Saturday, March 21, 2015

25 years ago: The University of Alberta holds its first Blue Jeans Day in support of sodomy

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

On March 21, 1990, the University of Alberta held its first annual Blue Jeans Day, when people were supposed to wear blue jeans to express solidarity with sodomite rights activists. A recent similar event at the University of Saskatchewan had resulted in the burning of blue jeans by engineering students.

The day at the U of A probably set a record for the smallest percentage of people wearing blue jeans on campus in many years. I saw one girl, who today would be considered a hate criminal, wearing a t-shirt that read, "Homos don’t tell me what to wear." Many women were wearing skirts, which helped to make the occasion one of the most memorable and enjoyable days in the U of A’s history.

As an aside, this blogger was a participant in a pro-life rally on the University of Alberta campus eight days later as a counter to an appearance on campus by "Dr." Henry Morgentaler, Canada's most infamous abortionist. I noticed that people I'd seen wearing blue jeans in support of sodomite and lesbian rights on March 21 were publicly supporting abortion rights on March 29--and that connection is not a coincidence. Three days before "Dr." Morgentaler's appearance, American pro-life speaker Joseph Scheidler gave a talk at the University of Alberta. This blogger put up a number of posters on campus--in places where permission to put up posters wasn’t required--advertising Mr. Scheidler’s appearance, and within a day all but one of the posters had been torn down; such is the "tolerance" of pro-abortion activists.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Here they go again: Yet another "oldest known human" discovered

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, Romans 1:22

As I said in a previous post, I can't think of any area of so-called "science" that's more characterized by fraud, cover-up, and wild extrapolation based on insufficient evidence than that of man's alleged ancestors (e.g., Nebraska Man; Java Man; Peking Man; Piltdown Man).

Submitted for your approval is the latest discovery, as reported by Malcolm Ritter of Associated Press, March 4, 2015:

NEW YORK — A fragment of jawbone found in Ethiopia is the oldest known fossil from an evolutionary tree branch that eventually led to modern humans, scientist reported Wednesday.

The fossil comes from very close to the time that our branch split away from more ape-like ancestors best known for the fossil skeleton Lucy. So it gives a rare glimpse of what very early members of our branch looked like.

At about 2.8 million years old, the partial jawbone pushes back the fossil record by at least 400,000 years for our branch, which scientists call Homo.

It was found two years ago at a site not far from where Lucy was unearthed. Africa is a hotbed for human ancestor fossils, and scientists from Arizona State University have worked for years at the site in northeast Ethiopia, trying to find fossils from the dimly understood period when the Homo genus, or group, arose.

Our species, called Homo sapiens, is the only surviving member of this group.

The jaw fragment, which includes five teeth, was discovered in pieces one morning by Chalachew Seyoum, an Ethiopian graduate student at Arizona State. He said he spotted a tooth poking out of the ground while looking for fossils.

The discovery is described in a paper released Wednesday by the journal Science.

Arizona State’s William Kimbel, an author of the paper, said it’s not clear whether the fossil came from a known early species of Homo or whether it reveals a new one. Field work is continuing to look for more fossils at the site, said another author, Brian Villmoare of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Analysis indicates the jaw fossil came from one of the earliest populations of Homo, and its age helps narrow the range of possibilities for when the first Homo species appeared, Kimbel said. The fossil dates to as little as 200,000 years after the last known fossil from Lucy’s species.

The fossil is from the left lower jaw of an adult. It combines ancestral features, like a primitive chin shape, with some traits found in later Homo fossils, like teeth that are slimmer than the bulbous molars of Lucy’s ilk.

Despite that mix, experts not involved in the paper said the researchers make a convincing case that the fossil belongs in the Homo category.

And they present good evidence that it came from a creature that was either at the origin of Homo or “within shouting distance,” said Bernard Wood of George Washington University.

The find also bolsters the argument that Homo arose from Lucy’s species rather than a related one, said Susan Anton of New York University.

The new paper’s analysis is first-rate, but the fossil could reveal only a limited amount of information about the creature, said Eric Delson of Lehman College in New York.

“There’s no head, there’s no tools, and no limb bones. So we don’t know if it was walking any differently from Australopithecus afarensis,” which was Lucy’s species, he said.

It’s the first time that anything other than isolated teeth have turned up as a possible trace of Homo from before 2.3 million years ago, he said.

“This fills a gap, but it hasn’t yet given us a complete skeleton. It’s not Lucy,” Delson said. “This is always the problem. We always want more.”

Also on Wednesday, another research team reported in a paper released by the journal Nature that the lower part of the face of Homo habilis, the earliest known member of the Homo branch, was surprisingly primitive. That came from reconstruction of a broken jaw that was found 50 years ago.

The finding means the evolutionary step from the Ethiopian jaw to the jaw of Homo habilis is “not so large,” said an author of the Nature study, Fred Spoor of University College London and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
Click on the links for the full text of the Science article Deep roots for the genus Homo, and a preview of the Nature article Reconstructed Homo habilis type OH 7 suggests deep-rooted species diversity in early Homo.

Whenever I hear about yet another discovery of a fossil of man's alleged ancestors, I make a point of going beyond the headline, and reading the article to see just how meager the evidence is. The fossil evidence seldom consists of more than part of a jawbone, a few teeth, and maybe a few other bone fragments. I wasn't disappointed when I read the article by Mr. Ritter--the latest findings are just more of the same. When the discoveries turn out to be nothing special, don't expect much coverage of that.

Incomplete human skull found in Israel offers clues to ancient human migration

Evolutionists believe that human life began in Africa, but how about the possibility that life began in the Middle East and branched out from there? In any event, the upper part of an ancient human skull has been found in Israel. As reported by Malcolm Ritterof Associated Press, January 28, 2015:

NEW YORK – Long ago, humans left their evolutionary cradle in Africa and passed through the Middle East on their way to Europe. Now scientists have found the first fossil remains that appear to document that journey, a partial skull from an Israeli cave.

The skull dates from around 55,000 years ago, fitting into the period when scientists had thought the migrants inhabited the area. And details of its anatomy resemble ancient skulls from Europe, Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University in Israel wrote in an email.

He and others present the finding in a paper released Wednesday by the journal Nature. The skull, which lacks facial features and its base, was found in Manot Cave in the Galilee region of northern Israel.

The migrants are called modern humans because of their anatomy. The earliest remains of modern humans in Europe date to about 45,000 years ago.

Experts not connected with the work were impressed. “This is the first evidence we have of the humans who made this journey,” apart from some ancient tools, said Eric Delson of Lehman College and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Although finding a fossil that fits so well with what was believed about the ancient migration might be expected, “we didn’t have it before,” he said.

“We could predict theoretically what we would find. They’ve found it. … Up until now, that was a ghost.”

Katerina Harvati of the University of Tuebingin in Germany said the skull gives clues about the anatomy of the migrants. Since Neanderthals were already known to inhabit the area, the skull also documents that they and modern humans co-existed there, as suspected, Harvati said.

That supports the idea that Neanderthals and modern humans interbred there, experts said. Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London wrote in an email that the skull is the first fossil of a modern human from western Asia that is well-dated to the estimated time of the interbreeding, some 50,000 to 60,000 years ago.
Click on the link to see a preview of the Nature article Levantine cranium from Manot Cave (Israel) foreshadows the first European modern humans.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Monkey King is worshipped as a god in eastern China

All who make idols are nothing,
and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind;
they are ignorant, to their own shame.
Who shapes a god and casts an idol,
which can profit nothing?
People who do that will be put to shame;
such craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand;
they will be brought down to terror and shame.

The blacksmith takes a tool
and works with it in the coals;
he shapes an idol with hammers,
he forges it with the might of his arm.
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
he drinks no water and grows faint.
The carpenter measures with a line
and makes an outline with a marker;
he roughs it out with chisels
and marks it with compasses.
He shapes it in human form,
human form in all its glory,
that it may dwell in a shrine.
He cut down cedars,
or perhaps took a cypress or oak.
He let it grow among the trees of the forest,
or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
It is used as fuel for burning;
some of it he takes and warms himself,
he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it.
Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
“Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
“Save me! You are my god!”
They know nothing, they understand nothing;
their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
Isaiah 44:9-18 (NIV)

As reported by Yao Yuan and Zhang Yizhi of ">Xinhua, February 20, 2015 (bold in original):

FUZHOU, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) - On a downtown street in Fuzhou of east China's Fujian Province, a niche hosts a deity that will both excite and baffle fans of the classical novel Journey to the West.

Clad in golden armor and with a cudgel in hand, the Monkey King, or Qi Tian Da Sheng, quietly stares at the fruit offered by his human followers. A banyan tree at its side is surrounded by burning incense. A banner declares "every prayer will be answered".

Most Chinese associate the Monkey King with the monkey-turned-demon-slayer in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) novel. But here in Fuzhou, it is also a tutelary spirit worshiped at hundreds of temples and outdoor locations.

