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June 14, 2010

Ex-Scientologists report being forced to have abortions

No kids allowed - St. Petersburg Times
Laura Dieckman was just 12 when her parents let her leave home to work full time for Scientology's religious order, the Sea Organization. At 16, she married a co-worker. At 17, she was pregnant. She was excited to start a family, but she said Sea Org supervisors pressured her to have an abortion. She was back at work the following day. Claire Headley joined at 16, married at 17 and was pregnant at 19. She said Sea Org supervisors threatened strenuous physical work and repeated interrogations if she didn't end her pregnancy. She, too, was back at work the next day. Two years later she had a second abortion, this time while working for the church in Clearwater. A St. Petersburg Times investigation found their experiences were not unique. More than a dozen women said the culture in the Sea Org pushed them or women they knew to have abortions, in many cases, abortions they did not want.

June 07, 2010

You Might Want To Rethink That Magazine Cover

( via Joe. My. God.)

June 06, 2010

Church forces girl to apologize after being raped, forcibly relocates her

Police: Girl raped, then relocated | Concord Monitor
After being raped and impregnated by a fellow churchgoer more than twice her age, a 15-year-old Concord girl was forced by Trinity Baptist Church leaders to stand before the congregation to apologize before they helped whisk her out of state, according to the police. While her pastor, Chuck Phelps, reported the alleged rape in 1997 to state youth officials, Concord police detectives were never able to find the victim. The victim said she was sent to another church member's home in Colorado, where she was home-schooled and not allowed to have contact with others her age. It wasn't until this past February that the victim, who is now 28, decided to come forward after reading about other similar cases, realizing for the first time it wasn't her fault that she had been raped, she told the police. The police arrested Ernest Willis, 51, of Gilford, last week in connection with the case, accusing him of raping the girl twice - once in the back seat of a car he was teaching her to drive in and again after showing up at her Concord home while her parents were away. He was charged with four felonies - two counts of rape and two counts of having sex with a minor, court records show. . . . But moving the girl out of state prevented the police from collecting evidence or a statement, the police said yesterday. "Without a victim, it makes it very difficult to have a case," said Lt. Keith Mitchell. "That basically made the investigation very difficult."

June 03, 2010

The Bible is not a Rulebook for Other People

slacktivist: Sex & Money, part 2
We're not talking about just a handful of scattered verses -- not just a few obscure texts plucked from the lists of Leviticus and one or two Pauline tangents. This is a major, dominant theme of the entire Bible: Whoever has more than they need must give to whoever has less than they need. And yet as I said, despite regularly receiving angry condemnations for the ways in which I supposedly deny "the authority of the scriptures," I have never even once been challenged on the matter of my personal superfluity or my advertising and enticement urging others to acquire. None of my interlocutors has ever accused me of flippantly disregarding Luke 3, or Matthew 6, or Amos, or 2 Corinthians 8 -- even though my lifestyle is clearly and wholly incompatible with what those texts have to say. I have never received a single question from these Guardians of Biblical Truth as to how I manage to reconcile my lifestyle with the vast multitude of scripture passages condemning it as sin. My supposedly conservative inquisitors have never challenged me on this point or accused me of promoting a "liberal" approach to the Bible that hand-waves away the clear mandates taught in the more than 2,000 verses dealing with wealth, possessions and the poor. Instead, they're mainly just upset about the Gay Thing. That's odd. Because the Bible doesn't actually have a whole lot to say about homosexuality. The sum total of all it says on that subject is just a tiny fraction of what the Bible has to say about sex in general and even all that put together is, at most, a minor sub-theme.