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Religious leaders urge Mandalay Bay to remove statues of Hindu, Jain deities and apologize

statues located inside Mandalay Bay’s Foundation Room LAS VEGAS — Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Jain religious leaders are coming together to urge the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino to remove statues of various Hindu and Jain deities from its Foundation Room night club. The leaders are calling it “highly inappropriate.”

In a joint statement today, five local religious leaders said that “placing highly revered Hindu and Jain deities to adorn a casino night-club was very disrespectful, out-of-line, and could be disturbing to the adherents of these faiths.”

These five leaders include Nevada’s Greek Orthodox Christian Priest Stephen R. Karcher, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, prominent Buddhist Priest Matthew T. Fisher, well-known Jewish Rabbi ElizaBeth Webb Beyer and renowned Jain leader Sulekh C. Jain. More


‘Lion of Judah’ donated by evangelical leaders finds a home in Jerusalem

The bronze statue “The Lion of Judah” is placed in Jerusalem's Bloomfield Garde Located in the heart of Jerusalem and with a unique view of the Old City walls, Bloomfield Garden is one of the largest green areas in the city, offering vast lawns, secluded paths and play areas, as well as several monuments and art installations, including the Fountain of the Lions donated by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1989. On Tuesday, another piece of artwork found its home on its laws: the bronze statue “The Lion of Judah” by American artist Max Greiner.

The statue was donated to Israel by a group of evangelical leaders, but it took some years to find an appropriate location. The stalemate was resolved after Jerusalem deputy mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum ran into former US congresswoman Michele Bachmann at an event about a year ago, as Hassan-Nahoum told The Jerusalem Post during the installation of the monument. More


Trump says he’s ‘best president in history of the Church’ in call with Catholic leaders

Trump bigger than the Pope NEW YORK — President Donald Trump identified himself as the “best [president] in the history of the Catholic Church” in a conference call for Catholic leaders and educators Saturday, where he warned that issues at stake in the upcoming presidential election, particularly on abortion and religious liberty, “have never been more important for the Church.”

Trump also pledged support for Catholic schools in light of the global coronavirus pandemic.

In an audio recording of the meeting obtained by Crux, the president repeatedly emphasized his support for the pro-life movement and school choice, attempting to paint a stark contrast between his administration and what a Democratic presidency could mean for Catholics. More


Church that defied stay-at-home orders burned to the ground in suspected arson

Pentacostal Church burned. while police fiddled A church in Mississippi burned down this week and the incident is now being investigated as arson, the Marshall County Sheriff's Office confirmed to CBS News First Pentecostal Church in Holly Springs had previously defied stay-at-home orders to open for services, and the church even sued the city of Holly Springs for trying to shut down a Bible study gathering.

Investigators said they found graffiti on the church property reading: "Bet you stay home now you hypokrites."

"I am heartbroken and furious," Governor Tate Reeves tweeted on Thursday, sharing a photo of the now-destroyed First Pentecostal Church. "In Mississippi, a church was just burned to the ground. They had been trying to open services." More


DC Episcopal Bishop: 'I Am Outraged' by Trump Church Visit

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington is sharply criticizing President Donald Trump for staging a visit to the historic St. John’s Church across from the White House The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington sharply criticized President Donald Trump for staging a visit to the historic St. John's Church across from the White House, where he held up a Bible after authorities had cleared the area of peaceful protesters.

The Rev. Mariann Budde, whose diocese St. John's belongs to, said she was “outraged” by Trump's visit and noted that he didn’t pray while stopping by the church, a landmark known for its regular visits from sitting presidents since the early 19th century.

"He took the symbols sacred to our tradition and stood in front of a house of prayer in full expectation that would be a celebratory moment," Budde said in an interview Monday after her statement on Trump's visit was posted to the diocese's Twitter account. More


Drunk Hindu priest beheads man in Indian temple as a human sacrifice to goddess who came to him in a dream and said it would end coronavirus

Priest Sansari Ojha (pictured), 70, of Brahmani Dei Temple in Bhubaneswar cut off 52-year-old Saroj Kumar Pradhan's head A drunk 70-year-old priest decapitated a man as a sacrifice to end the coronavirus pandemic after smoking marijuana in India.

