NEWS

Learn about present day religious abuse

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By Rebecca Hopkins - The Roys Report
August 19, 2021

An Oregon megachurch pastor who’s broadcast on more than 500 radio and TV outlets, and has more than 150K followers on social media, has stepped down from ministry amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse. Two elders at the pastor’s megachurch have also resigned, claiming the church refused to properly discipline the pastor and took action only after the allegations became public.

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By Paul O'Donnell, Bob Smietana - Religion News Service
June 2, 2021

..."In a letter written more than a year before his resignation, Moore explained his troubles with the SBC’s leadership in bitterly frank terms, and Donald Trump hardly made an appearance.
The root of the friction was not his opposition to Trump, Moore said, but was caused by the stands Moore had been taking on the SBC’s race and sexual abuse issues, which had raised hackles with a “small minority” that Moore does not name but can be identified as key conservatives and members of the denomination’s governing Executive Committee.

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By Roxanne Stone - The Roys Report
May 31, 2021

A former Hillsong NYC staff member has come forward with allegations that the megachurch’s former pastor Carl Lentz subjected her to “bullying, abuse of power and sexual abuse” over the course of seven years as she worked as a nanny in Lentz’s home.

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Church of the Brethren Newsline
May 11, 2021

Hillcrest School in Jos, Nigeria, has issued a statement about former principal James McDowell’s admission of having molested students. He was principal from 1974-1984. He made the admission in a Facebook post on April 15.

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By Tony Ortega - Daily Beast
May 23, 2021

Four years ago I first broke the news that Masterson, the That ’70s Show actor and a lifelong Scientologist, was being investigated by the LAPD. Three women had come forward to say that from 2001 to 2003, when they themselves had been Scientologists, they were violently raped by him at his Hollywood home. I’ve continued to report every step of the case, as prosecutors settled on seeking a potential life sentence, the three victims and two other plaintiffs filed suit against Masterson and the church for stalking them, and when Masterson was criminally charged in June 2020.From the beginning, I was intrigued by how much Scientology was intertwined with this case. Not only because these three women had been Scientologists when they alleged they’d been raped, but as The Daily Beast reported, that they had not come forward sooner specifically because Scientology had overtly told them not to, or because they feared the consequences of doing so. (The Church of Scientology did not respond to requests for comment.)

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By Christa Brown - Religion News Service
May 20, 2021

With mass-scale abuses continuing with impunity over decades, and with survivors reporting hellish maltreatment when they speak up, the SBC’s problem cannot be blamed solely on individuals. Nor can it be blamed on rogue churches. It is an institutionally entrenched problem that is systemically enabled.

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JOSH DUGGAR, FORMER REALITY TV STAR, CHARGED FOR POSSESSING CHILD SEX ABUSE MATERIALS

By Sarah Lynch - Reuters
April 30, 2021

Joshua James Duggar, the 33-year-old former star of the popular reality TV show "19 Kids and Counting," appeared in federal court on Friday to face criminal charges that he received and possessed materials that depicted the sexual abuse of children, the U.S. Justice Department said.

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By Mary Schenk - The News-Gazette
April 8,2021

A former youth pastor at a Champaign church who admitted he sexually molested a teenage girl for four years, making her suicidal, scarring her family and his own, and injuring his church community was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison.

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By Judy L. Thomas and Laura Bauer - Kansas City Star
April 4, 2021

At 3:45 p.m. March 16, an Agape Boarding School employee called the Missouri Highway Patrol, which was investigating allegations of abuse at the Christian reform school.
Records that would document the abuse of students were “being destroyed by members of the Agape Boarding School Staff to prevent their discovery by law enforcement,” the employee said, according to search warrant information obtained by The Star.

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By Yonat Shimron - Religion News Service
March 31, 2021

Women have been told our bodies can cause men to stumble. They’ve been told, (in the letter to the Romans), “Do not be a stumbling block.” That has been twisted to say, “Oh, don’t wear spaghetti straps; otherwise, you never know what men will do.” We’ve been told to restrain ourselves, present ourselves in specific ways in order to not allow sin in men’s life. We’ve been taught that men are in control of everything — the church service, the decision-making, the money — but the one thing they cannot control is their sexuality.

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By Mark Silk - Religion News Network
March 22, 2021

Should we blame Evangelical purity culture for the murderous assault that 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long is charged with launching on three Atlanta-area spas?
It certainly seems that way.
According to news reports, Long has a “sex addiction” and is consumed with guilt. Deeply religious, he feared his addiction put his salvation at risk. 

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By Molly Olmstead - Slate
March 23, 2021

James Huntsman, the brother of former ambassador, presidential candidate, and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and a member of a wealthy and influential family, filed a federal lawsuit against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday. He alleged that the church, widely known as the Mormon church, had defrauded him of millions of dollars in donations by misleading him into thinking his money would be spent on charitable causes.

