These Christians are bubbling over with the love of Jesus:
Ruben Israel, left, of Los Angeles, and Stephen James, right, of Somerset,
Penn., heckle anti-war demonstrators as they march in Washington to protest the
U.S. troops presence in Iraq.
Bush says God chose him to lead
reveals how President's religious and political beliefs are entwined - and
claims he did pray with Blair
Paul Harris in New York
Sunday November 2, 2003
President George W. Bush stood before a
cheering crowd at a Dallas Christian youth centre last week, and told them about
being 'born again' as a Christian.
'If you change their heart, then they change their behaviour. I know,' he
said, referring to his own conversion, which led to him giving up drinking.
Behind Bush were two banners. 'King of Kings', proclaimed one. 'Lord of
Lords', said the other. The symbolism of how fervent Christianity has become
deeply entwined with the most powerful man on the planet could not have been
Few US Presidents have been as openly religious as Bush. Now a new book has
lifted the lid on how deep those Christian convictions run. It will stir up
controversy at a time when the administration is keen to portray its 'war on
terror' as non-religious.
The book, which depicts a President who prays each day and believes he is on
a direct mission from God, will give ammunition to critics who claim Bush's
administration is heavily influenced by extremist Christians.
Bush is already under fire for allowing the appointment of General William
Boykin to head the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Boykin, who speaks at evangelical
Christian meetings, once said the war on terror was a fight against Satan, and
also told a Somali warlord that, 'My God was bigger than his. I knew that my God
was a real God and his was an idol.'
Bush has also been accused of a 'creeping Christianisation' of federal
government programmes. In September, the government made more than $60 billion
available for religious charitable groups. Critics say the groups will be able
to use the cash to promote their religion. One group that benefited from
previous grants was an Iowa prison project that entitled inmates to televisions,
private bathrooms and computers - in return for Christian counselling.
Now Bush is likely to face intense scrutiny. The book, The Faith of George W.
Bush, was written by Christian author Stephen Mansfield. It details numerous
incidents where Bush's faith has been shown to be at the centre of his political
Among Mansfield's revelations is his insistence that Bush and Tony Blair have
prayed together at a private meeting at Camp David. Blair has previously denied
Mansfield, however, says that, while there were no witnesses, aides were left
in little doubt as to what had happened. He told The Observer: 'There is no
question they have shared scripture and prayed together.'
The book also shows that in the lead-up to announcing his candidacy for the
presidency, Bush told a Texan evangelist that he had had a premonition of some
form of national disaster happening.
Bush said to James Robinson: 'I feel like God wants me to run for President.
I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is
going to happen... I know it won't be easy on me or my family, but God wants me
to do it.'
In another incident, Mansfield recounts how, on Palm Sunday last year, Bush
was flying back from El Salvador aboard the presidential jet Air Force One and
seemed to be destined to miss church.
However, knowing that Bush hated to miss a service, some officials suggested
they worship in the air. Bush agreed, and soon 40 officials were crammed into
the plane's conference room. The service was led by National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice, while the lesson was read by close Bush aide Karen Hughes.
Conservatives Back General in Fight Against Satan
Oct. 20, 2003
By LIBBY QUAID, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Religious conservatives in Congress are defending a Pentagon general who referred to the war on terror as a Christian fight against Satan.
In remarks many consider demeaning to Islam, Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin has told church audiences his mission is "a battle with Satan." The struggle, Boykin said, is "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian ... and the enemy is a guy named Satan."
Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., drafted a letter Monday asking Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld not to discipline Boykin, saying that elected officials and military leaders have talked about God and spiritual matters throughout U.S. history.
"As elected officials serving in the United States Congress, we recognize the vital importance our personal faiths play in helping us make decisions," Tiahrt wrote. "We ask that any actions taken in response to Lt. Gen. Boykin's remarks not, in any way, intimidate the free religious exercise of his faith."
Boykin, a three-star general, is deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence. He's also told audiences that President Bush is in the White House "because God put him there for a time such as this," and he once said after a 1993 battle with a Muslim warlord in Somalia, "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."
Cardinal Law Rewarded for Sex Abuse Coverup by Vatican
April 28, 2004
ROME, May 27 - Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who was forced to resign as
leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston after a long and
painful sexual abuse scandal involving clergy members, was chosen by
Pope John Paul II on Thursday to head a basilica in Rome.
A statement released in the Vatican's daily bulletin announced that
Cardinal Law, who resigned in 2002, would become the archpriest of St.
Mary Major Basilica, a church in a downtown neighborhood of Rome that
is under direct Vatican jurisdiction.
The statement said that Cardinal Law, 72, would succeed the
82-year-old Italian Cardinal Carlo Furno, but it did not say when. It
made no mention of Cardinal Law's new responsibilities, but a Vatican
official said that "now he will be responsible for one of the four
most important basilicas" in Rome. "He will be in charge of the
administration of the priests and anything related to the basilica,"
the official said of Cardinal Law. He added that the post "is not a
position of power."
The appointment angered the cardinal's critics and others who see it
as a reward.
David G. Clohessy, the national director of Survivors Network of Those
Abused by Priests, a nonprofit support group based in Chicago, chided
church leaders in Rome for what he called insensitivity to abuse
"Why can't the Vatican officials see that any position of honor
afforded to Law will inevitably and needlessly cause more pain to
hundreds who have been abused and have already suffered enough?" Mr.
Clohessy said. He added, "It just rubs salt into already deep wounds
for parishioners, victims and their families."
More Claims Seen in Boston Sex Abuse Cases
April 28, 2004
BOSTON - An attorney who represented dozens of people who claimed they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests says there are at least several dozen more with similar claims against the Boston Archdiocese.
Carmen Durso is among lawyers trying to determine the magnitude of the latest wave of claims stemming from the sex scandal that began to engulf the archdiocese in 2002.
Last year, the archdiocese reached an $85 million settlement with more than 550 people who said they were abused by priests. Durso represented 40 victims in that case.
Durso told The Associated Press on Sunday that the new claimants include people who had complained about sex abuse before, but "for one paperwork reason or other" missed a deadline to join the earlier settlement.
Archdiocese spokesman the Rev. Christopher Coyne said, "Whenever a claim is brought, we'll follow through with our policies and procedures and make sure we do everything we can to help victims and their families."
Durso noted the new wave of allegations also includes people who had been afraid to come forward previously. He said he had been in contact with several lawyers who represent 40 to 50 alleged victims, but those numbers could rise.
"People saw that it was really safe to come forward," Durso said. "You have to understand the level of fear and apprehension there is among people who've been through sex abuse."
Durso is representing 12 people who allege they were molested from the 1950s to the 1980s, the same period as the earlier group of plaintiffs.
When asked whether the church was inclined to settle the claims, Coyne replied: "That's been our pattern in the past and I haven't heard anything from anyone that would lead me to believe we're going to change how we're going to approach these cases."
