Thursday, March 23, 2017

Has the tomb of Jonah been discovered in Iraq?

And now for something completely different: a positive result from Islamic terrorism. As reported by Josie Ensor of the London Daily Telegraph, February 28, 2017:

Archaeologists documenting Isil’s destruction of the ruins of the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah say they have made an unexpected discovery which could help in our understanding of the world’s first empire.

The Nebi Yunus shrine - containing what Muslims and Christians believe to be the tomb of Jonah, as he was known in the Bible, or Yunus in the Koran - was blown up by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants soon after they seized huge swathes of northern Iraq in 2014.

The shrine is situated on top of a hill in eastern Mosul called Nebi Yunus - one of two mounds that form part of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh.

The Iraqi army retook the area from Isil last month, revealing the extensive damage wrought by the jihadists.

But local archaeologists have told the Telegraph that Isil also dug tunnels deep under the demolished shrine and into a previously undiscovered and untouched 600BC palace.

Limited excavation was carried out by the Ottoman governor of Mosul in 1852, which was revisited by the Iraqi department of antiquities in the 1950s. But neither team reached as far as the palace.

It is the first evidence of Isil’s use of tunneling in ancient grounds in their hunt for artefacts to plunder.

Inside one of the tunnels, Iraqi archaeologist Layla Salih discovered a marble cuneiform inscription of King Esarhaddon thought to date back to the Assyrian empire in 672BC.

While the king’s name is not visible on the cuneiform slab, a historian who has seen photographs of it says phrases are legible which were used only to describe him, in particular his rebuilding of Babylon after his father Sennacherib had it destroyed.

The palace was built for Sennacherib, renovated and expanded by Esarhaddon (681-669 BC), and renovated again by Ashurbanipal (669-627). It was partly destroyed during the Sack of Nineveh in 612 BC.

There are only a handful of such cuneiforms recovered from the period, most of which from the second mound just north of Nebi Yunus in Kouyunjik.

In another part of the tunnel they discovered Assyrian stone sculptures of a demi-goddess, depicted sprinkling the “water of life” to protect humans in her care.

“I’ve never seen something like this in stone at this large size,” said Prof Eleanor Robson, chair of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, suggesting they may have been used to decorate the women's quarter of the palace. “The objects don’t match descriptions of what we thought was down there, so Isil’s destruction has actually led us to a fantastic find.

“There’s a huge amount of history down there, not just ornamental stones. It is an opportunity to finally map the treasure-house of the world’s first great empire, from the period of its greatest success.”

Ms Salih, a former curator of the Mosul museum who is supervising a five-man team carrying out the emergency documentation, said she believes Isil looted hundreds of objects before Iraqi forces recaptured the eastern side of the city.

“I can only imagine how much Daesh discovered down there before we got here,” she told the Telegraph by phone from Mosul. “We believe they took many of the artefacts, such as pottery and smaller pieces, away to sell. But what they left will be studied and will add a lot to our knowledge of the period."

She warned that the tunnels were not professionally built, however, and are at risk of collapsing “within weeks” - burying and potentially destroying the new finds.

Experts from the British Institute for the Study of Iraq - alongside other international teams - are bidding to help local archaeologists secure and document the site. Unesco is due to hold a meeting in Paris later this month to decide who will be sent.

The terror group destroyed several other key landmarks in Mosul and elsewhere because they considered the worshipping of shrines not to be in keeping with their Islamic traditions. Isil militants believe giving special veneration to tombs and relics is against the teachings of Islam.

A report just released by the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government lists some 100 sacred buildings damaged or wiped off the map during Isil’s two-year reign.

They closed all of Mosul’s museums and cultural centres during their more than two-year reign over the city. Many of the city’s archaeologists and historians went into hiding.

“Many decided to stay in the city when Isil came, fearing what they might do to their families if they fled,” said Prof Robson. “They hid their books and lied about their expertise. Thankfully, most of them survived.”

40 years ago: Islamic terrorists take people hostage in Washington, D.C. while demanding the cancellation of the screening of a movie about Muhammad

On March 9, 1977, 12 Hanafi Muslim gunmen seized three buildings in Washington, D.C.--the District Building; B'nai B'rith headquarters; and the Islamic Center of Washington--beginning a 39-hour standoff. One of the terrorists' demands was that the U.S. premiere screening of the movie Mohammad, Messenger of God (1976) be cancelled because they regarded the film as sacrilegious. The incident concluded peacefully on March 11 when the more than 130 hostages were released after ambassadors from Egypt, Pakistan, and Iran joined the negotiations. The film's world premiere screening, on July 30, 1976 in London, had been beset by bomb threats and a hasty change of the film's title to The Message--but at least that screening had taken place without any hostages being seized.

Harry and Michael Medved, in their entertaining and fascinating book The Hollywood Hall of Shame (1984), have a chapter on Mohammad, Messenger of God (pp. 143-152), with detailed information on the movie. They note the irony of Muslims protesting a movie that was produced and directed by a Muslim--Moustapha Akkad--and financed by Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi--after initial funding from King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and subsequent funding from King Hassan II Morocco was withdrawn. For those who may be unaware, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Libya are Muslim countries.

It's worth comparing the reaction of Hanafi--a branch of Sunni Islam--Muslims who protested Mohammad, Messenger of God with the reaction of Christians who protested the blasphemous movie The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988. In the latter case, there were letters of protest, and a rally outside the offices of MCA/Universal in Universal City, California, where 25,000 people heard a few speeches--and then quietly left. What violent protests did take place were in France, and were attributed to extremist Roman Catholics. See my post 25 years ago: Violent Islamic protests over The Satanic Verses contrast with peaceful Christian protests over The Last Temptation of Christ (February 21, 2014).

There's one delicious similarity in the case of both movies: The Last Temptation of Christ was a major box office failure, with a loss reported to be as much as $14 million, when promotional and other costs are added to the basic cost of making the movie. According to the Medved brothers (p. 151), Mohammad, Messenger of God had, by 1984, made less than $2 million in the United States and less than $5 million worldwide, making for a loss of almost $30 million. Wikipedia and Infogalactic report a take of $15 million, still a considerable loss when other costs are factored in. The movie was reportedly popular with Shiite Iranians.

75 and 60 years ago: Pope Pius XII relaxes fasting rules for Roman Catholics

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Mark 7:7 (citing Isaiah 29:13)

Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:
“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?
These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.
Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
Colossians 2:20-23 (NIV)

Yet another reminder that Roman Catholicism is manmade religion that can be changed on the whim of the leaders:

On December 30, 1946, Pope Pius XII authorized Roman Catholic bishops throughout the world to permit Catholics in their dioceses to eat meat on Fridays and omit certain fast days for the duration of the year.

On March 22, 1957, Pope Pius XII decreed that required fasting before receiving Holy Communion be reduced to three hours, with necessary medicines and water excepted.

See my post 50 years ago: Roman Catholic leaders in Canada relax the ban on eating meat on Friday (October 28, 2016)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pakistan bans Valentine's Day

For once, the government of an Islamic country has done something I approve of; I've hated Valentine's Day ever since 1976, when I went to our high school Valentine's dance, and the girl I was in love with spent most of the evening necking in the corner with my hated rival (and a more offensive spectacle I cannot recall). As reported by Rachel Roberts of the British newspaper The Independent, February 13, 2017 (link in original):

Pakistan has become the latest country to ban Valentine's Day.

It has prohibited all public celebrations and any media coverage because the celebration is not part of Muslim traditions.

The ruling was handed down by the Islamabad High Court, following an unsuccessful attempt to ban the festival last year.

President Mamnoon Hussain urged Pakistanis not to observe Valentine’s Day, which he criticised as a Western import that threatened to undermine Islamic values.

“Valentine’s Day has no connection with our culture and it should be avoided,” he said at a ceremony last year.

The court passed its ruling to the ministry, federal government, chairman and chief commissioner, who are obliged to submit a response to the order within ten days.

The festival has seen its popularity increase in many cities in Pakistan in recent years, but religious groups have denounced it.

The order was in response to a private petition which argued the festival promotes immorality, nudity and indecency under the guise of celebrating love.

There have been localised bans of the festival by councils in previous years, although these are said to have been largely ignored.

Whether or not the national ban is implemented will depend largely on how the police, guided by the Government, decide to enforce it – in particular, whether they target shops selling Valentine’s cards and gifts.

Valentine’s Day evolved from a traditional Christian feast day and first became associated with romantic love during the 14th century, when the idea of courtly love flourished.

The first known romantic reference to the feast of St Valentine’s Day was made by Canterbury Tales author Geoffrey Chaucer in his poem Perlement of Foules, or the Parliament of Birds.

In 2015, Pakistan's top Islamic clerical body threatened to issue a fatwa against the sale of condoms following reports they were being sold together with chocolate to mark Valentine's Day.

