Mexican authorities detain leader of religious sect that opposes secular education

Calvary Chapel pastor sues son over ‘cyberbullying’: Visalia Calvary Church pastor, the Rev. Bob Grenier, and his wife, Gayle, have sued their estranged son, Alex Grenier, accusing him of defamation and cyberbullying.

Alex Grenier, 40, launched the website more than two years ago and posted accusations that his father committed felony child abuse against him and his three brothers while pretending to be an upstanding preacher and police chaplain.

But Bob Grenier said Thursday that he and his wife have had enough of their son’s “online hate campaign” against them and are suing to stop their son and to tell their side in court.

  • Alex Grenier says, “He frames it as a hate campaign. It’s not defamation. We’ll prove it in court that it’s not defamation. The stuff I’m alleging is true.”
  • Bob Grenier, 65, has been the pastor at Visalia Calvary Church for 34 years. Alex Grenier is his stepson whom he has helped raise since Alex was 3 years old.
  • Two years ago the Fresno Bee reported that Alex Grenier contends his father beat him and his brothers so badly that the punishment went beyond what is legally acceptable.

    “We aren’t talking gray area here,” reads one post at “Clear cut state-defined abuse including, but not limited to: hitting with objects causing deep purple bruises on the lower back, backs of legs and buttocks. Drawing blood.”

    Alex has been the most active of the three brothers in speaking out against their father, who they’ve had little or no contact with for five years.

  • The paper also wrote

    Adult sons of a prominent Visalia preacher say they filed a criminal complaint earlier this year alleging their father physically abused them as boys.

    But they say pastor Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia has so much clout that police won’t properly investigate — and won’t even give them copies of their own complaint.

    Paul and Alex Grenier, two of the sons alleging the abuse, say they’re worried that Visalia police don’t want to offend their father, who is a volunteer chaplain with the department.

  • See also BGBC Survivors — a blog about abusive churches, operated by Julie Anne Smith, whose ex-pastor filed a defamation lawsuit against her for criticizing her former church. That suit was dismissed.

Mexican authorities detain leader of religious sect that opposes secular education

A December, 2008 report about the community.
  • Cardenas Cruz Salgado is the main civil leader in La Ermita Nueva Jerusalen — the community of New Jerusalem — in Michoacán, Mexico (about 360 kilometres west of Mexico City).
  • Under Mexican law, grade school education is compulsory, but last August sect members physically blocked school teachers from entering their walled community.
  • The group has demanded the right to appoint its own teachers, set its own curriculum and mandate robes and headscarves for female pupils, claiming that otherwise the schools would be introducing bad habits into the community.
  • The Arizona Republic described New Jerusalem as a theocracy where soccer balls are illegal, John F. Kennedy is a saint, freedom of religion doesn’t exist and the end of the world is just around the corner.
  • The group’s apocalyptic deadlines come and go.
  • Founded 35 years ago, it is the largest and longest surviving of a string of traditionalist Catholic colonies that have sprung up around the world.
  • Nueva Jerusalen was founded by Nabor Cardenas, a defrocked Roman Catholic priest who was known as “Papa Nabor.” He died in 2008.
  • The sect’s estimated 5,000 members believe Nueva Jerusalen will be the only place saved in the coming apocalypse.

Dominican cops jail German leader of doomsday sect:

A judge ordered a yearlong detention Thursday for the German leader of a doomsday sect that believes in aliens while Dominican authorities investigate why he had a gun arsenal at his house that police discovered after a deadly, hour-long shootout.

Police arrested Peter Brunck, 61, of Meisenheim, Germany, and an unidentified German woman after killing another German man with ties to the sect in a shooting that injured three officers Wednesday. […]

Police said Brunck apparently is leader of the “Academy for Future Health” sect, going by the title “cosmic teacher” and promising mental salvation and treatment for various illnesses. […]

According to the sect’s website, he traveled frequently to western Europe to give dozens of seminars, charging up to $650 per person for certain presentations. Brunck warned followers about the end of the world and talked about the possibility of a “galactic super electromagnetic wave” that could destroy all communication on Earth, as well as a potential shift in polarity that could bring a new ice age in Europe or result in sea levels rising by nearly 200 feet (60 meters).

Brunck also has said he believes there are 68 varieties of aliens, and he espoused certain therapies he believed could cure ailments ranging from cancer to multiple sclerosis.

Stefan Barthel, an official with Berlin’s state-run office that tracks cults, told the newspaper Bild that the sect used Germany as a “missionary area” to recruit followers to come to the Dominican Republic.

  • According to one report Brunck is also a self-styled faith-healer and believer in reincarnation who claims to have been people such as Leonardo da Vinci and Ulysses Grant in past lives.
  • Today the judge ordered two more German members of the doomsday sect to jail after police accused them of participating in a deadly shootout.

Robin Murphy, convicted of 1980 satanic cult murder, denied parole

  • In February, 1980, Robin Marie Murphy convicted for the ritualistic murder of Karen Marsden.
  • She was paroled in 2004 but went back to prison in August 2011, after she was stopped by Massachusetts State Police in July, 2011, in a high-crime neighborhood. A woman who was with herhad a felony conviction on her record and heroin in her purse. Murphy told the parole board last March she did not know the woman was a convicted felon or that she was carrying heroin. She gave her a ride simply as a favor to someone she had known in a half-way house, Murphy said.
  • At her trial in 1980 Murphy confessed to murder and turned state witness. Her testimony was critical in the convictions of Carl Drew and Andrew Maltais, on murder charges.
  • After she gained parole Murphy denied the testimony she gave in 1980 and also now denies her guilt in Marsden’s murder.
  • At her parole hearing, which took place last March, one board member said

    , “This has been an odyssey of fabrications, of exaggerations, of lies and direct contradictions to what you’ve said in the past. You have woven this web that is impossible to sort out.