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, the second-in-command official in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington has been placed on administrative leave amid claims he sexually abused a Lexington teenager in 1979.
Abuse Allegations Led to Priest's Murder Charge
April 26, 2004
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A woman's allegations that Roman Catholic priests sexually abused her during bizarre rituals led police to re-examine the 1980 killing of a nun and later charge one of the priests with murder.
The woman's allegations were not substantiated but one priest she mentioned was the Rev. Gerald Robinson - a suspect in the nun's killing years ago.
Robinson, 66, was charged Friday with killing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, who was strangled and stabbed about 30 times on April 5, 1980. Her body was found in a hospital chapel, surrounded by lit candles with her arms folded across her chest.
Robinson and Pahl had worked together for several years at Mercy Hospital. Robinson, the hospital's chaplain, performed the funeral for Sister Pahl, 71.
Police detective Steve Forrester and Tom Ross, an investigator with the Lucas County Prosecutor's office, told The Blade of Toledo that the nun's killing was part of a "ceremony" in the chapel. They would not elaborate.
In December, authorities re-examined old evidence and concluded that the murder weapon, which they did not identify, was "in the control of the suspect."
Report: 11,000 Clergy Child Sex Abuse Claims Filed
Feb. 16, 2004
By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer
NEW YORK - A draft of the upcoming national survey of sex abuse claims against Roman Catholic priests has been viewed by CNN, which reported Monday that 4,450 clergy have been accused of molesting minors since 1950.
The draft survey said 11,000 abuse claims have been filed against the U.S. churchmen during that period, CNN reported.
The survey is being overseen by the National Review Board, a lay watchdog panel the American bishops formed, and conducted by researchers from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
John Jay refused to comment on the CNN report, while board members contacted Monday by The Associated Press wouldn't say whether or not the latest statistics were accurate. They stressed the report is not finished, and that any numbers tallied so far could change before the study is released Feb. 27.
The figures are roughly in keeping with a trend the AP reported on last week.
The number of accused clergy is already much greater than the scope of abuse previously estimated by victims' groups and the media.
Robert S. Bennett, a prominent Washington attorney and another review board member, said survey drafts are circulating only among board members and John Jay researchers.
CNN reported that the draft survey said 78 percent of those abused were between the ages of 11 and 17, and that more than half the accused priests had a single allegation filed against them.
It said the report blames the sex abuse crisis on the bishops' failure to grasp the gravity of the problem, their misguided willingness to forgive and their emphasis on avoiding scandal, among other things.
Victim advocates say the survey ultimately will underestimate the number of cases because it is based on self-reporting by bishops.
AP: Priest Abuse Figures High Since 1950
Feb. 10, 2004
By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer
The scope of sex abuse accusations against Roman Catholic clergy since 1950 appears to be much greater than previously estimated by victims' groups and the media, an Associated Press review of reports from dioceses has found.
The U.S. church will make an unprecedented, nationwide accounting of abuse claims and costs later this month, and some bishops already have started releasing local figures. The AP contacted dioceses across the country and found that 1,341 clergy members have been accused of molesting minors, with more than half the dioceses yet to report.
"What it's really doing is showing us in black and white that the problem is much worse than any of us thought," said Sue Archibald, president of The Linkup, a Kentucky-based victim advocacy group.
Statistics have yet to be released by some archdioceses that have faced hundreds of allegations, including Boston and Los Angeles.
A January 2003 review by The New York Times counted 1,205 accused priests nationwide over five decades. Survivors First, an advocacy group compiling its own list from media reports and lawsuits, has counted 1,800.
But Paul Baier of Survivors First said he compared the numbers his organization collected with reports from 41 dioceses and found the dioceses' local statistics were double what he had counted.
"If those trends continue across 195 dioceses, we can see the number that's self-reported by the bishops being twice as high as the names in our public database," Baier said.
The figures the AP compiled are part of a first-of-its-kind national survey the bishops commissioned from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. By opening themselves up to greater scrutiny, the bishops hope to restore trust in their leadership following waves of scandal over abusive priests. The report is due out Feb. 27.
Even though bishops are revealing more than ever about molestation cases, advocates say the survey ultimately will underestimate the number of claims, because it is based on self-reporting by churchmen eager to minimize the rate of clergy abuse.
David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the national figures are of secondary concern. He said it was more important to focus on whether bishops were now fully committed to protecting children.
"It's never been about how many priests, how many victims, how much money," he said. "It's always been about how bishops respond."
Experts Call Biblical Artifact a Fake
June 18, 2003
JERUSALEM - AP - An ancient burial box purported to have held the bones of Jesus' brother, James, is a fake, Israel's Antiquities Authority said Wednesday.
The ossuary, which bore the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of
Jesus," had been touted by some scholars as the oldest archaeological link to
New Testament figures.
But Israeli officials said its inscriptions "date from modernity" and called
"The inscription appears new, written in modernity by someone attempting to
reproduce ancient written characters," the officials said in a statement.
"The inscriptions, possibly inscribed in two separate stages, are not
authentic," the statement read.
The officials reached their conclusions after intensive exams by several
committees of experts.
Oded Golan, the Israeli owner of the "James ossuary," insists the item is
authentic, but Uzi Dahari, a member of the committee that examined the stone box
said Tuesday that Golan "spoke to us and didn't convince anyone."
Golan said he had problems with the committee, which he said had
The officials also declared the "Yoash inscription," another item tied to
Golan, as a forgery on Wednesday.
That item was a shoebox-sized tablet inscribed with fifteen lines of ancient
Hebrew with instructions for maintaining the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
The Israel Antiquities Authority and the Jerusalem police launched separate
investigations into the two items after Golan offered one for sale.
When first disclosed two years ago, the Yoash inscription caused a stir in
the archaeological world, with some experts dating the stone to the 9th century
B.C. and calling it a rare confirmation of biblical narrative.
The existence of the James ossuary was revealed last November at a news
conference in Washington by the Biblical Archaeology Review. At the time, the
editor of the magazine, Hershel Shanks, said the owner insisted on not being
The inscription on the limestone box reads "James, son of Joseph, brother of
Jesus," leading some scholars to believe it contained the remains of James, the
brother of Jesus of Nazareth. Other experts have said the item might be a
forgery, or that it might have been the burial box of a different James,
unrelated to Jesus.
Golan insists that the box is authentic. "With regard to the ossuary, I am
100 percent certain," he said Tuesday.
Golan said he bought the James ossuary in the mid-1970s from an antiquities
dealer in the Old City of Jerusalem for about $200, but he said he couldn't
remember the dealer's name.
However, antiquities inspectors, who have questioned several Old City
dealers, were also checking suspicions Golan bought the ossuary only a few
months ago. In such a case, those involved in the sale could be prosecuted for
dealing in stolen goods.
The police investigation into how the box was acquired will continue
regardless of the committee's findings.
