiest route to obtain that which we want. Like George in the story above, we would rather have a display of accomplishment rather than have the accomplishment itself.
The World is not the only place this type of thinking occurs. It is also prevalent in the church. Evidence of this is the little slip of paper that most denominations hand out with the rules spelled out in simple, easily understood words called "Articles of Faith." Most people in traditional churches know these articles, and maybe some of the church doctrines, and no more. Nor do they look for more, hanging their faith on the words handed them. Some go beyond this and read small booklets published with stories and articles that are provided for those looking for more to satisfy their soul. Those denominations called "cults" by the traditional churches read much more, and are expected to read and digest large volumes of books explaining the Gospel. But few are required to read the Bible itself and listen to the Holy Spirit as Christians are commanded to do (2Tim 2:15; 1Peter 3:15; John 14:26).
What was the sin of the Pharisees?
"The day will come when there will be a falling away." Is there any signs that there is a "falling away," a "no longer following sound doctrine"? Let's see what current history has to tell us:
The following are excerpts from news reports from around the world, and through the last century. The purpose in reprinting these news clips is not to point the finger at anyone, or to condemn any particular act. My intention is to present a synopsis of the direction the church is taking, and to show that each of us must learn of God what He requires of us, and not from each other.
Nothing in the following should be construed as a final word. In some, perhaps even many cases there is a lot more to the story than what has been presented here, in some cases perhaps even evidence that would exonerate the person represented. For more information on a given person or incident, consult a professional and reliable news source.
Lonnie Frisbee, 1970s-1980s was an American closeted gay Pentecostal evangelist and self-described "seeing prophet" and mystic in the late 1960s and 1970s who despite his "hippie" appearance had notable success as a minister and evangelist. Frisbee was a key figure in the Jesus Movement and was involved in the rise of two worldwide denominations (Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard Movement). He eventually died from AIDS in 1993.
Billy James Hargis, early 1970s Hargis was a prolific author and radio evangelist. Hargis formed American Christian College in 1971 in order to teach fundamentalist Christian principles. However, a sex scandal erupted at the College, involving claims that Hargis had had sex with male and female students. Further scandals erupted when members of Hargis' youth choir, the "All American Kids", accused Hargis of sexual misconduct as well.
Jim & Tammy Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, 1986 and 1991 Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart began on-screen attacks against fellow televangelists Marvin Gorman and Jim Bakker. He uncovered Gorman's affair with a member of Gorman's congregation, and also helped expose Bakker's infidelity. A private investigator later uncovered Swaggart's own adulterous indiscretions with a prostitute. Swaggart was caught again by California police five years later in 1991 with another prostitute. Bakker was imprisoned for fraud.
Peter Popoff, 1987 A self-proclaimed prophet and faith healer in the 1980s, Popoff's ministry went bankrupt in 1987 after James Randi and Steve Shaw debunked his methods by showing that instead of receiving information about audience members from supernatural sources, he received it through an in-ear receiver.
Mike Warnke, 1991 Warnke was a popular Christian evangelist and comedian during the 1970s and 1980s. He claimed in his autobiography, The Satan Seller (1973), that he had once been deeply involved in a Satanic cult and was a Satanic priest before converting to Christ. In 1991 An investigation turned up damaging evidence of fraud and deceit. The investigation also revealed the unflattering circumstances surrounding Warnke's multiple marriages, affairs, and divorces. Most critically, however, the investigation showed how Warnke could not possibly have done the many things he claimed to have done throughout his nine-month tenure as a Satanist, much less become a drug-addicted dealer or become a Satanic high priest.
Robert Tilton, 1991 Tilton is an American televangelist who achieved notoriety in the 1980s and early 1990s through his paid television program Success-N-Life. At its peak it aired in all 235 American TV markets. In 1991 an investigation found that Tilton's ministry threw away prayer requests without reading them, keeping only the money or valuables sent to them by viewers, garnering his ministry an estimated $80 million USD a year.
John Paulk, 2000 Paulk is a former leader of Focus on the Family's Love Won Out conference and former chairman of the board for Exodus International North America. His claimed shedding of homosexuality is also the subject of his autobiography Not Afraid to Change. In September 2000, Paulk was found and photographed in a Washington, D.C. gay bar, and accused by opponents of flirting with male patrons at the bar. Later questioned by Wayne Besen, Paulk denied being in the bar despite photographic proof to the contrary. Initially, FoF's Dr. James Dobson sided with Paulk and supported his claims. Subsequently Paulk confessed to being in the bar.
