Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Gay activist pleads guilty to sexually assaulting boys

From the leftist LA Times, of all places.

Excerpt:

A former USC professor once on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted fugitives list pleaded guilty Friday to flying to the Philippines and sexually assaulting underage boys he groomed online.

Walter Lee Williams, 65, admitted engaging in illegal sexual contact with minors in foreign places, entering the plea during a brief appearance before U.S. District Judge Phillip S. Gutierrez.

He was apprehended within a day of making the FBI’s Most Wanted List in June 2013 after he was indicted on sex crimes involving two 14-year-old boys in the Philippines. He was captured in the Mexican coastal town of Playa del Carmen after a resident recognized his photo from a newspaper.

Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Michel Moore said Williams’ conduct came to light three years ago when a person concerned about the safety of children contacted authorities.

Williams taught anthropology, gender studies and history at USC for about two decades until he quit in 2011. Under the guise of academic research on sexuality in the Southeast Asia/Pacific region, he repeatedly traveled to the area.

Federal prosecutors alleged that the author and Fulbright Award winner used those trips to sexually assault underage boys. Investigators believe he has at least 10 victims across Southeast Asia, aged 9 to 17.

Williams engaged in webcam sex sessions with two boys, aged 13 and 14, in the Philippines in 2010. The next year, he traveled to the country and sexually assaulted both boys and a 15-year-old boy, according to the plea agreement. He was 62 at the time.

While there, he also had sexual contact with three other 16-year-old boys, records show.

When he returned to Los Angeles International Airport on Feb. 11, 2011, he was “intercepted,” and child pornography was found on him. The professor fled Los Angeles a week after being interviewed by the FBI.

An attorney for USC last year provided the FBI with materials the professor donated to the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives that contained “lascivious visual depictions of minors,” according to the plea agreement. FBI agents also obtained similar images from Williams’ former home.

And now, I’d like to go over some other recent news stories.

From the San Francisco Chronicle.

Excerpt:

Veteran gay rights advocate and former San Francisco Human Rights Commission staffer Larry Brinkin pleaded guilty Tuesday to possessing child pornography.

Brinkin, 67, changed his plea in a deal with the district attorney’s office that will result in a sentencing recommendation of six months in county jail, six months of home detention, five years of probation and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Brinkin, who worked as a senior contract compliance officer with the rights commission until his 2010 retirement, was arrested in June 2012. Authorities said e-mail attachments were found on his America Online subscriber’s account that contained images of toddlers engaged in sex acts with men.

Prosecutors originally charged him with six felony counts of possessing and distributing child pornography, but dropped all but one felony count of possession as part of the plea bargain.

Brinkin must undergo sex offender therapy and is banned from working with kids, contacting a juvenile without parental consent, and living with someone responsible for a child without disclosing his offender status.

During his 22-year tenure at the rights commission, Brinkin helped craft the city’s Equal Benefits Ordinance, which became a national model for workplace equality for gays and lesbians. When he retired, the Board of Supervisors declared the week of Feb. 1, 2010, as Larry Brinkin Week.

Brinkin, who appeared in court with his husband, has been out on $240,000 bail since September 2012. He is scheduled to return for sentencing on March 5, and to surrender into custody at a later date.

The NY Daily News reports on another similar case, and links to CBS News and the Hartford Courant.

Excerpt:

The case of a same-sex Connecticut couple accused of repeatedly raping and abusing two of their nine adopted boys is headed for trial.

Married couple George Harasz and Douglas Wirth of Glastonbury were supposed to be sentenced Friday in Hartford Superior Court under a plea deal, but instead withdrew from their agreement with prosecutors. The men had already pleaded no contest in January to one felony count each of risk of injury to a minor — a reduction from even more serious charges related to sexual assault.

[...]Harasz and Wirth adopted nine children — three sets of male siblings — beginning in 2000, and ran a home-based dog breeding business called The Puppy Guy.

The couple was arrested in November 2011 following a police and state investigation of sex-abuse allegations. The children were removed from the home.