Robert Eisenman, who wrote a book on Jesus' brother, studied the box and said
the writing on the box, written in two different hands, along with the
artifact's sudden appearance, made its authenticity questionable.
"I always considered the timing of the James ossuary very odd and worrisome.
There was a spate of books on James and his importance in 1997 and 1998, then
the box appeared," he said.
Dealer Charged With Jesus Forgeries
July 22, 2003
JERUSALEM - Police have arrested an Israeli antiquities dealer suspected of creating two forgeries that shook the religious and archaeological world, including a burial box purported to be that of Jesus's brother James.
Odad Golan also is suspected in connection with a shoebox-sized tablet inscribed with forged instructions for caring for the Jewish Temple.
Golan appeared in a Jerusalem court Tuesday, one day after police arrested him at his home in Tel Aviv on suspicion of forging and dealing in fake antiquities.
In court, police unveiled forgery equipment they said was found in Golan's home, including stencils, stones and partially completed forgeries. The dealer was being detained by police.
Golan last year told a French collector about the two disputed artifacts, which raised questions from the start. After exhaustive studies, the Israel Antiquities Authority declared that they were forgeries last month.
The burial box, or ossuary, bore the inscription, "James, the brother of Jesus," leading to speculation that it referred to the brother of Jesus of Nazareth.
The inscription was deemed a fake, but the artifact had been valued at $1 million to $2 million based on the claimed link with Jesus.
The "Joash inscription" tablet, because of its wording, was purported to offer rare physical evidence backing up the biblical narrative.
Uzi Dahari, a member of the committee that studied the "James ossuary," called the inscription "a contamination of the archaeological science."
As Rabbis Face Facts, Bible Tales Are Wilting
New York Times; March 9, 2002.
By MICHAEL MASSING
Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did
Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never
occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And
David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a
mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was
later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.
Such startling propositions - the product of findings by
archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years
- have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has
been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the
laity - until now.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the
1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a
new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60
years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an
interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology,
philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the
editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts
ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a
human rather than divine document.
"When I grew up in Brooklyn, congregants were not sophisticated
about anything," said Rabbi Harold Kushner, the author of "When Bad
Things Happen to Good People" and a co-editor of the new book. "Today,
they are very sophisticated and well read about psychology, literature
and history, but they are locked in a childish version of the Bible."
"Etz Hayim," compiled by David Lieber of the University of Judaism
in Los Angeles, seeks to change that. It offers the standard Hebrew
text, a parallel English translation (edited by Chaim Potok, best known
as the author of "The Chosen"), a page-by-page exegesis, periodic
commentaries on Jewish practice and, at the end, 41 essays by prominent
rabbis and scholars on topics ranging from the Torah scroll and dietary
laws to ecology and eschatology.
These essays, perused during uninspired sermons or Torah readings
at Sabbath services, will no doubt surprise many congregants. For
instance, an essay on Ancient Near Eastern Mythology," by Robert Wexler,
president of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, states that on
the basis of modern scholarship, it seems unlikely that the story of
Genesis originated in Palestine. More likely, Mr. Wexler says, it arose
in Mesopotamia, the influence of which is most apparent in the story of
the Flood, which probably grew out of the periodic overflowing of the
Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The story of Noah, Mr. Wexler adds, was
probably borrowed from the Mesopotamian epic Gilgamesh.
Equally striking for many readers will be the essay "Biblical
Archaeology," by Lee I. Levine, a professor at the Hebrew University in
Jerusalem. "There is no reference in Egyptian sources to Israel's
sojourn in that country," he writes, "and the evidence that does exist
is negligible and indirect." The few indirect pieces of evidence, like
the use of Egyptian names, he adds, "are far from adequate to
corroborate the historicity of the biblical account."
Similarly ambiguous, Mr. Levine writes, is the evidence of the
conquest and settlement of Canaan, the ancient name for the area
including Israel. Excavations showing that Jericho was unwalled and
uninhabited, he says, "clearly seem to contradict the violent and
complete conquest portrayed in the Book of Joshua." What's more, he
says, there is an "almost total absence of archaeological evidence"
backing up the Bible's grand descriptions of the Jerusalem of David and Solomon.
The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less
settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David
Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz
Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of
it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue,
Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist"
agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that
it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a
"litany of disillusion" about the narrative, including contradictions,
improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating
evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have
"found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."
The Catholic Church should be honest about the rampant scourge of child molestation by priests and declare a new Holy Day, the Feast of the Ejaculate. It's already the most popular ritual among priests!
No wonder so many priests turn to little boys for the sacrement of the
Feast of the Ejaculate, the "church fathers" hated women and
feared women. The catholic church is based on misogyny,
guilt and self loathing more than it is based on Jesus. There is no
proof that Jesus even lived, but there is proof of the
utter cluelessness of those oafish "church fathers"
Vatican told bishops to cover up
"Women should not be enlightened or educated in any way.
They should, in fact, be segregated as they are the cause
of hideous and involuntary erections in holy men."
"Adam was deceived by Eve, not Eve by Adam.....it is right that he
whom that woman induced to sin should assume the role of guide lest
he fall again through feminine instability."
[St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, letter 63, 396]
"As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and
misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the
production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the
production of a woman comes from defect in the active power...."
[Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica,Q92, art. 1, Reply Obj. 1
"Any woman who does not give birth to as many
children as she is capable is guilty of murder."
"Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a
[St. Clement of Alexandria from The Tutor, as quoted
in "The Natural Inferiority" of Women compiled by
Tama Starr (New York: Poseidon Press, 1991) p. 45.]
"And do you not know that you are an Eve? The sentence of God on this
sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too.
You are the devil's gateway: you are the unsealer of that forbidden
tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who
persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You
destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert that
is, death even the Son of God had to die."
[Tertullian, De Culta Feminarum 1.1, on women, quoted
in Joan Smith, Misogynies: Reflections on Myths and
Malice (New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1989) p. 66]
"Woman is a temple built over a sewer, the gateway
to the devil. Women are the gate to hell."
[Tertullian, the "founder of western theology"]
Expulsion threat in secret documents
Read the 1962 Vatican document (PDF file)
Antony Barnett, public affairs
Sunday August 17, 2003
Vatican instructed Catholic bishops around the world to cover up cases of sexual
abuse or risk being thrown out of the Church.
The Observer has obtained a 40-year-old confidential document from the secret
Vatican archive which lawyers are calling a 'blueprint for deception and
concealment'. One British lawyer acting for Church child abuse victims has
described it as 'explosive'.
The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to
every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of 'strictest'
secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who
speak out with excommunication.
They also call for the victim to take an oath of secrecy at the time of
making a complaint to Church officials. It states that the instructions are to
'be diligently stored in the secret archives of the Curia [Vatican] as strictly
confidential. Nor is it to be published nor added to with any commentaries.'