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By Stephanie Russell-Kraft - The New Republic
March 23, 2021

I spoke to more than a dozen former evangelicals for this story, each of them sharing unique stories of abuse and disillusionment with their church. A few asked that I keep their names confidential because they feared retaliation from family members (some of whom are involved in pro-Trump militia movements). But their stories shared one factor: despite no longer believing in hell, or purity culture, or the imminent rapture, they all struggled to overcome the toll those ideologies had taken on their minds and bodies. As evangelicals, the people I spoke to had been raised to be suspicious of therapy. Now more and more of them are turning to mental health providers to help them forge a different path.

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By Jackson Elliott - The Roys Report
March 12, 2021

Chris Hogan left Ramsey Solutions this week, apologizing for personal actions “not in line” with the company. But Hogan’s former wife, Melissa Hogan, says her ex-husband’s online apology failed to take responsibility for those Chris Hogan “profoundly hurt,” including her, her family, and other women.
Chris Hogan’s YouTube apology aired only days after a lawyer for another Ramsey employee had subpoenaed Ramsey Solutions, asking for Hogan’s personnel file. That employee, Caitlin O’Connor, is suing Ramsey Solutions for firing her for getting pregnant while single.
However, when the company learned in November and December 2018 about Chris Hogan’s multiple affairs, Ramsey took a diffe

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By Bob Smietana - Religion News Network 
March 9, 2021

Moore’s criticism of the 45th president’s abusive behavior toward women and her advocacy for sexual abuse victims turned her from a beloved icon to a pariah in the denomination she loved all her life.
Because of her opposition to Trump and her outspokenness in confronting sexism and nationalism in the evangelical world, Moore has been labeled as “liberal” and “woke” and even as being a heretic for daring to give a message during a Sunday morning church service.
Finally, Moore had had enough. She told Religion News Service in an interview Friday (March 5) that she is “no longer a Southern Baptist.”

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By Julie Roys - The Roys Report
March 10, 2021

John MacArthur recently claimed that the heat he’s facing for his expensive lifestyle, millions in contracts to his son-in-law, alleged embellishing of stories, and handling of COVID is persecution for preaching the gospel.
In a sermon entitled, “The Benefits of Suffering for Christ,” MacArthur complains that people are “doing everything (they) can on the internet” to “silence me” and to convince people that he’s “just another spiritual fraud.” MacArthur has not directly addressed any of the issues against him that have been raised.

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By Elisha Fieldstadt - NBC News
March 8, 2021

Missouri pastor is on leave after a video emerged of him preaching that wives should strive to be thin, made up, well-dressed and satisfying in the bedroom to keep their husbands interested because "God made men to be drawn to beautiful women."
Clark said it is up to a woman to keep her weight down, wear makeup and dress well to keep her husband from cheating.

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By Jackson Elliott - The Roys Report
February 26, 2021

A Canadian pastor has been jailed and is awaiting a May 3 trial date for refusing to comply with government guidelines aimed at halting the spread of COVID-19.

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By Christa Brown - Baptist News Global
February 25, 2021

Some Southern Baptist leaders have praised the independent investigation commissioned by RZIM. But the irony of this is not lost on survivors. It appears SBC leaders applaud independent investigation for others but resist it for themselves.
The SBC needs to reckon with the full scale of failures within the entirety of its own faith group, and the way to do that is with a cooperatively funded independent commission that will proactively hear from all survivors who want to report any clergy abuse that occurred in SBC-affiliated churches and entities.

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NEW AGAPE LAWSUIT CLAIMS ‘CULTURE OF PERVASIVE PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL AND SEXUAL ABUSE’

By Judy L. Thomas and Laura Bauer - The Kansas City Star
February 23, 2021

A second former student is suing Agape Boarding School for what he describes as years of abuse at the southwest Missouri boarding facility.
The lawsuit, filed under the name John Doe II, describes alleged physical, emotional and sexual abuse by students and a staff member.

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By Sheila Wray Gregoire - Religion News Service
February 18, 2021

Evangelicals are pointing fingers at “celebrity Christian culture,” blaming it for the tragic Ravi Zacharias sexual abuse and rape scandal and the extramarital escapades of Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz (as well as so many more). But what if this epidemic is not just — or even mostly — caused by celebrity culture?
What if it’s the evangelical view of sex?

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By Mark C. Hackett
February 16, 2021

Evangelical culture is based on a system of broken and corrupt patriarchy.
As shocking as what Ravi Zacharias did is, we should not be surprised. In Evangelical culture, a corrupted version of patriarchy is often placed in sky-high importance above the greatest commandment of Jesus: loving God and your neighbor (Matthew 22:34–40).
Far too often, Evangelical pastors and elders choose to protect their own power and the power of other male, Evangelical leaders (the patriarchy) over the safety and well-being of their own congregants, supporters, the faith they claim to love, and others who may be outside of the Church.

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By Kyle J. Howard - Religion News Service
February 19, 2021

Instead of condemning the perverted secret life of Ravi Zacharias and empathizing with his victims, many leaders rushed to express a degree of identification and even empathy with Zacharias. From pastors to seminary professors, many declared that apart from the grace of God, they, too, would be like Zacharias. Some of these leaders even chastised others for not more readily identifying with Zacharias.
Statements like these can sound like words uttered by a non-judgmental person who is more aware of their own failings than that of another, but that is only the appearance on the surface. If we dig deeper, we can see multiple ways these statements serve to perpetuate the systems that have allowed spiritual abuse to fester.