Despite the objections from more pious Muslims, many Indonesians do celebrate the occasion, particularly in major cities where cards and chocolates to mark it are widely available.

The Pakistani ruling follows a protest against Valentine’s Day by students in Indonesia who believe the celebration encourages casual sex.

Teenagers in the Indonesian city of Surabaya chanted “Say no to sex” in the latest expression of anger towards the celebration in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

Religious police in Saudi Arabia banned the sale of all Valentine’s Day goods in 2008, telling shops to remove all red items - a move which is said to have led to a black market in roses, wrapping paper and “red goods”.

Georgian Orthodox priest detained on suspicion of plotting to poison the Patriarch

Fun and games in the Georgian Orthodox Church, as reported by Misha Dzhinzhikhashvili of Associated Press, February 13, 2017:

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Police in Georgia have detained a high-profile priest who is suspected of plotting to poison a senior cleric, prosecutors said on Monday.

The announcement comes after well-respected Rustavi 2 television channel reported about an attempt to poison Patriarch Ilia, head of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

Irakli Shotadze, chief prosecutor in the former Soviet republic, told reporters on Monday that Father Georgi Mamaladze was arrested at the Tbilisi airport on Friday with cyanide in his suitcase. Mamaladze, chief of the property department of the Georgian Orthodox Church, was on his way to Germany where Ilia is undergoing hospital treatment.

Shotadze said the arrest was made after prosecutors received a tip from a man who reported that he had been contacted by a priest looking to buy cyanide. Police also found weapons at Mamaladze's home.

Shotadze refused to name the senior cleric that Mamaladze is suspected of having targeted.

The 84-year old Ilia has been in poor health for several years, and was visibly frail when he welcomed Pope Francis to Georgia in October.

Eka Beseliya, chairwoman of the parliamentary committee on legal issues, said Mamaladze's arrest "has prevented a grave crime" but she said she was unable to disclose details of the case since it is classified. Beseliya added, however, that the patriarch's "security and health are protected absolutely."

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Retired Church of England bishops whine about Church's attitude toward sodomites

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

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

Yet more evidence that the Church of England--described in the 1990s by a Canadian traditionalist Anglican clergyman as "the natural spiritual home of the Queen and Mr. Bean"--is a Christian church in name only. As reported by Associated Press, February 12, 2017:

LONDON — Fourteen retired Anglican bishops are criticizing the Church of England's attitude to homosexuality, saying the church is not listening to the voices of gay Christians.

They are responding to a report from the church's House of Bishops, which calls for a "fresh tone and culture of welcome and support" for gays and lesbians, but says the church should not lift its opposition to same-sex marriage.

In an open letter , the ex-bishops say that "while the pain of LGBT people is spoken about in your report, we do not hear its authentic voice."

Former Bishop of Worcester Peter Selby, one of the signatories, said Sunday that some gay Anglicans feel betrayed by the lack of support for change.

Gay marriage has long divided the Anglican communion, which has 85 million adherents.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Buddhist monk in Myanmar arrested while in possession of four million methamphetamine pills

As reported by Associated Press, February 7, 2017:

YANGON, Myanmar -- A Buddhist monk has been arrested in Myanmar after authorities found more than 4 million methamphetamine pills in his car and in his monastery, police said Tuesday.

Officer Maung Maung Yin said the monk was stopped Sunday as he drove in northern Rakhine state, which borders Bangladesh. Authorities had been tipped off that the monk was carrying an illegal haul.

Maung Maung Yin said an anti-drug task force found 400,000 pills in the monk's car. A subsequent search of his monastery turned up 4.2 million pills along with a grenade and ammunition. A statement from the office of Myanmar's leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, said that one million kyats ($769) in cash was also found in the vehicle.

Myanmar is a major producer of methamphetamine, usually smuggled from the northeast to neighbouring countries. It is also the world's second biggest producer of opium, from which heroin is derived.

"This is not a normal case, and when we were informed that the monk was arrested, we were all shocked," said Kyaw Mya Win, a township police officer.

Asked about the case, the director general of the Religious Affairs Ministry, Soe Min Tun, acknowledged some surprise.

"It is not a very common case, but not impossible to happen. What will happen to the monk is that he will have to give up his monkhood right away and face trial as an ordinary person," he said.

Police said they were still questioning the monk Tuesday.

Last year, Myanmar officials seized 21 million methamphetamine pills with a street value around $35.5 million near the border with China in the biggest such seizure in recent memory.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Uber tells man's wife where he is--so she divorces him

and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23b

As reported by Rob Waugh of Yahoo News UK, February 10, 2017:

A businessman is suing Uber after what he claims is a flaw in the app allowed his wife to follow his comings and goings – and she divorced him.

The unnamed Côte d’Azur businessman is suing for 45 million euros (£38 million) after the app allegedly alerted his wife whenever he used an Uber.

He claims that he logged into his Uber account on her iPhone, then logged out – but the phone continued to give her alerts when he used the service.

He is now seeking redress in the courts.

The alerts allowed his wife to see information such as his taxi driver’s name, and whenever he used an Uber – and allowed her to read them without his knowledge, Figaro reports.

The French newspaper said that it was able to replicate the issue – and receive notifications about someone’s Uber account, even after they logged out.

It’s not clear how many people might be affected by this – the issue does not seem to affect Android users..

A spokesman for Uber said, ‘Uber does not publicly comment on individual cases, including the case of divorce proceedings between spouses.
Click on the link to see the original article in French as reported by Elisa Braun in Le Figaro, February 8, 2017.
See also my post Woman gets caught cheating on her husband--and sues the phone company (May 22, 2010).

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Amalgamation of congregations in Edmonton provides more evidence of the continuing decline of the United Church of Canada

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

As reported by Gordon Kent in the Edmonton Journal, September 29, 2016 (bold, link in original):

Two United Church buildings are being sold and four congregations have merged in another sign of the challenges Edmonton religious institutions face surviving in mature neighbourhoods.

South Edmonton members of Canada’s largest Protestant denomination say they needed to take steps to deal with aging facilities and shrinking numbers.

“Dwindling congregation members bring in less money. It makes it harder for us to meet all our monthly expenses,” Pleasantview United Church board chairperson Pat Williams says.

“Over the last seven years, things have just progressed to the point where we found it’s no longer viable for us to try to function on our own.”

Pleasantview and Ritchie United Churches closed and started worshipping jointly with colleagues at Avonmore United Church last January following two years’ of discussions.

Knox-Metropolitan United Church joined them in July.

They’re meeting at the Avonmore church, 7909 82 Ave., under the banner of the United on Whyte Pastoral Charge, although Williams says the name could change by the time work to form a single organization out of the four separate legal entities is completed.

Pleasantview’s head count on a typical Sunday had dropped to 25 to 30 people before they closed the building’s doors, she says.

She remembers multiple choirs, golf nights, potluck dinners and other popular social events during the vibrant days when she joined Pleasantview United, 10672 62 Ave., more than 25 years ago.

By the end, the youth group was only composed of a few university students.

“It’s going on throughout churches everywhere,” Williams says.

“We went from a church that had lots of family-oriented things … to where there were just so few people who were interested in that.”

Different religions, same problem

The problems at Pleasantview, opened in 1953, are shared by mainstream churches across Canada. Only 27 per cent of Canadians identified themselves as Protestant in 2011, down from 41 per cent 40 years earlier, and the number of Roman Catholics and Anglicans also declined.

Over the past 15 years, nine of about 45 Catholic parishes in the greater Edmonton area have shut down and merged with their neighbours, says Lorraine Turchansky, communications director for the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.

There are also two sets of twinned churches, each served by the same office staff and a single pastor.

“In the case of some of the older parishes, it’s not unlike what we see happening with the schools, where the population is aging (and) the parish population is diminishing,” Turchansky says.

“We find that in the newer neighbourhoods it’s the opposite, where the population is much younger and growing.”

Three new Catholic churches have been constructed over the same period, mainly large structures in the suburbs where the congregation is more likely to drive than walk.

For example, Corpus Christi, opened this year in Mill Woods, has pews for 1,500 and cost $16 million to build.

“If you want to call it a catchment area, like you would with a school, people from a wider area would go to those churches now,” Turchansky says.

“It’s fairly expensive to build churches, so we have to keep than in mind as well … There are economies of scale to be considered.”

Although the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton says it’s doing well and isn’t expecting to shut any local churches, it was forced to sell crumbling St. Stephen’s on 96 Street six years ago.

Merging four churches into one is a first in Canada

Amalgamating United Church parishes isn’t unusual — 10 churches were initially part of the discussions about how to remain viable.

But Pleasantview’s Williams says four of the denomination’s congregations have never been combined in Canada before, so the national organization is watching the results.

“It’s an interesting experience to meld first of all three, and then a fourth one, but it’s an exciting experience. We’re burning a path, I guess, for the United Church. We have a lot of eyes on us to see how this works.”

