David Donald Hoppenjan, 52, who had served as senior pastor at the First United Methodist Church of Pace since last year, traveled to two locations in an effort to have sex with who he thought was a 14-year-old boy.
“In a public place, especially in a church, we should be welcomed with open arms.”
A Georgia woman thought she found the perfect church. It was located in her neighborhood and would accommodate her service dog, Hook. Cynthia Coleman, 58, is legally blind, with no vision in right eye and only peripheral vision in the left.
However, Coleman was told to take Hook and sit in the back pew after they sat down in the front of the church during her first visit, WXIA-TV reports.
“Sitting down for about five or 10 minutes and about four or five deacons approached me in a way that made me feel very uncomfortable. Somewhat aggressive,” she told the outlet.
To no avail, Coleman explained that she could not see the pastor from the rear. But the deacons insisted that Coleman and Hook sit in the back over concerns that the dog would become agitated during the service.
“I was about in tears because we don’t choose to be blind, and we don’t choose to be disabled. I almost felt like the leper in the church,” she told WXIA-TV. “In a public place, especially in a church, we should be welcomed with open arms.”
Coleman believes the church acted inappropriately. She said the deacons could have admitted unfamiliarity with how to manage a service dog and asked her to explain “how this works.”
“It was discrimination. It was discrimination. I had never in my life been discriminated against. Never,” she stated to the station. “And to be discriminated against for the first time, as a disabled person in a church is disgusting.”
The church declined to comment.
[written by Nigel Roberts]
Singapore has banned two foreign Christian preachers from speaking in the country on Friday due to their “denigrating and inflammatory” towards Islam and other religions.
According to a report from Straits Times, Singapore’s Manpower Ministry, in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), rejected the application of the two preachers for short-term work passes that required them to preach in the country.
“Just as I have banned Muslim scholars or preachers from coming into Singapore, the most recent banning has been as regards to Christian preachers. They were very Islamophobic in their statements outside of Singapore and we decided that we will ban them,” said Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam at a forum on Friday.
A statement from the MHA noted that one of the preachers had described Allah as a “false god” and referred to Buddhist by a Hebrew word that meant “lost, lifeless, confused and spiritually barren” people.
The other preacher had reportedly spoken against the “evils of Islam” and the “malevolent nature of Islam and Mohammed,” while contending that it is “not a religion of peace.” He also maintained that it is “an incredibly confused religion”, interested in “world domination” and “a religion based on… adhering to uncompromising and cruel laws often focused on warfare and virtual slavery.”
“Such teachings are unacceptable in Singapore’s multiracial, multi-religious society, and the Government will not allow religious preachers of any faith to run down other religions or spread ill-will among the religions,” the MHA stated.
The two preachers had applied for Miscellaneous Work Passes (MWP), which are required for foreigners on work assignments shorter than 60 days. Any foreigner who wishes to deliver a talk related to religion, race or politics is required to obtain an MWP, the MHA stated, adding that that the granting of the work permit was a privilege that is accorded to foreigners, not an entitlement.
It also noted that the Ministry of Manpower consults with relevant agencies in assessing MWP applications and that each application is considered on its own merits.
During the Institute of Policy Studies forum on Friday, Shanmugam announced that the government is looking to strengthen the country’s Maintenance of the Religious Harmony Act (MRHA), part of which was a legal framework that enacted strict laws on hate speech.
Shanmugam said that the MRHA, which is aimed specifically at clerics, would be strengthened in the context of past incidents in the region, adding that he is prepared to defend the legislation at “any forum anywhere in the world.”
The MHA disclosed that it was reviewing the need to enhance the Singapore’s legislative provisions to safeguard racial and religious harmony in the country, and it would provide details about the review upon completion.
[written by Jardine Malado]
- I dont blame Singapore! Why didnt they go there and preach about holiness? Why couldn’t they just go there and preach against sin? No… it’s ALL ABOUT RELIGION, who’s religion is the best or who’s religion is “the right one.” THERE’S NO RIGHT RELIGION BECAUSE GOD DIDN’T FORM ANY OF THEM!!!!! One of the preachers said that “Islam is a confused religion”, I AGREE! AND SO IS CHRISTIANITY!