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By Daniel Sillman and Kate Shellnutt - Christianity Today
February 11, 2021

A 12-page report released Thursday by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) confirms abuse by Zacharias at day spas he owned in Atlanta and uncovers five additional victims in the US, as well as evidence of sexual abuse in Thailand, India, and Malaysia.
Even a limited review of Zacharias’s old devices revealed contacts for more than 200 massage therapists in the US and Asia and hundreds of images of young women, including some that showed the women naked. Zacharias solicited and received photos until a few months before his death in May 2020 at age 74.

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By Julie Roys - Roys Report
February 6, 2021

Phil Johnson, the director of John MacArthur’s broadcast ministry, Grace to You, doxed me yesterday in a document he posted online. When confronted, Johnson defended what he did.
To dox someone is to publish private or identifying information about that person, especially as a form of punishment or revenge. Doxing is  illegal in California and punishable up to one year in jail or a fine of $1,000.
In my case, Johnson published my home address. This was in response to an article I posted this week about the salaries, secrecy, and lifestyle of Johnson’s boss, John MacArthur. My article also noted that Grace to You (GTY) paid Johnson a $230K+ salary and a sizeable loan, which was fully forgiven. 

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The Roys Report 
February 3, 2021

For decades, John MacArthur has railed on prosperity preachers, likening them to  “greed mongerers” who led First Century cults. Yet according to financial statements and tax forms obtained by The Roys Report, John MacArthur and his family preside over a religious media and educational empire that has over $130 million in assets and generates more than $70 million a year in tax-free revenue.

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By Cal Beverly - The Citizen
February 2, 2021

The lead pastor of a Fayetteville church has been charged with sexual battery and three counts of child molestation, according to Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb.

David Hornbuckle, 51, was arrested Jan. 27 after the Sheriff’s Department was notified of an incident that occurred in early January that involved “inappropriate conduct” with “a juvenile known to him,” Sheriff Babb said.

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By Karen Chávez - Asheville Citizen Times
January 29, 2021

A graduate of Ben Lippen School - a Christian boarding school formerly located in West Asheville - is suing a former female teacher and the school, alleging years of sexual abuse.
Rachel Howald, 50, says in the lawsuit filed Jan. 15 in Buncombe County Superior Court that Pamela Kaye Herrington, a teacher and coach at the high school, sexually assaulted her repeatedly from 1986-88 when she was 16 and 17 years old, and that the school provided multiple opportunities for the teacher to victimize her.

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By Hannah Frishberg - New York Post
January 28, 2021 

The Wall Street Theater Company, which Hillsong’s Connecticut branch rented for its weekly services, is suing the church for over $100,000, alleging unpaid rent, the theft of venue property and “immoral, oppressive and unscrupulous” actions, according to a complaint filed on Jan. 20 by the theater.

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By Christianity Today
January 29, 2021

Child sexual abuse in an institutional setting is most likely to occur in schools, followed by religious institutions and care homes, according to research by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). 
The IICSA study is based on over 5,100 accounts from victims across a range of contexts, including schools, religious institutions and healthcare settings. 

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By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy - AZ Mirror
January 22, 2021

Senate Bill 1008 adds members of clergy to the list of mandated reporters of abuse and would curtail what is known as clergy-penitent privilege. Currently, only Guam, New Hampshire and West Virginia consider clergy mandated reporters and clergy-penitent privilege is waived in cases of suspected child abuse or neglect in those states. 
“There is nothing religious about covering up sexual abuse,” Lennon, a survivor himself, said. “Religion is part of our culture and our society… Having child predators exposed is not an imposition against that faith.”

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By Bob Smietana - Religion News Service
January 15, 2021

Ramsey’s intolerance for dissent has created what former employees call a cultlike environment, where leaders proclaim their love for staff and then fire people at a moment’s notice.
Ramsey Solutions, former employees and their spouses say, is run more like a church than a business. A review of court documents, company emails and recordings of staff meetings backs up these sources’ claims that company leaders attempt to exert control over employees’ personal lives.

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By Beth Allison Barr - The Dallas Morning News
January 17, 2021

“Are you calling me sexist?” the pastor asked.
“No,” my husband said cautiously. “I am saying these policies and actions appear to be sexist.” The unequal treatment of women wasn’t the only concern my husband raised in this meeting, but it was the trigger for the chain of events leading to this moment.
Their meeting was short, only an hour allotted for my husband to walk the tightrope of conveying our concerns without being trapped by his words. He failed. The deliberations of the elder board were short, too. My husband was to be fired as youth pastor.

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By Maina Mwaura - Religion News Service
January 9, 2021

This week, when my daughter walked into my home office, her eyes were immediately glued to the TV screen, where she saw men and women who had converged on the nation’s Capitol building, hoping to disrupt, if not bring down, the American government because of their displeasure with the outcome of the election. I guided her out, tears in my eyes.

Not long before, Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma had broken off his speech objecting to the Electoral College count because, a Senate staffer tells him, “Protesters are in the building.”