An offer from a developer is pending on the Pleasantview half-acre property, listed for sale at $1.6 million.

Trustees have also accepted a developer’s conditional offer for 73-year-old Knox-Metropolitan church, 8307 109 St., which has an asking price of $4.2 million.

Proceeds from these two deals will be held locally in a special “futures fund” to help others in the city. While details are still being worked out, the fund is intended to continue the legacy of the four congregations, says Susan Bramm, vice-chairperson of the Knox-Metropolitan board.

The Ritchie site, 9624 74 Ave., isn’t being sold. It was transferred to the growing Edmonton Korean United Church, which is moving out of Avonmore, the newest of the four structures.

“There are certainly some uncertainties, particularly those people for whom getting to the location had already posed a challenge,” she says, estimating 80 to 100 members went to weekly services in the 300-seat church before it closed in June.

“This provided an opportunity for them to explore opportunities closer to their home.”

About 100 to 120 people now attend United on Whyte.

Furniture, hymn books, a baptismal font and other precious items from each facility are being taken to Avonmore to maintain links with the past.

This includes five of Knox-Metropolitan’s 29 stained glass windows — others are for sale or already have purchasers, such as the beautiful floral octagon facing 109 Street bought for $7,000 for a St. Albert United Church being constructed in 2018.

While Bramm says there’s grieving, she thinks the move was for the best.

“It’s really about the future … Look at it as a unique opportunity to come together with a common purpose and vision.”

Pleasantview’s Williams agrees there weren’t any options.

“Personally, I’m sad to leave my building, I’m sad to have lost a lot of our church family going in different directions, but I’m finding it really exciting,” she says.

“It’s nice to go where there are children. We haven’t had young children for Sunday school for a long time.”
And as reported by Rachel Ward in the Edmonton Journal, September 13, 2015:

Shrinking congregations and coffers have prompted members of five United churches near Whyte Avenue to consider coming together in one building.

Kevin Gue, treasurer for Knox-Metropolitan United Church on 109th Street, said his congregation will meet Oct. 4 to vote on what to do with its 75-year-old building and its octagonal stained glass windows. It is not a heritage building, he said.

“This is a massive piece of infrastructure that’s aging,” Gue said after Sunday service. “Do you apply more money to an old, aging building or do you apply it to programming and ministry?”

The other churches are Pleasantview United Church on 62nd Avenue, Ritchie United Church on 74th Avenue and Avonmore United Church, which shares a Whyte Avenue building with Edmonton Korean United Church. Knox-Metropolitan representatives spoke Sunday on behalf of the churches through the South Side Churches Joint Planning Council.

This “innovative” idea of all the churches relocating into one building could free up scarce resources, Gue said, and help them focus on further developing faith and social justice.

“As long as we’re fixing the roof, we’re not doing that,” he said.

The church is “making ends meet,” Knox-Metropolitan board co-chairwoman Cathy Martin said, but “it’s probably not going to be sustainable for the long term.”

The church cut a youth worker job and warned in its last annual report the reserve fund would be depleted in four years. In recent years it also paid about $30,000 to re-enforce the gymnasium roof and about $5,000 to repair the outside stucco siding, she said.

They’re starting to plan now while the finances are stable, she said.

“With any change, there’s excitement and anxiety,” Martin said. “But the thing is, we get to decide how we handle that.”

The five churches hope to have a decision by January 2016, a deadline Martin said her congregation fully supports.

“Their legacy is much more than a building,” Martin said of the congregation that dates back to 1892. “Their legacy has been their faith.”
The recent events come as no surprise to this blogger, and are a continuation of a half-century of decline for the United Church of Canada, whose membership peaked in 1965. The United Church began losing members within a couple of years of introducing a new Sunday School Curriculum; see my post 50 years ago: United Church of Canada unveils Sunday School curriculum denying the truth of the Bible (August 1, 2014).

50 years ago: The Apollo 1 fire, and an astronaut's last words

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Proverbs 27:1

Apollo 1, the first U.S. manned space mission with a three-man crew, was scheduled to lift off from Cape Kennedy, Florida on February 21, 1967. On the afternoon of January 27, the crew--Gus Grissom (Commander); Ed White (Senior Pilot); and Roger Chaffee (Pilot)--entered the spacecraft for one of the mission's final pre-launch tests. The test was not going well, with communications between the spacecraft and ground crews being just one of the problems. The test was about 10 minutes away from completion when a fire suddenly swept through the spacecraft. The crew began procedures to get out, but were killed in seconds; read the details here and here.

The audio recording of the last half hour of Apollo 1 has been posted on YouTube:

I began following the space program a couple of years after the Apollo 1 fire, and the astronauts, including those whose feats I was too young to remember, were my heroes. Gus Grissom was one of the original seven astronauts, and the second American to fly in space. Chief of the Astronaut Office Deke Slayton, who was in charge of flight assignments said in his autobiography Deke! (1994) that if Mr. Grissom hadn't perished in the fire, he may well have been the first man to walk on the moon. I still have great respect for Mr. Grissom's accomplishments, but it grieves me that his last words included the use of the name of Jesus Christ--as an obscenity (at about 28:56 in the video above). Less than a minute later, Gus Grissom and his crewmates were dead.

50 years ago: Soviet newspaper denounces the continuing survival of religion

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Psalms 14:1a (also Psalms 53:1a)

For those not old enough to remember the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Pravda (which still exists today) was the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. From the same section of The Edmonton Journal of January 14, 1967, that published the items in the post below (bold in original):

Pravda Urges More Atheism

MOSCOW (AP)--Pravda calls for an increased struggle against "religious survival" in this 50th year of Communist power.
50 years later, the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. is now 25 years in the past, while "religious survival" continues.

Monday, January 30, 2017

50 years ago: Newspaper religion pages record increasing ecumenism

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

Submitted for your approval: A few items from the religion pages of The Edmonton Journal of Saturday, January 14, 1967, to remind the reader that the ecumenical movement toward the religion of Antichrist has been going on for a long time (bold, italics in original).

Christian Unity Prayer Service

Members Of All Major Faiths Will Participate In City

Members of every major Christian faith will converge on the Jubilee Auditorium Wednesday for the most comprehensive ecumenical prayer service ever held in Edmonton.

The service sponsored jointly by the Edmonton and District Council of Churches and the weekly newspaper, Western Catholic Reporter, marks the opening of the world-wide week of prayer for Christian unity.

One way to further this unity is to pray together, according to Rev. Brian Brown, president of the Edmonton and District Council of Churches.

Mr. Brown said there must be a spirit of co-operation among Christians before church unity can be realized, but it must involve individuals as well as the hierarchies of their churches.


"The only way this can be accomplished is by getting to know each other and to Pray together."

Dr. C.F. Johnston of St. Stephen's College and chairman of the Council's inter-church committee, said the prayer service comes at a very appropriate time.

He said Canadians now are facing their second century, "a time of great challenge and promise for the future." Christians are being called on as one to serve Canada and the world, he said.

An important aspect of the service is the fact that two laymen are the only speakers, said Dr. Johnston.

They are Murray Stewart, president of Northwestern Utilities, Ltd., and an elder at Metropolitan United Church, and Ald. James Bateman, businessman and member of St. Anthony's Roman Catholic parish.

Clergy of several denominations, two bishops, and a nurse are also participating in the service, which begins at 8 p.m.

Douglas J. Roche, editor of the Western Catholic Reporter, said the paper was helping to sponsor the combined prayer service as a celebration of the admission of the Roman Catholic archdiocese to the Council of Churches as an associate member.

The Edmonton archdiocese is the only one in Canada which has joined the local council of churches.
Metropolitan United Church later amalgamated with Knox United Church to become Knox-Metropolitan United Church. Symptomatic of the decline of apostate mainline Protestant churches (and the subject of this post), Knox-Metropolitan merged with three other churches in July 2016 to become United on Whyte. Mr. Roche, a Progressive Conservative (and a lot more "Progressive" than "Conservative"), sat in the Canadian House of Commons from 1972-1994 and in the Senate from 1998-2004.
Suggestions Sought On Vietnam Pray-In
The Edmonton and District Council of Churches would like suggestions on what form a Vietnam pray-in might take.

Rev. B.L. Brown, president of the Council, said the council found itself in some confusion about the meaning of pray-in when the idea was put before Tuesday's meeting.

"All clergy pray for peace, so we can't send out a notice saying 'Pray for peace'."


The question will go to a committee, he said.

"We would like something the laity could take part in. Perhaps a service of prayer for peace. Something meaningful, sincere and quiet.

"The pray-in should be meaningful to young people, who feel, rightly, that we're all concerned in this war."

The council would not just pray that the U.S. get out of Vietnam, but that the fighting on both sides should end.
Christian Pavilion To Stay

MONTREAL (CP)--The Christian Pavilion at the 1967 Montreal world's fair may be maintained as a permanent exhibition after the fair closes.

