‘Hug me Jesus,’ TBN lawsuit, God as weatherman: Religion News Briefs

Remember ‘Touchdown Jesus’? In June last year the famous 19-meter tall styrofoam and fiberglass statue in front of Solid Rock Church near Monroe, Ohio, burned down after it was struck by lightning.

It was nicknamed ‘Touchdown Jesus‘ because its design, seen at the end of this video, was similar to the gesture American football referees used to signal a touchdown.

Once you’ve seen the statue you’ll understand why it has also been referred to as ‘Quicksand Jesus.’

A new statue is scheduled to be put in place in September. And, reports The Cincinnati Enquirer, it already has a nickname

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The new figure already has a nickname, according to sculptor Tom Tsuchiya, although its official title is “Lux Mundi,” which is Latin for “Light of the World.”.

“It’s ‘Hug Me Jesus,’” Tsuchiya said. “Some blogger called it that and I loved it. That’s what it’s all about – a let’s-all-be-friends message. Love one another.”

The steel substructure of the new statue will sport lightning suppression system.

Speaking of which, Solid Rock Church is run by Darlene and Lawrence Bishop. The couple was described in one news report as “a lightning rod for controversy.”

Sex, Lies and Television: World’s Largest Christian Broadcasting Network Under Lawsuit The soap opera known as the Trinity Broadcasting Network is starting to look like a bad sequel to the PTL scandal.

Basically, the granddaughter of TBN’s Paul and Jan Crouch has accused the world’s largest Christian broadcaster of unlawfully distributing charitable assets worth more than $50 million to the company’s directors.

Subsequently a man claimed that TBN wrongfully sued him over nonexistent contracts, to retaliate after his nephew’s wife “uncovered and reported illegal distributions and other unlawful self-dealing by Trinity Broadcasting’s directors exceeding $50 million.”

Aside from its legal problems, many Christians refer to it as The Blasphemy Channel due to the enormous amount of aberrant and heretical teachings it broadcasts. (See: Unholy Trinity: Outraged at TBN’s Brazen False Teaching).

Like we’ve said many times before: faithful ‘TBN partners’ may want to hold on to their donations for a while. Unless, of course, they think their money is well-spent of such things as luxury ‘parsonages.’

Incidentally, we’ve noticed a marked rise is the number of TBN ‘press releases’ online. So if you want to know what TBN thinks it does well, simply search Google News for those missives

Why Germany Isn’t Rooting Out its Neo-Nazis: The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia last week banned three Neo-Nazi groups and raided dozens of homes in an effort to break up an aggressive network of far-right extremists.

The New York Times said that

The decision to ban the groups comes against the backdrop of an investigation by a parliamentary committee into a far-right underground cell that had evaded the authorities for years, killing at least 10 people, most of them immigrant businessmen.

But in this commentary David Crossland, editor of Spiegel Online — the international edition of German news weekly Der Spiegel — says

Far-right violence against immigrants has become endemic in parts of Germany and that won’t change anytime soon. The public and the police are too often indifferent to extremism, despite the risk it poses to the country’s reputation. Deep down, Germany still hasn’t grasped that it needs to embrace its minorities.

What is going on at the Texas base of the polygamous FLDS cult? Construction activity at the ranch has slowed down significantly, says the San Angelo Standard-Times.

In 2005 a few thousand memmbers of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a cult of the Mormon Church (itself theologically a cult of Christianity), moved to a ranch in El Dorado, Texas. Speculation was that the 10.000 member sect was trying to escape rising ‘persecution’ (and prosecution) in their home states of Utah and Arizona.

Through the years lots of construction took place at the Yearning for Zion Ranch, including grain silos, residential buildings, an amphitheater, and even a temple. Then, last July, they destroyed a ‘mysterious’ tower they had just completed.

Now Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran says

there has been less activity on other properties on the outskirts of Eldorado belonging to John Beagley, who has been listed on the Texas Secretary of State records as being the head of Phaze-Tex, LLC, an organization that joined together businesses belonging to the FLDS, such as concrete businesses Texan Supply and Service, LLC and Jack Daniels, LLC.

In April, 2008, the ranch was raided by authorities after they received a phone call for help (later determined to have been a hoax). Evidence obtained during that raid (much of it removed from the temple) led to the indictment of 12 FLDS members, including the sect’s prophet and leader, Warren Jeffs.

All of them have now been prosecuted, and in August last year Jeffs was sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison. He continues to rule his followers with an iron fist.

Just like back in 2005 — when some warned the FLDS ranch could become another ‘Waco — there is again some speculation that FLDS members are preparing for ‘the end.’ Jeffs, writing from his prison cell, specializes in doomsday prophecies.

Singapore /Story/A1Story20120827-367847.html">Fortune teller gets 12 years’ jail and caning for rape: Siah Kwang Yung, a fortune teller in Singapore, was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and six strokes of the cane for raping a teenage girl on the pretext of conducting demon exorcism rites.

Hostility toward religious expression “has reached an all-time high” in the United States, according to Religious Hostility in America — a report by Liberty Institute (LI) and the Family Research Council (FRC). According to Baptist Press

The report, which is an update of a 2004 survey by LI, documents more than 600 instances of hostility toward religion — hostility it says is dramatically growing in both frequency and type. Most have taken place in the last 10 years. Religious liberty advocates have prevailed in legal challenges in some of the incidents, not in others.

Did God steer storm Isaac away from Tampa to protect the Republican National Convention? Some American Christians do believe that God is the big weatherman in the sky — and that he influences the weather to match their particular beliefs, notions of right and wrong, and political preferences.

Earlier this year Pat Robertson said that prayer could have stopped a string of deadly tornadoes. In 2010 he blamed the Haiti earthquake on what he says is the island’s “pact with the devil.”

Many Evangelical Christians cringe at his statements, but Robertson is not alone in his foolishness:

In the Washington Post, Dana Milbank points out that

Last year, Rep. Michele Bachmann, then a Republican presidential candidate, said that the East Coast earthquake and Hurricane Irene — another “I” storm, but not an Old Testament one — were attempts by God “to get the attention of the politicians.” In remarks later termed a “joke,” she said: “It’s time for an act of God and we’re getting it.”

The influential conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck said last year that the Japanese earthquake and tsunami were God’s “message being sent” to that country. A year earlier, Christian broadcaster and former GOP presidential candidate Pat Robertson tied the Haitian earthquake to that country’s “pact to the devil.”

Previously, Robertson had argued that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for abortion, while the Rev. John Hagee said the storm was God’s way of punishing homosexuality. The late Jerry Falwell thought that God allowed the Sept. 11 attacks as retribution for feminists and the ACLU.

Meanwhile the Bible says this in Proverbs 17:28: “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.”

For those who believe anything Tom Cruise says: he insists his daughter Isabella won’t join Scientology

According to Metro

The actor hit out at reports that the 19-year-old was set to sign up to the church’s Sea Org boot camp.
His lawyer, Aaron Moss, said: ‘She is not joining the church’s religious order.

Religious order? Learn more about Scientology’s Sea Org at CounterCultSearch.com


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This post was last updated: Aug. 28, 2012    

Religion News Blog was founded by Anton Hein, and is edited by David Anderson