Paul Crouch, 2004 Crouch is the founder and president of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, or TBN, the world's largest evangelical Christian television network, as well as the former host of TBN's flagship variety show, Praise the Lord. In September 2004, the Los Angeles Times published a series of articles raising questions about the fundraising practices and financial transparency of TBN, as well as the allegations of a former ministry employee, Enoch Lonnie Ford, that he had a homosexual affair with Crouch during the 1990s.
Douglas Goodman, 2004 Goodman, an evangelical preacher, and his wife Erica were Pastors of Victory Christian Centre in London. He came into notoriety when he was jailed for three and a half years for the sexual assault of 4 members of his congregation in 2004. The church was one of the largest in the United Kingdom.
Ted Haggard, 2006- Haggard was the Pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado and was the president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) from 2003 until November 2006. Haggard's position allowed him occasional access to George W. Bush. In 2006 it was alleged that Haggard had been regularly visiting a male prostitute who also provided him with methamphetamine. Haggard admitted his wrongdoing and resigned as pastor of New Life church and as president of the NAE. Haggard admitted to a second homosexual relationship with a male church member, Brant Hass, on CNN-TV and other national media, and when asked, would not directly answer a question about his other possible homosexual relationships.
Paul Barnes, 2006 Barnes is the founder and former senior minister of the evangelical church Grace Chapel in Douglas County, Colorado. He confessed his homosexual activity to the church board, and his resignation was accepted on 7 December 2006. He started the church in his basement and watched it reach a membership of 2,100 in his 28 years of leadership.
Lonnie Latham 2006 Latham, the senior pastor of South Tulsa Baptist Church and a member of the powerful Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, was arrested for "offering to engage in an act of lewdness" with a male undercover police officer.
Richard Roberts, 2007 Televangelist Richard Roberts (son of Oral Roberts), was president of Oral Roberts University until his forced resignation on November 23, 2007. Roberts was named as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging improper use of university funds for political and personal purposes and improper use of university resources.
Bishop Earl Paulk, 2007 Paulk was the founder and head Pastor of Chapel Hill Harvester Church in Decatur, Georgia from 1960 until the 1990s. A number of women from the congregation came forward during the 1990s claiming that Paulk had sexual relations with them.
Coy Privette, 2007 Privette is a Baptist pastor, conservative activist, and politician in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Privette was president of the Christian Action League and a prominent figure in North Carolina moral battles. In 2007, Privette resigned as president of North Carolina's Christian Action League and from the Board of Directors of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, following revelations on July 19 that he had been charged with six counts of aiding and abetting prostitution.
Joe Barron, 2008 Barron, one of the 40 ministers at Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in the United States with 26,000 members, was arrested on May 15, 2008 for solicitation of a minor after driving from the Dallas area to Bryan, Texas, in order to allegedly engage in sexual relations with what he thought to be a 13 year-old girl he had met online. The "girl" turned out to be an undercover law enforcement official.
Tony Alamo, 2008 FBI agents raided Tony Alamo Christian Ministries headquarters as part of a child pornography investigation. This investigation involved allegations of physical abuse, sexual abuse and allegations of polygamy and underage marriage. In late July 2009 Alamo was convicted on 10 counts of transporting minors across state lines for sexual purposes, sexual assault and other crimes. He awaits sentencing, and could face over 100 years in prison.
Senate probe 2007, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) opened a probe into the finances of six televangelists who preach a "prosperity gospel". The probe investigates reports of lavish lifestyles by televangelists including: fleets of Rolls Royces, huge palatial mansions, private jets and other excesses. These luxuries are purportedly paid for by television viewers who donate due to the ministry's requests for tithes. The six under investigation are Kenneth Copeland and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries of Newark, Texas; Creflo Dollar and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International and Creflo Dollar Ministries of College Park, Ga; Benny Hinn of World Healing Center Church Inc. and Benny Hinn Ministries of Grapevine, Texas; Eddie L. Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Bishop Eddie Long Ministries of Lithonia, Ga; Joyce Meyer and David Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries of Fenton, Mo; Randy White and Paula White of the multiracial Without Walls International Church and Paula White Ministries of Tampa.