Rev. Louis Fosey-Foley, director of Credo, a French-language publication of the United Church, told a press conference the permanent status of the pavilion has been discussed by church officials.

Seven Canadian churches are interested in the project.

The pavilion, expected to cost about $1,300,000, is sponsored by the United Church of Canada, the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, and Greek Orthodox churches and the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Canada.
Churchmen To Launch Magazine

TORONTO (CP)--Two dozen churchmen of different faiths have decided to set up a theological magazine to help crate understanding of each other's views.

The group includes Jewish, Roman Catholic, Unitarian, Anglican and United Church clergy and laity.

Rev. A.C. Forrest, editor of the United Church Observer, who initiated the project, says that through such a magazine "we could talk to one another and listen to one another."

The monthly magazine will "publish expressions of opinion, sincerely held, honestly documented and forthrightly written, from as many areas of religious life as possible."

Catholic layman Paul Harris, another supporter, says "a clash of opinion is helpful, so the magazine will likely be controversial."
Catholics Lift Ban On 'Y' Membership

NEW YORK (AP)--Roman Catholicism's long-standing ban against membership in the Young Men's and Women's Christian Associations appears headed for a quiet demise in the United States.

It already has been specifically rescinded in some dioceses.


Numerous Catholic appraisals lately have expressed an approving view of participation in the YMCA and YWCA.

"Indications of the change are coming from all around the country," said J.H. Pisarro, of the national YMCA office. "It's a kind of de facto thing, developing more and more extensively.

Lifting the ban last fall in New Orleans, Archbishop Philip M. Hannan praised the Ys for their community service, and said Catholics were permitted to join.

He said the step was aimed at strengthening fraternal relationships, and that the Ys seek to uphold Christianity in its "generic sense" and not as a particularly Protestant group.

In a similar action in New Mexico, a spokesman for Santa Fe's Archbishop James Peter Davis said: "The programs of the YMCA can help make of a good Baptist a better one, and a good Catholic a better one."

The ban against Catholic membership in the Ys dates back to a Vatican directive of 1920, when Ys were largely Protestant in orientation.
New Sign Of Ecumenical Age

DALLAS, TEXAS (AP)--At the international assembly of the Christian Churches (Disciples), the list of principal speakers included as many churchmen from outside the denomination as in it, including two Roman Catholics, one Orthodox, four Baptist and three Methodists.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

30 years ago: Unitarian minister's prayer shocks Edmonton City Council

Until fairly recently, council meetings in Edmonton and other Canadian cities opened with prayer. However, the out-of-control atheistic mentally and morally retarded body known as the Supreme Court of Canada has seen fit to outlaw the practice in recent years, which will be the subject of another post, if I ever get around to it. The Unitarian Church, as the name indicates, isn't Christian, and this minister's requests make that obvious. As reported by the Edmonton Journal, December 10, 1986:

City council heard proposals Tuesday for a local abortion clinic, a nuclear-free Edmonton, and a worker-owned co-operative at the strikebound Gainers plant.

And that was just in the morning prayer.

Several aldermen raised bowed heads and stared in open shock as the minister, invited to deliver council's traditional opening prayer, ran down his Christmas wish list.

Rev. John Marsh of the Unitarian Church of Edmonton asked first that Edmonton be declared a nuclear-weapons-free zone. He asked next for a therapeutic abortion clinic.

"...Third, if (Peter) Pocklington does not want to own a meat-packing plant in our city, let the city make the financial arrangements for it to become a worker-owned co-operative."

Marsh acknowledged afterwards council members seemed "mildly disturbed" by his prayer.

Clergymen are picked at random to deliver a prayer to open council's regular meetings.

30 years ago: "Christian" restaurateur in Edmonton is charged with dangerous driving and sexual assault

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. Proverbs 26:11

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. Jeremiah 13:23

A backlog item--as reported by Eddie Keen in the Edmonton Sun, November 17, 1986 (bold in original):

When Paul Pearson started The Ole Gospel Restaurant he expected hassle from those with high expectations about how a Christian business chould operate.

Pearson was prophetic; his problems have become more difficult than he could have imagined.

On Nov. 1, Pearson was charged with dangerous driving following an accident.

On Nov. 7, Pearson was charged with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old employee of The Ole Gospel Restaurant.

Pearson has not made a secret of his criminal past and admits there are warrants for his arrest in Kamloops, B.C. and Alma, New Brunswick, for fraud. He describes them as minor matters which he would like waived here to be settled.

Sexual assault charge

The sexual assault charge arose after Pearson drove his teenage employee home.

Pearson says he hired a private detective to work on the case and has paid a lawyer $10,000 to defend him.

"I will be found innocent, but the cost to me and my family and possibly to the business is immeasurable, " says Pearson.

The Ole Gospel Restaurant, described by Pearson as one of the five most-successful dining establishments in Our Town, began its existence on 124 St. amidst controversy.

The restaurant is in the old Family Fitness Centre, an operation that conned many people into buying lifetime memberships before closing its doors.

A restaurant called Splinters was first into the location, then followed by 124 St. Pasta.

The Pasta place operated a few months and then closed with accusations being hurled concerning what had happened to investors' money.

Staff was unpaid, creditors left hanging. One of the investors, Elaine Milliken, ad her boyfriend Don Wimperis felt something was wrong with the way the business had folded and refused to leave the premises.

They barricaded themselves inside with a guard dog and remained there even though police were called to the scene a number of times.

"When we arrived one day and found the locks had been changed we just broke in and stayed there," says Wimperis.

Wimperis says that one night, about 40 people gathered in the parking lot shouting and yelling at them to get out.

"As far as as I know, they were people representing the Ole Gospel Restaurant trying to get us out," says Wimperis, who adds that he and Milliken lost thousands of dollars and, in addition, signed personal guarantees on kitchen equipment still in The Ole Gospel operation.

Pearson also has had employee trouble, blaming some of the problems on attempting to give deserving people a break and not having it work out.

When Don Zanders was working as a cook, produce arrived one day and the delivery man demanded cash.

Zanders says he paid the bill out of his pocket, but then couldn't collect from Pearson.

The day Zanders served the Ole Gospel Restaurant with a summons to small claims court, an employee simply threw it into a garbage can declaring: "That's what we do with those."

Cook wins undisputed claim

No one showed up to protest the claim and Zanders won a judgment for $153.

Jim Lyon, who worked as a cook in the Ole Gospel, filed a complaint with the labor board claiming overtime and holiday pay.

"We are vulnerable because we are a Christian restaurant," says Pearson, who adds his religious conversion five years ago was "dramatic."

"We have the same problems that other business do," says Pearson, "but we are expected to pay our bills right away and not have disputes with employees."

Pearson says the Ole Gospel's policy of no booze and no tobacco has worked out well.
The Ole Gospel Restaurant went out of business shortly after this column appeared, if I recall correctly. It eventually became one of several Rosie's restaurants in Edmonton, and was torn down a dozen or so years ago to make way for a parking lot.

I don't know the outcome of Paul Pearson's legal cases reported in Mr. Keen's column, but a Google search turned up some more recent items on Mr. Pearson, who has also done business under some other names. To put it charitably, he has quite a colourful resume, with a variety of work experiences. As for his "dramatic" religious conversion, as they used to say in Get Smart, "I find that very hard to believe." Here are a few items, from 2010-2015:

As reported by Sitka Log Homes, September 7, 2010 (bold, link in original):

We came across this headline recently posted on : Kamloops fraudster pays $158,000, gets 20 months house arrest
We were delighted when we read the article that described convicting the old log home industry scammer from a way back, Paul Pearson. The article talks about Pearson setting up fake trade shows and collecting money from exhibitors. It doesn't mention the log home industry and how we have been effected by this fraudster but he has worked his unethical slight of hand on our industry as well. Sitka Log Homes caught him in a scam years ago which didn't cost us any money but was extremely unethical never the less. That was about ten years ago, so we don't really buy the line about him only scamming people after the market went soft. Oh please! Paul Pearson was scamming people back when the market was hot too! Here is the article in full:

Kamloops fraudster pays $158,000, gets 20 months house arrest
By Laura Tester
A Kamloops man has received 20 months of house arrest and will pay $158,000 in restitution after scamming booth exhibitors out of thousands of dollars from phony trade shows he set up in Red Deer and Calgary.

Paul Raymond Pearson, 58, pleaded guilty in Red Deer provincial court on Friday, Aug. 27, to one count of fraud over $5,000, 16 counts of fraud under $5,000 and one count of attempted fraud.

Another 67 fraud-related charges were withdrawn, as were fraud-related charges laid against Pearson’s 60-year-old wife, Gloria.

Crown prosecutor Tony Bell said the offences occurred between July 30, 2007, and Feb. 15, 2009, when Pearson began advertising trade shows through the Internet.