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By Julie Roys - Roys Report
January 15, 2021

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) has been rocked by allegations  that its late founder, Ravi Zacharias, sexually abused numerous massage therapists at spas he co-owned. Now, there’s evidence that RZIM employed a personal massage therapist for Zacharias, and that as late as November 2020—six months after Zacharias died—the therapist was still on the payroll.

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By Leonardo Blair - The Christian Post 
January 11, 2021

“I have been flabbergasted at the barrage of continued conspiracy theories being sent every minute our way and the pure hatred being unleashed.  To my great heartache, I’m convinced parts of the prophetic/charismatic movement are far SICKER than I could have ever dreamed of,” he explained. “I truthfully never realized how absolutely triggered and ballistic thousands and thousands of saints get about Donald Trump. It’s terrifying! It’s full of idolatry!  If I helped to prop up this ideology concerning him, I will need to repent again and stir up even more hell.”

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By Caleb Hutton - Herald Net
Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Archdiocese of Seattle has reached over $2 million in settlements in the past six months due to credible allegations of sexual abuse against four Catholic priests in Western Washington, including two former leaders of a parish in Snohomish and one in Everett.

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By Simran Jeet Singh - Religion News Service
January 7, 2021

If you have to say this is not who we are every two weeks, then maybe it is. These images depict a truth that is difficult to put into words. There are two systems of justice in America: one for people presumed to be innocent and one for those we presume to be criminals. Race is a key determinant in this. White people have the privilege of being presumed innocent. People of color, and Black people in particular, are seen as criminal. The research bears this out consistently.

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By Jon Fea - The Way of Improvement Leads Home
January 7, 2021

They are all Republicans. They are all Trump supporters. But they are also, in one form or another, evangelical Christians.

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By Variety - NBC News
December 31, 2020

The stalking and intimidation cases brought by four women who have accused TV actor Danny Masterson of rape must now go through mediation within the Church of Scientology, a Los Angeles judge ruled Wednesday.
The ruling comes just days before Masterson's scheduled arraignment on three charges of rape between 2001 and 2003. In early November, that hearing was set for Jan 6.

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By Larrd D. Curtis - 2KUTV
December 21, 2020

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently announced policy changes in its revised, updated handbook, but a lawsuit in Arizona filed against the Church earlier this month seeks to change how its abuse helpline handles reporting of child sexual abuse.
The Arizona lawsuit contends that the sexual abuse hotline of the Church contributed to years of ongoing rape and sexual and physical abuse of three Arizona children because it instructed local Church leaders not to report it. Bishops in charge of local congregations are instructed to call the helpline for assistance in abuse cases.

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By Edward McKinley - Times Union
January 3, 2021

His message — only God is the source of ultimate judgment and forgiveness — was typical for a sermon. But the apparent inspiration for the message on that Sunday was atypical, and it was not the enemy harming the church’s reputation, but a young woman suing them for allegedly abetting and harboring a Sunday school teacher who she says sexually abused her as a girl.

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By Hannah Frishberg - New York Post
December 23, 2020

This house of God is run more like a corporation — or a sweatshop — than a place of worship.
So say former members of once-celebrity-beloved megachurch Hillsong, who continue to come forward with stories slamming the institution as more “slave labor” than sanctuary after the bombshell firing of adulterous pastor Carl Lentz. 
“It’s like you work for a major company” — only worse, Nicole Herman, who helped found Hillsong LA in 2013, told The Post.

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By Leah MarieAnn Klett - Christian Post 
December 21, 2020

“There’s another virus loose in the world, and it’s the virus of deception,” the 81-year-old pastor told the congregation in his Aug. 30 sermon. “And the one who’s behind the virus of deception is the arch deceiver Satan himself.”

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By Nicole Chenoweth - The Sun UK
December 20, 2020

Last month, The Sun exclusively revealed the troubled Christian star hired Meghan Markle's PR firm, Sunshine Sachs, to handle his public infidelity scandal. 
Just four weeks later, multiple sources confirmed the 42-year-old has been fired by his high profile reps due to his ongoing “lies.”

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By Julie Roys
December 20, 2020

John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church (GCC), which has defied county orders banning indoor worship, appears to be having an outbreak of COVID-19 among its leadership and members.
But a GCC leader who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job says staff and members are being pressured not to report new COVID cases to the health department for fear of being shut down.

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By Julie Roys
December 12, 2020

An apologist with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) has sent a stunning letter to top RZIM leaders, stating that the ministry has lost trust “internally and externally” because of its handling of recent scandals involving its founder.
The letter also urges RZIM to apologize publicly and make “meaningful reparations” to Ravi Zacharias’ alleged victims should a third-party investigation confirm their allegations. The letter also urges RZIM to rebrand and to overhaul the ministry’s culture.  

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By Fateh Al-Rahman Al-Hamdani - BBC News
December 7, 2020

When I meet Ahmed, he is shackled in a room all alone. There are marks on his body from the beatings he has been given. He doesn't know how old he is, but he's probably about 10. The school I find him in is one of 23 Islamic educational institutions in Sudan, known as khalwas, that I filmed in undercover over a two-year period, starting in early 2018.