James Warren "Jim" Jones (May 13, 1931 - November 18, 1978) was the founder and leader of the Peoples Temple, which is best known for the November 18, 1978 death of more than 900 Temple members in Jonestown, Guyana along with the deaths of nine other people at a nearby airstrip in Georgetown.
The greatest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the events of September 11, 2001, the tragedy at Guyana also ranks among the largest mass suicides in history (although some consider it, instead, a mass murder).
Jones was a voracious reader as a child and studied Joseph Stalin, Karl Marx, Mahatma Gandhi and Adolf Hitler carefully, noting each of their strengths and weaknesses. Jones graduated from Richmond High School early and with honors in December 1948.
In 1951, Jones became a member of the Communist Party USA, and began attending meetings and rallies in Indianapolis.
Frustration, among other things, provoked a seminal moment for Jones in which he asked himself "how can I demonstrate my Marxism? The thought was, infiltrate the church." [Interjected note: This was also Hitler's strategy, among others.]
Jones was surprised when a Methodist superintendent helped Jones to get a start in the church even though he knew Jones to be a communist and Jones did not meet him through the American Communist Party. In 1952, Jones became a student pastor in Sommerset Southside Methodist Church, but left that church because its leaders barred him from integrating blacks into his congregation. [Interjected note: Jones was recognized as being a powerful preacher and a sincere Christian.] Around this time, Jones witnessed a faith-healing service at the Seventh Day Baptist Church. He observed that it attracted people and their money and concluded that, with financial resources from such healings, he could help accomplish his social goals.
Jones then began his own church, which changed names until it became the Peoples Temple Christian Church Full Gospel. Jones sold pet monkeys door-to-door to raise funds for his church.
In 1960, Indianapolis Democratic Mayor Charles Boswell appointed Jones as a director of the Human Rights Commission. Jones was wildly cheered at a meeting of the NAACP and Urban League when he yelled for his audience to be more militant, and climaxed with "Let my people go!"
During this time, Jones also helped to integrate churches, restaurants, the telephone company, the police department, a theater, an amusement park, and the Methodist Hospital. After swastikas were painted on the homes of two African American families, Jones personally walked the neighborhood comforting African Americans and counseling white families not to move, in order to prevent white flight.
Jones received considerable criticism in Indiana for his integrationist views. A swastika was placed on the Temple, a stick of dynamite was left in a Temple coal pile and a dead cat was thrown at Jones' house after a threatening phone call. Other incidents occurred, though some suspect that Jones himself may have been involved in at least some of them.
Jones and his wife became well known for what was called their "Rainbow family," consisting of adopted children from many cultures.
An Inquiry was set up by the Government of the Irish Republic to identify complaints and allegations (of child abuse) made against clergy of the Diocese of Ferns prior to April 2002, and to report upon the response of Church and Civil Authorities.
The Ferns Report was presented to the Irish government on 25 October 2005 and released the following day. It identified more than 100 allegations of child sexual abuse made between 1962 and 2002 against twenty-one priests operating under the aegis of the Diocese of Ferns. Eleven of these individuals were alive in 2002. However out of the 100 allegations there have been only five criminal convictions.
Progressive discovery of the problem. The issue of sexual abuse by Catholic priests rose to national attention in 1985 when Gilbert Gauthe plead guilty to 11 counts of molestation of boys. In the 1990s, the issue was again brought to the national attention when a number of books on the topic were published.
Ultimately, it became clear that, over several decades in the 20th century, some priests and lay members of religious orders in the Catholic Church had sexually abused minors (those under 18) on a scale such that the accusations eventually reached into the thousands.
The John Jay report indicated that some 11,000 allegations had been made against 4,392 priests in the USA. This number constituted approximately 4% of the 110,000 priests who had served during the period covered by the survey (1950-2002). The report found that, over the 52-year period covered by the study, "the problem was indeed widespread and affected more than 95 percent of the dioceses and approximately 60 percent of religious communities.
In 2008, the Church asserted that the scandal was a very serious problem but, at the same time, estimated that it was "probably caused by 'no more than 1 per cent' (or 5,000) of the over 500,000 Roman Catholic priests worldwide.