An organization is launching a campaign asking Christians to donate money to help transgender people pay for surgeries related to their gender transition as a form of reparations for past discrimination.
Faithfully LGBT, a group that seeks to share the stories of LGBT people of faith, is raising funds for the transgender community through a campaign called #TitheTrans.
“There needs to be tangible ways that progressive Christians, who disagree with anti-trans theology, give to the transgender community,” says Eliel Cruz, founder of the organization. “I want Tithe Trans to be a way for Christians to begin to pay reparations for the damage we have caused,” he added.
The group noted that transition surgeries can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $90,000. About 20 percent of transgender individuals do not have any form of health insurance, and many insurance companies do not provide coverage for procedures related to gender transition, according to NewNowNext.
“Christians have disparaged the bodies of trans people, which has contributed to a culture of violence against them,” a statement from the Tithe Trans fundraising site read.
“From promoting anti-trans bathroom legislation to theology that has lead to suicides and homelessness.For those Christians who have seen this violence and have been horrified by it, it’s time to put your tithe money where your beliefs are,” it continued.
According to a news release published on the group’s website, the money collected by the campaign will be directed to the Jim Collins Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to provide grants to cover gender transition surgeries. Applications for grants are reviewed by a board of trans activists, who provides as many grants as the organization’s funds allow.
A fundraising goal of $10,000 has been set by the organizers, and while the campaign is directed at Christians, others are also allowed to donate. The organizers are hoping to surpass its fundraising goal, but, as of Sept, 9, the campaign has only raised $512.
The hashtag #FaithfullyLGBT was first used by Cruz when he was sharing his column of the same name at Religion News Service in 2015. Since then, others have used it to create visibility for the intersection of their faith and their sexuality.
In January 2016, Cruz launched a photo campaign highlighting the faces of LGBT people of faith. The photographs are also featured in the Faithfully LGBT website, each one accompanied by the subject’s name, sexual orientation, and religious tradition, as well as a quote about the individual’s relationship to sexuality and faith.
[ written by Jardine Malado]
- “Church,” “body of Christ” you have failed miserably! If God were truly in this modern day Christianity THERE’S NO WAY this would be happening! If “the church” wont stand against evil beyond the comforts and safety of the pulpit then what good is the “church”!? I believe that there is a remnant of people, those who dont wear suits or titles who are standing against evil. Their voices seem unheard because they are few in number and are being drowned out by the popularity and performances of the Pharisees of today.
Australian psychologists have released a guide encouraging parents and teachers to support teaching students about gender identity and gay marriage.
The Christian Post reports that the guide comes at a time when Australia is considering legalizing same-sex marriage with a postal survey next month which will gauge support one way or the other.
The Australian Psychological Society is urging support for same-sex marriage and gender transition, even among society’s youngest members.
The guide claims that, contrary to some beliefs, children are not harmed by being in same-sex families or being taught about LGBT issues.
“Another misconception is that some people worry that children will be harmed in same-sex families, and believe that children do better when they have both a mother and father. This is not true, but also irrelevant to the marriage equality debate. What’s important is to have a family that loves and cares for you (regardless of their gender or sexual orientation),” says the guide.
The guide further encourages parents and teachers to tell children “that it’s okay to question one’s sexual orientation (i.e., who you are attracted to) or one’s gender identity, and that there are many different ways for people to ‘be’ in the world.”
Many parents, however, are concerned. They have warned that if same-sex marriage becomes the law in Australia, it could lead to school programs in support of the LGBT agenda becoming compulsory.
~ Written by Veronica Neffinger| Editor, ChristianHeadlines.com
- Are there any “Christians” in Australia? Where’s the “church” in this? Where are the rallies and protests against this twisted new age way of living being forced on children? Are racial wars the only wars that gets the churches attention? Something is definitely wrong here! Every God fearing person in the world should be standing against this! The filth of America is transcending rapidly as it’s being adopted by other countries. “Body of christ” you have failed again!
…A federal judge sentenced him last week to 46 months in federal prison for duping more than 10 victims out of about $3.7 million.
When employees get an email from their CEO asking them to do something, chances are they will do it — fairly quickly and with no questions asked.