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By BBC News
December 11, 2020

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse heard evidence from 648 witnesses over four years. It is investigating claims against local authorities, religious organisations, the armed forces and public and private institutions - as well as people in the public eye.
The inquiry's final report will be published in 2022.

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By WOWK News
November 12, 2020 

“I wouldn’t put my dog in there,” one law enforcement official said of Miracle Meadows during the case’s discovery process.

“I was appalled. It’s child abuse. It’s unconscionable to me to handcuff a child and shackle a child in that fashion,” said a West Virginia State Police trooper deposed in the case."

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By Olivia Malick, University Press - The Newspaper of Lamar University
December 3, 2020

Women share tales of religious oppression, breaking free
“When I first left, I wasn’t thinking, ‘Oh, I just left a cult,’” she said. “I hadn’t really grasped that idea yet. It wasn’t until I got some distance when I realized how much the church and their ideas had been controlling every single aspect of my life. Not only what I wore and where I went, but the kind of thoughts I allowed myself to entertain, or the people I allowed myself to talk to or the emotions I allowed myself to have — there were things I would stop myself from feeling because I felt like it was sinful. That level of control at every level of my life was so exhausting.”

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By Tucker FitzGerald
October 28, 2019

I was raised as an Evangelical Christian, attended an Evangelical college and grad school, and worked in the church professionally for around a decade. I, personally, don’t find the term “atheist” very useful to me, but I know that by most people’s definitions I would qualify these days. So what happened to me?

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By Zaira Perez - Denton Record - Chronicle
June 25, 2020

A former Denton youth pastor accused of multiple child-related sex charges worked at Denton Bible Church from 1995 to 2001, church officials said Thursday.

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Press Release: NZ Catholic Bishops - Scoop Regional
November 30, 2020

The Catholic Church is determined to listen, learn, and reflect on the evidence of survivors who will speak at the first faith-based redress hearings of the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care, starting today in Auckland.

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By Julie Roys - The Roys Report
November 20, 2020

Luke MacDonald describes himself as a pastor who’s excited to share “Good News in the Neighborhood”—a slogan he’s emblazoned on an entire merchandise line of hats, hoodies, and T-shirts.
But some who knew MacDonald during his time at Harvest Bible Chapel say he’s just as much of a bully as his father—disgraced celebrity preacher, James MacDonald. They recount bizarre stories of Luke MacDonald urinating in meetings, throwing chairs in a rage

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By Lisa Zengarini - Vatican News
November 22, 2020

The recent Report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and a new Independent Review of Safeguarding Structures and Arrangements in the Catholic Church in England and Wales, known as the “Elliot Report”,  were the main items discussed by the Bishops of England and Wales during their Plenary Assembly that met from November 16-20.

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By Tessa Weinberg -The Missouri Independent 
Nov. 22 2020 

In order to improve safety and understand the scope of unlicensed youth residential facilities throughout Missouri, lawmakers are recommending every facility be registered, background checks be required and that three substantiated reports of abuse and neglect result in children being removed.
The report follows the Kansas City Star's investigations into Christian boarding schools that had substantiated reports of abuse, neglect and sexual abuse. The Star spoke with dozens of former students who recounted enduring emotional and physical abuse, being used as manual labor and ignored calls for help.

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By Divya Taery - Mashable SE Asia
November 12, 2020

The church is led by Lee Man-hee. He founded SCJ and claimed that Jesus Christ appeared before him as a "bright heavenly figure". Members refer to him as “the promised pastor,” “the one who overcomes” or “the advocate.” They also believe he will live forever.

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By Roxanne Stone
November 12, 2020

Brian Houston, global senior pastor of the international Hillsong Church,  announced Thursday (Nov. 12) that an independent investigator will review the “inner workings” of Hillsong’s New York City branch after the firing of its lead pastor, Carl Lentz, last week.
According to a statement sent by Hillsong to RNS on Friday (Nov. 13), the church has “heard from a number of people about their experiences and concerns,” in the wake of last week’s announcement regarding Lentz’s termination.

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By Tom Fiedler AVL Watchdog
November 12, 2020

For the Rev. Franklin Graham, the scathing editorial in Christianity Today last year calling his friend Donald Trump “a leader of grossly immoral character” and urging that Trump be “removed from office” was heretical.

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By Judy L. Thomas and Laura Bauer - The Kansas City Star
November 8, 2020

The Star, in an ongoing investigation into Missouri Christian reform schools, interviewed 16 former Agape students — their time at the school spanning nearly 20 years. The men shared emotional descriptions of beatings, long days of manual labor, and food and water withheld as punishment. The constant berating and mind games.
“It’s all religious abuse,” Clidence said. “As a pastor, I’m offended that they would use Christianity for their own financial gain. It was abusing the church, abusing Christ. It still is.”

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By Roxanne Stone - Religion News Service
November 4, 2020

Hillsong founding pastor Brian Houston notified staff and members of Hillsong East Coast by email on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 4) that Carl Lentz has been terminated as lead pastor for the megachurch’s New York City location.
The email, which was obtained by Religion News Service, cited the reason for termination as “leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.”

