Internet church services preferred to church buildings

This 24 May 2020 United States TV video is called Chicago faith leaders split on reopening churches after Trump’s request.

United States President Trump, Brazilian President Bolsonaro and right-wing preachers make a big fuss that churches should reopen.

According to them, having religious services on the internet instead of in jampacked church buildings supposedly violates freedom of religion.

In fact, Trump and Bolsonaro have economic rather than religious motives. They want people to go to unsafe church buildings in order to make it easier to drive them to unsafe factory halls, unsafe distribution centres etc, to work to make billionaires even richer.

The far-right preachers insisting on reopening church buildings have economic motives as well. It is possible to contribute financially to a church through the internet. However, these preachers estimate that having the faithful in COVID-19 contagion prone jampacked church buildings with peer pressure may yield more financial benefits for them. Eg, for buying private planes.

In Germany, churches reopened on 1 May. Shortly afterwards, over 100 people became ill with COVID-19 after a Baptist church service.

In California in the USA, Governor Gavin Newsom ramps up reopening despite serious public health threats. Newsom is accelerating the re-opening of the state, allowing resumption of business for shopping malls, dine-in restaurants, and large gatherings, despite the enormous dangers of COVID-19.

Despite governor’ green light, California synagogues will mostly stay closed.

Trump’s Push To Open Churches Contradicts Jesus’ Teaching To Love Neighbors, Clergy Say. Loving your neighbor means keeping them out of harm’s way, Rev. William Barber said — joining other faith leaders criticizing Trump’s push to reopen churches: here.

Now, translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Online Church Services More Popular Than Physical Services

The number of people who watch an online church service is often much higher than the number of churchgoers in normal times, according to a study by [Protestant Christian daily] Trouw. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, many churches broadcast their services on Sundays.

Trouw sent a questionnaire to almost 250 congregations and parishes, of which about ninety replied. Some churches have several dozen more church attendants, others hundreds. Protestant digital services are doing particularly well.

An important explanation for its popularity is the accessibility, Mirella Klomp of the Protestant Theological University told the newspaper. “People who do not like to go to church buildings, or who do not come for health reasons, can join easily.”

Methodist church split about homophobia

This 22 October 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Homophobic Comments Made to UMC Pastors in the LGBTQ Community

The following statements are actual things said to pastors who are members of the LGBTQ+ community in United Methodist Churches in Greater New Jersey. Some by congregants, some by other pastors.

We invited several pastors who identify as straight to read them aloud. They have not seen these statements before being filmed.

Read more here.

By Orion Rummler in the USA, 3 January 2020:

Methodist church proposes plan to split over LGBTQ inclusion

United Methodist Church leaders announced plans on Friday for a historic split of its 13 million-plus denomination over allowing same-sex marriage within the church and LGBTQ clergy members.

What’s next: The church is expected to vote on the measure to implement the division of America’s second-largest Protestant domination at the general conference in Minneapolis this May.

Flashback: Momentum for the separation got underway last February, when the church’s “Traditional Plan” — to maintain status quo of banning LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriages — won over a new, LGBTQ-inclusive plan.

Details: The proposal for a formal split was reached between progressive and traditionalist groups within the church, including the Reconciling Ministries Network, which has advocated for LGBTQ inclusion in the Methodist faith since the 1980s.

The proposal says that the right-wing homophobes will get $ 25 million when they will split.

Some well-known Methodist homophobic politicians were British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and United States Republican President George W Bush.

United States Southern Baptist church sexual abuse

This 10 December 2018 CBS TV video from the USA says about itself:

Investigation uncovers hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse in fundamental Baptist churches

A new investigation by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram uncovered hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse against those in the Independent Fundamental Baptist church. Sarah Smith, an investigative reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, joins CBSN to discuss the paper’s findings.

Now, about a bigger Baptist denomination: the Southern Baptist Convention. Founded in 1845 by supporters of slavery in the southern states of the USA who did not like northern Baptists criticizing slavery. With still quite some misogyny and Donald Trump support within this conservative church.