The document, which has been confirmed as genuine by the Roman Catholic
Church in England and Wales, is called 'Crimine solicitationies', which
translates as 'instruction on proceeding in cases of solicitation'.
It focuses on sexual abuse initiated as part of the confessional relationship
between a priest and a member of his congregation. But the instructions also
cover what it calls the 'worst crime', described as an obscene act perpetrated
by a cleric with 'youths of either sex or with brute animals (bestiality)'.
Bishops are instructed to pursue these cases 'in the most secretive way...
restrained by a perpetual silence... and everyone... is to observe the strictest
secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office... under the
penalty of excommunication'.
Texan lawyer Daniel Shea uncovered the document as part of his work for
victims of abuse from Catholic priests in the US. He has handed it over to US
authorities, urging them to launch a federal investigation into the clergy's
alleged cover-up of sexual abuse.
He said: 'These instructions went out to every bishop around the globe and
would certainly have applied in Britain. It proves there was an international
conspiracy by the Church to hush up sexual abuse issues. It is a devious attempt
to conceal criminal conduct and is a blueprint for deception and concealment.'
British lawyer Richard Scorer, who acts for children abused by Catholic
priests in the UK, echoes this view and has described the document as
He said: 'We always suspected that the Catholic Church systematically covered
up abuse and tried to silence victims. This document appears to prove it.
Threatening excommunication to anybody who speaks out shows the lengths the most
senior figures in the Vatican were prepared to go to prevent the information
getting out to the public domain.'
Scorer pointed out that as the documents dates back to 1962 it rides
roughshod over the Catholic Church's claim that the issue of sexual abuse was a
He claims the discovery of the document will raise fresh questions about the
actions of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the head of the Roman Catholic
Church in England and Wales.
Murphy-O'Connor has been accused of covering up allegations of child abuse
when he was Bishop of Arundel and Brighton. Instead of reporting to the police
allegations of abuse against Michael Hill, a priest in his charge, he moved him
to another position where he was later convicted for abusing nine children.
Although Murphy-O'Connor has apologised publicly for his mistake, Scorer
claims the secret Vatican document raises the question about whether his failure
to report Hill was due to him following this instruction from Rome.
Scorer, who acts for some of Hill's victims, said: 'I want to know whether
Murphy-O'Connor knew of these Vatican instructions and, if so, did he apply it.
If not, can he tell us why not?'
Larry Drivon, a lawyer who represents alleged victims of sexual abuse, called the document "a blueprint for deception."
"It's an instruction manual on how to deceive and how to protect pedophiles," Drivon said.
Catholic priests have been raping little boys for 1500 years:
The Emotional Life of Nations
by Lloyd deMause
Chapter 8----The Evolution of Childrearing
But placing boys as oblates into monasteries only made them available
for rape by monks, who could not keep their hands off them. One
abbott wrote about an infant boy brought to the monastery by his
...the man turned the child over to me altogether, and I received the
baby with pleasure and joy and a clean heart. [But] when the boy got
older and had reached the age of about ten...I was tortured and
overwhelmed by an obscene desire, and the beast of impure lust and a
desire for pleasure burned in my soul...I wanted to have sex with the
Sex with boys was the central obsession of monks beginning with the
early anchorites who went to the desert; Macarius saw so many monks
having sex with boys in the desert that he strongly advised monks not
to take them in.2 But the need was too strong, and even rules such
as those requiring boys to have escorts when going to the lavatory
did not prevent monks from routinely using their oblates sexually.3
So many monks raped their novices that there was a common
saying, "With wine and boys around, the monks have no need of the
Devil to tempt them."4 Priests also commonly used confessions to
solicit sex with boys, but early Christian penitentials assessed
penances only for the boys, since they were blamed for their own
rape. Peter Damian said in the eleventh century that sex with boys in
monasteries "rages like a bloodthirsty beast in the midst of the
sheepfold of Christ with bold freedom" and suggested both the man and
boy be punished as accomplices for a "sin against nature."5
1. John Boswell, Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. New York:
Villard Books, 1994, p. 247.
2. Aline Rousselle, Porneia, p. 148.
3. Patricia A. Quinn, Better Than The Sons of Kings: Boys and Monks
in the Early Middle Ages. New York: Peter Lang, 1988, p. 165.
4. Elizabeth Abbott, A History of Celibacy, p. 101.
5. Peter Damian, Book of Gomorrah. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier
University Press, 1982, pp. 27, 42.
"Who would not shudder if he were given the choice of eternal death
or life again as a child? Who would not choose to die?"
Navy Punishes Chaplains for Sexual Abuse
Associated Press July 4, 2003
"Navy chaplains, in fact, create a disproportionate number of problem cases,"
WASHINGTON - The Navy has punished more than 40 chaplains over the last decade for offenses ranging from sexual abuse to fraud - a misconduct rate much higher than for other officers, according to documents that detail the Navy's alarm at the problem.
"Navy chaplains, in fact, create a disproportionate number of problem cases," Navy Chaplain Corps official Bradford E. Ableson wrote in a 1999 memo that is among several documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The previously undisclosed documents detail offenses that included adultery, spousal assault and sexual harassment that were so pervasive that in 1999, then-Navy Secretary Richard Danzig ordered a new training and oversight program to ensure the Navy's nearly 870 chaplains met high moral standards. Ableson, the deputy executive assistant to the chief of Navy chaplains, wrote the memo to give his boss details on the extent of the problem.
The chaplain corps implemented that retraining program but hasn't tracked how many chaplains have been punished since then, said Lt. Jon Spiers, a chaplain corps spokesman.
Court records and news stories show that since 1999 at least one chaplain has been convicted of indecent acts and a recently retired chaplain was charged with murder.
In 2001, Catholic chaplain Cmdr. Robert Milewski was convicted of fondling a sailor during a massage the year before and fined $48,000.
Ableson's memo questioned whether the chaplain corps fostered a tolerance for misbehavior.
"Too many officers with integrity problems are nurtured by the CHC (chaplain corps) culture and advanced by the CHC system," he concluded.
The system rallied to the defense of some convicted chaplains, according to Navy records.
Catholic chaplain Lt. Robert Hrdlicka pleaded guilty to molesting boys in 1993. Before his sentencing, six other Catholic Navy chaplains and the church's archbishop for the military services urged authorities to send Hrdlicka to a church-run treatment center.
"It is my fervent hope and prayer that he will be able to return to the active ministry as soon as possible," wrote then-Cmdr. Robert L. Kincl.
Instead, Hrdlicka went to prison.
The 1999 memos also show some chaplains were given light punishment for serious offenses.
Two Catholic chaplains had promotions deferred; one for sodomy and another for "homosexual acts/assault," according to a 1999 list of disciplined chaplains. Such offenses are felonies under military law.
