Sean the Blogonaut has been doing a tremendous job keeping us all up to date on the Mercy Ministries story. For those of you not in the know see below for a brief synopsis. Anyway Sean has opened his blog to raise the profile of the girls adversely affected by the Mercy Ministries program. His proposal is to allow the survivors to guest post on his blog.
If you are a survivor or know someone who is, or are interested in providing any ‘insider information’ on Mercy Ministries please contact Sean. Details are in this post on his blog.
Mercy Ministries, the story so far:
Mercy Ministries, which has strong ties to both Hillsong church and Gloria Jeans coffee, runs centres that supposedly help young women with various problems ranging from teenage pregnancies, alcohol and drug abuse, self harm, depression, suicidal thoughts and eating disorders. However, some of their tactics are rather dubious and include prayer and exorcisms.
A couple of weeks ago newspapers broke the story of several girls who had been traumatised by the, so called, help from Mercy Ministries, this is one of those stories.
The media and several bloggers latched onto the story, and Gloria Jeans tried to distance themselves from both Mercy and Hillsong; and Hillsong tried to distance themselves from Mercy. Investigations (read through the many posts and links on Seans Blog) have shown that Gloria, Mercy and Hillsong are quite involved with each other. In fact, Senator Allison put a motion through Parliament to have the dealings of Mercy investigated, unfortunately the right wing religious Liberal party members managed to defeat the motion.
Currently there are only two of these Mercy places in Australia, but they are planning to expand. Pressure needs to be put on Mercy, Hillsong, and to a smaller extent Gloria’s, to at least fix their current problems before opening any more places.
Austin Cline from atheism.about.com has created some Christian Propaganda Pictures in the style of those old WWI/WWII posters.
As Austin says:
As outrageous as the Christian Right’s overall agenda is, their specific arguments and beliefs can be worse.
The idea behind developing these posters was to satirise the beliefs of the Christian Right. These might be funny if you didn’t realise some people actually think this way!
Here’s a few of my favourites:
It’s interesting that the more countries worry about terrorists, the more they imprison their own people.
What are the religious really worried about? Like, they are so out-numbered … Not.
Back to the propaganda pictures, the OH will love this one … Not.
Fortunately not all religious groups expound this principle.
For the whole set (41 pictures) with explanations behind the idea in the poster, plus a brief description of the original poster, check out Austin’s Christian Propaganda Posters.
Hat Tip to Friendly Atheist
The SMH has two articles today on the Twelve Tribes religious sect (or should that be cult?) and how they may be trying to woo recruits at their Common Ground cafe at the Royal Easter Show.
Now I’ll admit I’ve never heard of this sect before, but the second article raises some concerns. The article discusses how children as young as two have been spanked, with a “reed-like stick” up to 60 times in one day. It also mentions how workers work up to 20 hours a day for no pay:
Sometimes you were working 20-hour days, for no pay. There’s plenty of money coming in, but no one who works there ever sees any of it.”
Hmm, a religious sect making lots of money off the members who don’t see any benefits of it, and the leader(s) leading an extravagant lifestyle. Where have I heard that before?
This says it all
But questioning the elders was also strictly prohibited. “We were told that reasoning was the same sin as witchcraft,” he says.
How odd, a religious sect that doesn’t want their followers to reason.
PZ Myers, writer of the Pharyngula blog, was literally expelled from a screening of the creationist propaganda movie, Expelled. That in itself is fairly funny, but the real laugh is that they allowed his wife, daughter and guest in. His guest:
Whole heartedly agree with what Greta Christina (NSFW) said:
The creationist movement: stifling debate, and doing it incompetently.
The full story from PZ is here, looking forward to the follow up from PZ and Richard.
Kristine from Amused Muse was at the screening and has a few things to add, including a photo.
PZ Myers’ latest blog explains things a bit more.
Two authors have accused the Vatican of having their novel blacklisted in Italy. The historical novel Imprimatur, which will be published in Australia in May, suggests a 17th century Pope had funded the Protestant hero William III.
The authors claim that documents found in the Vatican secret archive and the Italian state archives suggest William III received a huge sum of money from Rome.
I guess the Vatican doesn’t like the idea that one of their Popes supported a Protestant heretic? However, that is no excuse for censorship.
but I can see some members of the community having a problem with this new offering:
Thanks to Friendly Atheist for this find.
I’ve known for a while that Gloria Jean’s coffee franchises were linked to Hillsong Church, and that was enough for me to stop buying their coffee (not to mention it was massed produced, often weak and poorly made, with no service and usually served in a paper cup). Thanks to the AFA and SPA forums and Sean’s blog, I have now found out that they also support the Mercy Ministries.
The Mercy Ministries sounds all very nice – helping women with various emotional problems – unfortunately most of that help seems to be getting them to pray and trying to exorcise Satan from them.
There are plenty of us discussing this dilemma and I think Sean’s two articles, mercy mercy and here cometh the pain and their associated links will provide you with all the information you need.
All I ask is for you read the various articles in the Age and SMH and then, if like me you see a problem, boycott Gloria Jean’s and ask friends and relatives to do like wise.
Both Gloria Jean’s and Mercy Ministries have posted rebuttals to today’s revelations. Interestingly Gloria Jean’s states
We have no relationship with the Hillsong Church.
however type gloria jean’s (or jeans) hillsong into google and you’ll get thousands of hits including many that state the Australian founders are Hillsong members. And the fact the Mercy Ministries is directly associated with Hillsong, to me, if you are supporting Mercy you are at least condoning Hillsong?
More to follow:
Filed under atheism, atheist