This 11 December 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Houston Chronicle‘s Abuse of Faith: ‘The destruction of innocence’ …

Convicted church leaders describe sexual abuse within Southern Baptist churches. Read ‘Abuse of Faith’, our exclusive investigative series.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Systematic abuse revealed in largest Protestant church in the USA

The management of the Southern Baptist Convention in the United States has promised reforms after revelations about widespread sexual abuse within the Protestant denomination.

The Southern Baptist Convention, with more than 15 million members, is the second largest denomination in the US. The newspapers The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News revealed Sunday that since 1998 more than 380 clergy and volunteers have been accused of abuse.

More than 200 convicted

They are said to have made more than 700 victims, including young children. The victims say that within the church they were not listened to and that the complaints were covered up.

Among the perpetrators are preachers, volunteers, deacons and teachers of Sunday schools. Of the accused, 220 people have been convicted and ninety people are still in prison.

Only now, however, by examining the two newspapers, it only becomes clear how big the scandal is. The journalists collected the data using national and local databases.

Independent churches

The Southern Baptist Convention consists of approximately 47,000 independent churches across the USA. They are free to decide who to appoint. But that the churches are independent does not mean that they do not have to take responsibility, says a leader of the organisation on his own website.

Another cleric says that the leadership should have listened to the warnings about the abuse

Abuse in Roman Catholic Church

At the beginning of this month, the Roman Catholic Church in the state of Texas was also in the news because of a major abuse scandal. The church leadership released the names of 286 clergymen who had sexually abused children.

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest denomination in the United States and has been under fire for abuse.

WOMEN ACCUSE EVANGELICAL PASTOR OF ABUSE Seventeen years ago, two teenagers approached a Southern Baptist church in Indiana with allegations that their youth pastor had used his position of authority to sexually abuse them. They claim they were not listened to. Over the past few days, the women have started speaking up again, now backed by a growing #ChurchToo movement. [HuffPost]

Australian Baptist abuser Vivian Deboo: here.

Donald Trump’s ‘Christian’ theocracy

This 29 November 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

This Year, Maybe Try Putting The ‘Christ’ Back In Christian. Francis Maxwell EXPOSES The Hypocrisy Of Trumpsters Using The Bible Itself.

PRESS SECRETARY: TRUMP SENT BY GOD White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she believed God wanted Trump to become president. “I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times and I think that he wanted Donald Trump to become president,” Sanders said. [HuffPost]

TEACHER: REAL CHRISTIANS SUPPORT TRUMP A substitute teacher in North Carolina is under fire after she reportedly told a class of elementary school students that slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. killed himself. She is also accused of telling the kids that anyone who didn’t support Donald Trump was not a real Christian. [HuffPost]

DC Comics has given up rights to a series featuring Jesus Christ as a superhero’s peace-loving sidekick after receiving heated backlash from conservative Christians.

Sexual abuse and Christian churches

This video from the USA says about itself:

Anti-LGBT Pastor Charged With Child Molestation

29 August 2016

A Florida pastor, who said the Pulse shooting victims got what they deserved, has just been charged with child molestation. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down.

“Kenneth Adkins, a Brunswick pastor in Georgia who doubles as a [Republican party] political consultant in the Jacksonville area, has gotten into his share of controversies and conflicts. But none perhaps as serious as he’s facing now.

Adkins, 56, turned himself over to Glynn County authorities Friday morning on charges of aggravated child molestation and child molestation stemming from allegations made by a young male former member of his congregation.”

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The newspaper is full of stories about sexual abuse in the church. Jenny Schneider-Van Egten (91) was one of the first in the nineteen seventies to start talking about it. …

As a typical pastor’s wife in the Den Dolder village of the seventies, Jenny Schneider-Van Egten gets a visit by a teenage girl. My father is touching me, she says. Pastoral as the Schneider couple are, they invite father, mother and the girl to the presbytery. “It was necessary to talk about that, that was clear to me.”