He would then contact businesses by email about their potential interest.

Pearson collected money from 18 victims who gave money toward booth space at one of the fake trade shows he had organized, Bell said.

Pearson collected just over $14,500 from the Rig Expo Trade Show in Red Deer that was held for one day in May 2008 and which drew only 22 attendees.

Pearson then received nearly $14,000 from potential exhibitors of the Lift Haul Expo, which was organized for Red Deer in September 2008, but was never held.

The Big Buck Expo, planned for Red Deer in June 2009, saw Pearson take in nearly $728.

Pearson also picked up almost $12,700 from exhibitors who planned to attend a Go Green Expo in Calgary in April 2009, but the exhibition never happened.

“He utilized the proceeds for his purposes,” Bell said.

The Crown and defence asked for a 20-month conditional sentence, to be served at Pearson’s Kamloops house.

Bell said Pearson will only be allowed to leave his house for medical visits and other allowances pre-approved by his supervisor.

A number of other conditions were placed on Pearson, including a prohibition on owning electronic devices.

Pearson has served two-and-a-half months in custody since being arrested by Red Deer RCMP in June.

Bell noted Pearson handed over a cheque of $158,000, money obtained through a trust fund of his.

That money will be distributed among various victims of the trade shows, including those for which charges were withdrawn.

Defence lawyer Lorne Goddard said Pearson had lived with his wife of 30 years on property outside Kamloops, which has since been sold.

Pearson was organizing trade shows and was quite successful at it, but the market became saturated and activity slowed, Goddard said.

“He started using other people’s money to support his family,” Goddard said.

Pearson, a heavy-set man dressed in remand-blue coveralls, expressed remorse for defrauding people of their money.

“I am ashamed for what I have done, not only for my victims, but to my family. I am sorry,” Pearson said while bowing his head and nervously clasping his hands.

Judge John Holmes said he had to take into account the amount of money and number of victims Pearson had defrauded.

Holmes added Pearson was “managing to pay restitution, which often doesn’t happen in these cases.”

The court will be provided a list of victims by the Red Deer RCMP this week.

Anyone wanting information can call primary RCMP investigator Const. Slavica Doktor at 1-403-341-2069.

Doktor said a good portion of the victims were from Red Deer and Calgary, but noted some of those duped are from the United States.

“Three-quarters of what he took in will be paid to his victims, including the Rig Expo people for [which the charges were withdrawn],” said Doktor.
As reported by Robert Koopmans of the Kamloops Daily News, December 6, 2011:

If driving and texting is legally risky behaviour these days, then wielding a cellphone in traffic while banned by a judge from having one must be downright dangerous.

Paul Pearson, 58, learned that lesson Tuesday as he was jailed 18 days for breaching the terms of a conditional sentence order.

Pearson is serving a 20-month conditional sentence for 17 counts of fraud, stemming from the way he organized a series of trade shows in Alberta.

Prosecutor Sarah Firestone told the court Kamloops RCMP were monitoring Lansdowne Street Monday afternoon when they saw a truck pass by with the drive clutching a lit-up cellphone.

When stopped, police learned Pearson was banned from owning a cellphone. He told police he had permission to use one for business, but officers seized the device anyway. When they checked with his sentence supervisor Tuesday, they learned Pearson had never been granted permission.

Pearson turned himself in at the Kamloops courthouse Tuesday and pleaded guilty immediately.

Judge Stella Frame said it's difficult to know why the Alberta judge banned Pearson from having cellphones, but there must have been a reason.

"Each term must be complied with to the letter," she said, noting he will likely be out of jail by Christmas.

Pearson told the court he is sorry for making such a foolish mistake, but he believed he was allowed to use a cellphone for business.

"I did not know I was breaking the law. I thought everything was fine," he said.

The RCMP investigated Pearson in Alberta in 2009 and 2010 after many businesses there complained he charged businesses for space at a series of trade shows he never intended to operate. Refunds were not given. Police identified more than 80 victims, who were defrauded more than $200,000.

At his sentence hearing in Red Deer in May 2010, Pearson was ordered to abide by numerous conditions, including house arrest, a curfew, and a term prohibiting him from using or owning electronic communication devices or computers.

In Kamloops, he applied to be able to use a computer for his work. A judge agreed but he was not given permission to own or use a cellphone.

The court was told Pearson was also ordered to pay restitution of $158,000 to the victims of the trade show scheme. The money has all been repaid, the judge heard.
As reported by CBC News, December 12, 2012 (updated, December 13, 2012) (bold in original):

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs is warning First Nations across the province to stay away from a talent contest that is targeting aboriginal youth and using the name Canadian Idol without permission.

Meanwhile, the company that owns the licence to Canadian Idol says the man behind the purported talent contest, who has a record of several convictions for fraud, must stop misusing its brand.

A CBC News investigation has revealed that a website called First Nations Auditions, run by Paul Pearson, is using the name of the television show and has been soliciting $150 audition fees and promising a $50,000 top prize.

Stewart Phillip, Grand Chief Union of BC Indian Chiefs, had harsh words for Pearson’s contest.

"I think it’s very disgusting, very unethical, very sleazy," Phillip said.

After hearing what the CBC News investigation had found, Phillip decided to send a warning to all 200 B.C. First Nations about the website and the contest it’s promoting.

"There has to be an awareness this is happening at this time of year," said Phillip. "I don’t think our young people certainly have $150 to waste on something that just isn't what it appears to be."

Never audition fees

John Brunton, CEO of Insight Productions and the former executive producer of Canadian Idol, said Pearson’s contest is a scam, noting that there have never been registration or audition fees associated with the Idol franchises.

"For somebody to be taking advantage of unknowing people is really deplorable and I think that if the rights holders found out about this, and I certainly will inform them, that they would really want to go after anybody that is abusing the Idol name," Brunton said.

Pearson has previously been convicted of fraud in Alberta and is the subject of a Better Business Bureau warning, CBC News has learned.

Angela Reynolds, an aspiring singer from the Stellat'en First Nation, says she was excited when she read that auditions were being held on her tiny reserve in northern B.C. It was billed as a First Nations version of Canadian Idol.

"It said you could win $50,000 and a recording contract and they said … it was like a bus tour and they were going to be visiting reserves across Canada," she told CBC News.

The website said a $150 registration fee had to be submitted with all applications to audition.

"Should the audition fees not be submitted we are sorry but your name will be removed from those that wish to sing," it said.

But when Reynolds called about the competition all she got were vague answers.

"He couldn't tell me what dates, he couldn't give me an estimate of what dates," she said.

"I was angry, I was so angry thinking ‘What can I do to stop this?’"

Scammed exhibitors

The contest’s website lists Google and Best Western as sponsors, but those companies told CBC News they had never heard of the talent search. The company listed as the tour bus sponsor also told CBC News it was not involved with the contest.

Pearson was convicted and fined under the Trade Practices Act in 2002 for deceiving customers of his log home business. He declared bankruptcy three years later.

The address where aspiring singers are instructed to mail their audition fee is Pearson’s home. He just finished serving 20 months of house arrest after pleading guilty to 17 counts of fraud in Alberta. Pearson scammed dozens of exhibitors out of thousands of dollars for entry into a phony trade show.

The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about him and his aliases.

'Buyer beware'

Juno-award winning artist Kinnie Starr, who mentors aspiring aboriginal musicians, cautions people to be wary of anything promising overnight success.

"I'm concerned about anyone getting scammed, but it’s buyer beware and you need to do your research," she said.

"People are on to him [Pearson] and it's only a matter of time that people discover in full force what he is doing."

When contacted by CBC News, Pearson said he was too busy to do an interview in person.

However, he said in an email the discrepancies on his website were just mistakes, saying Google and Best Western should have been listed as "preferred companies" instead of sponsors. The contest’s website has since been changed.

The tour bus sponsor was also listed in error, said Pearson, who now claims that a late-model motorhome without licence plates sitting in his backyard is the vehicle he’ll use for the country-wide talent search.

Pearson said "not one penny" had been received from anyone looking to audition, adding his personal business was putting up the prize money.

Pearson says he has successfully conducted 54 trade shows across Canada and the U.S. over the past 30 years, saying the fraud charges in Alberta were the result of a difficult economy.

Pearson went on to say he expected to book auditions in 140 First Nations communities across Canada and has the support of several First Nations-owned radio stations.
As reported by Tim Petruk of Kamloops This Week, October 14, 2014 (links in original):

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has found a North Thompson homeowner in contempt of court for failing to properly fix a six-foot-deep hole into which she and her husband had been — and perhaps still are — dumping raw sewage.

Gloria Pearson and her husband, Paul, appeared in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

The couple’s Vinsulla property has been the subject of ongoing court proceedings since 2013 when, following a hearing, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley ordered the Pearsons to install a proper septic system.

The issue has also been brought forward by at least one neighbour.