As most Chinese New Year revellers are busy venerating a ruminant at the start of the Year of the Sheep, the Monkey King is chief among a number of alternative deities popular in Fuzhou.

"[The deities are] like a guardian angel for families. Many Fuzhou families have one -- the God of Illuminating Sky, the Riverside Goddess or the Monkey King," Fuzhou resident Lin Yuemei says.

In Ruyi Hexin Temple on Fuxin Road, another Monkey King statue the size of a child is ready for a grand parade scheduled after the Chinese New Year.

"Fuzhou people call it 'the Parade of Gods', during which the King will patrol the neighborhoods under his administration and bless his people," explains You Xiang, deputy director of the temple's management committee.

Simulating a Chinese emperor's inspection tour, temple workers will carry the statue through several streets banging gongs and lighting firecrackers. Local believers will lay out tables laden with tributes to welcome the King and later join the parade, which will increase to 200 or 300 people at its culmination.

"All tributes to our King must be vegetarian, like fruit, mushrooms and tofu, as he is not only a Taoist god but also a Buddha," You adds.

MYSTERIOUS PAST

Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province, is known for its many local beliefs -- some neighborhoods even worship a deity of their own. Many of the city's thearchy were local celebrities deified for their charitable or heroic deeds.

One prominent Fuzhou god, "Zhao Tian Jun", or God of Illuminating Sky, was said to be a Taoist monk who used red lanterns to lead residents to escape the city on the eve of a deadly riot. After his death, grateful Fuzhou people built a temple to honor him as a god of peace and safety.

But the origin of the Monkey King belief has many versions: ape worship, a monkey Buddha, a monkey demon converted by a goddess into the heavenly cause -- there are a thousand Monkey Kings in a thousand priests' eyes due to a lack of historical records.

"Unlike those orthodox deities recognized by ancient Chinese governments, our belief relies mostly on story-telling in every temple to pass it on and there are few written descriptions," You says.

One thing is certain: people in Fuzhou were worshipping the Monkey King long before the novel made the character a household name. Historical records suggest the city had a temple for the monkey in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Some academics say the belief can be traced to the ancient worship of apes.

"Prehistoric Chinese in the mountains worshiped monkeys. The powerful Monkey King figure in the novel met the believers' expectation for an almighty god and made the belief more popular," according to Gan Mantang, a sociology professor at Fuzhou University.

Vague as his identity might be, the monkey god never lacks followers. Belief in the Monkey King has become prominent in Fujian Province, and in Fuzhou, he is worshiped in about 700 to 800 temples, says Zheng Konglin, vice head of Fuzhou's Taoist Association.

In the 1990s, the temple regarded as the Monkey King's "ancestral temple" on Fuzhou's Pingshan Mountain registered 243 offshoot temples, including in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

SURVIVING TIMES

It was not always so. The worship was condemned as "superstitious activity" during China's Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The ancestral temple of the Monkey King was torched while worshippers from You's temple retreated underground.

"We managed to rescue the monkey head," You says, pointing to a peach-sized head now installed on an ornately dressed statue. "Its body was gone, so we placed it on a tea cup to continue our worship."

The belief began to regain strength in the 1980s: the ancestral temple was rebuilt; Ruyi Hexin Temple resumed the Parade of Gods tradition and has seen increasing participation in recent years.

"Now, more people see it as a part of the culture, rather than superstition," says Zheng Kui, a member of the temple's committee.

The biggest threat now comes from Fuzhou's rapid urbanization and the demolition of old neighborhoods.

Many local beliefs are community-based. When the old neighborhoods were demolished and their residents relocated, the temples lost attendance.

The original Ruyi Hexin Temple and its neighborhood were demolished by the city government in 2007. The new venue built to house the celestial monkey is small and cramped, but You still felt lucky as they were resettled close to the parish.

"After all, the King still lives with his people. Many temples have been relocated far from the original sites."

Ancient religious beliefs and practices persist among China's officially atheistic Communist leaders

As reported by Lu Chen of The Epoch Times, May 16, 2014:

It was par for the course that Li Chuncheng, the former deputy Party Secretary of Sichuan Province, would have been accused of "using his official position to gain benefits for others," as well as "accepting huge bribes." But what about "abusing his position to engage in feudal superstitious activities"?

That rare accusation was made public recently in the announcement of the official political takedown of Li, a top provincial Party official and ally to the former security czar Zhou Yongkang.

The charges, made by the Central Discipline and Inspection Commission last month, threw an unwelcome spotlight on a problem that, officially, should not exist: supposedly atheist communist Party officials engaging in "superstitious" beliefs and practices that the Party all but stamped out over decades of furious political campaigns.

Stories abound in Chines media of officials hiring Taoist masters to perform exorcisms, conduct spiritual ceremonies, or hold fortune-telling sessions. Li Chuncheng was said to be obsessed with such activities.

A favourite among communist cadres is hiring masters of feng shui, the ancient Chinese practice of geomancy, to orient buildings in favourable ways. Sometimes the construction of government offices in accordance with these principles can cost the taxpayer dearly.

Li once spent more than 10 million yuan (C $1.8 million) to hire a feng shui master to perform a ceremony to save the souls of the dead, when he relocated his ancestors' tombs. The money consisted of government funds and money he received in bribes, according to the Chinese media Caixin.

Li also hired Taoists to perform exorcisms after a series of accidents happened at a building project in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, according to China Business News.

In China's political circles, officials obsessed with fortune-telling and using feng shui are not a minority: promotions, political power, and money are all on the line.

A report by Cheng Ping, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Governance, shows that more than half of the 900 county-level civil servants working for the government believe in face reading, fortune-telling, astrology, and feng shui, according to party mouthpiece Xinhua News.

The abundance of these activities is ironic given how the Communist Party has always strictly upheld atheism, and prohibited Party members from being involved in any religion.

"A Communist Party member is not a regular citizen, but a member of the Marxist Party, an absolute atheist. Communist Party members can not have religious beliefs and cannot participate in any religious activities. Whoever insists on doing so without changing his attitude must quit the party," says the regime's United Front Work Department on its website outlining the rules for Party members.

But Chinese traditional beliefs, including Buddhism and Taoism, have been part of China's folk traditions for thousands of years--far longer than the party's mere 65 years of rule.

Campaigns like the Great Cultural Revolution, that lasted from 1966 to 1976, sought in an unprecedented way to completely eradicate religion and traditional practices in China. Party leader Mao Zedong called for destroying the "Four Olds," referring to "old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits." Numerous temples, statues, and religious books were violently destroyed.

A political mobilization of similar fereocity struck China in 1999 under the leadership of Jiang Zemin, the Party chief at the time, as he sought to eradicate the practice of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline rooted in China's ancient traditions.
And as reported by Lu Chen in The Epoch Times, February 5, 2015:

...According to a Feb. 4 commentary published in regime mouthpiece People’s Daily, some communist leaders “consult neither Marx nor Lenin, but instead various ‘masters'” when they face challenges in their lives and careers.

The article criticized Party functionaries for seeking their solutions in the supernatural, accusing them of “confused faith and demoralized spirit.”

“Such phenomena cannot be ignored. Some leaders and cadres are obsessed with burning incense, prayers, and engaging in Feng Shui. Their offices are littered with ‘auspicious stones’ and piles of fortune beads.”

Feng Shui, also known as geomancy, is the ancient tradition of orienting objects such as buildings, furniture, or plants in a spiritually harmonious or auspicious manner.

Though the Communist Party promotes atheism and materialism through state propaganda and education, “superstitious” activities are commonplace in the Party itself.

Li Chuncheng, disgraced former deputy Party head of Sichuan Province, spent tens of millions in public funds to have a Daoist master hold an exorcism for him, according to a report by regime mouthpiece Xinhua.

Zhou Yongkang, who formerly headed China’s vast internal security forces, had his own personal Feng Shui master, Cao Yongzheng, who was also his “most trusted man,” according to the mainland Chinese magazine Caixin. Zhou is now under official investigation, allegedly for corruption and misuse use of power.

Other officials consult experts to help them determine the lucky days on which to begin and conclude their projects.

The Communist Party bars its officials from holding religious beliefs.

“Such superstitious trends have long been denounced,” reads the People’s Daily commentary. “Party cadres ought to be clear on matters of faith.”

The rampant practice of so-called superstitious activity in the communist elite reflects the emptiness of Marxist ideology, according to political commentator Zhang Dongyuan, speaking to the Epoch Times.

After dozens of years of atheist propaganda and indoctrination, not only did the people refuse to abandon their faith, but huge damage was wrought upon traditional Chinese society and culture, Zhang said. Chinese officials profess the tenets of Marxism-Leninism only to advance their careers, but few if any have true faith in communism.