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By Sarah Posner - Type Investigations
November 2, 2020 

Over the past 15 months, for example, the Department of Health and Human Services has paid more than $87 million in taxpayer-funded grants to Sunny Glen Children’s Home in San Benito, Texas, to build and operate a 380-bed shelter for unaccompanied child migrants. Sunny Glen is a small group foster care home run by the Churches of Christ, a network of autonomous evangelical churches with an estimated 1.4 million congregants in the United States that in many cases teaches strict adherence to the New Testament, particularly with regard to gender roles. With a capacity for 40 children and 2018 revenues of just $2.5 million, Sunny Glen had never before received a federal grant; its total grant money for 2019 and 2020 was the second largest of 13 awards HHS made to organizations that hadn’t previously been funded by the unaccompanied minors residential shelter program.

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By Matt Kaufman - Las Vegas Sun
November 1, 2020

We’ve seen a lot of Christians making a lot of excuses for Trump over the past few years. We’ve seen them twist themselves into knots to avoid facing who he clearly is. We’ve seen them jettison one long-proclaimed standard after another to let him off the hook. We’ve seen them resort to denial, downplaying and deflection. We’ve seen them deploy and distort Scripture in Trump’s defense as they’d never dream of doing for a Democrat. (To cite the obvious example: If this had been Bill Clinton ...)

This is just sad. Christians who spent decades decrying America’s turn toward moral relativism are the last people who should go down this road. We know better. When we do it anyway — sacrificing our professed principles on the altar of political convenience — that changes us. It erodes our character, both individually and corporately.

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By Leslie Goldman - Marie Claire
Oct 28, 2020

At the root of this warped belief system, Paasch says, is a phenomenon called purity culture.
“It only allows for mandatory abstinence or sex within a heterosexual marriage—or else,” Joy explains. “Or else God will be mad; or else no one will want to marry you; or else you’ll get pregnant and put yourself at risk of going to hell.”
Combine that line of thinking with a general absence of sexual education and a widespread emphasis on male leadership energized by female submission and “purity culture becomes the foundation that rape culture is built on,” Paasch argues. “You have these sexual rules that are very strict and young people who are very uninformed about their bodies or about what it means to make conscious sexual decisions; they’re told to repress, repress, repress. And then someone takes advantage of you and you don’t even know what consent is; you’ve never been taught.”

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By Gerald Jackson - The NC Beat
October 26, 2020

A ‘Well-Known’ North Carolina pastor who isn’t so well known has been identified for allegedly urinating on a woman during a flight during the early morning of October 13, 2020.

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By Rebecca Everett - NJ.com
October 22, 2020

Four new lawsuits filed Thursday accuse several New Jersey religious institutions of allowing a monk to sexually abuse children trusted to the care of Catholic schools.

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Stephanie Kirchgaessner - The Guardian UK
October 21, 2020

Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the supreme court has prompted former members of her secretive faith group, the People of Praise, to come forward and share stories about emotional trauma and – in at least one case – sexual abuse they claim to have suffered at the hands of members of the Christian group.

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By Michael Gryboski - Christian Post Reporter
October, 2020

A pastor of a Christian Reformed Church congregation in Michigan has left the ministry due to his belief that the church is too supportive of President Donald Trump.

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By Elisabetta Povoledo - The New York Times
October 14, 2020

One priest accused of sexually abusing an altar boy in a prominent Vatican City seminary and another accused of covering it up went before the Vatican’s criminal tribunal on Wednesday, the first trial in the city-state over sexual abuse said to have occurred within its walls.

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A Public Statement from Pastor Robert Cunningham - Tates Creek Presbyterian Church
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Last week, one of those male students called to inform me of allegations that Mr. Rice had sexually assaulted him on multiple occasions. While these remain allegations at this point, we are treating them as credible because of the source of the allegations and corroborating evidence we have discovered.  Immediately, I informed the police and called a meeting of our church elders. At that meeting, the elders unanimously voted to once again contract with GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) to conduct another independent investigation into these new discoveries. We are determined to uncover the extent of the alleged abuse, along with any way our church and the leadership at that time may have been complicit.

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By Julie Roys - Roys Report
October 12, 2020

Recent allegations concerning Ravi Zacharias have shocked the evangelical world and prompted two investigations—one by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) and one by the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), the denomination that ordained Zacharias. RZIM also engaged in questionable governance and financial practices for years, enriching Zacharias and his family, and giving them undue control over the ministry. But while Zacharias was being upheld as the gold standard, no one was willing to look at these practices or hold the board accountable.

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By Anthony DeFeo - The West Volusia Beacon
October 7, 2020

A former prosecutor and longtime DeLand lawyer has returned home to help victims of sexual abuse — particularly those victimized in churches and other religious institutions. Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian, grandson of legendary evangelical minister Billy Graham, recently moved back to DeLand to pursue his practice as a lawyer at the DeLand firm of Landis Graham French.