Amechi Colvis Amuegbunam counted on it. And he was right.
Employees wired company money to where Amuegbunam told them — most often foreign banks. He pulled it off by cleverly creating email accounts that made it appear as if he were a company executive, authorities said.
A federal judge sentenced him last week to 46 months in federal prison for duping more than 10 victims out of about $3.7 million.
He had faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted by a jury. Amuegbunam’s lawyer said in court documents that his client had no prior criminal record and was not a danger to society.
U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade also ordered Amuegbunam to pay $615,555 in restitution for his use of the latest cyberattack known as a “business email compromise” scheme. It’s become the crime of choice for some organized crime groups from Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, the FBI says.
Amuegbunam, 30, of Nigeria, was living in the U.S. on a student visa at the time, court records show.
He sent emails that looked like forwarded messages from top company executives to employees who had the authority to wire money. Amuegbunam tricked the employees into wiring him money by transposing a couple of letters in the actual company email, authorities said.
Ezekiel “Zeke” Tyson, his attorney, said he was pleased with the sentence his client received.
“Mr. Amuegbunam has grown tremendously as a person and as a man throughout the process of this criminal case,” Tyson said. “He is absolutely one of the most intelligent and creative individuals I have ever represented.”
Tyson said his client will be deported back to Nigeria after serving his sentence, where he plans to become a farmer and produce organic pesticides.
“I expect once he puts his intelligence, creativity, and drive towards legitimate enterprises, he will have a very positive future,” Tyson said. “Mr. Amuegbunam also plans to do his best to repay the restitution he owes to the victim companies.”
Amuegbunam pleaded guilty in March to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He has been in custody since his arrest in Baltimore in August 2015.
The FBI issued an alert last year about the scam, saying it is “more sophisticated than any similar scam the FBI has seen before.” As of last year, more than 7,000 U.S. businesses had lost about $740 million from the scheme, the bureau said.
Investigators learned about Amuegbunam’s trickery in 2013 when two North Texas companies fell victim, court documents say.
In the case of Luminant Corp., an electric utility company in Dallas, an employee with the authority to wire money received an email from someone who appeared to be a company executive, a federal complaint said.
But the email domain name had two letters transposed. For example, someone created the email with a domain name of lumniant.com.
The duped employee wired $98,550 to a bank account in London.
The FBI subpoenaed information about the email account and learned it was created by someone named Colvis Amue, the complaint said.
Agents determined that person was Amuegbunam and that he scammed another company out of $146,550, according to the complaint.
“The Dallas FBI quickly learned that this was a widespread scheme,” the complaint said.
“We appreciate the efforts of both the Dallas office of the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office for identifying this criminal and putting an end to this particular operation,” said Luminant spokeswoman Meranda Cohn.
The FBI identified five other conspirators who live in Nigeria who are subjects of the investigation.
In these scams, “money mules” are employed to accept the initial transfers into their personal bank accounts. They then are told to quickly transfer the money elsewhere, usually to a bank account outside the U.S. The money usually ends up in Asian banks, including those in China and Hong Kong, the FBI alert said.
The criminals have become experts at imitating invoices and accounts, agents say. The fraudulent emails are typically well-worded and specific to the type of business being targeted, the FBI says. The phrases, “code to admin expenses” and “urgent wire transfer,” are frequently used.
In one recent case provided by the FBI, a company accountant received an email from her chief executive, who was on vacation outside the country. He asked her to transfer money for a “time-sensitive acquisition” before the day’s end, according to the FBI. The executive said a lawyer would contact her with more information.
The accountant said such requests were not unusual.
The lawyer sent her an email with her CEO’s signature on a letter of authorization with the company’s seal that was attached. The email gave her instructions to wire more than $737,000 to a bank in China.
The accountant learned about the scam when the CEO called the next day, saying he knew nothing about the wire transfer request.
The FBI said criminal groups usually target businesses that have foreign suppliers or regularly make wire transfer payments.
“They have excellent tradecraft, and they do their homework,” said Maxwell Marker, an FBI agent who oversees an organized crime section, in the agency bulletin. “The days of these emails having horrible grammar and being easily identified are largely behind us.”
~ Written by Kevin Krause, Federal Courts Reporter