Court heard the couple had its indoor plumbing hooked up to a pipe that ran into a six-foot open pit on the property.

Paul Pearson claimed the couple has not used toilets in their home for three years, but the Interior Health Authority (IHA) claims that’s not true.

IHA lawyer Kristen Morley said an investigator visited the property as recently as this past summer and noted a “scum layer” in the pit that appeared to be human waste.

“This is a health hazard,” Morley said.

“There’s open sewage draining into this pit. It’s simply not safe to have sewage discharging into an open pit.”

Morley said the Pearsons have lived on the property for three years and have never had a working septic system.

“There are people who live in this area,” she said. “There are other residents who have made complaints. There are people with ground-water wells in the area. The area is a floodplain. This is a serious health concern.”

Paul Pearson said he doesn’t have the money to get a septic system up and running on the property — but Dley came up with a work-around.

In addition to levying a $5,000 fine for being found in contempt of court, Dley also ordered the IHA to pay for the work on the septic system to be brought up to code.

That money will be repaid out of equity the Pearsons claim to have in the property, which is listed for sale as part of a separate proceeding.

The only hiccup might come if more liens are found on the home.

Dley gave Morley until Friday, Oct. 17, to determine whether the Pearsons have sufficient equity to pay for the septic upgrades.

Instead of paying for the repairs, the IHA wanted Dley to order that water be turned off on the Pearsons’ property or that they be ordered evicted.

Dley, however, ruled that ordering the IHA to fix the system is the only way to ensure it will be done properly and in a timely manner.

Paul Pearson is a convicted fraudster.

Four years ago, RCMP in Alberta investigated Pearson after businesses in the Red Deer area complained he charged for space at a series of trade shows he never intended to operate.

Refunds were not given.

Police identified more than 80 victims who were defrauded more than $200,000.

Pearson was given a 20-month conditional sentence for 17 counts of fraud.

A B.C. Supreme Court justice also ordered he repay $158,000 to victims, an order by which he was able to abide.

Last year, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs warned members to stay away from a talent contest promoted by Pearson, according to a CBC report.
As reported by Mr. Petruk in Kamloops This Week, August 27, 2015 (links in original):
The man sitting at the head of the table inside the almost-empty showroom at what used to be the Strauss building on Fortune Drive introduced himself as Ray.

“Ray Wilson,” he said. “General manager.”

He was not Ray Wilson. Ray Wilson does not exist.

He was Paul Pearson, a notorious convicted fraudster.

After explaining how Kamloops Auto Auctions would work and what it would offer to local car buyers, Pearson, as Wilson, gave KTW his cellphone number — the same number posted online and in flyers as the contact for the business.

“And it’s Ray,” he reiterated.

Moments later, a truck pulled into the Kamloops Auto Auctions lot and the driver rolled down his window.

“How’s it going, Paul?” the driver yelled out.

“Pretty good,” Pearson, as Wilson, shouted back.



As Wilson, Pearson explained to KTW that the new business he was involved with would fill a void in the local vehicle-sales market.

Kamloops Auto Auctions is owned by two women — Kelly Selman and Amy Luccianio — who Pearson, as Wilson, described as long-time family friends.

They are, in fact, Pearson’s daughters.

In a phone interview later, Pearson, as himself, said he was the vice-president of marketing of Kamloops Auto Auctions.

When asked if he thought his involvement, given his criminal past, could hinder the business, he minimized it, at one point saying he was not involved in any way.

“There’s no concern at all,” he said.

“The company is registered to Kelly Selman and Amy Luccianio.

“I just put a little help in with my expertise. I’m just down assisting them, helping them out to get set up.”

Pearson then handed the phone to Luccianio.

“I just want to make sure there’s no affiliation with who you were talking to,” she said.

Luciannio was then asked why her father had, moments earlier, described himself as the vice-president.

“He is the marketing manager, who works with Ray,” she replied, apparently referencing alter-ego Ray Wilson.

Again, Ray Wilson does not exist.


When KTW confronted Pearson about his use of the name Ray Wilson, things got even more confusing.

“Ray is my cousin,” he said initially.

“He works here. We get mixed up a lot. Both heavy-set, both have goatees.”

On Tuesday afternoon, KTW conducted the Ray Wilson interview with Pearson at Kamloops Auto Auctions. Less than an hour later, a KTW photographer showed up to take pictures.

Pearson claimed that in the 45 minutes between the interview and the photos, Wilson had left the office and he had arrived, sitting in the same chair with the same paperwork wearing the same clothes as his cousin.

It was Pearson who was photographed, he said, but Wilson who was interviewed.

In fact, they were the same person.

Pearson then became confused in his story, at various times stating the photographer had taken his picture or taken that of Wilson.

Pearson got into his vehicle and left Kamloops Auto Auctions when the KTW photographer began taking pictures.


Kamloops Auto Auctions is slated to hold its first sales event on Saturday, but that may not happen.

The company also uses the name Interior Auto Auctions on its website,, a site created through the free webpage service

It claims to be a “No Hastle [sic] Sell your car in 5 minutes or Less” service.

Soliciting vehicles from personal owners of vehicles on its website and in flyers is what has caught the eye of the Vehicle Sales Authority of B.C. (VSABC).

Hung Wong, manager of licensing with the VSABC, told KTW the authority is looking into Kamloops Auto Auctions’ status.

“Based on the ads [flyers] we see, they are not compliant,” Wong said.

“We have concerns.

“We are continuing with our investigation.”

Wong said material promoting Kamloops Auto Auctions is asking for consumers to consign their vehicles for auction and states government surplus vehicles will also be available — neither of which can be done unless the business has a motor-dealer licence.

Wong said Kamloops Auto Auctions does not have such a licence.

He said the Vehicle Sales Authority had spoken to Kamloops Auto Auctions representatives within the last week, noting the company was told it can take from six to eight weeks to process a licence.

While a motor-dealer licence is not required for the resale of vehicles from registered dealers, Wong said dealers using an auction house to sell their vehicles must apply for off-site licences.

“We have been trying to get a list of dealers who will be at the [Saturday, Aug. 29] auction,” Wong said. “We haven’t been able to get any yet.”

VSABC said it is in the process of taking out ads in newspapers to warn readers about Kamloops Auto Auctions.


Kamloops Auto Auctions and its Saturday vehicle sales at 755 Fortune Dr. in North Kamloops are also promoted on a Facebook page belonging to a man named Ray Pearson from Kamloops.

The page includes a photo of Paul Pearson.

There is also a Facebook site belonging to a Paul Pearson of Kamloops, which is linked to a Facebook page he created called Logan Lake 24 HR Bid War, an auction page featuring coins and ivory items.

Its last activity was on May 29, with a discussion among members about being blocked from the site and one member posting, “I guess I’m not getting my coins.”

After he created the Logan Lake 24 HR Bid War page on Facebook, Pearson posted the following: “Due to the dictatorship and constant interference by administrators of a similar site in Logan Lake we have created our own bidding site where you the members set the rules. We are sick to death of a busy body admin telling us how , when and where we the buyers and sellers can complete our transactions. Here you can make any dam decision you want on completing the sale, if you wish to mail your items or use UPS its your right to do as you and the one you are dealing with decide. This is not Nazi Germany but rather Canada and we have the freedom to do as we wish. Please spread the word, Thanx!!!”

The other site Pearson referred to is a legitimate auction page on Facebook called Logan Lake 24 Hour Bid Wars, from which Pearson’s membership was revoked and from which he was banned from posting due to his questionable conduct on the online auction site.

In 2002, Pearson was convicted and fined under the Trade Practices Act for deceiving customers of his log-home company.

In 2005, Pearson declared bankruptcy.

In September 2010, Pearson was sentenced to 20 months of house arrest and ordered to pay $158,000 in restitution after scamming booth exhibitors out of thousands of dollars from phoney trade shows he set up in Red Deer and Calgary.

Another 67 fraud-related charges were withdrawn, as were fraud-related charges laid against Pearson’s wife, Gloria.

The offences occurred between 2007 and 2009, when Pearson began advertising trade shows through the Internet.

He would then contact businesses by email about their potential interest. Pearson collected money from 18 victims who gave money toward booth space at one of the fake trade shows he had organized.

In 2013, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs warned members to stay away from a talent contest promoted by Pearson, according to a CBC report.

Last year, Pearson and wife Gloria were in court to answer to accusations they were running sewage from their Vinsulla home into a pit in their yard.

In its short life, Kamloops Auto Auctions has also been in trouble with the City of Kamloops. Approval of its business licence was delayed this week because of illegal signage, KTW has learned.

The licence was granted late in the day Wednesday.


Pearson eventually came clean, admitting to KTW that he had been untruthful about his name.

He said something “smelled funny” and he decided to lie.

“When you came in and you looked around a little, there was something that went on there,” he said.

“I just didn’t feel comfortable. It was a gut feeling.

