Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category


Christian Preacher Terrorizes Audience At ‘Avengers’ Screening

Via Michael Stone

A Christian preacher terrorized a movie audience by screaming about God and “a passage to heaven” during a screening of the new film “Avengers: Infinity War.”

According to multiple reports, Michael Webber, a 28-year-old preacher with Truth and Triumph Ministries, sent a movie audience into a panic after beginning to scream about God and heaven towards the end of the movie screening at the Harkins Mountain Grove 16 theater in Redlands, California, on Friday night.

CBS News reports:

Armed officers rushed to the Harkins Mountain Grove 16 theaters in Redlands, where people had just finished watching the latest installment of  the “Avengers” franchise, fearing there might a gunman inside. Witnesses said when the movie was over, a man stood up and started yelling in what sounded like a preacher’s sermon.

Susie Arias told CBS News:

I think when he said, ‘If you were to die tonight, would your passage to heaven be guaranteed?’ — something along those lines — I think that’s when people started panicking.

Arias said that the preacher’s screaming sent audience members into a panic, with many people yelling and running for their lives, believing that Webber was a terrorist.

Commenting on the scene, witness Adrian Arias said:

That’s when the kind of chaos happened in the little exit, where people were jumping over the railings, and kind of falling over, twisting their ankles and hitting their head.

The Daily News reports at least two people were seriously injured trying to escape the deranged preacher’s out of control rant about death and dying.

Raw Story notes:

One woman was taken to an area hospital after she jumped over a railing 20 feet down to escape the screening room—and was subsequently trampled by other attendees trying to flee the theater.
Webber, the deranged preacher responsible for the terror, has only been charged with a misdemeanor so far.

Trying to explain his deplorable behavior, Webber told CBS News that he had preached in movie theaters before without a problem. Webber said:

Last night was an anomaly. The lights did not turn up for quite a few minutes, and so I really couldn’t see anyone’s reaction except those of the people just right around me.

Webber continued: It’s extremely unfortunate that anyone sustained injuries because of this. Again, I was unarmed.

Webber says he “was unarmed,” as if that makes it all okay. But the fact is, it’s not okay. In fact, it was like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, only with Jesus.

Make no mistake, Webber terrorized that audience at the “Avengers: Infinity War” screening.  Thus, Webber is not only a “raving lunatic,” he is also a Christian terrorist.

Bottom line: A deplorable Christian preacher terrorized a packed movie theater in order to rant and rave about his imaginary friend. Sad!

Christian Preacher Michael Webber Terrorizes Audience At ‘Avengers’ Screening (Image via CBS News screen grab)

 

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Why I Won’t Walk to Protest Against Islamic State

John Salisbury recently walked more than 300km to protest the treatment of Palestinians by Israel. His view about the West more broadly won’t surprise you.

In October this year I walked from The Sydney Opera House to Parliament House, Canberra in support of Palestinian human rights. It wasn’t easy but I felt compelled to do so. I would not, however, undertake a similar walk protesting against ISIS. Though Tony Abbott might encourage and support me on such a walk, my moral compass will not send me in that direction.

In November, Tony Abbott suggested that the Anglo Saxon, Christian group to which we both belong is a superior culture. He said:

“All cultures are not equal, and frankly, a culture that behaves in decency and tolerance is much to be preferred to one that thinks you can kill in the name of God, and we have got to be prepared to say that.”

Apart from Abbott’s assertion being a repugnant, racist and morally reprehensible suggestion, a closer look at history suggests he is deeply misguided and ill-informed on the history of Christianity.

The Christian religion has been the justification and basis for numerous vastly, violent conflicts. Many men have lost their lives killing in the name of the Christian God, or, by the hands of deeply religious Christian men.

Abbott would do well to read up on some of these before making such ill-informed and bigoted statements.

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Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott.

There was the American Civil War in the 1860s; a Protestant versus Protestant battle with a death toll of 600,000.

And then of course there was the Franco-Prussian War, the Boer War and World War I. All these conflicts were Christian fighting Christian.

There was also the Spanish Civil War where Catholics murdered each other and then there was one of West’s greatest bloodsheds to date, World War II.

A war led by the infamous Adolf Hitler, a man born Catholic who had a deep-seated hatred for anyone from the Jewish religion. This war unleashed a violence the world had never seen before.

When spouting the superiority of Christianity, Abbott justified his assertion by saying there were some events that “Islam never had – a Reformation, an Enlightenment, a well-developed concept of the separation of church and state.”

What Abbott must also not realise, is that one of the most depressing aspects of Hitler’s Holocaust was that it happened despite The Reformation and The Enlightenment in Europe.

The Reformation actually started in Germany with Martin Luther. Realising that the Catholic church of the time was corrupt and in need of theological reform, some men decided to break away and begin their own more moral strand of Christianity. And yet still, despite this reformation many years earlier, Hitler was still able to send thousands of innocent men, women and children to their death in ovens while the good, Christian citizens of Germany fanned the flames and waved at the trains heading to Auschwitz.

