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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Church of England has up to £10m invested in arms firm :: News

On eve of protests at London arms fair, C of E is accused of failing to live up to the ‘spirit’ of its own investment policy

Church of England has up to £10m invested in arms firm

The Church of England has invested up to £10m in one of the world’s major arms firms, which supplies systems and technology for unmanned drones and jets to conflicts around the world. The discovery, on the eve of what is set to be the biggest day of protests against DSEi – the UK’s leading arms fair – in Docklands, London, tomorrow, has led worshippers to accuse church leaders of profiting from conflict.

The Church Commissioners and Church of England Pensions Board are both shareholders in General Electric (GE), with shareholdings up to £10m. Yesterday, the Church defended the investment, claiming less than 3 per cent of GE’s business was based in arms sales.

But the firm, along with its key subsidiary General Aviation, is a leading supplier of “integrated systems and technologies” for combat aircraft, military transport, helicopters, land vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles – better known as drones.

It is the 20th-highest-ranking firm in the world when it comes to defence sales, which accounted for almost 3 per cent of its total revenue last year – an estimated $4bn.

GE also makes the F101 aircraft, which took part in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Designed as a “strategic nuclear bomber”, it was modified to carry a “diverse range of conventional weapons”, according to GE’s website.

While the Church of England is not breaching its own rules by investing in the firm – investments in companies that derive less than 10 per cent of turnover from strategic military sales are allowed – some church members reacted angrily to the news.

Keith Hebden, an Anglican priest who was arrested earlier this year for breaking into RAF Waddington – from where drones used in Afghanistan are remotely controlled – said the Church of England’s policy was wrong. He explained: “We’re going to end up with problems. This means we have a stake in wanting there to be war.”

Symon Hill, co-founder of the anti-cuts campaign group Christianity Uncut, said: “Investments in GE conform to the letter but not the spirit of the Church of England’s investment policy.”

A Church spokeswoman pointed out that GE produces dishwashers, lighting, aircraft engines and power plants. She added: “Some of GE’s engines and other products are supplied for military planes, boats and land vehicles. Our research provider estimates that less than 3 per cent of GE’s turnover comes from strategic military supplies.”

The Campaign Against Arms Trade added: “GE is undoubtedly an arms company – why else would it be exhibiting its wares at one of the world’s largest arms fairs? If the Church is committed to following an ethical investment policy, it should drop the GE shares from its portfolio and invest it in companies producing more ethical and beneficial products, including renewable energy technologies.”

Today’s revelations come months after the Church admitted it invested in funds that provided money for the Wonga payday loans company. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, had previously said he would try to force the firm out of business by helping credit unions compete with it. He wanted the Church’s investment rules to be reviewed following the row.

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Christian Accused killer blamed God for slaying


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TORONTO – A devout Christian confessed he “lost it” when he fatally bludgeoned his girlfriend and then stabbed pages of the Bible to her chest, a jury heard Thursday.

In a videotaped statement played in court, a sobbing Patrick Barrett told homicide detectives Pauline Gray and Scott Whittemore that he became enraged after she terminated their engagement and wouldn’t have his baby.

Barrett, now 41, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but not guilty to second-degree murder in the May 31, 2010 slaying of Lucita Charles, 27, the single mother of a severely-disabled son Mataeo, now 10.

Charles mistakenly believed she was pregnant and stated she would have an abortion ­— her second with Barrett who reluctantly paid for an earlier one but discouraged her from having another, court heard.

She also tried to end their relationship and was asking him to move out. Barrett tried to dissuade her from aborting the child.

He prolonged his argument with Charles and took cigarette and Bible-reading breaks. Charles was laying in bed and pleading for him to stop so she could sleep. Barrett finally snapped.

“I lost it and I jumped up and said F this s— and…I went to the kitchen and grabbed a hammer and…I hit her and she jumped up and I hit her again,” said Barrett.

The screaming victim fell and a cursing Barrett repeatedly struck her on the head with the hammer.

“God…please I didn’t mean for it to happen, it just happened and I never put a hand on her before,” the weeping Barrett said in the interview.

Barrett then covered up the dead woman, retrieved his Bible in the kitchen, tore out one page, flipped to another piece of scripture and ripped another one and stabbed those pages to her chest with a large knife, court heard.

Barrett blamed God for not preventing his homicidal rage.

“I was cursing God and asking him well, if you’re so powerful why did you allow me to do what I did,” said Barrett.