Other criminal chaplains have been allowed to leave the Navy rather than face further punishment, including a Catholic chaplain permitted to quit in 1993 after he admitted molesting an altar boy at the Marine base in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Catholic Church Child Sexual Abuse Report
Sat Mar 16, 2002
BOSTON (AP) - Members of a task force formed by Cardinal Bernard Law pledged at their first meeting Saturday to produce a public report on ways to protect children from sexual abuse by Catholic priests.
Law announced the panel Jan. 24, the same day he established a "zero tolerance" policy on sexual abuse bt priests.
Priest-Sex Scandal Expands to N.H.
Sat Feb 16, 2002
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - An expanding scandal in the Roman Catholic Church has spread to New Hampshire, where 14 priests accused of sexual misconduct with children over a 25-year span are being investigated for possible prosecution.
The Diocese of Manchester, which covers New Hampshire, gave prosecutors the names of the priests Friday. Attorney General Philip McLaughlin said it will be up to individual county attorneys to decide whether to prosecute.
"We're not at the end of the road here. We are at the beginning of the road," McLaughlin said.
Bishop John B. McCormack acknowledged that some of the 14 were returned to duty over the years after doctors deemed them fit, a practice he acknowledged Friday was wrong.
The Archdiocese of Boston has identified 80 priests in Massachusetts in recent weeks as having abused children over the past 40 years.
Cardinal Egan of New York
left 'Unfinished Work' on Child Sex Abuse bt Priests, Victims Say
The New York Times, June 16, 2000
By DIANA JEAN SCHEMO with DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
BRIDGEPORT, Conn., June 14 -- The Roman Catholic Church had been struggling with a barrage of accusations across the country of priests molesting children when the dam burst here in 1993, in the diocese led by the man who is to succeed Cardinal John O'Connor as archbishop of New York.
That was the year Jon Fleetwood, Sharon See and Brian Freibott -- along with dozens of other Roman Catholics in Fairfield County who said their parish priests had molested them as children -- sued the Bridgeport diocese. They contended the diocese had a deliberate policy of ignoring abuse by reassigning problem priests to new parishes, where they continued to prey on children.
Brief History ofCases, Sex Abuse by Prietst: 1999
December 13, 1999:
Court orders that Bishop Egan must answer questions about the sexual misconduct of the seven John Doe priests. However, pursuant to the request of the Bishop’s lawyers, the deposition is to be taken under seal.
The problem of child molesting Catholic priests is
a world-wide plague:
Thursday January 31
Church Offers Payout for Sex Abuse
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) - The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has agreed to a landmark $110 million payment to Irish children sexually abused by its clergy over decades. Sex abuse campaigners and opposition lawmakers brand the offer as inadequate.
The deal late Wednesday was designed to conclude a 10-year struggle by the church in this predominantly Catholic nation to overcome sex scandals going back to the 1940s. More than 20 priests, brothers and nuns have already been convicted of molesting children, with much of the abuse taking place in state-funded, church-run schools.
The stream of accusations also has exposed both the government and church to potentially gargantuan legal bills from victims' lawsuits.
``The church has gotten away very cheaply,'' said John Kelly, spokesman for a lobbying group called Survivors of Child Abuse. ``The taxpayer should not pick up the bill for abuse committed by members of the religious orders.''
Education Minister Michael Woods, who oversaw negotiations with church authorities, said successive governments must share the blame for allowing cases of individual or systematic sexual abuse in certain Catholic-run schools to go unpunished for decades.
In 1994, one Irish government collapsed over allegations that it suppressed the extradition of a priest, Brendan Smyth, to neighboring Northern Ireland to face charges of molesting and raping former altar boys.
The court cases are cited as one factor fueling a steady decline in Mass attendance in this country of 3.8 million people, more than 90 percent of whom are baptized Catholics.
Sex Scandals Bare Church's Sordid Secrets
San Francisco Chronicle 14th August 1999
The scandal that has rocked the Diocese of Santa Rosa for a decade offers a rare public glimpse at the culture of sexual secrecy within the Roman Catholic priesthood and some clues about what went wrong at a string of shattered parishes across Northern California. This month, San Francisco Archbishop William Levada begins the difficult task of rebuilding trust in a diocese torn by charges of child molestation, embezzlement and extortion, and clergy sex scandals. Over the past decade, at least five diocesan priests have been accused of child molestation. One sits in state prison, another killed himself, and a third fled to Mexico. Pope John Paul II put Levada in charge after the man brought in to clean up the unwieldy diocese, Bishop G. Patrick Ziemann, resigned last month. Ziemann's resignation came days after a priest, the Rev. Jorge Hume Salas, filed a lawsuit accusing the bishop of sexual abuse. Ziemann admitted a sexual relationship with the priest, but he says it was consensual. Ziemann nows stand accused of using church power to extort sexual favors from a priest -- a clergyman who admits stealing money from a Ukiah parish. This latest episode has parishioners wondering if the Diocese of Santa Rosa has more sexual abuse problems than elsewhere, or if it is just that they have been thrust into the public spotlight.
Richard Sipe, a retired priest who has done extensive research on the secret sex life of Catholic clergy, said the situation in Santa Rosa ``is not all that uncommon.'' ``It's all part of a system that fosters sexual duplicity, not sexual openness,'' he said. Sipe, who left the priesthood to marry, is the author of three books on the uses and abuses of priestly celibacy, including ``Sex, Priests and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis.'' Sipe is not surprised by the charges of extortion and blackmail in the dispute between the priest and the bishop, or by evidence that Ziemann ordained Salas despite warnings about his background. ``Blackmail and extortion are the way things are kept quiet in the church,'' Sipe said. ``They are a way to build trust. It's `I know this about you, and you know this about me, so I'll take you along with me.' People go through stages in their lives. They may no longer be sexually active, but they have a sexual history, and have to deal with people from their past.''
At least five U.S. bishops and archbishops have resigned amid sexual scandals in the 1990s -- two involving affairs with women, two involving allegations of past child molestations, and now Ziemann's affair with a priest. In Sipe's view, the never-ending series of scandals about child molestation and other sexual misconduct show that the old system of sexual secrecy is finally breaking down. ``The bishops have no idea where this is going,'' Sipe said.
Economus, who said he was sexually abused as a teenager at a Catholic school in South Dakota, agreed with Sipe that the church has a ``systemic'' sexual problem.
Thomas Plante, an associate professor of psychology at Santa Clara University who counsels priests with sex problems, has his own explanation for the Santa Rosa scandals. ``Bad apples attract more bad apples,'' he said. ``I have secrets about you; you have secrets about me. I won't fink on you; you won't fink on me.'' Plante estimates that 50 percent of Catholic clergy are gay, even though ``they're not all acting on it.'' He said there is no evidence that gay clergy engage in higher rates of child molestation and teen sex than heterosexual priests, ministers and rabbis. Plante said pedophilia is only a small part of the overall problem of sexual misconduct among priests. ``The vast majority of sexual involvement with clergy is with consenting adults and adolescents,'' said Plante. ``About 85 to 90 percent of the encounters with minors are with adolescent boys, age 13 and up.'