“It’s failed completely,” Zhang said.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Shirley MacLaine's New Age views on the Holocaust and disability provoke outrage in Britain

And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the LORD? Exodus 4:11

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Hebrews 9:27

As reported by Sam Creighton of the London Daily Mail, February 12, 2015:

Her bizarre New Age views on topics such as reincarnation and UFOs have often left the public baffled.

Now Shirley MacLaine has provoked widespread fury by claiming the victims of the Holocaust may have brought their fate upon themselves.

The veteran Hollywood actress suggests the six million Jews and millions of others systematically murdered in Hitler’s death camps in the 1940s were ‘balancing their karma’ for crimes committed in past lives.

She also suggests that cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking may have subconsciously given himself his debilitating motor neurone disease.

Miss MacLaine’s comments, in a recently published book, were attacked last night by Jewish campaigners and other activists as offensive and wrong.

In her memoir, the 80-year-old, who won an Oscar for Terms Of Endearment, writes: ‘What if most Holocaust victims were balancing their karma from ages before, when they were Roman soldiers putting Christians to death, the Crusaders who murdered millions in the name of Christianity, soldiers with Hannibal, or those who stormed across the Near East with Alexander? The energy of killing is endless and will be experienced by the killer and the killee.’

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, which campaigns against anti-Semitism, said: ‘The first impressions are that these comments will offend and bemuse many Jews – and many other people too.’

In her book What If..., Miss MacLaine, who was raised a Baptist but is well known for her unconventional views on reincarnation and alien life, suggests Professor Hawking had subconsciously brought his crippling medical condition on himself.

She says he may have created his illness in order to ‘free his mind’ from the needs of his body, so he could focus completely on his scientific research.

Miss MacLaine, who has previously insisted that she lived on Atlantis in an earlier life, claims to be friends with the scientist, whose life inspired the award-winning film The Theory Of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne.

Her book – subtitled A Lifetime Of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses And A Few Things I Know For Sure – poses the question: ‘Did he “create” the disease that has crippled him in order to learn to be dependent on caregivers and the kindness of strangers so that he could free his entire mind to the pursuit of knowledge?

‘Did he “create” the disease that has crippled him?' asks Miss MacLaine of the disabled cosmologist Stephen Hawking, pictured with Eddie Redmayne

‘What if he inadvertently chose to set an example of himself to show the rest of us that cosmic travel and universal understanding are available, regardless of one’s physical condition or circumstance?

'If Jesus chose to die in a state of martyrdom, then Stephen Hawking could just as readily have chosen to live in a dual state of being: visibly physical weakness and unseen knowledge and power. What if all reality is an illusion?’

Her views were branded ‘utterly ridiculous’ by disability charity Scope, while a spokesman for Disability Rights UK added: ‘She obviously has some very confused ideas that a lot of disabled people will be baffled by.

'It’s completely wrong to say people choose their disabilities, especially Professor Stephen Hawking, who has a genetic condition.’

Miss MacLaine, who played Lady Grantham’s American mother in Downton Abbey, writes that she is recognised more for her part in the ITV drama than for any of her film roles.

She also suggests that she felt so at home on the set because she may have lived in the 1920s during a past life.

Representatives for Miss MacLaine declined to comment last night.
Miss MacLaine's comments are indeed "utterly ridiculous," but all she's saying is what New Agers believe, so it comes as no surprise to this blogger to see her expressing such opinions. It's been my experience that if you talk with a hardcore New Ager about Adolf Hitler and the Jews and you can keep the conversation going long enough, eventually, the New Ager will end up defending Mr. Hitler and blaming the Jews. 23 years ago, a knowledgeable brother in Christ and I had a conversation with a New Ager (let's call him "Miles") who told us that we all create our own reality in our imaginations, and when the subject of Adolf Hitler and the Jews came up, Miles followed that logic said that the Jews created their situation for themselves (I have it on good authority that shortly thereafter, Miles was found unconscious in his truck because, for some reason, he created a reality in his imagination in which he accidentally hit his head on the top of the doorway and knocked himself out).

While the Bible teaches that the world we inhabit is real--although fallen--Hinduism teaches that the world is illusory. Reincarnation in Eastern religion is a form of punishment in which the individual suffers the punishment for sins committed in previous lives. Karma is the enforcement of the law against one's sins from previous lives, and no one can interfere with that. This explains why Hinduism in India produces indifference toward suffering; those who are suffering are getting exactly what they deserve, and to interfere with that by alleviating suffering is to interfere with one's karma. Not only are you not supposed to interfere with karma by alleviating suffering, you're not even supposed to notice such things as disability, poverty, or filth.

I have to take issue with Miss MacLaine's statement that Jesus "chose to die in a state of martyrdom." He didn't die as a martyr, but as the Saviour, shedding His blood--innocent, sinless blood--on the cross as an offering to satisfy His Father's conditions for payment of the penalty for man's sin. He wasn't reincarnated, but resurrected from the dead. The Lord Jesus Christ is God Incarnate, not reincarnate.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Romans 3:23-25

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: I Peter 3:18

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. I John 2:2

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. I John 4:14

Monday, February 9, 2015

Peruvian paganism proves fatal for Canadian woman

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
II Timothy 3:6-7

As reported by Betty Ann Adam of the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, February 5, 2015:

A Saskatoon woman who died in the Peruvian jungle after drinking a nicotine-based tea during a spiritual ceremony was "a seeker" who had travelled extensively on a spiritual quest, her mother said.

Jennifer Joy Logan, 32, died Jan. 17 at a retreat centre in the rainforest about two hours outside of Puerto Maldonado in southeastern Peru, said her mother, Berdeena Logan.

According to the Canto Luz centre's website, it offers retreats and ceremonies using ayahuasca, which Wikipedia describes as "a psychedelic brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vine in combination with various plants," and which is used for "divinatory and healing purposes by the native peoples of Amazonian Peru."

Participants purge before consuming that brew.

Police have not concluded their investigation.

Berdeena Logan said she and Jennifer's sister, Amy Logan, went to Puerto Maldonado and met with people from the Canto Luz centre who were present during the incident and who are devastated, Berdeena said.

"She had a drink and it was a nicotine-based tea for purging for a spiritual ceremony. She was vomiting, which was to be expected, and then she started convulsing and went unconscious," she said.

The shaman assistants she spoke to said they performed CPR, but they were two hours away from medical help. They used a motorcycle to transport her but she died en route to Puerto Maldonado, Logan said.

"This has never happened to them. They were good people but something terrible, terribly went wrong." An autopsy found Jennifer died from a pulmonary edema.

Berdeena's nephew, who speaks Spanish, joined her and Amy in Peru for three days. The family had difficulty obtaining permission to bring Jennifer's remains back to Canada. Authorities wanted to keep the body in Peru for a year as physical proof in a murder investigation and then exhume her if necessary, Logan said.

"It was a very intense experience ... We just had countless hurdles. And then the embassy stepped in at that point and really came through for us so we could bring her ashes home. We did what we had to do and we brought her home."

Jennifer graduated from Aden Bowman high school and held a bachelor's degree in geography and international studies from the University of Winnipeg and a master's degree in geography from York University.

According to her obituary, she travelled and worked with trafficked women and girls in Nepal, worked on housing issues while attending university and, as chair of World University Services of Canada, worked to provide scholarships for people in refugee camps and then befriended and mentored them when they arrived in Canada.

She travelled in Canada, Tibet, Thailand, Europe, India and Saudi Arabia. "She had done a lot of things. She had been in India for a couple of years and she had been in ashrams in silent meditation and had taken yoga for several weeks up in the mountains in India," her mother said.

"She was a seeker and a searcher always. She was so committed to making a difference. This offered indigenous plants, you could go in the jungle and (there was) naturopathic healing. But she was a very healthy person. This was just in pursuit of knowledge, natural."

Her father, Fraser Logan said, "She liked to investigate things like that, just had no prejudices, formed her own opinions as she went along."
When I read this article, it reminds me of my favourite episode of the television series Dragnet '67, The LSD Story. Near the end, Joe Friday enters a crash pad and finds two male hippies. One of them is sitting against a wall, and his friend says, "He's been like that all day; he wanted to get really far out." Sgt. Friday replies, "He made it; he's dead." (Dum-da-dum-dum)

Unfortunately, this young woman's spiritual quest led her to look for the truth everywhere except the only real source of truth, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

Sunday, February 8, 2015

10 years ago: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas declare a cease-fire

'Peace, peace,' they say,
when there is no peace.
Jeremiah 6:14b (NIV)

On February 8, 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, declared a truce to end four years of violence. Mr. Abbas said that the cease-fire, which began immediately, would lead to a "new era of peace and hope;" Mr. Sharon vowed to cease military action against Palestinian targets after terrorist groups halted violence. The talks between the two Middle Eastern leaders included agreements on the release of Palestinian prisoners and the handover of five West Bank towns to Palestinian control. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the agreement was the best chance for peace in years.