During the interview, the girl reads a letter about the abuse she has written together with Schneider. Father’s reply is: “Ah, child, I love you, I just wanted to be nice to you. But if you do not like it, then we will not do it any more?” “We solved that well”, Schneider and her husband said to each other that evening.

Years later it turns out to be a naïve assumption. Schneider meets the girl on the street and asks how things are. “The girl stiffened. She told how her father had beaten her up when they got home that night. If you talk about it one more time, he said, then I’ll wring your neck.” Schneider was shocked, but did nothing.

Waking up

“My husband and I have been so wrong in this”, she says. “I did not even know that sexual abuse was illegal. After that time it turned out that the father had also abused his other two daughters. And it was such a model family.”

“In retrospect”, says the 91-year-old woman, “a seed had been planted for the idea that sexual abuse within religious communities must be tackled professionally.” When Schneider visits the church in Den Dolder, she still feels the impotence she felt then. “I did not know then what I know now.”

The life story of Schneider is a small history of the slow awakening of the church concerning sexual abuse. She is one of the women who put the subject on the map: since the 1970s she has committed herself to victims. She was listened to only sparingly for years. …

The [1988] thesis by psychologist Nel Draijer showed that one in six women has been abused by relatives. That caused a social debate that started to penetrate into the churches. …

“A story that has always stayed with me [Schneider] is that of a woman who thought she was lesbian, she discussed it with the preacher, who wanted to test it and raped her, then concluded: “No, you are not lesbian”. ….

Sexual oppression of women, Schneider argued in Trouw in 1989, is partly caused by the prevailing theology which makes women second-class humans. Faith in the all-seeing God who governs everything also works, according to her, towards hesitation in talking. “A girl who was abused wondered why He did not see what my grandfather did to me”, she confided to the reporter.

Schneider did not receive much cooperation from the church in the early nineties with her mission. She was allowed to do lectures. …

Schneider was also invited to the Protestant church at the joint synod of the Lutheran, Dutch Reformed and Reformed Churches. “When I was done, two ministers visited the toilet. A friend heard them talking. ‘Have you ever experienced things like that?’, said one. ‘Oh yes, always those women’, the other responded.”…

The stories she hears show the ignorance of the church about abuse, she thinks. “A woman told how after a long time she finally told the elders of her church about sexual abuse. She had to lie down on her back on a table, because the elders wanted to lay hands on her, as is stated in the Bible. Imagine what happens to you if you have been abused sexually and you then get all those hands on you!”

She also attended a disciplinary procedure with a woman who had been abused during her training to become a pastor by the male preacher who guided her. “This is about power”, she told an elder. “No”, he responded, “we will not discuss that subject here.”

This is still the big problem in the church, says Schneider resolutely. “People do not know how much power they have over the life of the other person. The problem is the self-evidence of power, which is believed to have been given by God. In addition, both families and churches are closed communities.”

Martin Luther’s Reformation and its limits

This 2009 video says about itself:

Reformationists Martin Luther & Thomas Müntzer

Martin Luther (1483-1546) changed the course of Western civilization by initiating the Protestant Reformation. Luther taught that salvation is not from good works, but a free gift of God, received only by grace through faith in Jesus as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority of the pope of the Roman Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge.

Thomas Müntzer (1488-1525) was an early Reformation-era German theologian and Anabaptist. He turned against Luther with several anti-Lutheran writings, and became a rebel leader during the Peasants’ War. In the battle at Frankenhausen, Müntzer and his farmers were defeated. He was captured, tortured and decapitated.

By Jenny Farrell in Britain:

The peasants’ war for a people’s Reformation

Tuesday 31st October 2017

Luther’s opposition to church hierarchy and hypocrisy began something of a class war, writes JENNY FARRELL

ON OCTOBER 31 1517, Martin Luther made public his 95 Theses against the widespread practice of selling indulgences and clerical corruption.

He attacked the Church’s claim to be the sole interpreter of the word and intentions of God and defended ordinary human entitlement to God’s grace without Church involvement.

The Roman Church was the greatest landowner and represented the central force of European feudalism.