Porno Film Strips Church of Holiness
Sept. 12, 2003
ROME (Reuters) - A church in central Italy may need reconsecrating after police discovered it had been the location for a pornographic film, Italian media reported Thursday.
The church of San Vicenzo's seedy past came to light when a local -- watching "Il Confessionale" ("The Confessional Box") -- recognized the spot. He called in the police who, on closer study of the movie, confirmed his suspicions.
The local priest said the film crew told him they were shooting a wedding scene in the church. But actually, a man dressed as a priest was filmed having sex with a woman playing the bride. The priest of nearby Gioia dei Marsi said that under canon (church) law the Bishop of Marsi, Lucio Renna, would have to re-bless all services held in San Vicenzo, east of Rome, since the film was shot in 1998.
Mohel Rabbi Yosef David Weisburg
The Jerusalem Post Magazine, Nov. 5, 1976, p. 14
"The baby cried, blood flowed on to his penis and - as the rabbi had
predicted - Graham [the godfather] did not faint. The rabbi then bent
over the baby and sucked the wound. I know this sounds awful, but it
is part of the Jewish tradition. It's supposed to help the healing."
Jack Shamash. "My Son on the Cutting Edge." Independent (London), no.
3,797 (Thursday, December 17, 1998): p. R8.
"And what of the practice of sucking the bleeding penis? While
condemning the procedure, some physicians contend that it was used to
stop bleeding.47 Not only is there little evidence for this theory,
but it was also a largely ineffective method. Furthermore, even in
antiquity, surgeons had better methods to stop bleeding, such as
pressure, instruments, and medication.48 According to Dr. H. Speert
(1953), Maimonides 'staunchly supported this procedure [sucking the
bleeding penis] as a prophylactic measure against inflammation.'"49
Edward Wallerstein. Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy. New
York: Springer Publishing Company. 1980. p. 160.
"..... whether it is prudent in modern times to permit direct contact between the mohel's mouth and the baby's sex organ."
Haaretz, Wed., March 23, 2005
Freedom of circumcision v. health hazard
By Nathan Guttman
WASHINGTON - The tragic death of an infant in New York's Haredi ultra-Orthodox community has put brit milah (Jewish ritual circumcision) in the spotlight over the past few weeks. The debate, which includes rabbis, mohels (ritual circumcisers) and American health authority representatives, centers on the question of how the mohel should draw blood after performing a circumcision, and whether it is prudent in modern times to permit direct contact between the mohel's mouth and the baby's sex organ. Beyond the issue of this practice itself, the discussion has extended to questions of freedom of religion versus the intervention of authorities and the sanctity of ancient practices versus scientific innovations.
The tragedy in question occurred last year in the Haredi community of Monsey, New York. The mohel, Rabbi Yitzchok Fischer, circumcised twins in a double ceremony. The circumcision was performed in the traditional manner accepted among many Haredim, and consists of three stages - incision of the foreskin, its retraction and removal, and drawing of blood. According to ultra-Orthodox practice, this is done directly, with the mohel's mouth on the site of the incision.
Ten days after the brit, one of the babies died, and an examination revealed that the cause of death was herpes. The second twin also tested positive for herpes, and after New York City health authorities opened an investigation, they discovered the virus in another baby who had been circumcised by Fischer.
The public health department's initial conclusion was that there was a reasonable suspicion that all three babies had been infected by Fischer when he drew blood with his mouth. The authorities immediately forbade Fischer from performing any more oral procedures, ordered him to work only while wearing sterile gloves, and filed a complaint against him at the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, demanding that he cooperate with the investigation and refrain from drawing blood orally until the matter is resolved.
A dangerous custom
Fischer was to report to the courthouse for a hearing on the matter yesterday, but even before it can receive full legal attention, all of the parties already are raising their claims. Fischer's lawyers, attorney Mark Kurzmann and his son Hillel Kurzmann, say that their client has been fully cooperating with the investigation, so any legal action against him is superfluous.
"The city apparently has a much broader agenda, beyond the actual investigation," says Mark Kurzmann, noting that according to his understanding, the debate is not over the medical question concerning the transmission of herpes, but the broader issue of freedom of religion. To prove his point, Kurzmann notes that even before completion of the investigation, the New York health commissioner declared that the oral drawing of blood "constitutes a threat to the public health."
Fischer, who declined to be interviewed for this article on his lawyers' advice, underwent a series of medical tests to detect the herpes virus, and is continuing to perform circumcisions in New York, for the time being without oral suction. Even before the current incident made headlines, Fischer would use a glass tube if the baby's parents requested it.
The Jewish community is divided on the question of the continued practice of direct oral contact during the brit. While many in the Haredi and Orthodox community believe direct contact between the mohel's mouth and the site of the cut foreskin is necessary, many others have adopted the more modern approach in which the blood is drawn through a small, sterilized glass tube that ensures no direct oral contact in order to avoid the risk of infection.
The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), America's largest Orthodox rabbinical organization, issued a statement supporting the use of the glass tube two weeks ago.
"The requirement [of drawing blood] is fulfilled completely and unambiguously by the use of oral suctioning through a tube," declared the RCA, adding, "One absolutely fulfills the precept whilst placing the infant and mohel at no additional risk."
Executive VP of the RCA, Rabbi Dr. Basil Herring, who initiated the declaration, says the organization felt the need, in light of the current debate, to clarify that from a halakhic (Jewish legal) and health perspective, and for the sake of appearances, it is preferable to use the tube rather than the direct oral contact method.
This approach is also in line with a study conducted and published by the Pediatrics medical magazine last year. The 12 researchers who prepared the report concluded that oral contact with the baby constitutes a risk of the transmission of herpes from the mohel to the baby. The researchers reached this conclusion after examining eight cases in which babies contracted herpes two weeks after their brit. Among the signatories of the report is Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler, who teaches biology at New York's Yeshiva University.
Tendler stressed in interviews granted to the U.S. Jewish media that herpes is much more common than many people think, and direct oral suction of blood is certainly a dangerous custom. Tendler added that even after this fact became well known, and after studies were published proscribing that adherence to the custom of oral suction needlessly endangers a baby, some parents still insist that the mohel follow the custom, and there are mohels who still continue with this hazardous practice.
Not everyone accepts this approach, even when it is presented by an Orthodox authority.
"For tens of thousands of believing Jews in the New York area, this practice is an integral part of the fulfillment of the circumcision commandment; to them it is not optional," Kurzmann says, noting that only part of the Jewish community has adopted the changes instituted in the suction method in the past 150 years.
No one has data on the proportion of circumcisions that use direct oral suction, but Orthodox community sources estimate that thousands are performed annually.
Furthermore, certain circles that had displayed lenience toward the use of the glass tube are now returning to direct oral suction and have banned the tube.