Sansari Ojha from the Brahmani Devi Temple under Narasinghpur police station in Cuttack cut off 52-year-old Saroj Kumar Pradhan's head.

The Hindu priest from the Bandhahuda area in Odisha killed the man to appease a goddess, he claimed. He beheaded Pradhan with an axe at 1am in the morning in the temple's shrine after an argument. More


Youth Pastor Claims He Was Kidnapped By Black Men To Avoid Admitting He Hired Male Prostitute

Pastor Downlow gets caught out What initially began as an investigation into a social media rumor about two black men kidnapping a white man has resulted in the arrest of a Macon teacher on a solicitation of sodomy charge.

In a news release posted on Facebook on Thursday, the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office said they began looking into a reported kidnapping/carjacking that was rumored to have occurred Wednesday at a CVS Pharmacy. Sheriff’s office investigators said no such incident occurred, but they were working an incident with Christopher Keys, 56, who said he was robbed of his wallet, cellphone and keys by two masked men Tuesday at Regency Inn & Suites in Macon. More


Ministry with Bible allegedly producing oil shuts down, but continues to defend its work

Jerry Pearce places his Bible on the heads of guests at the Wink Theatre in Dalton, Georgia In the days since the Times Free Press published its investigation into the His Name is Flowing Oil ministry in Dalton, Georgia, the team behind the Bible allegedly producing oil continues to defend its ministry, despite admitting its leader bought mineral oil and canceling all future prayer services.

At the same time, the church that allowed the ministry to use its space is distancing itself.

Last week, the ministry held the final gathering of its weekly event that would attract hundreds of people to Dalton's Wink Theatre. The ministry team members, including Jerry Pearce and Johnny Taylor, estimated they handed out 350,000 free vials of the oil. People reported being cured of long-term ailments and having profound religious experiences using the oil. More


Former Pope Benedict attacks gay marriage and accuses his opponents of trying to 'silence' him in new biography

Traditionalist former Pope Benedict XVI, whose original name is Joseph Ratzinger Traditionalist former Pope Benedict XVI accuses opponents of wanting to 'silence' him while attacking gay marriage in vehement terms in a new authorised biography published Monday in Germany.

Despite leaving office in 2013, the 93-year-old, whose original name is Joseph Ratzinger, has not given up intervening in social debates, and he offers a fresh attack against gay marriage in the new biography.

'A century ago, anyone would have thought it absurd to talk about homosexual marriage. Today those who oppose it are excommunicated from society,' Benedict XVI says. More


Are Church Services Considered ‘Essential’? Depends Where You Live

Kevin Wallace, lead pastor of Redemption to the Nations church in Chattanooga, preaches to his congregation about trusting God amid the coronavirus threatAs multiple governors issue orders to curb large gatherings and implore residents to stay home in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus, at least a half-dozen states have exempted some level of religious activity.

The divergent treatment of faith in some states’ pandemic-fighting orders comes as a few houses of worship across the nation continue to greet people in person, despite federal public health guidance to avoid gatherings larger than 10 people and decisions by most religious leaders to shift services online. While the pandemic has heightened political tensions, the states including religious exceptions in their orders designed to combat the pandemic are led by governors in both parties. More


Child molester’s wife sues Mormon church for $9.5 million, says husband is in prison because clergy reported his confession

The Mormons are no pleased with this The wife of an Oregon man serving a 15-year prison sentence for sexually abusing the couple’s daughter has filed a $9.5 million lawsuit against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, saying a clergy member violated a promise of confidentiality by reporting her husband to authorities.