Then, he stole $200 from Charles’ bank account and took a two-day road trip with his girlfriend Michelle Oosterhof to Montreal before being arrested by police in Oshawa.

He regretted hurting Lucita’s mother by killing her daughter.

“I mean you keep saying I’m a monster. It takes, it takes a monster to do what I did so,” Barrett told police.

The trial resumes Tuesday.


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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Church Forces Girl to Apologize After Being Raped :: News

Tina-Anderson

We have often heard about horror stories from Saudia Arabia where a woman is raped and along with her attacker is accused of committing fornication and then flogged or at least sentenced to be flogged. Some might think that this sort of thing could never happen anywhere else, but something equally egregious occurred here in the USA.

A Christian church found out that one of its parishioner raped a fellow parishioner twice, impregnating her. What did they do? They sheltered the rapist, made him apologize for raping the girl and made the girl apologize for becoming pregnant.

Police: Girl raped, then relocated

After being raped and impregnated by a fellow churchgoer more than twice her age, a 15-year-old Concord girl was forced by Trinity Baptist Church leaders to stand before the congregation to apologize before they helped whisk her out of state, according to the police.

While her pastor, Chuck Phelps, reported the alleged rape in 1997 to state youth officials, Concord police detectives were never able to find the victim. The victim said she was sent to another church member’s home in Colorado, where she was home-schooled and not allowed to have contact with others her age. It wasn’t until this past February that the victim, who is now 28, decided to come forward after reading about other similar cases, realizing for the first time it wasn’t her fault that she had been raped, she told the police.

The police arrested Ernest Willis, 51, of Gilford, last week in connection with the case, accusing him of raping the girl twice – once in the back seat of a car he was teaching her to drive in and again after showing up at her Concord home while her parents were away. He was charged with four felonies – two counts of rape and two counts of having sex with a minor, court records show.

In a statement to the police, the victim said Willis came to her home in the summer of 1997 without warning.

“He said he wanted to talk to me about something so I let him in the house,” she wrote. “He locked the door behind him and pushed me over to the couch. I had a dress on and he pulled it off. I pushed my hands against his shoulders and said ‘No,’ but he didn’t stop.”

At the time of the alleged rape, Phelps was in touch with the police, who told him to contact the Division for Children, Youth and Families.

But moving the girl out of state prevented the police from collecting evidence or a statement, the police said yesterday.

“Without a victim, it makes it very difficult to have a case,” said Lt. Keith Mitchell. “That basically made the investigation very difficult.”

At the time, Willis also refused to give a statement, police records show.

So for 13 years, a file on the case sat closed and marked “unresolved” at the Concord police station.

Police records do not show whether detectives asked church leaders to help them get in contact with the victim or if information was withheld.

“If somebody tried to cover this up or not cover this up, that’s a separate issue,” Mitchell said.

Phelps did not return a message seeking comment yesterday. He no longer works at the church.

“The leadership of Trinity Baptist Church reported this alleged crime within 24 hours of hearing the accusations on Oct. 8, 1997,” said spokesman Peter Flint from a prepared statement. “We continue in our commitment to cooperate with authorities so that justice is served.”

‘Completely in shock’

The victim said she came forward after getting in touch with Jocelyn Zichterman, who runs an online group for victims of church abuse.

In a seven-page statement to the police, the victim recounted the moments leading up to her departure from New Hampshire.

At 14, she began babysitting for Willis, a well-known member of the church. She told the police she would often stay the night if he got home late.

Just over a year later, he offered to give her driving lessons. While in the parking lot of a Concord business, Willis asked her to pull over to switch seats, she told the police.

But instead he pulled her into the backseat and raped her, according to a statement to the police.

In the summer of 1997, Willis raped her again, this time while at her home while her mother was out, according to police records.

“I was completely in shock, but too scared to go and tell anyone because I thought I would get blamed for what happened,” she said.

Over the next few months, the girl became suspicious she was pregnant. She called Willis, who brought over a pregnancy test that came up positive, she told the police.

“He asked me if I wanted him to take me to a neighboring state where underage abortions were legal . . . and he would pay for an abortion,” she told the police. “He then asked me if I wanted him to punch me in the stomach as hard as he could because that might cause a miscarriage.”

She declined both.

‘Church discipline’

The victim told her mother about the pregnancy. Soon after, Phelps was also alerted.