Brutal Genocidal Dictators
and the American Christian Right
"Rios Montt has been supported by Pat Robertson
(Christian Broadcasting Network), Jerry Falwell (Moral Majority, Thomas Road
Baptist Church, Liberty Federation), and Loren Cunningham (Youth with a
Mission). They have worked with the Florida Cuban community. . "
Human Rights Groups Criticize Guatemala
Apr 9, 2003 Associated Press
GUATEMALA CITY - Activists have accused the Guatemalan government of being
behind a string of burglaries and attacks aimed at intimidating human rights
organizations in the country.
In a written statement Tuesday, an alliance of social groups said the alleged
campaign has left many activists terrified they will be the target of violence.
One activist leader said he believed the crimes were related to creation of a
state commission to investigate civil rights abuses.
On Monday, thieves raided the Guatemala City home of Mario Polanco, one of
the directors of the Mutual Support Group, an organization for relatives of
victims who died or disappeared during the country's 1960-1996 civil war.
That attack came hours after an assailants broke into the offices of the
country's human rights ombudsman in Puerto Barrios, 150 miles northeast of the
On Friday, kidnappers abducted Diego Xon, a Mayan priest who was an active
member of the Mutual Support Group in the central, largely Indian province of
Xon was well known nationally for his strong-worded condemnations of a plan
to compensate Guatemalan peasants who joined paramilitary forces and helped the
government carry out ruthless anti-insurgency campaigns at the height of the
war. Some 200,000 people, mostly Mayan Indians, were killed before peace accords
ended the fighting.
Amnesty International Campaign Against Guatemalan
June 11, 2003
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 11 (OneWorld) - Amnesty
International has launched a new campaign to press the Guatemalan government to
dissolve a notorious military intelligence unit that has acted as a death squad
in the past and is suspected of masterminding recent attacks against human
rights lawyers, judges, and church groups investigating abuses committed during
the country's civil war.
The campaign features Amnesty's first Internet "flash" animation movie that
depicts the history of the Estado Mayor Presidencial (Presidential High
Command), or EMP, as the intelligence unit is called. Under the 1996 peace
accords, the EMP was supposed to have been dismantled, but, despite promises by
President Alfonso Portillo to do so, the EMP's budget has actually increased
during his term.
"Amnesty International is prepared to wield all tools at our disposal to get
rid of the travesty known as the EMP," said William Schulz, executive director
of the U.S. section of Amnesty International (AIUSA).
"As their budget increases, so the human rights community must respond with
increased scrutiny and resources--including using the power of the Internet--in
order to prevent the EMP from further terrorizing Guatemalan citizens. We also
must make sure that the Portillo administration really cleans the
intelligence-gathering house and doesn't just sweep this one unit under the
The campaign's launch comes at a sensitive moment in Guatemala due to the
race to succeed Portillo in general elections scheduled for November. The ruling
party, the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG), last month nominated former
President Gen. Efrain Rios Montt as its candidate, despite the fact that as
president in the early 1980s he directed a "scorched earth" counter-insurgency
campaign in which 200,000 thousand indigenous Mayan people were killed and
hundreds of their villages razed.
Although Rios Montt was hailed by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan as an ally against "communist subversion" in Central America at the
time, Washington has since had a change of heart. In an unusual statement, the
State Department warned last month that the U.S. would find it "difficult" to
maintain good relations with Guatemala if the former military strongman were
Gospel Outreach gained notoriety when one of its
elders, Gen. Rios Montt, became president of Guatemala during the 1982 military
In Latin America, cultural transformation has been
effected through the introduction of charismatic sects and, when necessary,
terrorist operations. Please note in La Mafia Sects that “numerous agents
of U.S.A.I.D.” who learned the techniques of psychological warfare in Vietnam,
were responsible for the success of Latin American operations:
“They [the sects] are all made in the
U.S.A. and are financed from the outside; they are the vehicles for inculcating
an Anglo-Saxon cultural ideology, leading to adopting an American middle class
model . . .
Which brings us to our next link between the Jesus
Revolution and Latin America -- Gospel Outreach, a California-based sect that
originated in the Jesus Movement. Gospel Outreach planted so many “El Verbo”
churches [Church of the Word] in Latin America that a website devoted to Remembering the Jesus Movement
classifies Gospel Outreach as a denomination, along with Calvary Chapel and the
Vineyard. “With 100 affiliated churches worldwide the Gospel Outreach
network is one of three denominational legacies of the Jesus People Movement.”
"… [T]he experience acquired in Vietnam, thanks
to the work done in population control, was exported to Latin America, and
particularly to Guatemala, by numerous agents of A.I.D., and of other U.S.
services. Certain sects were created by psychological warfare specialists and
entrusted with control of the political forum and control of conscience."
---George Orwell could never have imagined anything more effective than this! .
“It is a fact that the foremost evangelical and
charismatic sects have played a structural role in the dictatorships of Latin
America. Sects such as The Church of the Word in Guatemala, or the Divine
Universal Church, in Argentina, are directly linked to North American
structures, such as the 700 Club (the real "seminary" for the formation of
gurus, directed by the CIA), P.T.L. Television, founded by Pat Robertson in
Virginia, Billy Graham Evangelist Association, World Vision International (all
part of the sects’ money stream).” 26.
Gospel Outreach gained notoriety when one of its
elders, Gen. Rios Montt, became president of Guatemala during the 1982 military
By 1982, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency was
well-entrenched in Guatemala. In 1954, the CIA had joined with the United Fruit
Company, wealthy plantation owners and the military to overthrow the
freely-elected president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz. A protracted civil
war ensued in this country through the 1970s, which took a turn for the worse in
the early 1980's, at which time the Guatemalan army, backed by the CIA, began a
campaign of genocide against the Maya peoples. Several hundred Indian villages
were obliterated and their inhabitants were either killed or forced into exile
in Mexico. 28. Altogether, the Guatemalan war claimed over 200,000 lives,
mostly Mayan civilians. According to a recent U.N report, at least 626 massacres
took place during the country's 36-year war and, in recent years, 125 massacre
sites have been exhumed. Most of the victims were Maya Indians. Only two
court trials have been conducted in which state prosecutors filed criminal
charges and only one of these cases led to convictions. In 1998, three former
members of an army-trained civilian patrol were sentenced to death for their
role in a 1982 massacre of 130 civilians outside the town of Rio Negro.
The rise of El Verbo Church elder, Rios Montt, to
President of Guatemala in 1982, the terrorist operations of his regime and his
support among leading U.S. evangelical ministers are documented in the Public
Information Research Database file on Gospel Outreach:
"Gospel Outreach is an evangelical
Pentecostal church with headquarters in Eureka, California and Guatemala. It
grew out of the 'Jesus People' movement of the 1960s in the United States. .