Approximately 80% of the priests involved in sexual abuse of minors were located in the United States.(4,392 priests, as Church's estimate that no more than 5000 priests worldwide).
Of the 11,000 allegations reported by bishops in the John Jay study, 3300 were not investigated because the allegations were made after the accused priest had died. 6700 allegations were substantiated, leaving 1000 which could not be substantiated.
19 percent of the accused priests had alcohol or substance abuse problems, only 9 percent used drugs or alcohol during the alleged instances of abuse.
The 149 priests who had more than 10 allegations against them accounted for 2,960 of the total number of allegations.
In response to these allegations, defenders of the Church's actions have suggested that in re-assigning priests after treatment, bishops were acting on the best medical advice then available, a policy also followed by the US public school system when dealing with accused teachers.
Criticism of media coverage by Catholics and others centred on an excessive focus being placed on Catholic incidences of abuse. Such voices argue that equal or greater levels of child sexual abuse in other religious groups or in secular contexts such as the US public school system have been either ignored or given minimal coverage by mainstream media.
During the same period, those newspapers ran four stories about the federal government's discovery of the much larger -- and ongoing -- abuse scandal in public schools.
Some Christian denominations do not view monogamous same sex relationships as sinful or immoral. These include The Episcopal Church, the United Church of Canada, the United Church of Christ, the Moravian Church, and the Friends General Conference (Quakers). In particular, the Metropolitan Community Church was founded specifically to serve the Christian LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenders], community.
Some Christian denominations are actively debating the issue, for example, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which currently does not officially sanction the blessing of same-sex partnerships. The worldwide Anglican Communion has experienced ongoing debate and controversy over homosexuality both before and after the Episcopal Church ordained the first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in 2003.
The Roman Catholic Church and later, Reformed and Protestant churches traditionally condemned same-sex sexual relations, based on scripture texts such as describing a man lying with another man as sinful acts. Where the Catholic view is founded on a natural law argument informed by scripture, the traditional conservative Protestant view is based on an interpretation of scripture alone.
There are LGBT-affirming denominations that regard homosexuality as morally acceptable, and a natural occurrence; they do not condemn homosexual acts as bad or evil and some liberal churches are open and affirming to active homosexuals. The Metropolitan Community Church has 40,000 members and exists to be open and affirming to active homosexuals and others. The United Church of Christ condones gay marriage and some parts of the Anglican and Lutheran churches allow for the blessing of gay unions. The United Church of Canada also allows same-sex marriage, and views sexual orientation as a gift from God. Within the Anglican communion there are openly gay clergy, for example, Gene Robinson is an openly gay Bishop in the US Episcopal Church. Such religious groups and denominations interpretation of scripture and doctrine leads them to accept that homosexuality is morally acceptable, and a natural occurrence. For example, in 1988 the United Church of Canada, that country's largest Protestant denomination, affirmed that "a) All persons, regardless of their sexual orientation, who profess Jesus Christ and obedience to Him, are welcome to be or become full member of the Church; and b) All members of the Church are eligible to be considered for the Ordered Ministry." In 2000, the Church's General Assembly further affirmed that "human sexual orientations, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are a gift from God and part of the marvelous diversity of creation."
The issue of ordination has caused particular controversy in the worldwide Anglican communion, following the appointment of the Bishop of New Hampshire in the US Episcopal Church.
Most of the liberal Protestant churches, such as the Presbyterian Church USA, the Moravian Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA), are openly discussing the issue of ordaining openly gay or lesbian clergy, including those that are in same-sex marriages or partnerships.
The Metropolitan Community Church logo in front of the altar at a regional conference of the denomination.
The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches is the most prominent denomination with an official stance allowing non-celibate gays and lesbians to be ordained; it is also one of the fastest growing denominations in the United States and the United Kingdom. Smaller denominations, like the Liberal Catholic Church, the Swedenborgian Church of North America and the Apostolic Johannite Church also do so.
In Scandinavia, the Church of Sweden permits openly gay and lesbian clergy to act as ministers, often in senior positions. In May 2009 the Diocese of Stockholm elected Eva Brunne as its Bishop-Elect. Brunne lives in a registered partnership with another woman, and has a three-year-old son. Likewise the national church of Denmark, and the Church of Norway permit the ordination of openly LGBT clergy.