All of Hitler’s willing executioners were also Christians. Perhaps Abbott believes that the Muslim religion would be able to benefit from a Reformation or Enlightenment where the Christian religion could not?

And yet, despite all this loss of life and the creation of the United Nations after World War II, still more Christian violence continued. More blood was spilt in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The only reason the Cold War did not become “hot” was because of mutually assured destruction. The acronym for this (MAD) sums up the situation so chillingly.

And then of course we come to the West’s more recent wars in the Middle East. It is well known that Saddam Hussein was a dreadful character. No-one would refute that. But it is now equally well known that he had nothing to do with 9/11. He was instead just the man who had to bear the responsibility and George W. Bush chose him as the fall guy.

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(IMAGE: STML, Flickr)

We made an unforgivable mistake invading Iraq and we should admit it. The chaos in Iraq today is largely a result of Western, and therefore Christian, interference.

We should remember also that George W. Bush specifically mentioned his prayers to God and, he claims, God influenced his decision to invade.

Our invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, plus our blind and unprincipled support of Israel’s brutal 48-year occupation of Palestine, has led some Muslims to think they are under attack.

Thankfully, the number of Muslims who have succumbed to the entreaties of violent jihad and carried out revenge attacks on innocent civilians in Australia is tiny.

Everything we know from history, anthropology, archaeology, biology, physics and geology tells us that we inhabit this planet with everyone else as equals. Nobody is better than anyone else. Nobody is special.

And yet still our leaders instil fear in us and paint our fellow humans from a different religion as evil. Still our media presents us with one-sided, stereotypical views on our brothers and sisters living on other continents.

We created the United Nations after the horrors of World War II, but we are as far from united as we have ever been.

When Abbott suggests that the problem is the Muslim religion itself we should know better. Our Resources Minister, Josh Frydenberg, recently espoused a similar sentiment when he said, “We have to acknowledge that religion is part of this problem. I would say it is a problem with Islam.”

But, just as the Sunnis and Shias claim that “God is great” before they detonate bombs or kill opponents, so too did the Confederate Generals in the American Civil War kneel and pray before battling for the right to keep African-Americans as slaves.

And so too did the Christian Rwandans believe God was on their side when they massacred each other in 1994.

The common thread here is men using religion as a disguise for a more inherent, human flaw. It is not religion that is the problem, but the human desire for power and unbridled greed.

Perhaps we will see more progress, and get further, when men like Abbott start realising that our problems stem from human flaws, rather than a specific religion.

When we stop blaming one group, and start working together, then we really will become united, and work towards preventing horrendous acts of violence and bloodshed like the United Nations was initially invented to thwart.

When I walked those 330 kilometres to Canberra in October, I did so because I sought to protest a global injustice.

Regretfully, the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel is not an issue taken seriously by most of our political leaders. This occupation does not make the world a safer place.

Indeed, it only strengthens the bully mentality and sense of superiority that the West and Christians have held for so long.

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John Salisbury is a 61-year-old self-funded retiree with a life long interest in issues of global injustice. John was born in New Zealand but is a 40-year resident of Melbourne.

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Wisconsin Lawmaker: Convert To Christianity Or Be ‘Destroyed’

 

Wisconsin state Rep. Scott Allen (Image via Screen Grab)

 Convert or be destroyed: A Wisconsin lawmaker tells constituents who are “not Christian” to join him and his fellow Christians and convert to Christianity or be “destroyed.”

Wisconsin state Rep. Scott Allen (R) speaks of Christian love while telling non-Christians they will be destroyed in an obnoxious and condescending YouTube video posted on the official “Wisconsin Assembly Republicans” YouTube channel earlier this month.

In the video a patronizing and smug Allen uses a Bible verse to suggest non-Christians will be “destroyed” –

Merry Christmas. To me and my fellow Christians, celebrating the birth of our Savior, our Emanuel, well, it is one of the most important celebrations of the year. For those who may watch this who are not Christians, I invite you to consider the hope offered by the Prince of Peace.

For all who watch this, I hope that you are filled with joy and high spirits and that your life is full of festivity and rejoicing. If, like me, you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I ask you this holiday season to consider the words found in Hebrews 10: 24-25: “Let us consider how we may spur one another one in word and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.”

My friends, we attain peace through love. This season, think of how you can love the people in your life: Family, friends, neighbors, just a little bit more. Encourage them. Fellowship with them. Our world needs more love and more peace. We do our part to make this world a more peaceful place by being more loving in our relationships. We gain strength through love. Hebrews 10 concludes: “We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”

Merry Christmas.

For a government official to use his official position to proselytize and threaten non-Christians with “destruction” is abhorrent, and signals a profound disrespect for the U.S. Constitution and the secular values upon which this nation was founded.

Commenting on the obnoxious video, Hemant Mehta, writing for Friendly Atheist, notes:

There’s a pleasant message from a politician: I invite you to join my religion before you’re destroyed. The subtext, of course, is that he believes there’s something wrong with non-Christians.