“I get a gut feeling sometimes.”

Pearson said Wilson is not a real person.

“Well, my middle name is Ray,” he said.

“And, I just said Wilson.”

Pearson said he didn’t want his tarnished reputation to impact his daughters’ business.

Rather, he wanted to put his daughters in touch with members of the Kamloops vehicle-sales community.

“I’m involved to the point of helping my daughters,” he said.

“I’m assisting them and introducing them to these guys.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that the Logan Lake 24 HR Bid War site to which Pearson was using is not connected to a Facebook auction page called Logan Lake 24 Hour Bid Wars.

In fact, according to the site administrators of Logan Lake 24 Hour Bid Wars, Pearson was a member whose membership was revoked and whose access was blocked, after which he created the similar-sounding site.

Logan Lake 24 Hour Bid Wars continues to operate and has no connection to Pearson.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

40 years ago: Anglican Church of Canada ordains its first female priests

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.
And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
I Corinthians 14:34-35

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
I Timothy 2:11-14

On November 30, 1976, the Anglican Church of Canada ordained its first women as priests, in four dioceses across Canada: Rev. Patricia Reed at St. Michael and All Angels, Prince George, British Columbia (Diocese of Cariboo); Rev. Elspeth Alley and Rev. Virginia Briant at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, British Columbia (Diocese of New Westminster); Rev. Mary Mills at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Ontario (Diocese of Huron); and Rev. Mary Lucas and Rev. Beverley Shanley, at Grace Church, St. Catharines, Ontario (Diocese of Niagara).

Putting women in positions of leadership in a church is contrary to scripture, and isn't so much an indication that a church is about to go liberal as it is an indication of how far liberal the church has already gone. I can't think of a church that has begun putting women in leadership positions that hasn't continued in a more liberal, apostate direction. That includes so-called evangelical churches, which should be the subject of another post, if I ever get around to it.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

50 years ago: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi underwhelms Edmonton on his first visit to the city

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:20

As late as November 1966, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was still so obscure that he could attract only 125 to his first public appearance in Edmonton, and it was relegated to the bottom of page 43 of The Edmonton Journal. The article below doesn't specify, but I suspect that with a crowd that small, the meeting didn't even take place in the concert hall part of the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, but in the basement, in what is now the Kaasa Theatre.

The Maharishi's movement had been incorporated in California in 1959 under the name Spiritual Regeneration Movement and had an explicitly religious emphasis, but by November 1966 the Maharishi had figured out how to combine eastern spirituality with western desires for physical health and material success, and the brand name Transcendental Meditation had probably been adopted by this time. For further reading, see my post 50 years ago: Then-obscure Maharishi Mahesh Yogi tours Canada (September 30, 2013).

As reported by Art Sorensen of The Edmonton Journal, November 11, 1966 (bold in original):

Yogi sells bliss at $50 a course

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Thursday night said he sells the secret to happiness for $50.

For that price a single adult can reach a state of bliss through a process of transcendental meditation, he said.

Preaching the doctrine that no man is born to suffer, Maharishi told a public meeting they would start feeling better as soon as they enrolled in his three-lesson course.

The native of India founded the International Meditation Society at Madras, India in 1957 and says he brought bliss to over 100,000 people since then.

But he wasn't about to drop any hints Thursday night in the Jubilee Auditorium.

Instead Roland Umiker of Calgary will return next Friday to pass on the message to those who can afford it.

Membership 300

Donn McRae of Calgary, provincial president of the society, said the group was organized in Alberta in 1964 and built up a membership of about 300 in the Stampede City.

"But only about 50 of these are considered active in the art now."

Maharishi explained that transcendental meditation takes a person to the source of thought itself--pure intelligence.

This is claimed to bring conscious awareness, more energy, more intelligence, more happiness and better health.

Sitting on crossed legs and playing with a flower, the bearded meditator hinted the process starts with a single thought--"implanted in the mind of the initiate by the teacher who is trained to give the word."

An Hour Daily

After the initiation two thirty-minute periods of meditation a day are required to keep happy.

President McRae said he follows this routine closely.

Although $50 per single adult is charged for the course, a man and wife can get the same instruction for the same price. A student is charged $15.

Many of the 125 plus crowd at the meeting left with the feeling they could perhaps find happiness other ways.

As one University student commented, "I'd have complete happiness if I had $50."

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Reform Judaism's new prayer book is as politically correct as anything in mainline churches

The new prayer book being used in some Reform synagogues sounds as though it's as liberal and politically correct as those in mainline "Christian" churches, such as the Anglican Church of Canada's Book of Alternative Services (1985). As reported by Shelley Benveniste in The Jewish Press, November 3, 2016:

Several South Florida synagogues used a new prayer book this year. Mishkan HaNefesh: Machzor for the Days of Awe was presented to the membership of four Reform congregations this high holiday season. The book is meant to offset what many felt to be the “insensitive” words and themes found in traditional Jewish texts.

“Countertexts” are presented throughout the volume. They are intended to encourage a more open-minded style and discard imagery that might feel uncomfortable in its religious approach. The old liturgy seemed to be filled with xenophobia and in need of a fresh eye.

The idea that traditional Judaism relies on halacha (Jewish law) and Jewish practice seemed to smack of exclusivity in a culture that reveres diversity. Sources in Mishkan HaNefesh include non-Jewish poets and writers like Walt Whitman and Jewish writers like Allen Ginsberg and Grace Paley.

Mishkan HaNefesh was put together with a decidedly non-patriarchal agenda. God is referred to in both feminine and masculine pronouns and terms. Brides and grooms are referred to as non-gender “couples.” Political correctness is paramount. The comfort level of each and every reader is imperative.

The people responsible for Mishkan HaNefesh accomplished their goal. Their prayer book is truly p.c. It embraces all.

And perhaps that is its downfall.

Authentic Judaism’s authority comes from Hashem, not people’s sensitivities. Its directive is the Torah, not attainment of every individual’s optimal comfort level.

The efforts of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, which published the book, were obviously well-intentioned. However, the obsession with emphasizing feel-good political correctness in lieu of legitimate Jewish concepts removes Mishkan HaNefesh from consideration as a serious Jewish resource. The book’s content is more akin to a text used in a liberal university’s diversity 101 class than to a Jewish New Year machzor.

Perhaps the authors of Mishkan HaNefesh would benefit from heeding the tagline of a popular hot dog commercial and “answer to a higher authority.”

Monday, November 7, 2016

80 years ago: United Church of Canada ordains Canada's first female minister

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.
And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
I Corinthians 14:34-35

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression...
...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,...
I Timothy 2:12, 3:1-2a

On November 4, 1936, Lydia Gruchy was ordained in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan by the United Church of Canada, becoming not only the United Church's first female minister, but the first female "pastor" in any supposedly Christian church in Canada. Even this blogger was surprised to learn that the practice of ordaining female clergy in Canada goes back this far.

The practice of placing women in positions of leadership in a church isn't just a sign that the church will be heading in a more apostate direction, but an indication of the extent to which the apostasy has already set in. I can't think of one church that has put women in leadership that hasn't moved on to further apostasy; for evidence, check the United Church's website, and search this blog for items on the United Church of Canada and other mainline denominations.

In recent years, "evangelical" churches, such as the Christian and Missionary Alliance, have begun ordaining women and making them senior pastors (a topic for another blog post, if I ever get around to it). The pace of apostasy is accelerating, and "Evangelical" churches are rapidly catching up to mainline churches. See my post "Today's Evangelicals, Tomorrow's Liberals"--A Warning from 1983 (January 13, 2010).

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Christian who converted from Islam is forced to flee his home--in Bradford, England--under police guard

There's a reason the English city of Bradford is now commonly referred to as "Bradistan." Submitted for your approval, the following item, especially for those who approve of multiculturalism or think that God is bringing Muslims to Western countries--as reported by Jon Rogers of the London Daily Express, November 6, 2016:

Nissan Hussain, 50, who took part in a Channel 4 documentary about the mistreatment of Muslim converts, suffered a brutal assault last year by two men.

Mr Hussain suffered a smashed kneecap and a broken hand in the attack which was captured on CCTV.

The father-of-six, who converted to Christianity 20 years ago, had been planning on leaving his home town of Bradford in west Yorkshire but armed police arrived on November, 3 as Mr Hussain had already started packing the family’s possessions, and moved him to a safe place.

Mr Hussain said he has suffered “extreme persecution” recently, especially after the C4 programme had aired, but added the arrival of armed police had been a complete surprise.

He briefly returned the following day, once again with armed protection, to collect more items.

He said: "The armed police arrived at about 3pm on Thursday.

"I had been loading a van up with our belongings for eight hours, having to stealthily check no-one could see what I was doing, before they arrived.

"It took me completely by surprise, but their [the police] professionalism was deeply reassuring, and they escorted my family and I to a safe haven outside Yorkshire."