In Germany, the Lutheran, United and Reformed churches as part of the Evangelical Church ordain openly LGBT Christian clergy.
The Protestant Church in the Netherlands also ordains openly LGBT Christian clergy.
The United Church of Canada and the Uniting Church in Australia already welcome gays and lesbians in permanent partnerships into the ordained ministry. The United Church of Christ, because of its decentralized model that arose from Congregational churches of New England, allows such ordinations by default since there are no official denomination-wide stances on doctrine.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America decided in August 2009 to accept gay clergy in sexually active monogamous relationships.
The Church of Scotland discussed the issue at its 2009 General Assembly. This was in response to the ordination of openly gay minister, Rev Scott Rennie, to serve at Queen's Cross Church, Aberdeen. (These) cases should be permitted until a commission on the subject has reported in two years time.
The United Methodist Church has also been discussing the issue for many years, but its official position continues to deny ordination to "Self-Avowed Practicing Homosexuals." In theory, a homosexual who is celibate is a fit candidate for ordination within the United Methodist Church, but in practice this rarely happens.
For many years liberal, western, Anglican Provinces operated a system summed up by the phrase "don't ask, don't tell."
In August 2009, it was announced that two gay Episcopal priests were among the six nominated candidates for the role of assistant bishop of Los Angeles. Both are in committed same-sex paartners.
The Roman Catholic Church allows the ordination of men who have, in the past, experienced same-sex attraction, but only on the condition that they have lived without engaging in homosexual culture or acts for several years, and can be psychologically verified as having their same-sex attraction under control.
Despite the official line, some studies in the United States have suggested that at least a third of all priests in the US Catholic Church may be homosexual. A 2006 survey suggests that Roman Catholic church-goers in the US are evenly split on whether such men should serve as priests or bishops.
The Episcopal Church USA, many dioceses of which permit the blessing of same-sex unions, nevertheless rejected at their 2006 General Convention a resolution allowing the solemnization of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage is recognized by civil law.
Blessing of a same-sex union. Due to its "local option", a number of congregations and ministers of the United Church of Canada (a merger of Congregationalist, Presbyterian and Methodist congregations in Canada following presbyterian polity) officiate at same-sex marriages, which are fully legal in Canada.
The Mennonite Church in the Netherlands offers marriage to both heterosexual and same-gender couples.
The Unitarian Universalists perform same-sex marriages.
The Swedenborgian Church of North America allows ministers to choose whether to perform same-sex marriages.
Same-sex couples can be married under the care of many "unprogrammed" Quaker meetings. British Quaker meetings celebrate same-sex commitments by a special act of worship but none has yet called this marriage. In Australia, Canberra Quaker meeting celebrated the marriage of two gay men on 15 April 2007. Canberra Quakers and Queensland Quakers are prepared to celebrate same-sex marriages despite the lack of legal recognition.
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada issued a statement affirming the integrity and sanctity of committed same-sex relationships.
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada in 2004 voted to defer a decision of same-sex blessings until 2007, but also to "Affirm the integrity and sanctity of committed adult same-sex relationships".
Four churches of the Union of Utrecht, which shares full communion with the Anglican Churches through the Bonn Agreement, also permit such blessings: namely, Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands permits blessings of gay civil marriages, and the Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland, and Catholic Diocese of the Old Catholics in Germany permit blessings of gay civil unions. The Old Catholic Church of Austria also permits such blessings (no civil unions there). Because of this (as well as the ordination of women), the Polish National Catholic Church (USA) seceded from the Union in 2004.
The Alliance of Baptists has supported the legal right to marry; its position on corollary church services is unclear.
The 2006 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland voted that blessing civil partnerships should be a matter of conscience for individual ministers. Conservatives in the Kirk argued that the reform would have to be ratified by local presbyteries.
The Church of Sweden and the Church of Denmark (in full communion with the Anglican Churches of the British Isles through the Porvoo Communion) allow blessings of same-sex couples. The Church of Sweden has stated its openness to allowing priests to conduct church weddings for same-sex couples same-sex marriage in Sweden, though it would prefer to use a word other than "marriage". This decision was made prior to Sweden's legalization of same-sex marriage.
United States: The Lutheran church Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has not officially allowed blessings of same-sex couples. Studies and dialogue have been under way during the past decade and will continue until the 2009 Church Wide Assembly. However, many instances of same-sex blessing have been performed by individual Lutheran ministers outside official policy. The ELCA in fact has no official policy on blessing same-gender relationships.