After the 1976 earthquake, 28 Gospel Outreach evangelicals from California
arrived in Guatemala to help rebuild the country and establish El Verbo
Pat Robertson's organization funded Gospel
Outreach to help Rios Montt build ‘model villages’ for the Guatemalan peasants.
These model villages were, like the Jesus Movement, “based on
‘communitarianism,’ a system of church-centered community ownership of property
that vaguely would include private ownership of homes and land.” 31.
Gospel Outreach’s fundraising arm in the U.S., International Love Lift, was able
to raise $1.5 million for Rios Montt’s program. The authors of Thy Will
Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the
Age of Oil, describe the fruit of Gospel Outreach – which turned out not to
be model villages, but a genocidal campaign that was perpetuated largely because
of Evangelical funding and petitions to President Reagan:
"An early convert was General Efrain Rios Montt,
who became president after a military coup in March 1982.
"According to the Latin American Institute of
Transnational Studies, 'Within the first nine months of Rios Montt's
administration, 12 evangelical pastors were assassinated; 69 were kidnapped; 45
disappeared; 15 were jailed; 11 foreign missionaries were expelled; 88
evangelical temples were destroyed; and 50 more were occupied by the Army.' By
1986, Verbo Ministries reported 250 congregations. Verbo Ministries also runs a
Leadership Training School with over 1000 members directed by Rios Montt
himself. . .
"Rios Montt has been supported by Pat Robertson
(Christian Broadcasting Network), Jerry Falwell (Moral Majority, Thomas Road
Baptist Church, Liberty Federation), and Loren Cunningham (Youth with a
Mission). They have worked with the Florida Cuban community. . . Jimmy Swaggart
Ministries has provided financial support for the schools of El Verbo in
Guatemala. This is done under the ‘Programa Ayuda Infantile,’ a branch of the
Swaggart ministry.” 30.
“The irony of [Gospel Outreach’s] name was
outranked only by the name of its fund-raising arm in the United States, which
was endorsed by TV evangelist Pat Robertson: International Love Lift. . .
Covert Action Information Bulletin reported in 1987 that the State of Israel,
Guatemala's principle backer between 1977 and 1986, not only sponsored espionage
and torture of Guatemalans, but employed members of Gospel Outreach’s Verbo
Church to assist their agents.
“Love was beginning to take on a strange look . .
“Within three months of Rios Montt’s
self-declaratoin as ‘God’s choice,’ in June 1982, Amnesty International would
issue a special report, Massive Extrajudicial Executions in Rural Areas Under
the Government of General Efrain Rios Montt. Its ‘partial listing of
massacres,’ totaling more than sixty, included one village where survivors
witnessed soldiers beheading men, battering children’s heads against rocks, and
raping women. More than 500 Indian people were killed in three villages in the
departments of Quiche and Huehuetenango on March 23. In addition, 100 people
were slaughtered in three villages in Alta Verapaz between March 24 and March
27; 250 people, in three villages in Chimaltenango the first two weeks of April;
100, in the village of Nangal alone in Quiche on April 5; 193, in Rio Negro on
April 15; 54, in Macalbaj on April 18; and 100, in Josefinos on April 20.
“Machine guns, grenades, and machetes were used
with sadistic abandon. Most of the victims were women and children. In
Alta Alta Verapaz, home of the Kekchi Indians, more than 1,000 of the 2,500
communities in the province were abandoned or destroyed. Those communities that
remained were decimated by losses. In one municipality, Santa Cristobal Verapaz,
up to 10,000 of the 28,000 residents were believed by local authorities to have
died. . .
“ . . .after meeting Rios Montt in Honduras later
that month, President Reagan insisted that the regime was ‘getting a bad deal’
from the accusations of massacres and deserved renewed military aid from the
United States (which he granted the following month). Had not the White
House received a flood of letters calling for renewed arms sales to Guatemala
after Pat Robertson appealed to his 700 Culb television show for prayers and
money for the regime?” 32.
"Israel also installed computer
surveillance equipment in Guatemala and, under the pretext of providing
agricultural assistance, helped devise Rios Montt's 'beans and bullets strategic
hamlets, modeled after the CIA's Operation Phoenix. . . [ed. note: ‘beans and
bullets’ refers to Rios Montt’s policy, ‘If you are with us, we’ll feed you; if
not we’ll kill you.’]
Israel’s role was confirmed
by a member of Israel’s Knesset according to CIABASE files on Death
Squads: “Guatemala, 1981-89. Israeli Knesset member General Peled said in
Central America Israel is 'dirty work' contractor for U.S. Helped Guatemala
regime when Congress blocked Reagan administration. Israeli firm Tadiran (then
partly U.S.-owned) supplied Guatemalan military with computerized intelligence
system to track potential subversives. Those on computer list had an excellent
chance of being ‘disappeared.’”
[Richard Paradise of Gospel Outreach] says he works
under the auspices of the World Zionist Organization as a liaison with U.S.
evangelicals, with the assigned role of working against anti-Semitism within the
U.S. . . According to a special report entitled 'Sectas y Religiosidad en
American Latina' published in October 1984 by the Chile-based Instituto
Latinoamericano de Estudios Transnacionales, during Rios Montt's rule, members
of Gospel Outreach's Verbo church took jobs in espionage and torture and
accompanied Israeli and Argentinean experts during interrogation sessions."
The following CIABASE records
describe the CIA operation in Guatemala, courtesy of Reuters and The
Guatemala, 1954-95. U.S. Undercover agents
have worked for decades inside a Guatemalan army unit that has tortured and
killed thousands of Guatemalan citizens, per the Nation weekly magazine.
"working out of the U.S. Embassy and living in safe houses and hotels, agents
work through an elite group of Guatemalan officers who are secretly paid by CIA
and implicated personally in numerous political crimes and assassinations ''unit
known as G-2 and its secret collaboration with CIA were described by U.S. and
Guatemalan operatives and confirmed by three former Guatemalan heads of state.
Colonel Julio Roberto Alpirez, Guatemalan officer implicated in murders of
guerrilla leader Efrain Bamaca Velasquez -- husband of an American lawyer -- and
rancher Michael Devine discussed in an interview how intelligence agency advises
and helps run G-2. He said agents came to Central American country often to
train G-2 men and he described attending CIA sessions at G-2 bases on
"contra-subversion'' tactics and "how to manage factors of power'' to "fortify
democracy'' the Nation quoted U.S. and Guatemalan intelligence sources as saying
at least three recent G-2 chiefs have been on CIA payroll -- General Edgar Godoy
Gatan, Colonel Otto Perez Molina and General Francisco Ortega Menaldo. `It would
be embarrassing if you ever had a roll call of everybody in Guatemalan army who
ever collected a CIA paycheck,'' report quoted Colonel George Hooker, U.S. DIA
chief in Guatemala from 1985 to 1989, as saying. Human rights group Amnesty
International has said Guatemalan army killed more than 110,000 civilians since
1978 with G-2 and another unit called Archivo known as main death squads.