The husband told a local church panel about the molestation in 2016 to “repent for his sins” under the eyes of God and to seek spiritual healing “to bring peace within his life and family,” the lawsuit says. Instead, he was arrested and charged in 2017 and convicted in 2018 of four counts of second-degree sexual abuse.

The couple were part of a ward in the Marion County town of Stayton, home to about 8,100 residents 15 miles southeast of Salem. More


Scientology Chief David Miscavige Is a Coronavirus Denier, Says Top Critic

Church of Scientology seems to be officially scoffing at the coronavirus pandemic As the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the planet—with the global toll on Tuesday surpassing 400,000 cases and 18,000 deaths—the Church of Scientology is officially scoffing at the pandemic and encouraging followers to continue normal religious activities while treating traditional science and governmental authority with skepticism.

In a March 13 eyes-only memo to his estimated 25,000 to 55,000 members in the United States, Scientology leader David Miscavige called the international public-health crisis “the current hysteria, whether you believe in it or not (and the only thing you can be certain of is that it is hysteria)” More


Inauguration of Lahun pyramid and Khond Aslabay Mosque after years of restorations in Fayoum

Egypt's minister of antiquities Khalid Anani in the inauguration of Lahun Pyramid on Friday after its restoration Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany, members of parliament, Egyptian and international media have embarked on a trip on Friday to Fayoum Governorate to inaugurate Al-Lahun pyramid of King Senusert II for visitors after the completion of its conservation. The ceremony also comes with the announcement of a new discovery at the northern corner of the pyramid and the inauguration of Khond Aslabay mosque.

The events were attended by Major-General Essam Saad Governor of Fayoum, General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri, along with members of parliament and top officials More


VA Pastor, Musician Dies From Coronavirus He Had Questioned

A 66-year-old Virginia resident who fell ill with the new coronavirus on a trip to New Orleans died Wednesday in North Carolina while traveling homeAVIRGINIA — A 66-year-old Virginia resident who fell ill with the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, on a trip to New Orleans died Wednesday morning at a hospital in Concord, North Carolina. The death of Landon Spradlin, an accomplished musician and a pastor, has drawn viral attention online, in part because earlier this month Spradlin questioned whether media coverage of the disease was overblown.

Spradlin lived in Gretna, a small town in Pittsylvania County, about halfway between Lynchburg and Danville.

While driving home from New Orleans, Spradlin, who had pastored at several different churches over the years, started feeling much worse. He and his wife, Jean Spradlin, stopped in Concord, where he was admitted to a hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia. He was eventually put on a ventilator as his condition worsened before he died.. More


Oklahoma Pastor Busted Running White Supremacist Prostitution Ring

serving the Lord has in interesting meaning here “Aryan Pride” for Jesus: An Oklahoma pastor is under arrest after being caught running a prostitution ring with a white supremacist.

Pastor Walter Eugene Brazington Jr. is “being charged with procuring for prostitution and possession of a firearm while in the commission of a felony,” according to a report from Tulsa World.

The Oklahoma pastor was caught running a massage parlor that was being used as a front for a prostitution ring. His partner in crime was white supremacist Tiffany Roach, an HIV positive prostitute who calls herself “Aryan Woman” and professes to have “Whitegirl Pride.” More


Houston pastor pleads guilty in investment scheme

Kirbyjon Caldwell, senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church HOUSTON, Texas -- Houston megachurch pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell pleaded guilty Wednesday after being accused of defrauding people of millions using phony bonds. Caldwell was indicted two years ago in federal court on wire fraud and money laundering charges.

Court papers state the pastor and investment advisor Gregory Smith sold nearly $3.5 million in worthless pre-revolutionary Chinese bonds to the elderly and vulnerable investors.

