Vandals Deface Catholic Church on Ash Wednesday

A Catholic church in Union City was defaced on Ash Wednesday with  spray-painted pentagrams and messages about Satan, vandalism that is being  investigated as a hate crime, police said.

Vandals knocked down a wooden cross outside St. Anne’s Church at Cabello and  Dyer streets and used black spray paint to deface a statue and write on the  church’s exterior walls, police said Thursday.

“Satan,” “Carpe noctem” and a pentagram were drawn on the walls, and spray  paint covered the faces of a statue of Mary and Joseph, police said. Carpe  noctem is Latin for “seize the night.”

Investigators have classified the incident as a hate crime because of the  nature and timing of the vandalism. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, a  period of repentance and moderation for many Christians that precedes  Easter.

“My gut feeling is that it might be local kids,” said police Cmdr. Ben  Horner. “They were going for shock value, and they certainly achieved that.”

He added, “Even gang members leave churches alone.”

St. Anne’s pastor delivered a sermon Wednesday about the value of forgiving  those who harm.

“We need to remember to always counter violence and hatred with love and  compassion,” said the Rev. Geoffrey Baraan.

He said his parishioners had reacted with surprise, sadness and anger to the  vandalism, but not hatred.

A church member has already built an 8-foot wooden cross to replace the one  that was knocked down, Baraan said.




Southern Baptists Offer Churches an Alternative Name

The Southern Baptist Convention, America’s most popular Protestant denomination, decided to not change its name, but let local churches that don’t like the “Southern” label call themselves Great Commission Baptists instead, The Tennessean reported.

Leaders of the Nashville-based denomination decided last year to once again reconsider its name. A task force ultimately recommended it retain its identity as Southern Baptists, despite regional or even racial connotations with that name…

Read on in the Houston Chronicle here.


Bible Archaeology

Noah’s Ark Fraud Report

Over at PaleoBabble:

Dr. Amy Beam was kind enough to email me her report entitled, “The Kurdish Guides and the Noah’s Ark Discovery Fraud.”  Please have a look. It’s a first-hand accounting of certain individuals involved in the hoax.

And for those of you who will reflexively conclude that such exposure of the fraud is about insulting faith, it isn’t.  So please take a breath. From the concluding pages:

A Facebook group was started in September 2011 to investigate the NAMI/MEDIA discovery and demand an audit and accounting from the NAMI/MEDIA leadership. Many church leaders and members worldwide have posted reminders that religious belief is based on faith. It is not necessary to find Noah’s Ark as proof of one’s faith or morality.

There are several film-makers backed by TV stations making documentaries in 2012 of the search for Noah’s Ark and the hoax. Hopefully, some guides will speak publicly so that finally, all of the guides who were innocent victims in this fraud may be relieved of the burden of silence and secrecy.

It is a good report, so give it a read.