As of the 2007 Church Wide Assembly, non-celibate openly gay and lesbian men and women may not serve as clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. However, as it turns out, many do. Without revising this rule, the Assembly resolved to "refrain from disciplining" any ministers who are in committed same-sex relationships. In essence one could say gay pastors are "decriminalized" in the ELCA
The Church of England considers a celibate person of homosexual orientation to be eligible for ordination, even if the person has entered into a civil same-sex partnership, noting "The Church should not collude with the present assumptions of society that all close relationships necessarily include sexual activity."
The Church of England affirmed in 2005 that lay homosexuals who have entered into civil partnerships are still eligible for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and communion.
In 2002, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Diocese of New Westminster voted to allow the blessing of same-sex unions by those parishes who choose to do so.
In 2003, ECUSA became the first Anglican province to ordain an openly gay bishop; however, the church's stance on gay issues has been debated for decades. In 1976, ECUSA's General Convention passed a resolution stating: On June 23, 2005 the ECUSA defined its meaning in a one hundred and thirty page document entitled "To Set Our Hope on Christ":
The issue of blessing of same-sex unions was the subject of a resolution at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the USA held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 30 - August 8, 2003. After debate, the following resolution was concurred in and became an Act of the Convention: (that) "homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church."
We believe that God has been opening our eyes to acts of God that we had not known how to see before... the eligibility for ordination of those in covenanted same-sex unions... a person living in a same-gendered union may be eligible to lead the flock of Christ... members of the Episcopal Church have discerned holiness in same-sex relationships and have come to support the blessing of such unions and the ordination or consecration of persons in those unions... Their holiness stands in stark contrast with many sinful patterns of sexuality in the world... The idea that there is only one correct way to read or interpret scripture is a rather modern idea.
Despite their general opposition to abortion, fundamentalist churches that include the conservative evangelical, Non-denominational, Southern Baptist and Pentecostal movements, do not have a single definition or doctrine on abortion. While these movements hold in common that abortion (when there is no threat to the life of the mother) is a form of infanticide, there is no consensus as to whether exceptions should be allowed when the woman's life is in mortal danger, or when the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.
Several mainstream Protestant organizations belong to the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. These include the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), The United Church of Christ, The United Methodist Church, the Unitarian Universalist Church, and the Lutheran Women's Caucus.
Before 1980, the Southern Baptist Convention advocated for abortion rights. During the 1971 and 1974 Southern Baptist Conventions, Southern Baptists were called upon "to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother." W. Barry Garrett wrote in the Baptist Press, "Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the [Roe v. Wade] Supreme Court Decision."
Today, the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest protestant denomination in the United States, opposes elective abortion except to save the life of the mother.
The General Board of American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. opposes abortion "as a means of avoiding responsibility for conception, as a primary means of birth control, and without regard for the far-reaching consequences of the act." There is no agreement on when personhood begins, whether there are situations that allow for abortion, whether there should be laws to protect the life of embryos and whether laws should allow women the right to choose an abortion.
The Episcopal Church in the United States of America has taken a pro-choice stand and has passed resolutions at its triannual General Convention that supports woman's right to choose. The church opposes any government action that limits a woman's right to choose this includes parental notification.
The Anglican Church of Australia does not take a position on abortion. However, in December 2007, an all-woman committee representing the Melbourne diocese recommended that abortion be "decriminalised", on the basis of the ethical view that "the moral significance [of the embryo] increases with the age and development of the foetus". This is seen to be the first official approval of abortion by Australian Anglicans.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly has "repeatedly affirmed its support for the principles of a woman's right to reproductive freedom, of the freedom and responsibility of individual conscience, and of the sacredness of life of all persons. While advocating respect for differences of religious beliefs concerning abortion, Disciples have consistently opposed any attempts to legislate a specific religious opinion regarding abortion for all Americans."
Lutheranism in the United States consists largely of three denominations: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (5 million members), the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod (2.5 million members), and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (0.5 million members).
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America maintains a pro-choice position for fetuses that are aborted before viability outside of the womb. The ELCA position statement says abortion should be an option of last resort. The church opposes legal restrictions on abortion and provides health-care benefits to its employees that cover elective abortions. Some hospitals affiliated with the church perform elective abortions.
