A Canadian Pastor Explains Why His Church Dropped Support for Gospel for Asia

Bruce Morrison is a pastor in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada. For 20 years, Morrison’s church supported Gospel for Asia but stopped doing so in April of this year. Now, in a 13 page letter, Morrison details the reasons for ending support and provides insight into his efforts to get answers from GFA.
Morrison’s findings are very similar to my own. While we have spoken some over the past several weeks, Morrison began looking into GFA’s finances about a month before I did. His church dropped support about the time I began writing about GFA and came as the result of his research and efforts to get answers from GFA.
Read Morrison’s letter with the knowledge in mind that his church supported GFA for 20 years. It is hard to believe that a church with that track record would be unable to get basic answers from a mission organization. However, given my experience with GFA, I certainly believe it. The lack of information and answers should be a red flag to current and prospective donors.
Silence is complicity
Morrison writes with concern for other churches. After asserting that “stories of abuse at the hands of spiritual leaders are far more common than they should be,” Morrison writes:

It is with both a sense of reluctance, but also of moral responsibility, that I write this letter to the larger body of Christ. Reluctance – from the unpleasantness of speaking about the need for correction in a Christian ministry, and responsibility – since silence in instances such as I will describe herein is complicity.

If GFA has answers to the issues which Morrison raises, it it beyond my understanding why they have not offered them. Specifically, Morrison wants an explanation of why foreign contributions to India for 2013 in the amount of $43.48 million do not show up in Indian records. He wants to know why over $150 million was sitting in Indian banks at the end of FY 2013. He wants to know if GFA got written permission from donors to bank around $50 million in a corpus fund.  There are many other questions as well.
I encourage readers to read Morrison’s letter to the “larger body of Christ.”
 

Fact Checking Donald Trump's Criticism of John McCain

I like fact checking. I do a fair amount of it here on the blog (for example, yesterday) so I like to read fact checking articles on topics of interest. On such topic for me was Donald Trump’s criticism of John McCain’s record on veterans.
USA Today ran an article a couple of days ago fact checking Trump’s USA Today op-ed defending his criticism of McCain. I link to it here and recommend it to interested readers.
It takes a special kind of hubris to criticize a former POW. Trump is riding high now but he will not be the GOP nominee.
John McCain is up for reelection to the Senate and referred to Trump’s criticism indirectly in a recent support email:

My Friend – 

I’m not a hero, but the great honor of my life was to serve in the company of heroes. 


There is 
nothing that anyone can say to take that away. 

All those who went through the POW experience, and their families who are so proud of their service and sacrifice, deserve the utmost honor and respect. 
To denigrate them is offensive to all who have worn the uniform. 

Anyone who questions their service owes 
a sincere apology to these heroes and their families. 

I have always been proud to stand up for our nation’s veterans and active duty armed forces. They represent the best of our nation – our bravest and finest. America’s veterans need our support, and addressing their concerns will always be among my top priorities in the Senate. 


As I face a tough campaign for reelection, I need to know if I can count on your support. 

I agree. Trump should apologize.
Meanwhile, can there be any doubt that the biggest benefactor of the Trump phenomenon is Hillary Clinton? Trump is still leading the GOP field but it is early and he may suffer from his mouth.

Gospel for Asia's Auditor Retains Attorney for Some Reason

This is getting interesting.
On Tuesday afternoon, I contacted Bland Garvey, the accounting firm which did Gospel for Asia’s 2013 audit. I wanted to know if BG had been retained to do GFA’s 2014 audit and perhaps learn why the audit is not out yet. As I understand it, GFA has to turn in an audited financial statement by July 31 to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability as a part of the requirements for membership. GFA is a charter member of ECFA. GFA has been referring to the organization’s membership in ECFA as a means of deflecting questions unaccounted for funds and so it is probably important to protect that membership.
When I called BG, I was referred to attorney Gary Kessler. I called and wrote Attorney Kessler with the following questions:

Is Bland Garvey doing the 2014 audit for Gospel for Asia? If not, why not?
If so, will BG correct the misstatements from the 2013 audit that GFA-US only gave money to GFA India and several other GFAs in Asia when in fact GFA-US also gave money to three other NGOs?
The amount of money GFA said they donated to GFA-India is millions more than what GFA-India reported to the Indian govt. Will BG mention this discrepancy?
Last years audit was complete by June 13; this years is much later. If BG is doing the audit then why has this audit been delayed.