Messrs. Sharon and Abbas didn't sign a formal cease-fire agreement, which is just as well, since the "new era of peace and hope" didn't last, and there won't be permanent peace until the return of the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

Friday, February 6, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada strikes down ban on assisted suicide

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:19

For whoso findeth me [wisdom] findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.
But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
Proverbs 8:35-36

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, Romans 1:22

The Nazification of Trudeaupia--still officially known as Canada--"progresses," as reported by Bruce Cheadle of Canadian Press, February 6, 2015:

OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada shifted the goalposts Friday on one of the most fundamental of human laws.

In a charter precedent that will go down in the history books as Carter vs. Canada, the court unanimously struck down the ban on providing a doctor-assisted death to mentally competent but suffering and "irremediable" patients.

The emphatic, unanimous ruling prompted tears of joy and frustration on both sides of the debate, reverberated through provincial health ministries and doctor's offices across Canada, and left skittish federal parliamentarians groping for time to digest the implications.

Kay Carter said she did not want to end up 'an ironing board on a bed' and was terrified of 'dying inch by inch.' Carter travelled to a clinic in Switzerland years ago to drink a toxic dose of sodium pentobarbital and end her life.

"The prohibition on physician-assisted dying infringes on the right to life, liberty and security of the person in a manner that is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice," the nine justices flatly asserted.

The judgment -- left unsigned to reflect the unanimous institutional weight of the court -- gives Parliament a year to draft new legislation that recognizes the right of clearly consenting adults who are enduring intolerable physical or mental suffering to seek medical help in ending their lives.

It does not limit physician-assisted death to those suffering a terminal illness.

And to put an exclamation mark on the ruling, the court awarded special costs against the government of Canada for the entire five-year course of the litigation, less 10 per cent to be paid by the government of British Columbia.

The court suspended its judgment for 12 months, during which the current law continues to apply, placing enormous pressure on Parliament to act in what is an election year.

At least six reform bills on right-to-die issues have been defeated over the past two decades and the Conservative government of Stephen Harper insisted last fall that it would not support changing the status quo.

The political toxicity of the issue was immediately apparent Friday: Not a single MP asked the government a question about the decision during question period, despite the presence of Justice Minister Peter MacKay in the House.

"This is a sensitive issue for many Canadians, with deeply held beliefs on both sides," MacKay said in a subsequent release.

"We will study the decision and ensure all perspectives on this difficult issue are heard."

For the families of Gloria Taylor and Kay Carter, two now-deceased women who originally sought a B.C. court's help to end their suffering, it was an unqualified victory.

Lee Carter, who accompanied her 89-year-old mother to Switzerland to legally end a life ravaged by debilitating disease, raised a bouquet of flowers to the heavens in the Supreme Court lobby as she tearfully recalled her mother's legacy.

"Justice, dignity and compassion were the defining qualities of my mother," Carter, flanked by her family, told a crush of reporters.

"We just felt that it was a fundamental right for Canadians that they should have this choice."

A few steps away, Taylor Hyatt of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition said the Supreme Court has abandoned the disabled, even though the judgment insists the most vulnerable can be protected.

"The ruling actually wants people with disabilities to end their lives when they believe their suffering, and the condition doesn't have to be terminal," said a distraught Hyatt.

"From my point of view, all legal protection has been stripped."

Others objected on religious grounds.

"The court has ruled that in some circumstances the killing of a person will be legal," said the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. "Euthanasia has come to Canada."

The decision reverses the top court's 1993 ruling in the case of Sue Rodriguez, a fact the decision attributes to changing jurisprudence and an altered social landscape.

Two decades ago, the court was concerned that vulnerable persons could not be properly protected under physician-assisted suicide, even though courts recognized the existing law infringed a person's rights.

But the experience of existing jurisdictions that permit doctor-assisted dying compelled the courts to examine the record.

"An individual's response to a grievous and irremediable medical condition is a matter critical to their dignity and autonomy," says the judgment.

"The law allows people in this situation to request palliative sedation, refuse artificial nutrition and hydration, or request the removal of life-sustaining medical equipment, but denies the right to request a physician's assistance in dying."

The 69-page judgment avoids the term "suicide" throughout, using instead the less morally freighted "death" and "dying."

The court also weighed in on the "existential formulation" of right to life, which it said is not the same as a "duty to live." Imposing a duty to live, said the court, "would call into question the legality of any consent to the withdrawal or refusal of lifesaving or life-sustaining treatment."

The nine Supreme Court justices also noted that when their court struck down the country's prostitution laws in 2013, it recognized that the legal conception of "gross disproportionality" has changed since the Rodriguez decision.

The court agreed with the trial judge "that a permissive regime with properly designed and administered safeguards was capable of protecting vulnerable people from abuse and error.

"While there are risks, to be sure, a carefully designed and managed system is capable of adequately addressing them."

That is now Parliament's task, while Canadians watch and prepare to go to the polls within the next eight months.
Go here to see the full text of the judgment.

The Supreme Court of Canada, which in 1988 struck down Canada's law restricting abortion, once again proves itself to be an active agent of evil. The court is right on one thing, though: their ruling is based in large part on the changing view of Canadian society on the subject of euthanasia, and that's true. Trudeaupia was becoming a pro-death country at the time of the ruling in the Sue Rodriguez case in 1993, and it's much more so in 2015. The Supreme Court "justices" are reflecting the godless direction of the society around them and inventing a legal rationalization to justify it.

As for any new law that may be enacted subsequent to Carter vs. Canada, I suspect that it will be a compromise that will satisfy few people (maybe no people), and won't have the effect of saving any lives. Since the Supreme Court ruling in 1988, there has been no law at all on abortion; I think Canada and North Korea may be the only countries in the world to boast that distinction. The Progressive Conservative government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney devised a compromise bill that would have had no real effect in limiting abortion; it passed in the House of Commons, but died on a tie vote in the Senate in 1991. The last thing Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants, especially in a year when an election is likely, is to have to tackle a moral issue. Mr. Harper has made it clear to his own "Conservative" caucus that he doesn't want any change to the the status quo on abortion, and the same is likely to be true on the issue of euthanasia. Mr. Harper can't run fast enough or far enough from moral issues, yet the typical easily-duped Canadian evangelical pastor thinks--erroneously, in my view--that Mr. Harper is a fine Christian.

The "progressive" elements who hold sway in Trudeaupia are deluded into thinking that the society is "moving forward," when actually, the latest Supreme Court ruling shows that it's moving backward into ancient paganism, in the days before Hippocrates in the 5th century B.C., when the doctor was as likely to kill as to heal. The following passage from the Hippocratic Oath was a revolutionary statement:

Nor shall any man's entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so. Moreover, I will get no sort of medicine to any pregnant woman, with a view to destroy the child.

Far from "progressing," Trudeaupia is a society that is well along the road to collapse. The legalization of abortion and euthanasia and the promotion of sodomy aren't indications that the judgment of God is coming on the country, but indications that the judgment of God upon Canada is already under way. God has been all but officially banned from this country--despite the preamble to the Constitution Act, 1982, that mentions the supremacy of God--but He will have the last word.

One of the marks of a society in collapse is the Orwellian use of language. The Supreme Court of Canada's Carter vs. Canada judgment is a good example: death is a right, but life isn't, while suicide, the issue that is actually the subject of the court case, isn't even referred to as such in the ruling.

The Supreme Court "justices" seem to be completely ignorant of history, and seem to be completely unaware of what happened in Germany from 1920-1945. The slaughter of millions of people under the Nazi regime didn't begin with Adolf Hitler's coming to power in 1933; it began with a short book by a law professor and a psychiatry professor in 1920. The University of Minnesota Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies provides a concise review of The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value (Life Unworthy of Life). Its measurement and form by Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche:

The little booklet only including 60 pages and first published in 1920, was of an outstanding importance for the discussion of "euthanasia", even after the beginning of the "Third Reich". With his juridical arguments in support of the killing of "life devoid of value", which clearly opposed all preceding positions, Prof. Dr. jur. Dr. phil. Karl Binding (1841-1920), a highly respected penal law expert, triggered off an avalanche. In his part of the booklet, Dr. med. Alfred Hoche, a professor in psychiatry from Freiburg, provided a cost-benefit analysis regarding psychiatric care and described sick and disabled people as "people with deficits", "elements of minor value" ,"mentally dead" and "ballast existences" .On the basis of a regulated procedure of applications and after the examination by a commission consisting of two physicians and a legal practitioner, both authors requested the painless killing of "incurably" sick persons against their will. They especially referred to inmates of "fools homes" and to cases without hope in "mental homes".

