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‘If You’re Carrying The Virus, We Declare You Healed In Jesus’ Name’: Pennsylvania Pastor Holds Services Despite Outbreak, Says Coronavirus Is Of Demonic Origin
March 26, 2020
WESTMORELAND COUNTY (KDKA) — A Westmoreland County pastor held church services over the weekend as the coronavirus continues to spread in the state.
Word of Life Church Senior Pastor Tom Walters is facing criticism after holding the services at the church’s Hempfield Township facility.
“There’s a lot of people that are criticizing us, but most of them don’t come to our church,” Walters said during the service.
The Sunday meeting saw more than 100 congregants show up.
The pastor’s sermon focused on the coronavirus, saying the virus is of demonic origin.
“If there is one person, or two people, three people who may be carrying the coronavirus, we declare you healed in Jesus’ name,” Walters said in his sermon.
KDKA went to the church on Monday, but no one came to the door.
The sermon was live-streamed and is available on the church’s website.
VThe decision to hold services went against health and governmental officials’ warnings of public gatherings.
Many on the church’s Facebook page took issue with Walters’ choice to preach instead of just keeping the doors closed.
“You’re not spreading God’s word, you’re spreading this virus,” one critic said.
On Monday afternoon, the church issued a statement apologizing for holding services.
The church says it will keep its doors closed but will continue live-streaming the services.
March 14, 2020
One prominent televangelist would like people to believe that coronavirus can be cured through your TV set, so long as that television is tuned into his show.
Texas-based Evangelical preacher Kenneth Copeland — his right hand dripping with ointment — urged believers to put their hands on their screens and be cured of the coronavirus, for which there is no known remedy.
Video of the 83-year-old preacher’s program was tweeted Thursday by the group Right Wing Watch. It showed him conducting the alleged healing ritual.
March 14, 2020
What could possibly go wrong?
VATICAN CITY (AFP) – Pope Francis urged Catholic priests on Tuesday (March 10) to “have the courage” to go out and help those sickened by the coronavirus, hours after Italy was placed on a nationwide lockdown.
“Let us pray to the Lord also for our priests, that they may have the courage to go out and visit the sick… and to accompany the medical staff and volunteers in the work they do,” the pontiff said during a mass in Vatican City.
St Peter’s Square in the Vatican – in the centre of the Italian capital Rome – was almost empty on Tuesday, with only a few dozen people walking around, most of them without masks.
March 14, 2020
A popular televangelist was recently issued a cease and desist order by the New York attorney general to stop promoting his cure-all product as a cure for the highly-contagious Covid-19 coronavirus strain.
The last thing you would expect a holy man to do is promote a fake cure against a potentially deadly disease to desperate people for profit, and yet, that’s allegedly exactly what Rev. Jim Bakker has been doing. To be fair, Bakker had long been peddling his “Silver Solution” – a scientifically unproven medication made from the precious metal – as a cure for all sorts of ailments, but when he included the rapidly-spreading Covid-19 coronavirus strain to the list of curable diseases, authorities stepped in.
The “last straw” as it were, was Bakker’s February 12 TV show, where he asked one of his guests, a naturopathic doctor, if his Silver Solution, which is sold via his website, could do what doctors and scientists around the world have been struggling to do for over three months now – cure Covid-19.
“It hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it’s been tested on other strains of the coronavirus, and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours. Totally eliminates it, kills it, deactivates it and then it boosts your immune system,” naturopath Sherrill Sellman answered, while Bakker interjected, “yeah, yeah”.
March 6, 2020
He did this for 20+ years before there was an outcry?
A “feared” pastor who raped children in a bogus religious ceremony over a 20-year period has been jailed.
Self-styled prophet Michael Oluronbi was found guilty in January of offences against six women and a man. Five of those attended his church.
He carried out his attacks by convincing his victims to take part in a “spiritual bathing” ritual, which he told them would “cleanse” them of evil spirits.
Judge Sarah Buckingham, sentencing him to 34 years behind bars, said his case was “one of the worst cases of sexual abuse of multiple children to come before the courts” and described him as an “arrogant, selfish and vain man”.
She said the “spiritual baths” were actually designed to “fulfil (his) insatiable sexual appetite”.
“The children feared you and this enabled you to continue your grip,” she said, sentencing Oluronbi on Friday.
“Your offending has had an extreme and severe impact on all of your complainants.
He“You abused your position of trust – they trusted you like God.”
In statements read to the court by the prosecution, one of the victims said Oluronbi’s actions made her “question if my life was worth living”.