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By Mariam Fam - AP
Oct. 7, 2020

For 17 years, Sally Zakhari said she told priests and leaders in the Coptic Orthodox Church her childhood nightmare — how a Coptic priest visiting from Egypt sexually abused her at her Florida home during what was supposed to be her first confession.

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By Mildred Europa Taylor
October 6, 2020

Authorities in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province on Monday began a three-day probe into the allegations of cultism, human rights violations, sexual and religious abuse at Kwasizabantu Mission (KSB), one of Africa’s largest missions with thousands of worshippers.

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By BBC News 
October 2, 2020

A former BBC presenter and church minister has been sentenced to 10 years and four months in prison for sexually abusing children and adults. Ben Thomas, 44, from Flintshire, admitted 40 offences, including indecent assaults and voyeurism.

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By Christopher Williams - Sun Journal
October 1, 2020

The mother of a student at a Freeport private school who was sexually assaulted by a teacher in 2018 is suing the school and its religious organization.

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Daniel Silliman - Christianity Today
September 29, 2020

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) has opened an investigation into allegations that its late founder and namesake sexually harassed multiple massage therapists who worked at two day spas he co-owned.

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By Mark Maynard - Kentucky Today

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has put together a guide designed to provide a starting point for church leaders who are working to implement effective policies and procedures in their congregations in order to care for survivors and prevent future abuse.

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By Tyler Kingkade - NBC News
September 25, 2020

More than a dozen people reported abuse at a religious boarding school in rural Missouri before the owners' daughter launched a campaign that got action.

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By Brandon Showalter - The Christian Post 
September 25,2020

New information has been publicly released regarding the late apologist Ravi Zacharias and an alleged online sexual relationship that was first reported in 2017.

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By Judit Neurink - Al-Monitor
September 21, 2020

“I was forced to wear it. It was to protect me, but it wasn’t me.” Yara, 29, told Al-Monitor. A couple of years ago, the modern, educated woman who had become a professional and loved her job decided to take off her headscarf.

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By Jay Stringer

Sadly, we’re here again. Another prominent male Christian leader abusing his power and squandering their reputation. The The Roys Report released devastating news last week that Ravi Zacharias, the famous apologist who died May 19th, 2020 “befriended, groomed, and then initiated a sexting relationship with a married woman, Lori Anne Thompson. Then, when Thompson told Zacharias she was going to tell her husband about the illicit relationship, emails show Zacharias threatened suicide.

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By Julie Roys
September 18, 2020

Are Brad and Lori Anne Thompson extortionists who entrapped Ravi Zacharias in a sexting scandal for monetary gain? Or, are they victims of Zacharias—an alleged sexual predator, who preemptively sued them when they tried to hold Zacharias accountable?

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By Julie Roys
September 15, 2020

Yet according to the letter, the nude photos were not only wanted by Zacharias; they were invited. And they were the culmination of months of emails, phone calls, gifts, and other advances by a man who “sensed” Thompson’s “deficit and used it to his own end.”

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By Julie Roys
September 14, 2020

In 2017, the famous late apologist, Ravi Zacharias, claimed in a Christianity Today (CT) article that a Canadian woman had sent him “unwanted” nude pictures in an attempt by the woman and her husband to extort millions from Zacharias

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By Aram Roston & Joshua Schneyer - Reuters
September 4, 2020

Falwell, who took over as president of Liberty in 2007 after years as a lawyer handling its real estate interests, intertwined his personal finances with those of the evangelical Christian university founded by his father.

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By Ryan Boldrey - Michigan Live
September 3, 2020

A former Kalamazoo pastor accused of sexually assaulting four male victims between the ages of 15 and 17 was arraigned Thursday, Sept. 3 in Kalamazoo County District Court via Zoom.

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By Yonat Shimron - Religion News Service
September 1, 2020

This past Sunday (Aug. 30) John MacArthur, the senior pastor of Los Angeles’ Grace Community Church, made a startling statement.
“There is no pandemic,” he said.
Political scientists say the impulse to minimize the virus comes out of political polarization, in which people have deep antipathy toward those of the opposite political persuasion.

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By Boz Tchividjian - Religion News Service
August 31, 2020

As these profoundly troubling reports continue to surface involving the blatant abuse of power, Liberty University has a responsibility to other potential victims, its employees, students and supporters to immediately engage an independent third-party investigation to bring all that is in the dark to light. 

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By Brandon Ambrosino - POLITICO
August 27, 2020

A former Liberty University student says Becki Falwell, the wife of the university’s then-President Jerry Falwell Jr., jumped into bed with him and performed oral sex on him while he stayed over at the Falwell home after a band practice with her with her eldest son in 2008.

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By Michael Gryboski - The Christian Post
August 27, 2020

A youth leader for a Delaware church was indicted on more than 80 counts of sex abuse stemming from sexual relationships he had with two teenage girls who attended his youth group.

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By CBS/AP
August 27, 2020

A Dallas-area taxicab driver wanted for the 2008 slayings of his two teenage daughters was arrested Wednesday in a small North Texas town, the FBI said. Agents arrested Yaser Abdel Said, 63, in Justin, 36 miles northwest of Dallas.