He wrote back with the following:

Mr. Throckmorton,
Applicable law prevents a CPA from communicating the information you requested. I advise you to contact Gospel For Asia and obtain the information you seek.
Thank you.
Gary

I wrote back asking for citation of TX law that forbids BG from acknowledging their auditing relationship with GFA and asked if he was representing BG in any litigation. He wrote back to say:

Please contact Gospel for Asia for any information you desire regarding the organization. I will not be responding to any more of your requests.
Thank you.
Gary

And so Mr. Kessler joined a growing list of people from Texas who don’t want to talk to me.
Having looked at the CPA law, I can understand why BG cannot address all of my questions. However, just telling me that they are doing GFA’s audit isn’t as clear cut to me. According to TX law, if BG has told the anyone in the public that GFA is an audit client, then they are not required to withhold information. See this clause:

The provisions contained in subsection (a) of this section do not prohibit the disclosure of information already made public, including information disclosed to others not having a confidential communications relationship with the client or authorized representative of the client.

I already know BG did the 2013 audit so I know there was a relationship. And it is possible that others not now affiliated with GFA know if BG is auditing the books. This should be known soon enough because that audit should be available to the public if GFA wants to remain a member of ECFA. That is, of course, unless ECFA gives GFA a pass. Hopefully, then we will know if GFA corrects the misstatements in the 2013 audit.
What puzzles me is why BG didn’t just tell me that but instead referred me to an attorney who in turn referred me to GFA.
 

David Barton: Churches Are Required to Hire Pedophiles to Run Church Nurseries

On Tuesday, David Barton appeared on Missions Radio (click link for entire program), a podcast hosted by Kenneth Mitchell. The topics were mostly current events and Barton’s analysis of them. As with his history, his analysis of current events is also off the mark. In this clip, Barton claims churches have to hire pedophiles to run their nurseries.

Transcript:

Then, Congress has passed what’s called ENDA, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, passed this in ’06 under Pelosi and Reid and at that point in time, it says you cannot discriminate on the basis of hiring.
As a result, the president has now announced that faith based groups have to hire homosexuals; not an option, you have to because federal law says you cannot discriminate on the basis of identity. So if a pedophile comes to the church and says I want to run your nursery, you can’t say no because that’s discriminating on the basis of identity. If a homosexual comes and says I want to be your youth director and you say no, you can’t do that, you can’t distinguish on the basis of gender.
And in the same way as came out at the Supreme Court, back 25 years ago when the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was wrong, and you had a Christian college, Bob Jones that says we’re still going to do it in dating and interracial marriage, etc., they lost the tax exempt status because they wouldn’t comply with the Supreme Court decision. Well now the Supreme Court says you can’t distinguish on the basis of gender but only on identity, guess what? That calls into qu…and that’s what Obama’s attorney said, it will call into question every single tax exemption in America for every church. I guarantee you that people who thought same-sex marriage was for equality didn’t intend to destroy all the church in America. And that’s what it does.