Oluronbi, who had blamed the devil for his actions, was convicted of 15 counts of rape, seven counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault, at Birmingham Crown Court.
Oluronbi’s wife Juliana was also convicted of three counts of aiding and abetting rape and helping arrange some of the abortions of his victims, with some becoming pregnant multiple times. She was jailed for 11 years.
As a pharmacist, he would take them to clinics to end the pregnancies.
During the trial, the jury was told how Oluronbi was linked to a Christian church in Birmingham, where he formed a splinter group for about 40 adults and children, separate to the church and in another location.
In that group, he had the victims take part in “spiritual bathing”.
During the trial, Phil Bradley QC, prosecuting, told the jury: “The main tactic he employed was to claim that God had instructed him to administer ‘holy baths’ to some of his congregation in order to ‘cleanse’ them and protect them from evil influences.
March 4, 2020
Jerusalem (AFP) – An 82-year-old Israeli rabbi, head of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect, was charged Sunday with incitement to violence and fraud over alleged miracle cures.
Eliezer Berland, head of the Shouvou Banim sect within the Breslov Hasidic community, was arrested on February 9.
He is accused of “taking advantage of his status to extract money from people in distress, knowing full well that he could not help them”, the court indictment said.
“The accused is the head of a community of millions of worshippers for whom he has supreme authority,” it added.
He was accused of pretending to have special powers to heal the sick over many years, demanding large sums of money in exchange.
In a video shown on Israeli television in November, Berland promises to cure a child suffering from cancer, giving him medicine and demands 5,000 shekels ($1,400).
The medication was just sweets, the charges allege.
In another case, he is accused of having taken 10,000 shekels to treat a woman suffering from lung cancer.
The woman died and her daughter filed a complaint.
In 2016, he was jailed for 18 months after sexually assaulting three women.
The Breslov Hasidic community respects ancient Jewish laws in everyday life. Many of Berland’s supporters remain convinced of his innocence.
When he was arrested in February, some of his disciples attacked police, injuring two, according to Israeli authorities.
Berland rose to prominence in the 1980s for organising clandestine pilgrimages to the tomb of his movement’s founder in Ukraine.
The pilgrimage has become popular since the fall of the communist regime.
March 4, 2020
Pray away the virus. That should work.
March 1, 2020
Another one bites the dust.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The embattled Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, taking another major step in its effort to recover from a clergy misconduct scandal that’s been the basis for hundreds of lawsuits, Vatican intervention and the resignation of its bishop.
With its filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the western New York diocese became the second in the state to file for Chapter 11 reorganization, and one of more than 20 dioceses to seek bankruptcy protection nationwide. Most recently, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, filed Feb. 19.
The Buffalo diocese has faced particular turmoil in recent months, culminating in the Dec. 4 resignation of Bishop Richard Malone following a Vatican-mandated investigation. Malone had faced intense pressure from members of his staff, clergy and the public to step down amid criticism that he withheld the names of dozens of credibly accused priests and mishandled reports of misconduct against others.
Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger called the bankruptcy filing “a path forward to healing.”
“My hope is that, going forward, regardless of the mistakes we have made, regardless of the suspicions that may rightfully have been raised about the way things were done, going forward, we’re going to see a lot of action that will result in very fair resolutions as much as we can,” Scharfenberger, who is temporarily overseeing the Buffalo diocese, said at a news conference.
Scharfenberger said the process, expected to take more than a year, will enable the highest possible number of victims to be compensated while allowing the work of the diocese to continue. The diocese includes 163 parishes and missions across eight western New York counties.
The Chapter 11 filing estimates between $10 million and $50 million in assets and between $50 million and $100 million in liabilities. The number of creditors is estimated at between 200 and 999.
The diocese already has paid out about $18 million — including $1.5 million from the sale of the bishop’s mansion — to more than 100 victims under an independent compensation program established in 2018. It faces more than 250 new lawsuits filed since August, when the New York’s Child Victims Act suspended the statute of limitations to give victims of childhood abuse one year to pursue even decades-old allegations. The number of suits is expected to grow to more than 400, financial director Charles Mendolera said in a court filing.
February 24, 2020
PARIS (AP) — A respected Catholic figure who worked to improve conditions for the developmentally disabled for more than half a century sexually abused at least six women during most of that period, according to a report released Saturday by the France-based charity he founded.
The report produced for L’Arche International said the women’s descriptions provided enough evidence to show that Jean Vanier engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” from 1970 to 2005, usually with a “psychological hold” over the alleged victims.
Although he was a layman and not a priest, many Catholics hailed Vanier, who was Canadian, as a living saint for his work with the disabled. He died last year at age 90.
