2019 Atheism Headline News
5-13-19 Anti-gay preacher Steven Anderson banned from Ireland
A controversial US preacher has become the first person to be banned from Ireland under a 20-year-old power. Steven Anderson, a pastor from Arizona, runs the Faithful Word Baptist church and openly expresses anti-gay and anti-Semitic views. His website claimed that he was due to preach in Dublin on 26 May. However, an online petition calling for Mr Anderson to be banned from Ireland was created in response, and gained 14,000 signatures. Mr Anderson has previously called for the death of former US President Barack Obama and praised the gunman who killed 49 people in an attack on a gay night club in Florida in 2016. Steven Anderson is one of America's most controversial preachers. He was born and raised in Sacramento, California, and started the Faithful Word Baptist Church in December 2005 from his Arizona living room. According to the church's website, he met his wife Zsuzsanna "while soul-winning" as an 18-year-old on the streets of Munich in Germany. The couple have been married for more than 17 years and have 10 children. The church's website says Mr Anderson has memorised "well over 140 chapters of the Bible". The website describes the church as an "old-fashioned, independent, fundamental, King James Bible only, soul-winning Baptist church". Mr Anderson claims to have his materials translated into more than 115 languages. Irish Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan signed an exclusion order for Mr Anderson with immediate effect on 10 May under the Immigration Act 1999. It is the first time an exclusion order has been granted since the creation of the act 20 years ago. Mr Anderson has been banned from a number of countries, including the UK. Mr Flanagan said he had signed the order "under my executive powers in the interests of public policy". (Webmaster's comment: He and his Baptist church should also be banned from the United States!)
4-18-19 U.S. Church Membership Down Sharply in Past Two Decades
As Christian and Jewish Americans prepare to celebrate Easter and Passover, respectively, Gallup finds the percentage of Americans who report belonging to a church, synagogue or mosque at an all-time low, averaging 50% in 2018. U.S. church membership was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976, falling modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s. The past 20 years have seen an acceleration in the drop-off, with a 20-percentage-point decline since 1999 and more than half of that change occurring since the start of the current decade.
- Half of Americans are church members, down from 70% in 1999
- Most of the decline attributable to increase in percentage with no religion
- Membership has fallen nine points among those who are religious
2-23-19 Vatican abuse summit: Cardinal says files were destroyed
A senior Roman Catholic Cardinal has said that files documenting child sexual abuse were destroyed, allowing offences to continue. German Cardinal Reinhard Marx told a conference on paedophilia in the Church that procedures to prosecute offenders "were deliberately not complied with". "The rights of victims were effectively trampled underfoot," he said. The unprecedented four-day summit has brought together 190 bishops from across the world. The Catholic Church has faced growing pressure amid long-running cases of sexual abuse of children and young men, with victims accusing it of failing to tackle the issue. "Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed, or not even created," Cardinal Marx told the third day of the conference in the Vatican. "Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them." He urged greater transparency in the Catholic Church's response to the issue, adding: "It is not transparency which damages the church but rather the acts of abuse committed, the lack of transparency or the ensuing cover up." On Friday, Cardinal Marx - who is one of nine advisers to the pope, known as the C9 - met survivors of abuse and members of the global organisation Ending Clergy Abuse. Hundreds of victims have protested outside the Vatican, calling for justice and zero tolerance over the issue. The conference was called for by Pope Francis, who earlier this month admitted that abuse of nuns by members of the clergy had included sexual slavery. Last week, a former Catholic cardinal was defrocked over historical sexual abuse allegations.
2-11-19 380 Southern Baptist leaders and volunteers accused of sexual misconduct.
Since 1998, about 380 Southern Baptist leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct, according to a sweeping investigation by two Texas newspapers. The Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News also found that in the past 20 years, more than 700 victims have been abused, with some urged to have abortions and forgive their abusers. The newspapers said their investigation included "examining federal and state court databases, prison records and official documents from more than 20 states and by searching sex offender registries nationwide." In Texas alone, the newspapers interviewed police and district attorneys in 40 counties. "Ultimately, we compiled information on 380 credibly accused officials in Southern Baptist churches, including pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers and volunteers," the newspapers said. "We verified that about 220 had been convicted of sex crimes or received deferred prosecutions in plea deals." Of those 220, 90 remain in prison and 100 are registered sex offenders, according to the report. The investigation comes as other religious bodies, including the Catholic Church, face accusations of widespread sexual abuse of its members, especially children, over decades. But unlike the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations, the Southern Baptist Convention is a collection of 47,000 autonomous churches, with little power to force churches to comply with policies. "The SBC presents no governing policies to churches because the SBC is not a governing organization; it is a service organization. Each church is self-governing," said Sing Oldham, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention.
2-6-19 Pope admits clerical abuse of nuns including sexual slavery
Pope Francis has admitted that clerics have sexually abused nuns, and in one case they were kept as sex slaves. He said in that case his predecessor, Pope Benedict, was forced to shut down an entire congregation of nuns who were being abused by priests. It is thought to be the first time that Pope Francis has acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by the clergy. He said the Church was attempting to address the problem but said it was "still going on". Last November, the Catholic Church's global organisation for nuns denounced the "culture of silence and secrecy" that prevented them from speaking out. The Pope's comments come amid long-running allegations of sexual abuse of children and young men by priests at the Church. Speaking to reporters while on a historic tour of the Middle East on Tuesday, the pontiff admitted that the Church had an issue, the roots of which lie in "seeing women as second class". He said that priests and bishops had abused nuns, but said the Church was aware of the "scandal" and was "working on it", adding that a number of clerics had been suspended. "It's a path that we've been on," he said. "Pope Benedict had the courage to dissolve a female congregation which was at a certain level, because this slavery of women had entered it - slavery, even to the point of sexual slavery - on the part of clerics or the founder." Pope Francis said sexual abuse of nuns was an ongoing problem, but happened largely in "certain congregations, predominantly new ones". "I think it's still taking place because it's not as though the moment you become aware of something it goes away." The female congregation dissolved in 2005 under Pope Benedict was the Community of St Jean, which was based in France, Alessandro Gisotti of the Vatican press office told CBS News.
1-31-19 Sarah Sanders says 'God wanted Trump to be president'
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has told a religious television network that God "wanted Donald Trump to become president". Ms Sanders made the claim in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), saying it was the reason Mr Trump was in office. The press secretary also said it was "very hard" to take morality lessons from the Democratic Party. Democrats have attacked Mr Trump's proposed border wall as immoral. US evangelicals strongly support the president. The Washington Post reports Mr Trump won 80% of the white evangelical vote in 2016, a higher share than Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain in previous elections. CBN broadcast the interview with Ms Sanders on Wednesday, conducted by David Brody and Jennifer Wishon. Responding to Mr Brady's question about Mr Trump's position, Ms Sanders said: "I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times and I think that He wanted Donald Trump to become president." "That's why he's there and I think he has done a tremendous job in supporting a lot of the things that people of faith really care about." When asked about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi position on the proposed border wall - a divisive issue at the heart of the longest US government shutdown in history - the press secretary attacked Ms Pelosi's suggestion such a barrier was immoral. The interview comes days after Mr Trump tweeted his support for Bible study. Several states have legislation pending that would make Bible literacy courses part of public school education. (Webmaster's comment: Goodby to separation of Church and State! Religious Evil is in our White House and will soon be forced down our throats by law!)
2019 Atheism Headline News