Its increasing greed, the ruthless extortion of everybody, including the poor, caused discontent. The sale of indulgences, claiming to ensure clear passage to heaven, were used to finance the upper clergy’s affluent lifestyle and ever more splendid Church buildings. Such plundering deprived all territories of their financial resources and became an obstacle to early capitalist development.

Throughout the late middle ages, opposition to feudalism took the shape of open heresy and armed rebellion from the 14th century. These were class wars despite their religious guise.

One of the most effective heresies that took hold in the rising middle classes was the revival of early Christian teachings, and the demand to eliminate Church hierarchy, including the papacy.

Such radical anti-feudal sentiment could only be expressed in theological terms at the time. From this time stem early translations of the Bible into the native languages of the people empowering them significantly.

Plebeian demands went further. They called for the restoration of early Christian equality of all members of the community — to include civil equality, equity of property of all, and the abolition of ground rents, taxes and privileges.

They articulated the interests of a separate new class in the 14th and 15th centuries, which led to the first major peasant uprisings under the leadership of preachers. John Ball, Wat Tyler and Jack Straw are examples in Britain, Jan Hus in Bohemia and Luther’s contemporary, Thomas Müntzer, in Germany. Tyler was murdered, Ball and Straw executed; Hus was burnt at the stake. Müntzer was decapitated.

Luther’s contemporaries understood his Theses as a break with the Pope and the Church at a time when Germany was ripe for upheaval. He lit the fuse, so-to-speak.

Luther became the protagonist of heresy against the Roman Church and for a short time in history, all oppositional forces rallied around him. His Theses, therefore, mark the Reformation of the Roman Church and constitute historically the first stage of the early bourgeois revolution in Germany.

Luther’s translation of the New Testament from Latin into German in 1522 meant that ordinary people no longer depended on the interpretations of the clergy.

Now, they could read and understand the message of the Bible themselves and reformed preachers held church services in the vernacular. This translation was one of Luther’s lasting contributions. Luther’s writings on usury, his equation of usurer and merchant even earned him the praise of Karl Marx.

Increasingly in 1522/23, conflict arose between the interests of the German propertied patricians, and the dispossessed, marking a second phase in the bourgeois revolution.

Peasant and plebeian demands became the most far-reaching. The two classes that had momentarily identified the same historic opportunity of breaking with feudal control polarised in the early years of the Reformation, and separated.

Each party needed a representative. Luther had to take sides. He claimed he never intended his Reformation of the Church to ignite civil unrest.

As the reformed lesser nobility and the urban middle classes gained power, they rallied around Luther.

Luther dropped those elements of his position that were open to radical interpretation and instead emphasised Bible passages referring to God-ordained authorities and obedience, acceptance of social inequality.

His adversary Thomas Müntzer, on the other hand, attacked all main points of Christianity, preaching a kind of pantheism approaching atheism.

He repudiated the Bible as the only and infallible revelation and stated that reason is the revelation, existing among all peoples at all times.

He concluded that heaven is not of another world, but to be sought in this life, and that it is the task of believers to establish heaven on Earth.

As Múntzer’s religious philosophy approached atheism, so his political programme approached communism.

Müntzer became a leader of the German peasant war of 1524/25, the third stage of the bourgeois revolution.

He is Germany’s most outstanding leader of the people’s Reformation, which went far beyond Luther’s “moderate” bourgeois Reformation, and aimed at the complete abolition of feudal power and exploitation.

The peasants were defeated and slaughtered in enormous numbers. Betrayed by the propertied classes, who no longer felt they needed them to achieve power.

However, a bourgeois nation state was not realised. Germany remained splintered into political fiefdoms for over 300 more years.

PETER FROST reminds us of Martin Luther’s rabid anti-semitism and misogyny. … So should we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of Luther? On balance I don’t think I’ll be doing much cheering myself although I will certainly raise a glass to another clergyman who shares his name, his basic religious beliefs, but not any of his obnoxious prejudices — Martin Luther King.

Church of England rejects homophobic proposal

This video from England says about itself:

15 February 2017

A controversial report on homosexuality and same-sex marriage praised by the Archbishop of Canterbury as a “road map” has been rejected by the Church of England’s General Synod.