After the publication of the paper, the statements of both authors raised a broad opposition (thus Ewald Meltzer in his reply dated 1922); however, since the commencement of the worldwide depression, their ideas found more and more followers. The Nazi policy of extermination clearly referred to the explanations of Binding and Hoche.
The famous artcle Medical Science Under Dictatorship by Dr. Leo Alexander in the New England Journal of Medicine, July 14, 1949, explains how the acceptance of euthanasia in Germany in the early 1920s produced genocide within 20 years. When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, he broadened policies and practices that were already in place.

According to the Supreme Court of Canada, "a permissive regime with properly designed and administered safeguards was capable of protecting vulnerable people from abuse and error.

"While there are risks, to be sure, a carefully designed and managed system is capable of adequately addressing them."

It's apparent from the above statement that the Supreme Court of Canada have read Drs. Binding and Hoche's book, Dr. Alexander's article, or any other history of the origin of the Nazi euthanasia program. I've read an English translation of the Binding-Hoche book, and what surprised me about it--besides its shortness--was that the authors weren't calling for large-scale slaughter of those whom they regarded as defective. For example, if a person was mentally retarded but happy, he wasn't to be killed. The authors called for strict regulation and proper protocols to be followed, and seriously believed that euthanasia could be controlled. However, as Dr. Alexander and others have pointed out, the definition of who qualified for euthanasia became broader and broader, and eventually included millions of Jews.

I don't share the Supreme Court's optimism about safeguards, given the history of Germany in the first half of the 20th century, and Belgium and the Netherlands in recent years. In the Netherlands, for example, the legalization of voluntary euthanasia has led to an increase in the number of people being put to death without their consent (and it's ironic that Dutch physicians, while under the oppression of Nazi occupation during World War II, refused to enact the Nazis' euthanasia policies, while current Dutch physicians are voluntarily performing euthanasia).

The Canadian Press article notes that the Supreme Court doesn't limit euthanasia to people who are terminally ill. We're now in Jack Kevorkian territory; many of the people "Dr." Kevorkian killed weren't terminally ill, but merely unhappy.

As for a "right" to assisted suicide, doesn't that entail a duty to provide the assistance? What if a Christian doctor objects on biblical grounds to performing euthanasia? Will he be threatened with loss of his medical license if he refuses to respect the patient's "right?" "Freedom of conscience and religion" are the first "fundamental freedoms" mentioned in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but those freedoms are increasingly under attack in Trudeaupia. If fundamental freedoms of conscience and religion come up against a "right" to assisted suicide, which rights will prevail?

The way things are going in Trudeaupia, this may turn out to be a moot point by the time any such case ends up in court, because if the medical profession follows the lead of several provincial law societies, there won't be any Christian doctors, as anyone who expresses less than 100% approval of the activist homosexual agenda will likely be barred from entering the profession (this is a subject for another post, if I ever get around to doing it).

Another thing to watch out for is the probability of euthanasia becoming a preferable option to long-term and palliative care. In a country with an aging population and rising health care costs, it will be difficult to avoid the temptation to kill someone with a shot instead of letting the processes of aging and dying take their courses. This is already a possibility or reality in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. I especially recommend 'Father of Palliative Care' Slams Quebec Euthanasia Bill, reported by Justina Reichel in The Epoch Times, February 12, 2014, which includes the following excerpt:

Longtime anti-euthanasia activist Alex Schadenberg, international chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, says Quebec should take heed of the example of legalized euthanasia in other countries—particularly Belgium, whose legislation Bill 52 is modeled after.

A problem emerging in Belgium, says Schadenberg, is that the definition of “psychological pain” is difficult to define and ever-expanding. Patients who opted for assisted death have included a woman going blind and another with chronic depression.

Belgium is now considering widening the law to include children with disabilities and people with dementia.

“Over time they keep extending it,” he says. “People are asking for it out of fear or other reasons.”

Since Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002, statistics show that medically assisted deaths have consistently risen. The number of reported assisted deaths rose from 954 in 2010 to 1,432 in 2012, representing 2 percent of all deaths in the country.

A 2010 study of the Flanders region of Belgium published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that 32 percent of assisted deaths were carried out without patient request and 47 percent went unreported.
Click on the link for full text of the article Physician-assisted deaths under the euthanasia law in Belgium: a population-based survey by Kenneth Chambaere, Johan Bilsen, Bregje D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Freddy Mortier, and Luc Deliens, published in Canadian Medical Association Journal, Vol. 182 No. 9, June 15, 2010, pp. 895-901.

This blogger is the son of a judge, and I'll vouch for my late father's wisdom, but it may surprise some readers to find that not all those who wear the robes of the judiciary are wise. To dispel any such misconceptions, I recommend another book: Hitler's Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich by Ingo Müller, published in 1991. Mr. Müller points out that not only did the Nazis have the law on their side, but the Nazis were strongly supported by German lawyers, judges, and law professors. It's been a few years since I read the book, but if I recall correctly, Mr. Müller found only one example of a judge who dared to resist the Nazi regime. This judge, whose name I forget, was from Bremen, and refused to implement Nazi laws. One might think that he would have been executed or imprisoned, but his punishment consisted merely of being forced into early retirement on a full pension.

Just one question, Chief: Why do countries such as Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands still view the Nazis as villains when these countries are increasingly adopting the Nazis' policies?

February 9, 2015 update: Andrew Coyne of the National Post has a good column on the judgment, dated February 6, 2015. I'm not a great admirer of former pastor and former politician Stockwell Day, but I agree with his comments on the Supreme Court of Canada, in an interview with Jen Gerson of the National Post, February 8, 2015.

February 15, 2015 update: Dr. Paul Saba of Lachine, Quebec, co-president of the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice, has written a column titled Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: The Supreme Court Makes a Medical Error in Judgment, from The Epoch Times, February 11, 2015, which includes the following excerpt:

A Motion for Declaratory Judgment was filed in the Superior Court of Montreal on May 27, 2014, to challenge articles in the Quebec proposed Bill 52 pertaining to euthanasia. Lisa D’Amico, who is a handicapped person, and I are co-plaintiffs in the case.

This motion is instituted against the Attorney General of Quebec and also impleads the Attorney General of Canada. It seeks to obtain a declaration to the effect that it is not possible in Quebec for patients to provide free and informed consent to euthanasia due to their vulnerability, which is exacerbated by a lack of resources in the health care system, and because of their medical condition and the lack of universal access to palliative care for all persons who require such care, particularly to diminish suffering.

According to the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, euthanasia is an act consisting of deliberately causing the death of another person in order to put an end to suffering. Palliative care does not include the practice of euthanasia.

Appropriate palliative care is not offered uniformly on the whole in the Quebec territory or in all hospitals, and is only available at a rate of 20-60 percent depending on the region (Commission spéciale sur la question de mourir dans la dignité, March 2012, page 26). A majority of patients do not therefore have access to palliative care and will not be in a position to make a choice that would truly be free and informed...

...Since the Supreme Court of Canada has opened the door for allowing the euthanasia of our most vulnerable citizens, we are continuing our motion in the Superior Court of Montreal to have Bill 52 declared invalid.

We are also calling on the Canadian Parliament, which is the ultimate legislative branch of our country, to defend the most vulnerable of its citizens and not to allow the assisted suicide or euthanasia of its citizens.

Defrocked Roman Catholic priest is sentenced to 19 years in prison for sexual abuse of Inuit children in Nunavut

The reader will notice that the Oblates allowed this degenerate to live in homes maintained by the order despite an international warrant for his arrest. As reported by Canadian Press, February 5, 2015:

IQALUIT, Nunavut—A defrocked Arctic priest was sentenced to 19 years in prison for dozens of horrendous sex offences against Inuit children, while his victims received a plea from the sentencing judge.

“Your anger must be put aside,” Justice Robert Kilpatrick told the victims of Eric Dejaeger in his written decision released Wednesday. “Your trust in others must be restored. You must learn to rely on the good around you.

“Despite what has happened to you, there is still much good in people.”

Dejaeger’s acts took place 35 years ago in the remote Nunavut community of Igloolik where he was an Oblate missionary. The details of the 32 convictions are so appalling, Kilpatrick’s sentencing judgment comes with a warning of graphic content.

His crimes, committed between 1978 and 1982, included indecent assault, unlawful confinement, buggery, unlawful sexual intercourse and bestiality.

The victims include 12 boys, 10 girls and one dog. Most were between the ages of eight and 12, although they could have been as young as four and as old as 18.

Many testified at trial that Dejaeger, now 67, trapped them into sex by threatening them with hellfire or separation from their families if they told. Sometimes he dangled food in front of hungry children as a lure.

During victims impact statements, witnesses described permanent mental and physical scars.

One man said that the smell of moldy wood still takes him back to the mission’s boiler room where Dejaeger raped him. A woman told court she blames Dejaeger for the scars that have been diagnosed on her womb. Many spoke of lingering anger and depression and of attempts to flee those feelings through booze and drugs.