“The alleged victims felt deprived of their free will and so the sexual activity was coerced or took place under coercive conditions,” the report,commissioned by L’Arche last year and prepared by the U.K.-based GCPS Consulting group, said. It did not rule out potential other victims.
None of the women was disabled, a significant point given the Catholic hierarchy has long sought to portray any sexual relationship between religious leaders and other adults as consensual unless there was clear evidence of disability.
The #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements, however, have forced a recognition that power imbalances such as those in spiritual relationships can breed abuse.
During the charity-commissioned inquiry, six adult women without links to each other said Vanier engaged in sexual relations with them as they were seeking spiritual direction.
The women reported similar facts, and Vanier’s sexual misconduct was often associated with alleged “spiritual and mystical justifications,” the report states.
A statement released by L’Arche France Saturday stressed that some women still have “deep wounds.”
The report noted similarities with the pattern of abuse of the Rev. Thomas Philippe, a Catholic priest Vanier called his “spiritual father.” Philippe, who died in 1993, has
February 19, 2020
A group ostensibly representing Christian lawmakers launched a poll on Twitter over the weekend asking if America would be better off with more Christians in elected office.
It didn’t go well:
National Association of Christian Lawmakers
Do you believe America would be better off if more Christians served in elected office?#Retweet #Poll #Election2020 #America #SuperTuesday #Vote
86,238 votes•4 days left
6:42 AM – Feb 17, 2020
After more than 16,000 replies, the answer was an overwhelming “no,” which received 95.8% of the vote. In response, the group accused “atheists and Satanists” of “religious persecution” for voting in the poll.
Congress is overwhelmingly Christian, far out of proportion with the people they represent. According to a Pew survey last year, the Senate and House are nearly 90% Christian, compared with 65% of America as a whole.
One in four Americans now considers themselves atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” a position publicly held by just one member of the current Congress, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who lists her religion as “none.” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) describes himself as a humanist, while a handful of others haven’t acknowledged a faith or lack thereof.
The National Association of Christian Lawmakers was started last year by Arkansas State Sen. Jason Rapert (R), who warned about the rise of witches in a recruitment email. It’s not clear how many members the group has, but its board of advisers includes a number of current and former elected officials, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
An attempt to raise $500,000 via GoFundMe stalled at less than $20,000, more than half of which came from a single anonymous donor.
February 15, 2020
God hates orphans.
A burning candle is regarded as a possible cause. A Pennsylvania group, which runs the orphanage, lost government accreditation several years ago.
Seventeen children including infants died in Haiti after a fire broke out inside their remote unaccredited orphanage located above the hills of Port-au-Prince.
Two of the children died from burns, Haiti’s Social Affairs Minister Elyse Gelin told the Miami Herald, while 13 others died from smoke inhalation. Two young survivors are being treated for respiratory distress at a hospital in the capital.
In all, there were 61 children living inside the Orphanage of the Church of Bible Understanding’s two-story building at Fermathe 55 when the fire broke out Thursday night, Gelin said. The group home, located just south of Port-au-Prince in the town of Kenscoff, is run by a much-criticized Scranton, Pennsylvania, religious nonprofit.
The incident is strongly being condemned by child protection advocates, and highlights Haiti’s ongoing challenges in trying to regulate non-accredited children’s homes, which are a profitable business in the country despite a 2018 moratorium banning any new orphanages and the closure of nearly 200 in recent years.
February 14, 2020
A former monk at a Catholic boarding school who sexually abused boys as young as nine has been jailed for more than 20 years.
Peter Turner, 80, was removed from Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire in 1987 after he told the headteacher about having sexual contact with a pupil.
He showed the boy, who was just 10 when the abuse began, pornography, made him perform sex acts on him and himself, touched him sexually and committed buggery.
The abuse took place in a number of areas of Ampleforth, including a hermitage and during car journeys.
Tom Storey, prosecuting, said Turner told the boy it was their secret and gave him sweets and alcohol and taught him how to drive a car in the school grounds.
He said: “He described being completely dominated by the defendant and completely at his mercy, unable of saying anything and did not know who to seek help from.”
Turner — who was previously known as Father Gregory Carroll — was sent away from the school to work as a parish priest in Workington, Cumbria, where he went on to abuse two more boys.
The victims were aged between nine and 12 and were subjected to indecent assaults and gross indecency on a nearby beach and in Turner’s car.
Turner, from Redcar, North Yorkshire, was sentenced to 20 years 10 months at York Crown Court on Wednesday after admitting to 11 counts of indecent assault, two counts of buggery and one count of gross indecency with a child.