The victim said Phelps told her she would be put up for “church discipline,” where parishioners go before the congregation to apologize for their sins.

She asked why. “Pastor Phelps then said that (Willis) may have been 99 percent responsible, but I needed to confess my 1 percent guilt in the situation,” the victim told the police.

“He told me that I should be happy that I didn’t live in Old Testament times because I would have been stoned.”

Fran Earle, the church’s former clerk, witnessed the punishment session.

At a night meeting of the church’s fellowship in 1997, Phelps invited Willis to the front of the room. Willis apologized to the group for not being faithful to his wife, Earle said.

“I can remember saying to my husband, I don’t understand it’s any of our business why this is being brought up,” Earle said.

Phelps then told parishioners a second matter was at hand; he invited the victim to apologize for getting pregnant.

“I can still see the little girl standing up there with this smile on her face trying to get through this,” Earle said.

A day after the session, Earle called the pastor’s wife, who said the victim had decided not to press charges for statutory rape.

“You’ve got to understand, we trusted our pastor and his wife to be telling us the truth,” Earle said. “They told us it had been reported. He reported it as a consensual act between a man and a woman. Well, I didn’t know a 15-year-old was a woman.”

Earle, who left the church in 2001 after 19 years, said it was regular to see young girls who were pregnant called to the front of the congregation to be humiliated.

Rob Sims, another former member, said the discipline sessions were formulaic – Phelps would read Bible verses, give a limited overview of what happened and then each person would read a statement.

“(The) statement agreed that they had done wrong and why they ‘now believed’ that they had sinned,” he said. “Then Pastor Phelps would give a few closing remarks and then a vote would be taken to remove the guilty party from membership or to keep them in membership but under discipline, or something to that effect.”

The police said the victim’s family asked for her to be moved to Colorado.

“I think that she clearly did not want to go to Colorado, and I’m quite sure she expressed that to the church, her mother and the pastor,” said Concord police Detective Chris DeAngelis. “However, she was a juvenile. Her mom requests assistance and that was what they came up with.”

Mitchell said the police are looking at pressing other charges.

Willis was released on $100,000 personal recognizance bail. He faces an arraignment June 16 in Concord District Court.

Trent Spiner can be reached at 369-3306 or tspiner@cmonitor.com


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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Indian Rationalist Exposed Catholic Church fake Miracle.petition against him :: News

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Sanal Edamaruku, President of the Indian Rationalist Association, has for decades been a tireless campaigner for science and against superstition. He is widely known for his exposure of the tricks used by self-professed ‘God-Men’ and gurus and has often been on Indian television explaining the everyday science behind supposed miracles.

After one such exposure – he pointed out that “miraculous” water dripping from a statue of Christ at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Velan Kanni in Vile Parle, Mumbai in fact originated from a leaky pipe – Mr Edamaruku was widely condemned by the Catholic authorities in Mumbai, with the Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, Agnelo Rufino Gracias calling on him to apologise for “hurting” the Catholic community. Formal complaints about Mr Edamaruku were then made to the Mumbai police by three local Catholic groups, the Catholic Secular Forum, the Association of Concerned Catholics and the Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum.

He stands accused of “deliberately hurting religious feelings and attempting malicious acts intended to outrage the religious sentiments of any class or community”, an offence under Section 295(a) of the Indian Penal Code. No arrest warrant has been issued but the case is “cognisable” meaning the police can arrest without warrant at any time. He is being harassed daily by the Mumbai authorities who, under pressure from Catholic groups, are insisting that he turn himself in. His petition for “anticipatory bail” was turned down on 3 June 2012  on the bizarre grounds that he would be safer in custody. If he is arrested he will therefore most likely be detained in jail until court proceedings are concluded, which could take several years. Fearing arrest, he dares not stay long at home or work.

India has long suffered sectarian hatred and violence and section 295(a) is designed to prevent speech being used to foment hatred and disorder. It is not designed to enable a powerful religious institution to silence those whose message it finds embarrassing. India’s constitution explicitly protects free speech: article 19(a) guarantees the right to free speech and expression and clause 13(2) forbids the state to pass laws which take away or abridge such rights. It follows that the courts of India are required to interpret the Penal Code so as to protect free speech. Mr Edamaruku would be happy to answer his accusers in court, confident that the Indian justice system will vindicate him. However the threat of peremptory imprisonment for an undefined period is a very serious one.

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