He continued: "My family are distraught and extremely traumatised to be leaving.

"But when your life is at stake there is no other choice.

"This extreme persecution by certain people in the Muslim community because we are converts has broken us as a family,” Hussain added.

“We are fragmented and I do not know how we will recover from this. We haven't functioned properly for years."

Mr Hussain, who had previously worked as a nurse before having to leave his job due to post-traumatic stress disorder, said his six children, who ranged in age from eight to 24, and his wife would not see his friends again.

A spokesman for the West Yorkshire Police confirmed that officers had been working with the family and added hate crime would not be tolerated.

He said: “Our priority has always been to work effectively with our partners to minimise the risk to Mr Hussain and ensure that we maximise opportunities to put control measures in place to safeguard him, his family and consider any wider impact upon the communities across West Yorkshire.

"We are disappointed that Mr Hussain and his family have decided to leave Bradford, particularly as police and partners have been working together for some time to try and resolve the situation to the benefit of all parties concerned."

He added that an investigation is continuing.

The spokesman continued: "Police and partners would like to stress that there are a number of other people living in the Bradford district who have not experienced any issues based on their faith, conversion to another faith or choosing not to have a faith.

"West Yorkshire Police treat incidents of hate crime extremely seriously and will always put the needs of the victim at the heart of the investigation and strive to provide the desired outcome for the victim.

“Under no circumstances will hate crime be tolerated."

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signs anti-BDS bill

As reported by The Jewish Press, November 6, 2016 (link in original):

Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, (the good PA, not the bad PA) signed a bill on Friday prohibiting the State from contracting with businesses that boycott Israel or are connected to the BDS movement.

The bill, HB 2107, sponsored by Representative Matt Baker, prohibits the Pennsylvanian commonwealth from contracting with any company or organization that engages in an economic boycott against Israel.

Governor Tom Wolf said:

“We must make clear that we are in favor of a peaceful, negotiated solution to this conflict and that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States, stand behind our friends and allies, and will not encourage economic punishment in place of peaceful solutions to challenging conflicts,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “We, as a Commonwealth, must make sure that Pennsylvania is not contributing to a cause that is antithetical to our country’s position on the world’s stage.”

Representative Matt Baker said:

“I would like to commend and extend my appreciation to the General Assembly and Governor for supporting and signing this important and historic legislation into law,” said Representative Matt Baker. “This legislation makes it very clear that companies can either perform a BDS action or they can do business with Pennsylvania. However, they cannot do both.”

This law will prohibit contracting with BDS businesses, states that a purchasing agency may not contract with a company unless the company certifies that it is not currently engaged in a boycott of an entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction not prohibited by Congressional statute from engaging in trade or commerce. Also, the entity must certify that it will not engage in such boycotting during the duration of the contract.

Palestinian Authority demands the "return" of the Dead Sea Scrolls

To quote Winston Churchill out of context, "Here, surely, is the world's record in the domain of the ridiculous and the contemptible..." As reported by The Jewish Press, November 6, 2016 (links in original):

Don’t fall off your seats on this one.

Following their success in erasing the Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount at UNESCO, the Palestinian Authority has decided to ramp it up a bit, according to a report on IBA’s Reshet Bet.

At UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property, the Palestinian Authority delegation to UNESCO is now demanding the “return” of the “stolen” Dead Sea Scrolls.

PA representative Dr. Munir said the Dead Sea Scrolls are from the Palestinian Authority territories and are part of the Palestinian heritage!

The PA wants a full session dedicated to this at the next UNESCO meeting of the committee.

Munir also complained to the committee that antiquities were stolen from the Rockefeller Museum (in eastern Jerusalem) and moved to the western side of Jerusalem (the Israel Museum).

Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, David Sharma Hacohen, whom Netanyahu recently recalled to Israel following the previous anti-Semitic UNESCO vote, said from Jerusalem,

“This is just another example of their provocation and chutzpa in attempting to rewrite history. In any case, just like the Temple Mount and Kotel, the Dead Sea Scrolls will stay in our hands, while the Palestinians will be left with their hidden dreams.”

Sharma-Cohen used the word “Ganuz” in Hebrew, playing on the Hebrew name for the Dead Sea Scrolls “HaMegilot HaGenuzot” – The Hidden Scrolls.

The Dead Sea Scrolls website describes the scrolls as follows:

The most well-known texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls are the ancient religious writings found in eleven caves near the site of Qumran… [in the eastern Judean desert]

Scroll dates range from the third century BCE (mid–Second Temple period) to the first century of the Common Era, before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. While Hebrew is the most frequently used language in the Scrolls, about 15% were written in Aramaic and several in Greek. The Scrolls’ materials are made up mainly of parchment, although some are papyrus, and the text of one Scroll is engraved on copper.

About 230 manuscripts are referred to as “biblical Scrolls”. These are copies of works that are now part of the Hebrew Bible.

We have no doubt that UNESCO will fully support the PA’s historical revisionism.

Next they’re going to demand we return the Palestinian Talmud.
For those who are unaware, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently adopted two resolutions that have the effect of denying the historical connection between Jews and Jerusalem's holy sites. As reported by The Jewish Press, October 18, 2016:

The United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Executive Board voted Tuesday in Paris to accept the “Occupied Palestine” resolution advanced in Paris last week by the Palestinian Authority, which erases the connection between Judaism, Jews, Christianity and holy sites in Jerusalem.

Even experts in the United Kingdom clearly recognized that connection, lamenting the horrific tragedy of the division of the holy city of Jerusalem, more than half a century ago, before the 1967 Six Day War.

The resolution has not only deepened the divide between member nations in the organization, but may have also further threatened the funding of the world body.

Mexico had announced its intention to trigger a special clause designed to force a new vote on the issue, but at the end, the nation’s representative elected to issue a statement on its changed position on the resolution. The statement was echoed by Brazil, who also announced it had changed its position as well. Neither statement, in the long run, made any difference in the vote, which has further embittered nations where Christianity is treasured as a natural growth from Judaism.

The resolution has obliterated any mention of the historic link between Jews and the holy sites in Jerusalem and instead refer to Judaism’s holiest sites in Judaism – the Temple Mount and the Western Wall – solely by their Islamic names and referring to them as Muslim holy sites.

Israel suspended its funding to UNESCO when the body approved membership for the Palestinian Authority, as did the United States, which used to provide nearly one quarter (22 percent) of the organization’s budget.

Japan has now also threatened to withdraw its funding as well, warning last week that it withheld its annual dues from UNESCO, pending a review to ensure the world body is properly functioning to “foster trust” between its member nations.
As reported by Hana Levi Julian of The Jewish Press, October 26, 2016 (links in original):

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee passed a second resolution Wednesday morning erasing the historic ancient ties between Judaism, Jerusalem and the holy sites in the eternal Israeli capital.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nachshon called the vote “a piece of rubbish.”

UNESCO's vote on Jerusalem is a piece of rubbish, rightly dumped in the garbage can by our Ambassador!! Long live Jewish Jerusalem!!!

— Emmanuel Nahshon (@EmmanuelNahshon) October 26, 2016 (link in date)

The measure was proposed by Tunisia and Lebanon on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, neither of whom are members of the World Heritage Committee. That did not stop either of the two from threatening the voting members with an ultimatum, however, if they were to decide to vote against the resolution.

Entitled ‘Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls,’ the measure refers to the holy sites in the ancient city – including the site of the two Jewish Holy Temples – exclusively by their Arabic names and solely in terms of their Islamic status.

But of the 21 member states who were eligible to vote on the measure, just 10 voted in favor of the resolution. Eight abstained, and two opposed it. Jamaica was simply absent from the room. Eight others turned in entirely blank voting forms.

Last week the Executive Board of the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted a similar resolution, this one entitled “Occupied Palestine.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response that the vote was a “continuation of the theater of the absurd. Radical Islamic forces destroy mosques, churches and archaeological sites, while Israel is the only state in the region that preserves them and allows freedom of worship for all religions.

“UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee deserves to be condemned, not Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites has also spoken out against the UNESCO Jerusalem resolutions, which are part of a campaign by the Palestinian Authority to reclassify all holy sites in the Israeli capital as solely Islamic in order to strengthen Muslim claims to Jerusalem. Last year’s texts, in addition to the previous resolution, referred to Israel as the “occupying power” and condemned the Jewish State for its alleged “activities” at holy sites in the city.

“There should be a clear distinction between political controversies and scientific facts and that political disputes … and political views cannot justify statements which erase basic and well known and proven historical facts,” said Council Vice President Gideon Koren, an Israeli attorney. The Council, an independent advisory body on manmade World Heritage Sites, decided to speak out after a board meeting in Istanbul.

UNESCO secretary-general Irina Bokova herself also condemned the resolutions, as did outgoing United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and tens of thousands of others who signed a petition submitted to Bokova earlier this week.