Read the full story here.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

LGBT Christians welcome church dismissal of report

Friday 17th February 2017

LGBT Christians have hailed a decision by the Church of England’s ruling body to throw out a controversial report on same-sex marriage as “a victory for love and equality.”

The report by the House of Bishops, presented to the General Synod on Wednesday, had called for the church to adopt a “fresh tone and culture of welcome and support” for gay people.

But crucially it said it should not change its opposition to same-sex marriage and reaffirmed that such unions should not be blessed.

Under the recommendations, marriage would continue as “a union, permanent and life long, of one man with one woman.”

Lucy Gorman, an LGBT activist from York and member of the Church, thanked the Synod for rejecting the report, saying: “With that vote we’ve sent a message to the outside world.”

She said that as a Christian in her twenties she is a “dying breed,” in part because of the Church’s discriminatory approach to LGBT people.

“Most people have a friend or family member who sits somewhere on the gender sexuality spectrum — and why would they become part of an organisation which is seemingly homophobic?”

Jay Greene, from Winchester, who is in a civil partnership, said many were “deeply disappointed” by the report and its “tone of fear.”

More than 400 Church leaders gathered for a “take note” debate on the issue at Church Hall in Westminster, where they voted to symbolically reject the recommendations by 100 votes to 93 with two abstentions.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who urged the Synod to approve the report claiming that it was a good first step for moving forwards, said the church needed a “radical new Christian inclusion.”

Lindis Percy, British Quaker peace activist

This 2014 video from Britain is called My Story: Lindis Percy.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:


Saturday 10th September 2016

Lindis Percy, who is a Quaker, became a peace activist in 1979 when US cruise missiles were installed at Greenham Common in Berkshire.

In more than 35 years as a peace campaigner she has been arrested around 500 times for her activities, mainly for incursions into US and RAF military bases.

“I say that without any pride or pleasure,” she said.

“But once you start asking questions that is what happens.”

In 2003 her picture was flashed around the world when she famously climbed the gates of Buckingham Palace, unfurling a banner in protest against a state visit by then-US president George W Bush. Ms Percy has been employed by the NHS all her working life as a nurse, midwife and health visitor.

For more information visit or

A PEACE campaigner, Lindis Percy, is heading to court next week to challenge the use of draconian laws to prevent weekly protests at a US military base in Yorkshire: here.

Child abuse in the Church of England, update

This video from Britain says about itself:

Church Inquiry Into Bishop Peter Ball Abuse Cover Up

6 October 2015

The Church of England has announced an independent inquiry into allegations of a cover up of sexual abuse in the church, looking at whether the behaviour of a former Bishop of Gloucester, Peter Ball, was overlooked because of his connections within the church and the establishment.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

No end to the Church of England‘s cover-ups

Wednesday 10th August 2015

Covering up historic child abuse is now a permanent feature of the Church of England, says PETER FROST

IN ITS latest cynical attempt to bury bad news, The Church of England published a damning report on the horrific abuse of youngsters at a Church of England children’s home on the same day Theresa May became Prime Minister.

This latest of so many cases of child abuse by bishops, clergy and senior lay staff employed by the church concerns physical and sexual abuse at Kendall House in Gravesend, Kent over a 20-year period.

Vulnerable girls were regularly overmedicated on antipsychotic drugs, locked in isolation rooms, physically abused and even raped.

The Church of England has now issued a “wholehearted apology” following the investigation, which found the response of the dioceses of Rochester and Canterbury “woeful and inadequate.”

“Only the naive will believe this is not an attempt to bury bad news, especially as the Church has form on this,” said Keith Porteous Wood, the executive director of the National Secular Society.

He is just one of the critics who argue the Church should have delayed the publication of such a serious report until after former Home Secretary Theresa May was officially made Prime Minister.

The Church’s concern remains protecting its reputation and pocket, rather than the many victims whose lives have been ruined,” Mr Porteous Wood continued.