Police said two boys, ages 5 and 15, accused Harasz of sexually assaulting them. Harasz was initially facing first-degree sexual assault and other charges, while Wirth had been charged with third-degree sexual assault of the 15-year-old boy.

Their arrest warrants claimed the couple not only sexually and physically abused the children, but also forced them to sleep in closets.

[...]One of the victims who spoke during the court hearing said sexual assault began when he was 6.

“They took turns raping me over and over,” he said.

This story was reported in the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

During his ordeal Mr Cannon was repeatedly plied with Ecstasy and cannabis before being molested by David Cannon and John Scarfe.

His complaints to care workers were ignored and at one stage he was wrongly diagnosed as having mental disorders.

Both men were eventually arrested and charged after Mr Cannon was readmitted to into council care following a domestic incident, at which point he managed to persuade a Forster carer he was being abused.

Cannon, 54, and 31-year old Scarfe were each jailed for 30 months in 2006, for inciting sexual activity with a child.

[...]Cannon was allowed to adopt Andy in December 1997, when the youngster was aged eight. This came despite the fact he had earlier been convicted and put on probation for 12 months for assaulting the boy’s mother, Elaine Moss, possessing cannabis and handling a stolen computer.

Miss Moss had also claimed Cannon had been abusing her son.

A social worker failed to bring the allegations to the attention of the family court and instead called Cannon a “very caring parent who considered his children’s need”.

And here’s another similar story, this time from Scotland where the head of a gay youth organization was running a child sex ring.

Excerpt:

Eight men in a Scottish paedophile ring have been found guilty of a series of “horrific” sex offences against children and babies.

[...]Two of the men – convicted sex offender Neil Strachan and gay rights campaigner James Rennie – were convicted of sex attacks on children.

Strachan, 41, and Rennie, 38, both from Edinburgh, were also found guilty of conspiring to abuse youngsters, as were three other members of the gang.

[...]The jury found Rennie, the former chief of LGBT Youth Scotland, an organisation dedicated to helping young gay people, guilty of molesting a young boy over more than four years.

The child was just three months old when the abuse began.

And of course we had the story of the two gay activists who adopted a boy from Russia and were later convicted of pedophilia.

I think that we need to be more careful about the needs of children when making decisions about public policy.

Filed under: News, , , ,

J.P. Moreland asks: does truth matter when choosing a religion?

Dr. J.P. Moreland

Dr. J.P. Moreland

This lecture contains Moreland’s famous “Wonmug” illustration. Ah, memories! If you don’t know who Wonmug is, you can find out in this lecture.

The MP3 file is here.

Topics:

  • Is it intolerant to think that one religion is true?
  • Is it more important to be loving and accepting of people regardless of worldview?
  • How should Christians approach the question of religious pluralism?
  • How does a person choose a religion anyway?
  • Who is Wonmug, and would you like to be like Wonmug?
  • Is it enough that a belief “works for you”, or do you want to believe the truth?
  • Can all the religions in the world be true?
  • Is it wise to pick and choose what you like from all the different religions?
  • Is it possible to investigate which religion is true? How?
  • Which religions are testable for being true or false?
  • How you can test Christianity historically (very brief)

This is the most fun lecture to listen to, you should listen to it, if you like fun.

Filed under: Podcasts, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Did Jesus teach that it is wrong to judge other people?

Great post by Matt at MandM on an often misunderstood verse.

Here’s the passage in question, Matthew 7:1-5:

1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Most people only quote the first verse, but they don’t look at the rest of the verses that come after.

Here’s what Matt has to say about those other verses:

The phrase translated in the NIV as, “do not judge, or you too will be judged,” was originally written by Matthew in Koine (a Greek dialect). The Interlinear Bible gives the literal translation here as, “do not judge that you be judged.” In other words, do not judge others in a way that leads one to put oneself under judgement.