No. Just no.
Barton is completely wrong about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. It never passed both houses of Congress during the same session, and it is not law today. It was not introduced in the 109th Congress (2005-2007). As an aside, the House speaker during that Congress was Dennis Hastert and the Senate president was Dick Cheney.  ENDA passed the House in the next Congress but not the Senate. Another version of the legislation passed the Senate in 2013 but not the House (see this timeline).
Barton told Mitchell’s audience that President Obama’s executive order forbidding discrimination by federal contractors came “as a result” of ENDA. Not so. Barton claims faith based groups have to hire homosexuals. However, this order only applies to federal contractors not all faith based groups. Then he uncorked a doozy by claiming that churches have to hire pedophiles who want to run church nurseries. Of course, this is ridiculous fear mongering.
Stop a minute to think about that claim. Anyone who has any knowledge of church work or volunteer work with children knows Barton’s claim is ridiculous. In many schools, you can’t volunteer to accompany your child’s classroom on a field trip without criminal and child abuse clearances. In recent years, churches have been required by liability insurers to screen all volunteers before working with children. Barton’s claims are absurd and irresponsible.
On the claim that a church has to hire an openly gay applicant, Barton offers no evidence. I know of no case where a non-gay-affirming church was required to hire a gay person for a religious function. Churches discriminate on the basis of religion all the time by hiring only those who agree on even fine points of doctrine. Many churches also discriminate on the basis of gender by not hiring women for certain functions. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance makes it clear that “governmental regulation of church administration, including the appointment of clergy, impedes the free exercise of religion and constitutes impermissible government entanglement with church authority. The exception applies only to employees who perform essentially religious functions, namely those whose primary duties consist of engaging in church governance, supervising a religious order, or conducting religious ritual, worship, or instruction.” Clearly, youth directing is an essentially religious function. 
In the last paragraph above, Barton refers to concerns that religious colleges might be required to treat same-sex unions as they do male-female marriages now. There is basis for this topic but Barton stretches the matter to include churches. The solicitor general Donald Verilli addressed this matter in a famous exchange with Justice Alito during oral arguments on Obergefell v. Hodges. Justice Alito asked Verilli if a college opposed same-sex marriage would that college suffer the same fate as Bob Jones University who maintained discriminatory policies based on race. Verilli acknowledged that such questions could come up if a right to same-sex marriage was recognized. However, Alito and Verilli did not discuss churches, as Barton implies.  Verilli didn’t say a favorable same-sex marriage decision would “call into question every single tax exemption in America for every church” or anything close to it.
For the most part, colleges are places of public accommodation and already operate under federal guidelines when it comes to employment and other civil rights. As Verilli replied to Alito, the question can’t be answered without knowing the specific facts. Some schools may have a better case for allowing discrimination based on sexual orientation than others. However, the issue was never the free exercise of religion by churches. In this context, it would be good to recall Justice Kennedy’s words on the matter:

Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.

With uninformed pundits like Barton headlining church conferences, no wonder many evangelicals are worried the sky is falling.  I hope Mr. Mitchell will consider giving equal time or at least informing his listeners that Barton was wrong and the First Amendment still exists in America.

Mark Driscoll Protested at Hillsong Conference

Not many showed up but a few passed out flyers and tried to make an issue of Mark Driscoll at the Hillsong London conference earlier today. Some pics from organizer Natalie Collins are available via this tweet:


You can also take in the twitter feed here.

Faith Christian Church Student Groups Cleared by University of Arizona, Banned by UA Religious Council, Looking for New Home

The Arizona Daily Star is reporting that the Faith Christian Church, accused of being a cult by former members, is now without a building for services. The Star also disclosed that the University of Arizona found no violations of the student conduct code in the operation of FCC’s student groups on campus. The action by UA doesn’t relate to the church nor does it prevent the school’s University Religious Council from keeping the church’s student groups from membership.
In March, Tucson, AZ church Faith Christian Church was rocked by allegations that church leaders encourage spanking of infants and practice coercive cult-like control over member’s personal lives and finances. FCC runs three student groups on the UA campus where many of FCC members begin their relationship with the church. FCC boasted membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability but later dropped membership amid an ECFA investigation. ECFA never released results of that inquiry.  Former members were disillusioned by the lack of transparency.
Now the church will no longer meet in Amphitheater High School following a school district investigation into the church.
As pointed out in the Star article, students might wonder why the UA cleared FCC’s student groups while the URC removed them from membership. I asked URC spokeswoman Michelle Blumenberg about the apparent discrepancy. She told me:

The standards are different for a public university than for our organization. Because we are a member organization we hold our members to a higher standard, and it is one which all organizations agree upon when they are accepted for membership.  Organizations need to go through an application and voting process in order to join the URC.

FCC’s groups were voted out by the religious council last year. This year the organization’s membership directory connects the ban to characteristics of a cult.
 
UArevokesMemberFCC
 
On the back of the directory page are these warnings:
UAIRCWarnings
 

Breaking: Pakistani Supreme Court Stays the Execution of Asia Bibi

FreeAsiaBibiPakistani journalists are tweeting that Asia Bibi’s execution has been stayed. See below:


Ajmal Jami is a correspondent for Dunyan News.
I will add details and additional confirmation as it becomes available. Here is another news report about the stay of execution. And this from Dawn News also confirms the news. It doesn’t appear that Bibi is completely out of the woods but she has a stay on her sentence as of now.


For background, see this link
.