This cynical attempt to manage the media echoes the disgraceful attitude of Baroness Butler-Sloss, the retired judge appointed by Theresa May in 2014 to lead a major review of previous child sex abuse allegations. Baroness Butler-Sloss admitted she kept allegations about a bishop out of a report on a paedophile scandal because she “cared about the church.” She once told a victim of alleged abuse by Bishop Peter Ball that she did not want to include the claims because “the press would love a bishop.”

During a meeting at the House of Lords, Lady Butler-Sloss stated that she would “prefer not to refer to him” because he was “very old now” and she wanted the focus of any press coverage to highlight two priests who were prolific abusers – one of whom is dead and the other is in prison.

Only last year, at the age of 83, Bishop Ball dramatically pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office between 1977 and 1992.

In 1993, Bishop Ball failed to get the case thrown out after claiming he accepted a caution for gross indecency on the understanding that he would face no further action.

The then archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey called an official at the Crown Prosecution Service saying: “I was told quite categorically that the other allegations would not be taken further as far as we are concerned.”

This pressure meant that no criminal charges were brought despite two other abuse complaints at the time and warnings that there was sufficient admissible, substantial and reliable evidence for a trial.

One of his alleged victims said: “The Church and the Establishment has colluded in covering up Bishop Ball’s offending at the highest level over very many years.”

Ball — the former Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester and a friend of Prince Charles. After Ball resigned as Bishop of Gloucester following the caution, the Prince of Wales invited him to live in a house owned by the Duchy of Cornwall in Aller, Somerset.

Now the latest damning abuse report on Kendall House has again taken decades to finally come to public attention.

Medicine was distributed by consultant psychiatrist Dr Marenthiran Perinpanayagam, known as Dr Peri, whose drug regime had an “experimental element,” according to the report. Both [supervisor] Law and Perinpanayagam are now dead. The review described Kendall House as “a place where control, containment and sometimes cruelty was normalised.”

“Girls as young as 11 were routinely, and often without any initial medical assessment, given anti­depressants, sedatives and anti­psychotic medication,” the report said.

“Often these drugs were given in dosages which exceeded usual prescribed adult levels.

“This served to control their behaviour, placing them in a constant stupor, restricting their ability to communicate or to learn, or have any personal autonomy.

“These drugs put them at risk of numerous side effects, many of which were distressing. The effects of the drugs also increased their vulnerability to emotional, physical and, in a smaller number of cases, sexual abuse.

“Those that resisted, challenged or overcame the effects of these routinely administered drugs faced sanctions. These included being locked in a room for long periods, and receiving emotionally abusive threats and actions.

“In a number of cases, even the slightest misdemeanours, the typical features of teenagers’ behaviour, were dealt with by physical restraint, sometimes violent, and intramuscular injections of powerfully sedating medication.”

Over the years several Kendall House victims have come forward to complain to the Church, but amazingly numerous clergies up to bishop level have had convenient lapses of memory.

As so often the church has waited until the offending Christians have died or are long retired before issuing belated admissions of guilt and grudging apologies.

British bishop against Donald Trump

Bishop Dr Jo Bailey Wells

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

New bishop ‘will try to stamp out Trump culture’

Saturday 26th March 2016

THE Church of England’s newest Bishop said yesterday she will try to keep “Trump culture” away from Britain.

Reverend Dr Jo Bailey Wells, 50, who was named as the new Bishop of Dorking on Thursday, said she also wanted to “stand against” a culture where people tweeted or blogged without thinking.

Asked about Muslims being made scapegoats by internet trolls, Dr Wells told the Daily Telegraph: “There is a sort of — you might call it a Trump culture.

“I’ve certainly experienced that in America. I would be keen to keep it from our shores.

“But part of the culture is that we now tweet and blog before we speak and think.

“Cyberspace, the blogosphere, has encouraged that kind of behaviour and I think I want to stand against that.”

US presidential candidate Donald Trump has controversially called for a block on Muslims entering the US, mimicked disabled people and claimed parts of London were “so radicalised” that police were “afraid for their own lives.”