Both men face years in federal prison if convicted, and could be forced to pay back millions and forfeit a home the pastor owns in Houston.. More


Calling Out Sexual Abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses Is a Horrific Struggle

New York's Child Victims Act could theoretically invite a flood of lawsuits against the religious group, but fear and a lack of evidence loom In 2013, after Debbie McDaniel left her Jehovah's Witness congregation in McAlester, Oklahoma, she went to police and told them members had been sitting outside her apartment, monitoring her every move. The Witnesses, she said, were trying to make the case that she was unfit to parent her son, on account of being in a relationship with a woman. But it was something else she told a detective that most alarmed the cops, she said: "You would think an organization that would allow me to be molested for years could now just let me go in peace."

Within weeks, cops had arrested Ronald Lawrence, whom McDaniel, 50, accused of molesting her when she was underage, as Reveal News reported. At least two other people came forward with similar allegations. According to the Tulsa-World, Lawrence told prosecutors he had been "disfellowshipped" (basically excommunicated) from the church over sexual abuse allegations, that he had admitted misconduct in the past in order to be reinstated, and that law enforcement had never previously been informed. He has also denied abusing any Jehovah's Witness children, including McDaniel. When brought before a judge in 2014, 19 charges of sexual abuse against him were deemed to have passed the statute of limitations, and he walked free. More


Uyghur Muslims fear impact of coronavirus on populations in camps in China

Fourteen-year-old Mehliya Cetinkaya (right) stand with her mother holding a poster with a photo of a family member forced into a detention centre in Xinjiang CALGARY -- Some members of Alberta's Uyghur community joined medical and political leaders in Calgary on Sunday to voice concerns the coronavirus outbreak could devastate the ethnic minority in China.

An estimated one million people of the Ughyr Muslim community have been forced into work camps in China's eastern province of Xinjiang since 2017.

Doctors and organizers of the Calgary news conference on Sunday say that population is more vulnerable to the outbreak as there is a lack of access to medical care in the camps.

"Possibly if the virus gets to the camp, they are going to contract it and they are going to die," said Dr. Fozia Alvi, president of the Humanity Auxilium. More


Missouri church leader tried to pay for sex on Grindr with Arby’s card

Barry Cole Poyner He tried to lure beefcakes with “the meats.”

A Missouri church leader allegedly tried to pay for sex on the gay hookup app Grindr — with an Arby’s card, according to a report. Using the handle “DILF,”

Barry Cole Poyner, 57, allegedly tried to bed hot college-age guys by offering to pay for gas, clothes and roast beef sandwiches, police told the Kirksville Daily Express.

The Church of Christ elder — who is also a professor at nearby Truman State University — was busted after a student reported him and a cop went undercover on the app, according to the paper. More


White: I Saw Trump Riding Golden Horse Alongside Jesus During Armageddon

Paula White at the White House The world seems to have breathed a sigh of relief as America and Iran have pulled back from the brink of war. On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump gave another rambling, slurred speech where he talked about making peace with the country who he recently threatened to attack.

However, fundamentalist Christians, who are among Trump’s staunchest supporters, seem to be encouraging Trump’s warmongering. Many of them, such as Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, believe these are the End of Days and Trump will lead us into an apocalyptic war with Islam.

According to spiritual shyster and Trump advisor Paula White, Trump will have a role in the final battle. “God came to me last night and showed me a vision of Trump riding alongside Jesus on a horse made of gold and jewels,” said White in Charisma, a fundie publication. “This means he will play a critical role in Armageddon as the United States stands alongside Israel in the battle against Islam.” More


Georgia church to pay off $62K in school lunch debt

church pays school lunch debt LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — A Georgia church says its donating $62,000 to pay off the school lunch debt of students in three counties.

12Stone church in Lawrenceville announced that its giving $45,000 to Gwinnett County, where it's based, WSB-TV reports. It said it's also giving $11,000 and $6,000 respectively to Hall and Barrow counties, where it has two other churches.

The funds are part of a new church program called Knock Out Hunger. It's meant to help wipe out the debt racked up since the school year started as it can take a while for families to be approved for free or reduced lunch, the station says. More


Priest accused of stealing $98K from church to pay Grindr hookups