Archive for abuse

Scientology: The Tom Cruise Edition

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2009 by arievergreen

Gawker has been running some scary stories about Scientology lately, all connected to Tom Cruise. It sounds like the recent revelations from high-profile defectors are making serious litigation a real possibility.

Links roundup: What’s up, religion?

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by arievergreen

I’ve been saving these ones up – stories of ordinary people who are subjected to oppression for religious reasons. (And several of them resist successfully!) Isn’t religion supposed to improve our quality of life, not destroy it?

“I believe in God and God knows I am not a witch.”

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2009 by arievergreen

Huffington Post’s African Children Denounced As “Witches” By Christian Pastors is a shocking piece describing the torture children are being subjected to as part of “exorcisms,” as evangelical Christianity grows in popularity in Africa. Tens of thousands of children have been targeted throughout the continent.

“We cannot afford to make enemies of all the churches around here,” [Sam Itauma of the Children’s Rights and Rehabilitation Network] said. “But we know the vast majority of them are involved in the abuse even if their headquarters aren’t aware.”

Once a church has declared them to be witches, the children are exorcised by family, neighbors, and church officials, a process which could involve beatings, starvation, being buried alive or tortured with acid or nails, being set on fire… the list goes on. Many children lose their lives. Read more.

Many Women Targeted by Faith Leaders, Survey Says

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by arievergreen

One in every 33 women who attend worship services regularly has been the target of sexual advances by a religious leader, a survey released Wednesday says.

The study, by Baylor University researchers, found that the problem is so pervasive that it almost certainly involves a wide range of denominations, religious traditions and leaders.

Carolyn Waterstradt, 42, a graduate student who lives in the Midwest, said she was coerced into a sexual relationship with a married minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for 18 months. He had been her pastor for a decade, she said, and told her the relationship was ordained by God.

Garland said, “when you put it with a spiritual leader or moral leader, you’ve really added a power that we typically don’t think about in secular society — which is that this person speaks for God and interprets God for people. And that really adds a power.”

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Sex abuse testimony ends Alamo’s long crime career

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2009 by arievergreen

Of all the horrid accusations against evangelist Tony Alamo — and the list is long — it was the testimony of formerly loyal subjects, recounting “marriages” between their cult leader and girls as young as 8, that may end his 40-year rule and send him to prison for life. Born Bernie Lazar Hoffman, the 74-year-old faces up to 175 years behind bars following his conviction Friday on 10 counts of transporting young girls across state lines for sexual purposes. Some jurors wept while women described being molested by and forced into sex with their decades-older pastor… “This man has been running around the country for decades getting away with doing awful things and hurtful things to people,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which lists Tony Alamo Christian Ministries as a hate group for its virulent anti-Catholicism and homophobic leaflets. “Law enforcement is very reluctant to intervene in what looks like religion,” Potok said “You’ve got to be very careful when you are attacking people’s beliefs. There is a tendency to not want to violate people’s constitutional rights.”… [The church] promised eternal salvation and free room and board. In exchange, they demanded total control of their followers’ money, communication and sex lives… Former members carried tales of corporal punishment, forced marriages and being refused food for days… 11-year-old Justin had been paddled. Authorities said he had been beaten for “misbehavior” including asking a science question in history class, punished with 140 blows from a 3-foot board while Alamo gave orders via speaker phone… [Alamo] still preached that Armageddon was around the corner and young girls made the best wives… Women were talking — on an Internet site and to state police, who alerted the FBI. They were tired of being abused, they said. They’d been given to Alamo as teenagers. They’d seen others handed over at ages 8, 9 and 10.

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Ultra-Orthodox riot over arrest of suspected child abuser continues in Jerusalem

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , on August 2, 2009 by arievergreen

The mother in this story seems to be suffering from a mental disorder – her actions do not appear to have a religious motivation. I’m posting this piece because of the people who are supporting one member of their community (the mother) at the expense of another (her abused child). This seems to be one of many cases where justice is perceived as a threat to a religious group, an attitude which can result in hiding and perpetuating abuse and neglect, instead of stopping it.

Ultra-orthodox riot in Jerusalem over the arrest of a woman suspected of nearly starving her three-year-old son to death showed no sign of abating on Thursday afternoon, local daily Jerusalem Post reported. According to the report, police evacuated welfare workers from their office in the Geula neighborhood as ultra-orthodox protesters pelted the building with stones. Simultaneously, protesters burned tires and hurled stones at passing vehicles on Shivtei Yisrael Street. On Dvora Hanevia Street, where protesters had earlier stoned the Education Ministry, protesters burned garbage bins, damaged road signs and tried to block the street. They were dispersed by police… The riot came after Tuesday’s report that a 30-year-old suspected child abuser, who is ultra-Orthodox and belongs to one of the most extreme sects in Jerusalem, was arrested for allegedly starving her son for two years until he weighed merely seven kilograms. According to the newspaper, the woman apparently suffers from Munchausen’s-by-proxy, a psychiatric disorder that entails abusing someone, typically a child, to draw attention to or sympathy for oneself… The Hadassah administrator said the boy was likely to recover physically with good care, but it was not clear what his traumatic experience would do to him mentally and psychologically.

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