The Associated Press reports the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos complaining that Allen is overtly proselytizing. The letter includes a request for all documents related to the video to determine whether state resources were used in its production or distribution and notes the U.S. Constitution prohibits government sponsorship of religious messages. The letter states, in part:

While Allen is free to promote his personal religious beliefs on his own time, it is inappropriate to do so when he is afforded a special platform due to his elected position. Using state resources to promote one particular religion, and suggesting that people should convert or even consider converting to that religion, is unconstitutional.

Allen’s message is inappropriate if not unconstitutional, and a direct insult to all non-Christians. More than this, by releasing such a message Allen is engaged in and promoting bigotry against atheists, agnostics and other freethinkers who reject his religious superstition.

Bottom line: Elected officials should not use their position to proselytize. Full stop.

(H/T Friendly Atheist) – Watch the unethical video below –

 

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Saving democracy from the extremists

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We are a nation built on immigration, a nation of second chances. Our history is decorated by contributions of the brave who left their homelands to make Australia home. We are a people of community, of equal rights and believers in a fair go. We honour the rule of law, and honour any security statement promising to protect our democracy.

The Prime Ministers’s security statement promised to clamp down on those “who incite religious or racial hatred” and those who participate in “blatantly spreading discord and division”. Such hate speech disrupts the community, spreads Xenophobia, and is no doubt a threat to our democracy. No true Australian should feel targeted by this, after all we believe in a fair go and trust the rule of law will be applied with equity, but will it?

Hours before the security statement The Australian published an article titled “Its absurd to deny Jihadist act in the name of Islam” concluding extremism is inherent to Islam. The publication had a very un-Australian affect on the readers – comments flooded the paper’s social media site vilifying Muslims, promoting hate and creating divisions amongst Australians.

A few days earlier another major news outlet published an article titled “Face reality the west is at war with Islam”. Vilification, hate and polarisation followed – an en vogue trend which seems to associate everything Islamic with everything anti-western and thereby everything un-Australian. This is a recurring theme in which the popular narrative is starting to promote hate, disenfranchising people and sowing the seeds of discord in society.

Some now pose proudly as bigots, is the day far off when we will pose proudly as hypocrites? What does this mean for our values our democracy? Is hate speech free-speech when the targets are a particular group?

Inconvenient facts have very little appetite in this ‘West vs Islam’ narrative. Respected sources such as Spielberg International cite, self proclaimed Islamists kill 8 times more Muslims than non muslims, making muslims the greatest ‘victims’ of terror.

Nonetheless Muslims remain convicted of ‘playing the victim’. Perhaps raw figures from Europol and the FBI database,concluding well over 90% of terror attacks on western soil have nothing to do with Islam, also seem irrelevant. Nonetheless there is an extremist reality and even one Australian death from terrorism is one too many and we cannot pretend there isn’t a problem. Non-violent extremism, leads to violent extremism and there is no place for that in Australia.

Associating ISIS with Islam and making Islam the anti-thesis of the West and Australia, is also non-violent extremism.

Terrorism expert Max Abrahams from Northeastern University will tell you those who join groups like ISIS “would fail the most basic test on Islam”. By associating ISIS with Islam, we play into the hands of the terrorists, doing their marketing for them and pushing the uninformed to their cause. Perhaps ISIS adherents cry ‘God is great’ before they murder, but didn’t Nazis engrave ‘God is with us’ on their belts before they murdered? Did this make the Nazis Christians? Then why would invoking God make ISIS Muslims?

Its well known that homegrown terrorists are the most disenfranchised of society. John Horgan, a psychologist and professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Centrefor Terrorism, said fighters are driven to ISIS by the “need to belong to something special.. they want to find something meaningful in their life”.

Doesn’t associating ISIS with Islam and labelling Islam as the antithesis of the West devoid young Muslims of meaning in Australia and push the disenfranchised to the terrorist cause? Can preachers of hate only be Muslim? As believers in a fair go, we must apply the law with equity.

The war on terror has raged for well over a decade, with no end in sight. Millions of lives have been destroyed, and our way of life has changed. The freedoms we fought so bravely to protect are freedoms we are handing over to fear. Xenophobia is uncharacteristic of a nation forged by brave immigrants, it is uncharacteristic of the true Australian.

Demagogues for centuries have known that appealing to the passions and prejudices of the masses secures a following, but history tells us it doesn’t secure a nation. The first democracy was destroyed by those who exploited the fears of the masses, locking the Athenians into an un winnable conflict.

As citizens sworn to protect our democracy, its time to realise our democracy is too precious too follow that path of destruction.

— Junaid Cheema is an IT Executive, writer and community worker. He has written a number of articles for political journals introducing new paradigms provoking thought and passion. Junaid also volunteers his time on the board of a Victorian based not for profit, promoting foster care for disadvantaged children.


Christianity Dismantled in 38 Words

Christianity Ruined in 38 Words


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