Kilpatrick wrote that such damage calls out for a harsh sentence—especially in a territory where high rates of sexual abuse blight many lives.

“An exemplary sentence is needed to reflect not only the high moral blameworthiness associated with the crimes, but to denounce and deter sexual offences against children and adolescents in Nunavut,” he wrote.

“Your selfishness has devastated a generation of young Roman Catholic parishioners in Igloolik,” he wrote. “For many victims, the commission of your offence has marked the end of living and the beginning of their survival.”

Dejaeger received eight years worth of credit for time served and will spend no more than 11 years in jail for these offences. Although his lawyer told the judge that his client feared dying in prison, Kilpatrick said Corrections Canada is capable of dealing with Dejaeger’s health concerns.

Dejaeger has already served one five-year sentence on 11 counts of assaulting children in Baker Lake, Nunavut. In 1995, after he had served that sentence, he learned RCMP were about to charge him with the Igloolik offences and fled to his native Belgium.

Oblate officials have acknowledged that they knew Dejaeger was about to depart. Dejaeger testified Canadian justice officials told him the easiest thing would be for him to quietly leave.

For 16 years, he lived in homes maintained by the Oblates despite an international warrant for his arrest. Eventually, journalists revealed he was living in Belgium. He was returned to Canada in 2011.

He still faces four sex abuse counts in Edmonton.

Lutheran pastor in Edmonton resigns just before being arrested on child pornography charges

A backlog item:

As reported by Brett Wittmeier of the Edmonton Journal, October 17, 2014:

An Edmonton pastor has been charged with possessing child pornography following an investigation that began with a complaint to a church official.

Richard John Docekal, 58, was pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church — located at 13850 119A St. — in early September, when an individual brought allegations of child pornography to Don Schiemann, a regional president of the Lutheran Church-Canada.

Schiemann passed the complaint on to police the next day. The Internet child exploitation unit of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) opened a month-long investigation.

Docekal was arrested on Oct. 9 and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. ALERT’s forensic teams are currently analyzing a significant number of electronic devices seized from Docekal’s home.

Police seized dozens of manual drawings depicting sexual assaults against children, said Sgt. Mike Lokken. There is no evidence that any sexual contact was made with any children.

“They were depicting some pretty horrific stuff in these images,” Lokken said. “Anybody that’s attracted to this material, it’s disturbing.”

According to a biography on an archived version of his former church’s website, Docekal had been pastor at the Carlisle neighbourhood church since 2007. The American-born pastor graduated from a Lutheran seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1994 and pastored in Oklahoma and Ohio before coming to Edmonton in 2001, gaining Canadian citizenship in 2007. Initially, he was a regional vacancy and supply pastor for the Lutheran Church-Canada.

According to his denomination’s website, he also served as chaplain of Faith Lutheran School in northeast Edmonton.

The Winnipeg-based Lutheran denomination released a statement Friday. Docekal officially resigned from the church and denomination on Oct. 2, a day after a meeting with Schiemann about non-criminal activities that were part of the complaint, which were “of concern regarding his role as a pastor.”

The denomination is co-operating with the authorities and Schiemann will provide pastoral care to Docekal’s former church...

...Docekal also worked with the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, the Lutheran Layman’s League and the Good Samaritan Society. He spoke as a guest speaker about problems with cohabitation at the 2011 Getting Real About Sexuality conference at the Concordia University College of Alberta.
As reported by Caley Ramsay of Global News, October 17, 2014:

EDMONTON — A 58-year-old church pastor, who has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography, says the charges are not what they seem.

“I would never harm anybody. I have never harmed anybody,” Richard John Docekal told Global News Friday.

Docekal, who is from Edmonton, was arrested and charged on Oct. 9 after a tip from the public sparked an investigation in early September.

Docekal was a senior pastor with All Saints Lutheran Church in Edmonton at the time of the alleged offences. But in a post dated October 6, 2014 on the Lutheran Church Canada website, Docekal resigned as pastor from the clergy roster.

Police say the charges relate to dozens of cartoon-like drawings of children, some depicting “horrific sexual assaults.”

Sgt. Mike Lokken, a member of the Internet Child Exploitation unit, said it’s not alleged the pastor made the drawings but did possess and distribute them.

“The charges stem around something that happened about two years ago … There’s no indication at this time that there were any contact offences.”

On Friday, Docekal spoke to Global News about the arrest, saying police seized drawing from him, which he described as fiction and art.

“I am not a predator,” he said. “I’m not a danger to anyone.”

Investigators say they have not yet found any photos or videos and they don’t believe Docekal created any child porn. However, they are not calling the drawings art.

“I would say it’s fair to say dozens of pictures,” said Lokken. “I can say that they’re not just children posing naked. It does depict sexual assaults of children.”

Lokken said officers have searched Docekal’s home and seized computer and mobile devices.

“We’re doing forensic analysis of those devices and that’s ongoing. We haven’t determined whether there will be any more charges...”

...A biography posted on the ZoomInfo website says “Rich” Docekal was installed as the senior pastor at All Saints in July 2007, shortly after he became a joint U.S.-Canadian citizen. He graduated from theological school in Indiana in 1994 before serving in parishes in Oklahoma, Missouri and Ohio.

He moved to Edmonton in 2001 and filled church vacancies in the region, including one in Fort McMurray. He is also listed as working with the Good Samaritan Society.

The biography adds that Docekal, along with his wife and daughter, “live the idyllic Canadian dream in Edmonton.”

Docekal has been released and is to appear in court Oct. 31.

Anyone who may have more information about this case is asked to contact police, Crime Stoppers or Cypertip.ca.
Lutheran Church-Canada issued the folowing statement on October 17, 2014:

EDMONTON – On Friday, October 17 the Alberta Integrated Child Exploitation Unit announced that Rev. Richard Docekal had been arrested on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography.

On the evening of September 8, President Don Schiemann of the Alberta-British Columbia District was informed of serious allegations against Rev. Docekal. Included in these allegations were suggestions of child pornography. President Schiemann immediately informed police of these allegations on September 9, and the Integrated Child Exploitation Unit began an investigation.

Rev. Docekal was also implicated in other activities which were of a non-criminal nature but which were of concern regarding his role as a pastor in Lutheran Church–Canada. As his ecclesiastical supervisor, President Schiemann conducted an investigation into these charges and found them warranted. Events culminated in an October 1 meeting, following which Rev. Docekal resigned both as pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church (Edmonton) as well as from the clergy roster of Lutheran Church–Canada.

Rev. Docekal was arrested and charged by police on October 9.

Lutheran Church–Canada’s Alberta-British Columbia District office has been cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate the allegations. Because the matter is now before the courts, Lutheran Church–Canada is unable to make further comments at this time, other than to pray for God’s guidance and mercy in what is a difficult time for many.

If you have any information about this case, Lutheran Church–Canada encourages you to contact Edmonton Police, Crime Stoppers, or Cypertip.ca.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

More evidence that today's yesterday's evangelicals are tomorrow's today's liberals

Another backlog item:

I like to constantly draw the reader's attention to the prescient warning from Samuel Tow in 1983, Today's Evangelicals, Tomorrow's Liberals. That "tomorrow" has been here for quite some time, and Dr. Tow's warning has come to pass. Submitted for your approval as evidence is the following example of a mainline church and an evangelical church supporting the same non-Christian cause.

From the Religion Calendar of the Edmonton Journal, October 18, 2014, p. G12 (bold in original, links inserted by blogger):

Power of Words--Scrabble Benefit: Saturday, 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., at Southminster-Steinhauer United Church, 10740 19th Ave. Supporting African grandmothers who are raising the millions of AIDS-orphaned children. Proceeds to the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign under the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Cash donations at the door. Visit edmontongrandmothers.org.

Scrabble Benefit: Oct. 26, 2 p.m., at the Sherwood Park Alliance Church, 1 Clover Bar Rd. Eastside Grannies of Sherwood Park need players and sponsors to help African grandmothers who are raising 14 million orphaned grandchildren, having lost their adult children to AIDS. For information or for a pledge package: Carol, 780-464-4195, dmaier@shaw.ca or Cathy, 780-439-6785.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation, started by and named after a socialist politician and former Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations, sounds like a good cause, but is not Christian. As for the churches mentioned above, Southminster-Steinhauer United Church is the mainline church, with the slogan:

exploring an expansive Christianity and embracing the spirit of the Earth Charter

Click on the links to see what is meant by "expansive Christianity" and the Earth Charter, and you'll see that Southminster-Steinhauer United isn't a Christian church, but one that promotes and practices outright paganism; their god isn't worth worshipping, and they follow a false Jesus. You'll find this church mentioned in another item in this post, which gives a clue to something else it promotes.

Sherwood Park Alliance Church is the "evangelical" church mentioned in the item above. If you click the link for Mission and Vision, this is the first thing you see:

Reclaiming God's Dream.