[...]One is not to judge in a way that brings judgment on oneself. The reason for this (“for”) is that the standard one uses to judge others is the standard that one’s own behaviour will be measured by. Jesus goes on to illustrate, with a sarcastic example, precisely what he is talking about; a person who nit-picks or censures the minor faults of others (taking the speck out of their brothers eye) who ignores the serious, grave, moral faults in their own life (the log in one’s own eye). His point is that such faults actually blind the person’s ability to be able to make competent moral judgments. This suggests that Jesus is focusing on a certain type of judging and not the making of judgments per se.

In fact, the conclusion that Jesus does not mean to condemn all judging of others is evident from the proceeding sentences in the above quote. Rather than engaging in the kind of judgment Jesus has condemned one should “first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” In other words one should try to rectify the serious moral flaws in one’s own life precisely so one can assist others with theirs. One needs to avoid hypocrisy in order to make constructive and effective moral judgments about others. This would make no sense if Jesus meant to condemn all judging by this passage.

Judging happens all the time but it can be much easier for a person to accept if you do the judging in a professional way. After all, teachers tell students all the time that they are wrong, but these judgments are accepted because teachers know what they are talking about. If you are going to make a judgement, then try to do it in the way that an expert does.

This is an apologetics blog, so I feel that I should say that when you are trying to talk to someone about apologetics, then don’t talk about their personal lives at all. Just talk about what is true in the real world, or about moral choices in general. I’ve noticed that people get really mad when I say that some behavior is wrong because the Bible says it, so I don’t do usually that. But I’ve noticed that most are open to hearing the evidence for why a behavior is wrong, for example the harm caused by unwed motherhood to children. People are more likely to listen to you if you  stay away from judging their personal situation.

Second piece of advice: if you are going to talk about right and wrong, start by showing someone that just because there are differences of opinion on an issue, it doesn’t mean no one is right. If morality comes up as the topic, then I find it easier to first explain that just because people disagree, it doesn’t mean no one is right. What I like to do for this is to bring up something that is affirmed by one religion and denied by another, like whether the universe had a beginning. Jews (for example) affirm a beginning of the universe, Mormons deny a beginning of the universe. Who is right? We have to look to science to decide it. Once we’ve decided it, someone is going to be right, and someone is going to be wrong. You want to get them to see that telling someone they are wrong doesn’t make you a villain. In our case, if the universe had a beginning, and you tell a Mormon why you think it did using science, it’s no defense against you for them to call you “intolerant” for using evidence to show you are right. Sometimes people can be wrong, and they need to tolerate when others tell them they are wrong, even if they don’t agree.

Jonathan Morrow talks about that second point here:

However, true tolerance is usually not what people have in mind when they say people should be free to believe in whatever God (or no god at all) they want to. Here is the simple, but profound point to grasp—merely believing something doesn’t make it true. Put differently, people are entitled to their own beliefs, but not their own truth. Belief is not what ultimately matters—truth is. Our believing something is true doesn’t make it true. The Bible isn’t true simply because I have faith. Truth is what corresponds to reality—telling it like it is.

No point of view is correct just because someone believes it. Beliefs are made true if they correspond to reality. And it’s not “intolerant” to “judge” truth claims that don’t correspond to reality as false.

Finally, you want to get the other person to see that saying someone is wrong isn’t a bad thing – especially if their being wrong is going to get them into trouble. Suppose you tell someone “don’t take a nap on the railroad tracks” because they’ve been doing that. This is a good thing to do. It helps them to not get run over by a train. You’re not forcing them into anything, you’re just giving them information that they can use or not. It’s up to them to believe you or not, but they shouldn’t try to shut you down by saying “don’t judge me”.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Massachusetts town goes after Christian college over sexual morality

Salem, MA Mayor Kimberley Driscoll

Salem, MA Mayor Kimberley Driscoll

From Campus Reform.

Excerpt:

The town of Salem, Mass., has pitted itself against Gordon College after the president of the private Christian school added his name to a public letter to President Obama asking for a religious exemption from a planned federal mandate.

The expected executive order would force any organization receiving federal funds, including religiously based organizations, to hire people whose sexual conduct may not fall in line with their beliefs. Gordon says the mandate would be an “infringement on religious liberty” and “the rights of faith-based institutions to establish a set of standards and expectations for their community.”