C'mon Gospel for Asia, Let's Talk

On May 7, 2015 Gospel for Asia’s Chief Operating Officer David Carroll told me he would no longer answer any more of my questions. Leading up to that email was my question about why funds given and reported outside of India didn’t show up in Indian records. Specifically at that time, I asked about the funds (15 million Canadian dollars) declared in Canada as being sent to India in 2013 but never reported as being contributed from a foreign source as required by Indian law (I later wrote about that discrepancy). My email from May 5 was as follows:

David – I have reviewed some information available to Canadians regarding charities. In the year most recently available, filings with the Canadian govt. show 15million to India.
In the same year in India, govt forms show nothing came in from Canada.
Can you account for this discrepancy? I intend to write about this tomorrow afternoon.
Thank you, Warren

On May 6, Carroll wrote back:

Good morning, Mr. Throckmorton,
The Canadian funds were combined with U.S. funds by our auditor in India for various accounting reasons. There is no requirement that they be reported separately.
Thank you.
David

That same day, I wrote back with follow up questions and a request for information.

David – Can you provide contact information for your auditor in India? This combination of funds appears to be in violation of Canadian law, and possibly Indian law, according to my sources. I would like to understand the auditor’s rationale for believing there is no rationale for these sources to be reported separately.
Thanks, Warren

On May 7, Carroll cut off contact.

Warren,
No, Gospel for Asia has not violated the law.
When you first contacted us, I mentioned that we would not be able to respond to every question you put before us. Now, with the increased volume and frequency of your questions, it has become clear that this back and forth has become a distraction from our mission work. For this reason, this will be my final response. We understand that you will continue to explore issues around Gospel for Asia and continue to be fed accusations from former employees, and we accept that.
We continue to remain accountable to all applicable laws and regulations, to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and to independent auditors.
Sincerely,
David

In my post on the Canadian funds, I made sure GFA’s position was included. I would have included more if GFA had provided it. Instead I got my hand smacked and was sent to time out.
I have written GFA several times since then. I have addressed correspondence to Carroll, John Beers, and K.P. Yohannan. I have sent some of the emails to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. No answers.
In light of my efforts to get answers from GFA, imagine my surprise when I heard from former donors that GFA is saying they tried to work with me but have been advised by their financial consultants (?) not to talk to me. I wrote David Carroll yesterday to ask him if GFA reps are telling donors that GFA tried to work with me. Apparently still taking his financial consultants’ advise, there has been no reply.
GFA, according to several former donors, you are telling them that the reason you can’t disclose answers to the question posed here is because I am asking about funds going to high risk areas for persecution.  We both know that isn’t a plausible answer since no identities or activities would be disclosed by answers to the questions I have asked.
GFA, if you are telling donors that you have tried to work with me, please stop. We both know better. I am willing to look at any new information you provide. You know it isn’t just me asking these questions. Pastors are asking, donors are asking, staff are asking, former staff are asking. If you really want to work with me, you have my contact information.
The following issues would be a good start:

In Second Planned Parenthood Sting Video, PP Executive Appears to Negotiate Tissue Prices (Full Video)

Full video at the end of the post.
In the mean time, here is the second sting video dropped by Center for Medical Progress which is designed to bring attention to Planned Parenthood’s policies and practices related to organ and tissue donation and/or sale.
[youtube]https://youtu.be/MjCs_gvImyw[/youtube]
I will reserve comment on this video until I see the uncut footage.
In the mean time, comments are welcome but name-calling and disrespectful comments will be deleted. Discuss the video, the full version, the ethics of secret recording, the ethics of donating and/or selling tissue and other issues. I don’t mind expressions of support for abortion or opposition to it if done without demonizing those who think differently.
Full video:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwAGsjoorvk[/youtube]

Prayers for Asia Bibi; Appeal Set for July 22

FreeAsiaBibiAccording to this Christian Today report, Christian housewife and mother Asia Bibi has one more chance for freedom. See also this report from the British-Pakistani Christian Association which provided the basis for the CT report.
Even if she is released, there are reports of a $5000 bounty for her life.
I recall many efforts to secure her freedom, from a British legislator to the mayor of Paris to the Pope.
Islamabad, Pakistan is nine hours ahead of us so it will be Wednesday very soon. Join me in praying for Bibi’s release and safety.