Broken. Separated. Distant. Alienated. This was the state of our relationship with God after sin severed intimacy. Renews. Chooses. Accepts. This is what God does for us to see His dream of relationship with humanity restored.


Reading that makes me wish I had a flower in my hair (and enough hair to go with it). This looks like something from the late 1960s or early '70s, and more resembles the 1969 Tommy James and the Shondells song Crystal Blue Persuasion than anything you read in the Bible. I used to think "God's dream" sounded nice, until a few years ago when it occurred to me (long after it should have) that nowhere in the Bible does it say that God has a dream or dreams, while there are numerous instances of God giving people dreams (e.g., Genesis 20:3; Matthew 2:12). God doesn't have a dream, but He does have an agenda and a prophetic timetable he's working out, and it's being fulfilled right on schedule.

There were a number of other items in the Journal's Religion Calendar that day that offer an interesting snapshot of the religious scene on October 18, 2014 (bold in original, links inserted by blogger):

Tibetan Nuns' Project: Sunday, noon to 1:30 p.m., at Garneau United Church, 11148 84th Ave. Ann Salmonsen speaks about her recent trip to India and a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery that is working to improve conditions for Buddhist women refugees. Free admission. For details, call Garneau United Church, 780-439-2501 or email: garneauuc@shaw.ca

Dancing For Fun: Sunday, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., at St. Augustine's Anglican Church, 6110 Fulton Rd. Weekly at the lower level. Circles, mixers, line dances. Couples and singles, teens welcome. No experience necessary. Refreshments provided. For more information contact 780-467-5180. $3 per person.

St. Albert Affirm Celebration: Oct. 25, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., at St. Albert United Church, 20 Green Grove Dr. Celebration begins with a diversity fair and potluck dinner at 5 p.m. featuring musical enetertainment, including Edmonton Vocal Minority, as well as a speech by Rev. Nancy Steeves of Southminster Steinhauer United Church. Free admission; dinner guests encouraged to bring a food contribution. For more information, go to stalbertunited.ca

Yoga & Exercise: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m., at Robertson-Wesley United Church, 10209 123 St. Gentle Hatha Yoga class every Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Circuit exercise class every Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. offers cardio and weight training at your own pace. Register today; class size limited. Email: tmail@rwucorg or call 780-482-1587.

Yoga for Christians: Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., ending Nov. 5, at Providence Renewal Centre, 3005 119th St. Prayer of the Heart and Body, with Glenda Sartore. Multi-level yoga practice suitable to both beginners and seasoned yoga practitioners. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a yoga or exercise mat, a blanket, and a strap. Eight weeks: $112, no drop-in. For more information and to register, go to providencerenewal.ca or call 780-701-1854.

Christian Meditation: Mondays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Star of the North, 3A Saint Vital Ave., St. Albert. Experience the ancient tradition of prayerful stillness. Call for access information, 780-459-5511. Event cost by donation.

Emmaus Inclusive Catholic Community: Celebration of Eucharist, Sundays at 2:30 p.m., presided over by a member of Roman Catholic Women Priests. For information, visit emmauscatholic-community.ca or contact Lori at 780-720-3444, ldexter@telus.net

Edmonton Vocal Minority describes itself as "Edmonton's Queer musical voice." You'll notice that it's mentioned in the item that includes a speech from the female minister at the church that's supporting the same cause as the evangelical church in Sherwood Park. When you see the words "affirm" or "affirming" in relation to the United Church of Canada, it means that they're affirming homosexual behaviour--something that God doesn't affirm, but condemns (e.g., Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:24-32).

Thursday, January 22, 2015

An example from Edmonton of a community service centre masquerading as an evangelical church

Another backlog item:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
II Corinthians 6:14-17

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. II Timothy 3:5

At the top of Glenn Chatfield's blog The Watchman's Bagpipes is found this quote from A.W. Tozer:

We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

The following article, which appeared on page 5 of the Summer 2014 issue of the Oliver Community League Newsletter in Edmonton, is an excellent example of some of what Mr. Tozer--a Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor--was warning about (bold in original):

Plans for a new Church in Oliver

By Barry J. McLeod--Community Church Strategist


In the spring of 2012 we made the decision to leave the suburban reality of our lives and begin to search for a home in the neighbourhoods closer to the core of Edmonton. We landed in the Oliver area and immediately fell in love with its dynamic and vibrant nature. We feel we live in one of the best neighbourhoods in our city and want to play our part in ensuring that those bragging rights stay in place. One of the ways in which we will engage towards that end is establishing a new church ministry in this area.

The role of faith based organizations and institutions in participating in community building and life should not be overlooked. People of various faiths and religious backgrounds are often motivated by an innate sense of the need to add value to the neighbourhoods in which they find themselves. Volunteerism is the lifeblood of any great neighbourhood and people of faith should see themselves as not only having a part to play in the success of their own organizations but should look to serve with their neighbours to ensure the flourishing of our communities and beyond.

Our family of Alliance churches has a long history in the Edmonton area and we feel that it is time to re-establish a work in the heart of this neighbourhood. With this in mind we are currently preparing and making plans to begin public services sometime in the fall of this year.

As we begin this process we desire to engage the public as much as possible to learn and listen to the heartbeat of our neighbourhood. What do people care most deeply about? What are their views about what makes a community flourish? What are the burning issues and causes that capture their attention? And how might a new community of faith add value?

In starting this new work there is a deep philosophical perspective that informs our actions and attitudes. We are convinced that our faith calls us to be active participants in helping to make the place we live not just a better place to live but the best possible place it can be. We believe that this must start with a listening stance as opposed to telling one. Faith and a spiritual perspective may provide the answers that some people and even communities require to flourish but only in hearing and understanding can any of us suggest possible solutions.

If you would like to engage us in any way as we make plans to start this new church in our community we would love to hear from you. The easiest way to reach us is by email or you can follow the twitter. Our deep desire is to see a church established that is entirely cognizant of the fact that it is a privilege to partner with neighbours, other faith based organizations and any group who seeks to improve life for all in our community.
The perceptive reader will notice that in the article above the words "neighbours" or "neighbourhood(s)" are mentioned eight times, and "community" or "communities" are mentioned seven times. However, "faith" isn't defined, and there is no mention at all of God, Jesus Christ, or the gospel.

To "start with a listening stance" shows that this is an effort of man and not of God, and can hardly be called a Christian church. The true church of Jesus Christ doesn't begin with a listening stance toward the community, but with a stance of proclamation of who God is and what He has done:

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. Acts 4:20

I'm a resident of Oliver, and one of the neighbourhood's distinguishing characteristics is that it seems to contain a disproportionately large number of sodomites and lesbians. There are several mainline churches in the area, at least one of which--Robertson-Wesley United Church--has adopted a "listening stance" toward the sodomite/lesbian "community" to the extent that, like its parent denomination, the United Church of Canada, it actively supports this "community"'s perverse agenda. The last thing we need is an "evangelical" church to do the same.

You could substitute the words "community service centre" for "church" and "community service" for "faith based" in Mr. McLeod's article and it wouldn't change the meaning; if anything, it would make more sense that way. Such is the social gospel.

HT: The Watchman's Bagpipes

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pope Francis's visit to the Philippines prompts two of 2015's best headlines

The year is young, but it will be hard to top the headlines of these items reported by Dierdre Haggerty of the Long Island Catholic Examiner (bold in original) ; click on the links for the full articles. The first, from January 7, 2015:

Pope's visit to Philippines will require traffic cops to wear diapers

The article links to the following (bold in original):

Procession of the Black Nazarene

The largest procession
The procession of the Black Nazarene is the largest procession in the country. It takes place on January the 9th and on Good Friday through the streets of Quiapo, a small part of metro Manila. The procession dates from the 17th century. Thousands of men parade through the streets with the life-sized, black wooden statue of Jesus (of Nazarene).

A miracle after touching the statue?
During the feast of the Black Nazarene thousands of barefoot men join the annual procession. Walking barefoot during the procession is seen as a sign of humility. During this procession the men yell "Viva Señor". Everybody who is in the neighbourhood of the cross tries to touch the statue. People believe that a miracle can happen after touching it. The statue was bought by a priest in Mexico and brought to Manila in 1606.

A black Christ?
The Black Nazarene is a more than 200-year-old statue. Black? One tale is telling that during the Spanish colonial period missionaries brought an icon to Manila. During the trip however, there was a fire on board and the icon, the Nazarene, caught fire. Despite its charred condition, the Nazarene was kept save and honored from then on. The statue is to be seen in the Saint John the Baptist Church in Quiapo in Manila, where it has been housed since 1787.