    “To say you have muddied the water is a gross understatement. Your statements defy logic.”

    Another board member, Roger Michel Jr., said, “I have never seen a case more shot through with lies and deceit by a person seeking parole than this one.

    “I don’t think you would know the truth if it jumped out of the ground and slapped you in the face.”

Meet a man who endured 31 years at the dark heart of Scientology: While the Church of Scientology continues to claim that it is the fastest-growing religion on earth — (Hey… it’s a UFO cult. Its followers don’t necessarily have to deal with facts) — more and more former members are exposing the cult to daylight.

  • In 1982 Martin Padfield joined Scientology’s ‘Sea Org’ — ” an elite unit of the most loyal full-time employees of the church of Scientology, who sign billion-year contracts, wear naval uniforms (owing to their founding on three ships in the Sixties) and perform Scientology’s most important work.”
  • It wasn’t until his transfer to California two years later, though, that he understood the isolation and exploitation the church could visit upon its employees. The International Base at Gilman Hot Springs, near Hemet, was Scientology’s most notorious facility.[…]

    Padfield worked on the base’s elaborate security apparatus, which consisted of motion sensors, barbed-wire fences and a lookout tower overlooking the entire complex called the Eagle’s Nest. When he dozed off for a few minutes on a night shift, and received a letter from his mother quoting an article criticising the church soon afterwards, he was thrown into the feared Rehabilitation Project Force, which is where the boiler suits and spirit-sapping labour began.

    “In practice it is little more than a punishment regime, and some have been on it for years, even decades,” Padfield says. “The schedule is even more gruelling, the targets even more insane, and the punishments for slacking or missing targets could be brutal.”

    What Padfield hated most about his nine months in the RPF was the stigma of being “the lowest of the low”. He says RPF members working at Int had to defer to any new recruits joining the base. “You were the scum of the earth.”

  • Padfield spent the next few decades moving in and out of full-time Scientology, and was kicked out of Sea Org after fling with a fellow Sea Org member.
  • Padfield’s final departure in 2009 lost him most of his Scientologist friends, who adhered to the church’s policy of “disconnection” with those who leave the flock.
  • Asked for a response, the Church of Scientology gave the Evening Standard a standard response, dismissing Padfield as “a member of a small group of apostates who are anti-Scientologists that seek to spread false information.”

    But anyone in a position of authority at the Scientology organization knows full well that in recent years there has been a virtual avalanche of ex-Scientologists who — no longer afraid of the cult’s vicious reputation — are exposing Scientology’s beliefs and practices to daylight. The so-called ‘small group’ includes a growing number of former Scientology executives.

Research resources on Scientology

Texas Judge, Siding With Cheerleaders, Allows Bible Verses on Banners at School Games

  • It’s a temporary victory: the signs can be used for the rest of the season
  • Decision came the day after Texax Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott called the efforts by the Kountze school district to prohibit the banners “a great insult” that was out of step with a state law requiring districts to treat student expression of religious views in the same manner that secular views are treated.
  • The dispute comes down to a single question: Were the cheerleaders representing the school when they held the banners?
  • A United States Supreme Court decision in 2000 defined the boundary between student and school-sponsored speech: Santa Fe I.S.D. v. Doe, outlawed student-led prayers over the loudspeakers at football games, saying the district’s policy amounted to government endorsement of religion, a violation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause.
  • In 2007 the Texas Legislature passed the Religious Views Anti-Discrimination Act: includes a requirement that districts adopt disclaimers that separate the views of student speakers at school-sponsored events from those of the school

Irish court allows transfusion for Jehovah’s Witness despite husband’s objection: The High Court has ordered that a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in need of urgent surgical treatment can receive certain blood transfusion products despite objections from her husband on religious grounds.

Apocalypse Now(ish): Irvin Baxter’s End Times EmpireDeath, destruction and the end of humanity: Dallas pastor Irvin Baxter is building a media juggernaut by predicting the very worst.

Mention of vagina causes evangelical bookshop to refuse book, claims author: Rachel Held Evans says book has been snubbed by because Christian stores ‘apparently have a thing against vaginas’

Rachel Held Evans’s second book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, is her account of the year she spent taking every instruction from the Bible as literally as possible, from calling her husband “master” to camping in the garden during her period. Out later this month, it includes two instances where the word vagina is used: once where she is describing the rape of a Congolese teenager, and once where she talks about her own decision to sign an abstinence pledge at the age of 15: “I used the back of my metal chair to scribble my name across the solid line before marching to the front of the room to pin my promise to God and to my vagina onto a giant corkboard for all to see.”

The author first realised there might be an issue over her use of the anatomical word earlier this year, when she was told by her publisher Thomas Nelson that she shouldn’t include the second instance because Christian book stores “apparently have a thing against vaginas”.

“I make a big scene about it and say that if Christian bookstores stuck to their own ridiculous standards, they wouldn’t be able carry the freaking Bible,” she wrote on her popular blog in March.

Is your pastor (or favorite Christian teacher) really a Dr.?


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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday October 19, 2012.
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