Gordon’s statement of faith and conduct defines marriage as the “lifelong one-flesh union of one man and one woman.” It also clarifies that the school is against “homosexual acts,” not “same-sex orientation,” and claims that it expects its students and faculty to “refrain from any sexual intercourse—heterosexual or homosexual; premarital or extramarital—outside of the marriage covenant.”

“Signing the letter was in keeping with our decades-old conviction that, as an explicitly Christian institution, Gordon should set the conduct expectations for members of our community,” Gordon College President Michael Lindsay said in a statement. “Nothing has changed in our position.”

[...]It was Lindsay’s signature that prompted Salem Mayor Kimberly Driscoll to publicly chastise the school, calling the small Christian college’s longstanding policies of expressly forbidding homosexual practices “offensive” in a statement released by the city. Driscoll went on to say that the city was revoking its contract with the college over the management of the city’s Old Town Hall facility.

“While I respect your rights to embed religious values on a private college campus, religious freedom does not afford you the right to impose those beliefs upon others and cannot be extended into a publicly owned facility or any management contract or a publicly owned facility, like Old Town Hall,” she said.

So the mayor has decided that she should punish Christians because they have beliefs that are different than hers. She is forcing her beliefs on Lindsay, and if he then agreed with her, she would remove the punishment. Isn’t it amazing how secular people are able to accuse others of doing something that they are doing themselves, and their heads don’t explode from the illogic?

Filed under: News, , , , ,

Does holding to liberal social views automatically make you tolerant?

WARNING: This post contains strong language taken from actual messages sent by angry people. Reader discretion is advised.

I just want to quote some of the insults and death threats that social conservative Matt Walsh received. (H/T Melissa)

Excerpt:

To my leftwing friends:

Last night, someone sent me an email threatening to murder me because they disagree with my opinions. It read, in part:

“F*ck you… I will find a way to kill you. Make no god d*mn mistake, you filth.”

Concise. Eloquent. And now on file with the state police.

After I reported the threat to law enforcement, I didn’t pay it much mind. But then, a few minutes ago, I received this message from someone else:

“Matt, you are so filled with hate in everything you write. You are part of the reason why conservative teabaggers in this country are nothing but hate mongers and bigots. Do you want to know why I’m a “liberal”? Because liberals know how to make a point without being hateful and spiteful.”(Emphasis mine).

I laughed quite heartily when I read that. Perfect timing. Mere hours after someone called me ‘filth’ and announced their plan to end my existence all because of my beliefs, I’m informed that these are precisely the people who ‘know how to make a point without being hateful and spiteful.’

At first I dismissed this claim and concluded, as I often do, that the person who said it couldn’t possibly be serious. Does he really not notice the hate and hostility pouring like sewage out of his own ideological camp? Does he really think that hate is somehow a ‘conservative’ thing? No, I thought. Nobody is that oblivious.

Actually, kids on college campuses are being educated in such a one-sided way so that this kind of philosophical fail is not only common but almost universal. Brendan Eich lost his job for making a tiny pro-marriage donation. Pro-abortion terrorists vandalize pro-life displays in the name of “free speech”. Sometimes the pro-abortion activists go as far as assaulting you. Sometimes the gay activists just try to murder you outrightwith guns. Many people on the left have been indoctrinated to believe this sort of intolerance of others is logically consistent and even virtuous. They shout down any attempt to engage them with any view that is not their own.

More Matt:

“Matt, f*ck you. I seriously hope you die.”

F*ck you and your entire website you f*cking douche. I have known I am transgender for a long time… You are very sick in the head and I hope you rot in hell. I will pray Lucifer himself finds you.

“Hey f*ck you. Die. That’s all.”

“You’re a f*cking bigot piece of sh*t…”

“I’ve decided that I’m going to block any friend who reposts your trash on Facebook. You are the worst human being on the planet and the world would be better if you weren’t part of it.”

“Dear Matt, you’re horrible. Kill yourself.”

“Oh, like you don’t already know you’re a piece of sh*t. F*ck you.”