Feast of the Black Nazarene
Every year thousands of pilgrims from all over the country come to Manila to be part of the procession of the Black Nazarene. All participants in the procession hope that they will have the opportunity to touch the wooden statue. They hope that this will protect them from harm and ensure health in the future. Indeed, it is said that sometimes persons were healed of diseases after touching the statue! (A Filipino: "My daughter was very sick, so I joined this procession last year. Now she is cured...."). Some of them follow the statue during the procession because they believe it is an atonement of their sins or hope for some miracle.
The Procession of the Black Nazarene is an exhibition not of Christian faith, but of pagan superstition; click on the link for the full text of the article from the 19th century by John Nelson Darby, Superstition is not Faith; or, The True Character of Romanism.

They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’
and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
They have turned their backs to me
and not their faces;
yet when they are in trouble, they say,
‘Come and save us!’
Jeremiah 2:27 (NIV)

My people consult a wooden idol,
and a diviner’s rod speaks to them.
A spirit of prostitution leads them astray;
they are unfaithful to their God.
Hosea 4:12 (NIV)

Then there was this item, from January 13, 2015:

Pope Francis encourages breastfeeding in the Sistine Chapel

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Canadian politician calls for dialogue between Orthodox churches in Canada and Ukraine, and a disconnect from the Moscow Patriarchate

The following item from my backlog shows the issues that can arise when churches are tied to national and ethnic loyalties. As reported by Marco Levytsky in the Edmonton newspaper Ukrainian News, June 19-July 16, 2014, pp. 1-2:

An MP who is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is urging dialogue between Orthodox churches in both Canada and Ukraine, along with a "disconnect" from the Moscow Patriarchate on the part of Russo-Orthodox churches in Canada and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church--Moscow Patriarchate (UOC--MP) in Ukraine.

"There has to be a disconnect because the Moscow Patriarchate from my understanding...has a direct connection with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin in Moscow and that doesn't necessarily serve well when you have a religious entity in the country of Ukraine. There have to be influences coming through and I certainly believe that there are," Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring told Ukrainian News.

Goldring is a member of St. Barbara's Cathedral in Edmonton, which falls directly under the jurisdiction of the ROC, but most of whose members are of Ukrainian origin.

His wife Lorraine (nee Taschuk) is a descendant of settlers from the Bukovyna region of Ukraine who came to Canada at the turn of the 20th century. These early settlers were served by Orthodox Mission in North America, which at that time was part of the Russian Orthodox Church. Except for St. Barbara's Cathedral, the Russo-Orthodox churches whose members are of Ukrainian origin fall under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church of America which considers the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) to be the Mother Church.

The ROC recognizes the OCA as autocephalous, but this autocephaly is not recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

Goldring says there is a backlash over the Russian annexation of Crimea and its support of the separatist movement in Ukraine developing in the UOC--MP and in Edmonton as well.

"My bishop (Iov, Bishop of Kashira, Vicar of the Moscow Diocese, Administrator of the Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in Canada) says please help my Ukraine. His priority is to help Ukraine not to keep repeating the Moscow Patriarch's line," says Goldring.

"There is a schism that is going on and quite frankly one of the best things that could happen to Ukraine is to have the two patriarchates joined together as a Kyiv patriarchate and separate from Moscow. There is too much influence coming in from Putin and from (Moscow Patriarch) Kirill...causing problems in Ukraine," he adds.

Goldring, who returned to Canada earlier this month after completing a month-long special investigative mission in the southeastern regions of Ukraine at the request of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, says one of his investigations took him to Odesa where on May 2, over 40 people died in a fire after clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian demonstrators.

Prior to that incident members of local religious groups--among them Ukrainian Orthodox, Lutheran and Jewish got together to try and defuse the situation under the theme that we are all under one God, but the Moscow Patriarchate church refused to be a part of it and instead marched with the separatists shouting pro-Russian slogans.

"Frankly I think they really incited what followed three [or] four days later," he said.

One way to promote reconciliation among the churches in Canada would be to include the Russo-Orthodox churches among the sites that will be receiving a plaque commemorating the 100th anniversary of Canada's first national internment operations.

Since many of the Ukrainians interned during World War I were Bukovynians who were members of the Russo-Orthodox Church these churches deserve to have plaques especially as this project is receiving funding from the federal government, Goldring says.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Maryland's first female Episcopal "Bishop," with a DUI record, is placed on administrative leave and faces numerous criminal charges after being involved in a fatal collision with a cyclist

This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
I Timothy 3:1-3

If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Titus 1:6-8

Besides not being the husband of one wife, there's at least one other reason why Heather Cook isn't biblically qualified to lead a church. As reported by Fern Shen of the Baltimore Brew, December 28, 2014 (bold in original):

In an email to the clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, the Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton has identified the driver of the car involved in the fatal bicycle crash on Roland Avenue yesterday as Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook, ordained in September to serve as Bishop Suffragan, the No. 2 spot in the diocese.

“I am distressed to announce that Bishop Heather E. Cook was involved in a traffic accident Saturday afternoon, Dec. 27, that resulted in the death of bicyclist Thomas Palermo, 41,” Bishop Sutton wrote today, noting that Cook did not sustain any injuries.

Bishop Sutton also confirmed reports that the driver at first left the scene of the accident, as police and witnesses have reported.

“Several news agencies have reported this as a ‘hit and run.’ Bishop Cook did leave the scene initially, but returned after about 20 minutes to take responsibility for her actions,” Sutton wrote, according to the text of the email obtained by The Brew.

Sutton also said that he has placed Cook on administrative leave, effective immediately, “because the nature of the accident could result in criminal charges.”

“Together with the Diocese of Maryland, I express my deep sorrow over the death of the cyclist and offer my condolences to the victim’s family,” Sutton wrote. “Please pray for Mr. Palermo, his family and Bishop Cook during this most difficult time.”

Sutton, who was due to go on sabbatical at the start of 2015, said he would delay the beginning of the sabbatical to January 24 “to be pastorally present during this difficult time.”

He said he would be meeting soon with the church’s standing committee “to discuss ways we can move forward.”

Drinking and Drug Charges in 2010

The Brew attempted to contact Cook and Sutton via email tonight and have not yet received a reply.

UPDATE: Replying on behalf of Sutton, Sharon Tillman, director of communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, said tonight that Sutton’s comments are all they are releasing at this time.

The Brew asked Tillman if Bishop Cook is the same Heather Elizabeth Cook, 4325 Cabin Creek Road, arrested on September 10, 2010 on drinking, driving and drug charges in Caroline County, according to this local media coverage and online court records.

The two drug charges – possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia – were dropped in January 2012 by the Caroline County state’s attorney’s office, online records show.

She earlier pleaded guilty to the DUI charge and received “probation before judgement” with a $800 fine, $500 of which was suspended.

Tillman said she could not comment and referred us to Cook’s personal attorney, but could not provide the attorney’s name. (A religious publishing website lists 4325 Cabin Creek-Hurlock Road as the canonical residence of Heather E. Cook.)

According to a Baltimore police spokesman, they were called to respond to “a car accident” that occurred at about 2:37 p.m. yesterday and found Palermo still alive at the scene. He was taken to Sinai Hospital where he died of his injuries.

Police have not yet named the driver or disclosed whether she will face charges.

First Female Bishop

Cook, 58, is the first woman to be ordained a bishop in the Maryland diocese. Born in Syracuse, N.Y., Cook moved to Baltimore as a young child when her father was called to the Maryland diocese and later served as rector of Old St. Paul’s.

She was ordained to the priesthood in 1988. She has served as a boarding school chaplain at Stuart Hall in Staunton, Va.; assistant rector at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Bedford, NY; rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in York, Pa.; canon for mission in the Diocese of Central New York, and canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Easton on the Eastern Shore.
HT: Vox Popoli

January 10, 2015 update: As reported by Mark Reutter in Baltimore Brew, January 9, 2015:

A $2.5 million bail was set for Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook after a hearing this afternoon before a commissioner at the Baltimore City District Court.

The 58-year-old Episcopal cleric is currently being held at the downtown Detention Center until bail can be posted. Typically it would cost about $250,000, or 10%, to post bail, although the percentage sometimes is much lower.

Sources told The Brew that Bishop Cook appeared at the hearing after being transported from Father Martin’s Ashley, an alcoholism and drug addiction treatment center near Havre de Grace, where she had been staying.

A trial date was set for February 6, although that date could change if the cleric is indicted by a city grand jury, as State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said could happen.

Cook was at the wheel of a car that hit and killed 41-year-old Thomas Palermo on December 27. Her alcohol blood level was .22 – or nearly three times the legal limit – an hour after the crash, the state’s attorney’s office said today.

She was charged tonight with two felonies in connection with the crash, manslaughter and failure to remain at the scene of an accident involving bodily injury. She was also charged with DUI and texting while driving.
The reader should click on the link above to see the laundry list of charges against "Bishop" Cook.

HT: Stand Firm in Faith