The two smaller United States denominations, which are considered evangelical, are pro-life. The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod opposes abortion, except for cases when it is required to save the mother's life.
The United Methodist Church upholds the idea that church doctrine should not interfere with secular abortion laws. In light of grave or socio-economic circumstances, the United Methodist church believes in the right of the mother to choose whether to have an abortion, and is thus often regarded as pro-choice.
The Methodist Church of Great Britain has a nuanced pro-choice position. The Methodist Church of Great Britain believes its congregants should work toward the elimination of the need for abortion by advocating for social support for mothers. The MCBG feels that abortion is always "an evil," but choosing abortion can be a "lesser evil" when "the embryo is grievously handicapped, the pregnancy is the result of rape or the health, mental or physical, of the mother is at risk." The MCGB does not believe abortion should be made illegal, and councils that abortion should be done as early in pregnancy as possible.
The Presbyterian Church generally takes a pro-choice stance. The Presbyterian Church believes that the choice to receive an elective abortion can be "morally acceptable;" however, the Church does not condone late abortions where the fetus is viable and the mother's life is not in danger.
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) generally avoids taking a stance on controversial issues such as abortion; however, in the 1970's the American Friends Service Committee advocated for abortion rights.
The United Church of Christ has strongly supported abortion rights since 1971 as a part of their Justice and Witness Ministry. The church is an organizational member of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL).
The Unitarian Universalist Church strongly supports abortion rights. In 1978, the Unitarian Universalist Church passed a resolution that declared, "...[the] right to choice on contraception and abortion are important aspects of the right of privacy, respect for human life and freedom of conscience of women and their families."
The Roman Catholic Church opposes procedures whose purpose is to destroy an embryo or fetus. The Church today firmly holds that "the first right of the human person is his life" and that life is assumed to begin at fertilization. The equality of all human life is fundamental and complete, any discrimination is evil. Therefore, even when a woman's life appears jeopardized, choosing her life over her child's is no less discrimination between two lives - and therefore morally unacceptable. Accordingly, an abortion to save the life of a mother is unnacceptable.
Modern Catholic theologians trace Catholic thought on abortion to early Christian teachings such as the Didache, Barnabas and the Apocalypse of Peter. Some theologians trace pro-life Catholic advocacy to Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine.
There are Catholic scholars who oppose the Church's position on abortion. Notably, philosopher Daniel Dombrowski wrote a "A brief, liberal, Catholic defense of abortion." In addition, Catholics for a Free Choice was founded in 1973 "to serve as a voice for Catholics" who believe individual women and men are not acting immorally when they choose to use birth control, and that women are not immoral for choosing to have an abortion. Catholics for a Free Choice believe: Catholic support for legal abortion is grounded in core principles of Catholic theology, which respect the moral agency of all women. It is bolstered by respect for the religious freedom and rights of people of all faiths and no religious faith, by respect for plural and tolerant democratic societies and, most importantly, by adherence to the Catholic principle of standing with the poor and marginalized of the world who are disproportionately women.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has made the statement that "[CFC] is not a Catholic organization, does not speak for the Catholic Church, and in fact promotes positions contrary to the teaching of the Church as articulated by the Holy See and the NCCB."
Anglican Church of Australia: Pro-life under all circumstances:
Traditional Jewish teachings sanction abortion as a means of safeguarding the life of a mother. While the Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative movements openly advocate for the right to a safe and accessible abortion, the Orthodox movement is less unified on the issue.
[Keep in mind: all these mentioned above are baptized just as you were, and are considered "Born Again" Christians. See Mat 7:14-14, 21-23.]
One of the requirements to sit on the Sanhedrin was that the person had to be versed in all areas of Torah law and know all languages. In fact, at any time when a scholar exhibits greater scholarship than an existing member he is appointed, replacing the other. These were not elected officials. The High Priest (Kohen Gadol) was the head of the Temple service. The only official connection that the Sanhedrin had with the Temple was that it met in a room connected to the Temple structure called the Chamber of Hewn Stone (Lishgat Hagazit). (Copied from JJRaymond.com)
Who is it you're staking your eternal soul on?
Or better yet:
Do you even really believe there is an eternal soul?
26Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mat 10:)
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