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GIVING UP ON GOD

THE GLOBAL DECLINE OF RELIGION

By Ronald F. Inglehart - Foreign Affairs 
September/October 2020

In the early years of the twenty-first century, religion seemed to be on the rise.But since 2007, things have changed with surprising speed. From about 2007 to 2019, the overwhelming majority of the countries we studied—43 out of 49—became less religious. The decline in belief was not confined to high-income countries and appeared across most of the world.

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By Maya Oppenheim - Independent 
August 11, 2020

‘The fact that religious-only marriages can go under the radar effectively allows men to enter into polygamous relationships that leave the women with absolutely no marital rights,’ says report author.

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By Geoff McMaster - Folio
August 5, 2020

A recent literature review by a University of Alberta cult expert and his former graduate student paints a startling and consistent picture of institutional secrecy and widespread protection of those who abuse children in religious institutions “in ways that often differ from forms of manipulation in secular settings.”

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By Jon Ironmonger - BBC News
August 5, 2020

Abuse of women and children was covered-up by senior members of a disgraced religious sect, according to a report leaked to the BBC. All five surviving leaders of the now-defunct Jesus Army were found to have colluded with sexual offenders through their handling of complaints.

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Pulpit & Pen
July 1, 2020

You can also add crazed and violent mad-man to that list, as in a video uploaded two days ago to his Facebook Page, Locke went on a tirade against the use of masks and specifically at a store proprietor of Dunkin Donut who asked him to wear a mask.

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By Virginia Breen and Peter Senzamici - The City
July 29, 2020

A Manhattan Catholic priest who announced he was stepping down from public ministry last July amid multiple accusations of sexual abuse was on Wednesday named in four more Child Victims Act lawsuits, bringing the total to 11.

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THE PURITY CULTURE OF ROBERT AARON LONG’S CHURCH

By Mark Silk - Religion News Network
March 22, 2021

Should we blame Evangelical purity culture for the murderous assault that 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long is charged with launching on three Atlanta-area spas?
It certainly seems that way.
According to news reports, Long has a “sex addiction” and is consumed with guilt. Deeply religious, he feared his addiction put his salvation at risk. 

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By Nardine Saad - Los Angeles Times
July 28, 2020

The Coptic Orthodox Church in the U.S., shaken in recent weeks by accusations of sexual abuse, has vowed to eradicate inappropriate behavior in its cloistered communities following the defrocking of a priest accused of pedophilia for decades.

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By Judy L. Thomas - Kansas City
July 28, 2020

The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is facing two new sexual abuse lawsuits involving two priests, one alleging rape in a church rectory two years ago.

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By Christopher White - National Catholic Reporter
July 27, 2020

As allegations of serial sexual misconduct against Catholic composer David Haas continue to mount, a leading supplier of sacred music has vowed an investigation into how one of the church's best selling musicians' record of predatory behavior avoided scrutiny and accountability.

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By Stacie Stukin - Los Angeles Magazine
July 15, 2020

A revered yoga figure’s legacy is being reevaluated as former followers come forward with allegations that they endured relentless sexual, emotional, and physical abuse

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By Jonathan Hunter - Spectrum News
July 7, 2020

Former Rochester Catholic Bishop Matthew Clark admitted that he allowed priests who were sexually abusing children to continue to work. The deposition was just released to the public.

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By Jon Fea - The Way of Improvement Leads Home
June 26, 2020

In 2017, Cedarville president Thomas White hired Anthony Moore to serve as a “Multicultural Recruiter” and “Biblical Research Fellow.” In his previous stint as an associate pastor at The Village Church in Fort Worth, Texas, Moore had secretly videotaped, on multiple occasions, a male youth pastor showering in Moore’s home. Trollinger adds: “More than this, Moore emotionally, verbally, and spiritually abused the victim for almost a decade.

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By Sue Branford - Mongabay
March 17, 2020

As the coronavirus spreads around the globe, with more than 300 known cases already in Brazil, and members of Pres. Jair Bolsonaro’s staff infected, an evangelical Christian organization has purchased a helicopter with plans to contact and convert isolated indigenous groups in the remote Western Amazon.

Ethnos360, formerly known as the New Tribes Mission, is notorious for past attempts to contact and convert isolated Indians, having spread disease among the Zo’é living in northern Pará state. Once contacted, the Zo’é, lacking resistance, began dying from malaria and influenza, losing over a third of their population.

A Woman Writing at Home

By Leonardo Blair - The Christian Post
April 6, 2021


“Jason grabbed me, putting his hand between my legs and his head on my stomach and began kissing my stomach. I felt his arms and hands wrapped around my legs making contact with my inner thigh, butt and crotch,” she wrote in a 2018 statement reviewed by The Christian Post.
She told Margaret Aghajanian, Hillsong Church’s head of pastoral care oversight, how Jason Mays — a married Hillsong staff administrator, volunteer singer and the son of John Mays, the church’s head of human resources — assaulted her.

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LONGTIME OKLAHOMA PASTOR ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ASSAULTING A CHILD

By Brya Berry- KFOR
September 8, 2021

Southside Assembly pastor Gary Rogers faces First Degree Rape and Sodomy Charges after confessing to