“Matt, I saw a Tweet that said you’re a flaming bag of dogsh*t on the doorstep of the internet. I thought it was great but kind of insulting to dog sh*t.”

“Matt, shut the f*ck up with your hate and homophobia. You are the biggest assh*le I’ve ever seen. Go crawl into a f*cking hole somewhere and die.”

“Anytime someone retweets or shares your posts I die a little inside. Your like a cancer on the internet. You’re an embarrassment bro. Seriously, you’re the worst.”

Look, see? Hatred.

Loathing, despising, detesting, hating.

Not just hatred of my ideas or my actions, but hatred of me personally. A boiling, ungodly rage. A yearning to see me burn in Hell for all eternity. Malicious feelings targeted at me, the human being. A desire to see me dead, hurt, dehumanized. A wish to kill me because of my ideology.

Hatred. Let me assure you that it is a huge problem in the liberal ranks. I experience it everyday. Before you spend another minute lamenting the perceived ‘hatred’ of conservative bloggers and media personalities, I suggest you look into your own souls. I have seen and felt the cold, stinging hatred that lives there, and it is surely the nastiest and most brutal sort.

Personally, I think that this is part and parcel of the embrace of secularism. Look, let’s call a spade a spade. If you think there is no God, then you can’t ground morality rationally, you can’t ground moral duties rationally, you can’t ground human rights rationally, you can’t ground human dignity rationally. Your purpose in life is to have a good time. If someone tells you that you are doing wrong and harming others, then there are no restraints – within the worldview of atheism – on what you can do to stop them from even disapproving of your selfish, destructive behavior.

Matt offers this conclusion about his real motives for standing tall for traditional moral boundaries:

Sometimes I get very angry at the legions of progressive nihilists who stand as staunch advocates for some of the greatest evils mankind has ever witnessed (like abortion, for instance), but beyond anger I always feel pity. I believe that you’ll destroy yourself with your philosophy before you destroy anyone else, and I sincerely wish for you to avoid that fate.

If I truly think that my views are correct, and that the rejection of neo-liberal cultural dogma will lead you to greater joy and fulfillment in life, ultimately bringing you out of the darkness and into the light of truth, why would I try to help you in that process if I hated you?

I wouldn’t. I’d let you drown and die. I’d watch and relish the sight.

That’s how a hateful person would handle the situation. He’d keep his opinions to himself. He wouldn’t bother. He’d let society run headfirst over the cliff, and he wouldn’t care as long as he personally remains standing at the top. The real hateful conservatives and Christians are the ones who say nothing. They see the same truth that I do, and that so many others do, yet they have no interest in opening anyone else’s eyes to it. In fact, they are examples of something worse than hate: indifference.

[...]Indeed, just because someone voices a disagreement with you doesn’t mean they hate you. Often, it means the exact opposite.

What we are seeing now is the resurgence of a worldview of selfishness that will lead to barbarism against the weak. You can see it in the acceptance of abortion, no-fault divorce, gay marriage, and so on. There is no reason to think that it will slow down unless those of us who have rationally grounded beliefs in human rights and objective morality speak out now, while there is still time. This is not a game for the timid, though, so buckle up. Innocent lives, born and unborn, are depending on you to succeed. When you go out to defend the truth, make sure you’ve prepared your arguments and evidence with excellence, at the highest level. Make sure there is love for your enemy in in your heart and the sounds of your prayers for them still echoing around you.

UPDATE: I recognize that there are some secular pro-life people. Here is a good post from Secular Pro-Life. (H/T Well Spent Journey) But they are in the minority – most secularists support abortion, which is, I think just morally and rationally indefensible. If moral goodness means anything, it means protecting the weak from selfish destructiveness. We have to give up our hedonism for the benefit of little defenseless children in the womb. That’s just Morality 101. If you can go all the way, and not engage in sexual activity that puts unborn children at risk, do that. I’m a virgin, and I value love and romance above recreational sex. Follow me.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

Wintery Tweets

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

RSS Evolution News

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 4,381,397 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,072 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,072 other followers

%d bloggers like this: