Mixed Donation Allocation Signals from Mercury One

Tuesday, I wrote about changes in the donation allocation at Mercury One. The Texas-based charity was founded by Glenn Beck with David Barton as the current chair of the board of directors. After years of allowing donors to focus their giving to a particular cause (e.g., disaster relief, helping refugees or even the general administration of the charity), Mercury One announced on their blog that all donations from now on would go into one fund:

Beginning in March 2017, Mercury One is streamlining the way we receive and allocate donations. Now, all gifts will go directly to Mercury One. We want to be able to respond more swiftly, and to do this, we are consolidating future gifts to a single account so we can be more nimble and react immediately when a need arises.

Despite this posting, Mercury One has not eliminated solicitations for giving to specific causes. For instance, when you land on the Mercury One website, at the very top of the page, there is a button that when clicked takes you to another website soliciting donations for “The Nazarene Fund.”
Merc One with Naz button sm
Up until recently, that fund has been dedicated to rescue and restoration of refugees. I asked Mercury One how much money was left in that fund but I did not get a reply.
Just a few days ago, a donor landing on Thenazarenefund.org and then scrolling toward the bottom of the page would find an image with Nazarene Fund t-shirts and a caption that reads “All proceeds go to the Nazarene Fund.”
Naz Fund Proceeds benefit
Now, the same images are there but with a different caption:
Naz fund proceeds benefit MO
While it is good that the caption has changed, it seems odd that the Nazarene Fund page is still active. Is there a dedicated Nazarene Fund or not? According to the new donation allocation policy, there is only one account. However, having a page advertising specific activities associated with a specific fund implies that donations to that page will go toward the purposes of that fund. If the new policy is truly in effect, then donations made from the Nazarene Fund page could actually go to some other purpose.  The longer this stays up, the more likely it is that donors could question how donations given as a response to this solicitation have been used.

Gospel for Asia Founder K.P. Yohannan Gives the Gift of Worship on His Birthday; Hand Kissing Too

Happy Founders Day!
Forgive the late wish for a happy Founder’s Day. In the Believers’ Church, K.P. Yohannan’s birthday is considered a special day and singled out for celebration.

Founder’s Day

[March 8]

This is the Birthday of our Metropolitan. On this day, the Church shall organize compassion ministries such as providing food for the poor and beggars, social work, gift distribution to the poor and downtrodden, etc. These activities fulfill the dream of our Metropolitan to love others as Jesus loved us.

In addition to the social work, the birthday celebration video slips in a little self-worship to the festivities.  Watch the Believers’ Church television tribute to the founder of Gospel for Asia, His Eminence the Most Reverend Metropolitan Dr. K.P. Yohannan. From the Athmeeyayathra Television Facebook page:

Ring Kissing or No?
Remember the controversy over ring kissing in the Believers’ Church? One of the original complaints of former GFA staffers related to the undue reverence given to Yohannan as illustrated by the custom of kissing Yohannan’s ring. Yohannan not only denied that it was a part of his experience in India, he said he never saw it happen. Then video surfaced of newly initiated pastors kissing Yohannan’s ring.
Now in this video, we can see that at least some of his admirers continue to practice ring kissing (or at least hand kissing).

Admirer kissing the hand of K.P. Yohannan. From his 2017 birthday video.
Admirer kissing the hand of K.P. Yohannan. From his 2017 birthday video.

For GFA supporters who claim Believers’ Church is evangelical like Calvary Chapels here in the United States, videos like this must be hard to integrate into their GFA narrative. In any case, donors need to understand that when they give to GFA, they are supporting this field partner in India.

Eric Metaxas Stands By Ecclesia College President Indicted in Arkansas Kickback Scheme

Earlier today, popular Christian author Eric Metaxas posted on the Ecclesia College Facebook page and tweeted his support for embattled Ecclesia College president Oren Paris III. On March 2, Paris was indicted for fraud in connection with a kickback scheme which had already taken down an Arkansas state representative. In January, Micah Neal pleaded guilty to fraud and allegedly accepting bribes from Paris. Despite Rep. Neal’s admission of guilt, Paris has repeatedly denied any wrong doing.
On Facebook, Metaxas wrote:

Praying for Oren Paris and the Ecclesia Family. They are some of the most honorable people I know, so expecting great things in the end!

Later, Metaxas tweeted:


Metaxas is listed on the Ecclesia College website as a member of the Board of Regents. Although three members of the Board of Regents didn’t even know they were on the board, apparently Metaxas has embraced Paris and the college.
Read the indictment of Paris and State Senator Jon Woods here.
According to the indictement, Paris sought to enrich himself, his family and Ecclesia College by paying bribes to Sen. Woods and Rep. Neal. In exchange for the kickback payments, those legislators agreed to funnel state discretionary funds to Ecclesia College.

Purpose AR Bribes
From the federal indictment of Jon Woods and Oren Paris

How to Use Bad Situations to Teach Good Lessons – David Barton's The Jefferson Lies in Foundations of History

Cover of Getting Jefferson Right, used by permission
Cover of Getting Jefferson Right, used by permission

Most of my professor colleagues use negative events in the news to teach various lessons. For instance, I have used Mark Driscoll’s plagiarism to teach my students about plagiarism. I feel sure many profs have used Monica Crowley’s plagiarism to teach about that subject. I also refer to David Barton’s faux doctorate to help my students understand how to simulate expertise.
With this post, I hope to start a series of occasional articles which illustrate how one may turn a negative situation into a good lesson. The first contributor is Robert Clemm, Associate Professor of History at Grove City College. The event Rob uses to teach good lessons is the removal from publication of David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies. Below, Rob answers my questions about how he uses The Jefferson Lies to teach good history lessons.

WT: In what course is the activity used?
RC: I incorporate David Barton, and The Jefferson Lies debate, into my Foundations of History course. This is a course that is designed for non-majors at an introductory level but is, in reality, more of a “low-level historiography” course as I’ve never been able to conceive of any other way of teaching it. I broadly divide the class into thirds. The first third is an exploration of how historians view themselves and their discipline utilizing John Lewis Gaddis’ The Landscape of History. The second “third” is the historiography and methodology section in which they read through John H. Arnold’s History: A Very Short Introduction, as well as major figures (Herodotus, Thucydides, Bede) in the development of history. The last third is a “where history is going” section in which we discuss newer (post-1950) approaches towards history such as Gender, Oral, Material Culture, and Digital History.
Barton is integrated into the course at the tail end of my second “third” of the course. After the students have gone through the historiography section, to the point at which Leopold von Ranke seems to establish the “model” for how historians works, Arnold’s book continues by assessing some of the difficulties historians face in interpreting and writing about the past. After they have finished with his book I wanted to try to give them a few opportunities to wrestle with the difficulties of history and apply some of what they had learned. This is also a bit of a skill-based approach as their final paper is an assessment of the work of a historian and I try to give them a few weeks to practice that sort of assessment in a class context. During the shorter week we always have due to break, I have them read and assess a chapter from [Larry Schweikart’s] A Patriot’s History of the United States and [Howard Zinn’s] A People’s History of the United States. Coming back to back, students are really able to see the contrast between two ‘textbooks’ that might as well be describing two different planets for as much as their books have in common. I’ve found that to be a very eye-opening exercise to many students given that they tend to associate any textbook they are given as being near holy writ in terms of truthfulness. I also find that this exercise, which underscores the power of interpretation by historians of the past, paves the way for them to be more receptive to an analysis of David Barton.
WT: Describe the activity.
RC: After the short week, I then spend a whole week (M-W-F classes) on David Barton in the following manner. On Monday I introduce David Barton and pitch him to about as high as I possibly can. In his commitment to primary sources, I describe him as a modern-day antiquarian and in his desire to challenge conventional/received wisdom, I liken him to Thucydides. I may lay it on a bit thick, but generally I’m trying to present him in the best of all possible lights for my students. I’m helped that most of my “lecture” consists of two long interviews David Barton had with Glenn Beck. Not only does this allow Barton to be presented “in his own words,” literally in this case, he also presents most of his main arguments in The Jefferson Lies. To be honest, I intend this day to be a bit of a “set-up” for my students. I’ve had several students, at the end of the week, relate they had been excited about his work and told friends about what they were learning which is precisely my goal for that day.
On Wednesday, I have invited Michael Coulter, your co-author [Getting Jefferson Right], to come speak to my class. He has graciously done this going on 5 years now, and I do appreciate his willingness to do so. Given that on Monday I praised Barton to the heavens I think it is helpful to hear from someone else in providing a contrary voice. In this class I introduce Dr. Coulter and let him speak about his experience with The Jefferson Lies and writing Getting Jefferson Right. He tends to open by describing where he was when he heard Barton’s book had been pulled by Thomas Nelson – I believe he was helping someone paint a room? – and then backtracks through the book itself. In doing so he tends to hit on problems/critiques of points Barton had raised with Beck, but also highlights other issues such as his obfuscation of the slave laws of Virginia through ellipses. As he is lecturing, I tend to just sit back and ‘enjoy’ watching my students suffer a small version of intellectual whiplash.
I also appreciate that he highlights for the students that this is not a mere academic squabble but one Barton has largely brought on himself by claiming to be the Christian historian against which we should all be measured. As Dr. Coulter has said numerous times in my class, by claiming that mantle he is calling into question the work of hundreds of historians, Christian and otherwise, and almost suggesting he is some neo-Gnostic with the keys to the truth of history. In constructing this week, therefore, I spend Monday “teeing up” the class for Michael and on Wednesday he knocks them straight towards confusion. After Wednesday’s class I send them a few links regarding the debate over pulling the books, some from his defenders and some from detractors.
On Friday we discuss not so much The Jefferson Lies itself but the debate surrounding it and whether or not Barton and his defenders had responded as befits being a part of the historical discipline. Given that one defender titled his work “Attacks on David Barton Same as Tactics of Saul Alinsky” and World Net Daily sums up the controversy as “The Anatomy of an American Book Banning” students generally agree that Barton failed to live up to proper historical standards.
WT: What lessons/objectives do you hope to teach with the activity?
RC: I use this week to try and accomplish a diverse number of objectives.
First, I hope that it helps students truly understand that history is a process and a debate. While they may have read that in Arnold’s work, and seen it on display in terms of the contrast between A Patriot’s and A People’s History, I think it is this week that really helps students understand why historians can get animated about a historical debate. Given that so nearly all the students are non-majors, I assume most of them come in with the sense that to choose to be a historian one must be a bit addled. Frankly don’t we know everything that happened? As one colleague commonly greets me in jest, “So, what’s new in history?” I think in discussing the debate over The Jefferson Lies they start to see why historians are passionate about their subject and discipline. In David Barton, so many of us see a charlatan who is not simply misappropriating the past for his own purposes, but also is misusing our entire field as a way of building a following. As they grapple with the implications of the debate I think they become invested as well and get a sense of why historians care so much about their subject as much as David Barton.
Second, I want them to recognize how a historical argument should go which is, frankly, the opposite of what has occurred with Barton and his book. I actually never make a categorical judgment on Barton’s book, telling my students that if they want to have an informed opinion they should read David Barton’s book and yours and then come to their own conclusion in light of the knowledge gained in the course. What I find much more valuable is helping them see why the debate over Barton’s book has “gone off the rails” and doesn’t fit with how historians should engage with one another. Engaging in ad hominem attacks, such as suggesting that you (Dr. Throckmorton) can’t have a valid critique because you aren’t a historian, has no place in how historians should undertake a common search for greater truth. I also highlight, since the debate over the book has become so politicized, that I never once complemented a student in that course for having the “proper Conservative answer” or the “proper Democratic question.” Barton complains endlessly about how he has been attacked by people who had been on “our team” [see the video below] and I instead point out that the only ‘team’ in history is the one trying to discover the truth.
Lastly, I want my students to recognize how historians have a true duty to the general public to present their best work by the standards of the discipline. In many ways this is the week that answers an implicit question as to why Arnold and Gaddis wrote so stridently about historians being humble in their search for the truth and to be constantly “tethered to and disciplined by the sources.” If previously they had thought all of that concern was academics trying to justify their existence, I think it comes home a bit more for them this week. It perhaps comes out most strongly if some students speak up for Barton’s defense and say that the book should have been left on the shelves in the “free market of ideas” so as to let the people decide. While the “marketplace of ideas” sounds good, I tend to press why it is insufficient. It’s a testament to the quality of our students that I don’t tend to have to spell out the answer. Invariably another student highlights how readers place their implicit trust in a historian that they have practiced good scholarship and will never go and check the veracity of someone’s footnotes. Students grasp that historians have to do the careful and dutiful work when in the archives and writing because what we present is trusted by those that read it. We have, in some regard, a trust with the general public that we need to uphold. When we fail to do that, as Barton has with The Jefferson Lies, we violate an implicit contract and cannot move the goalposts in suggesting the public should read it and make up their own minds. While it sounds wonderfully democratic, students realize it’s a sweet-sounding justification for passing off faulty scholarship.
WT: How is the activity received in class?
RC: I think overall it is the best week of the course. Our discussion on Friday tends to be one of the most animated of the course as students have, over the previous two classes, been primed to want to express their own opinion about the book and the controversy.
Beyond content I think it resonates because it comes at a point at the course when they realize they can critique historians and their works at a deeper level than they would have thought at the beginning of the semester. By that point they are aware of the nature of the historical discipline, how it developed, and some of the difficult balances historians have to strike between the reality of the past and representing it in their own work. After a week seeing the differences in American history, with A People’s History and A Patriot’s History, this gives them an opportunity to truly wrestle with questions of responsibility and interpretation. Given that I start the course by asking them why I even have a job when Wikipedia exists, I think it “clicks” for them that history is as much a matter of interpretation as a compendium of facts.
WT: Any other comments or reflections on using bad history to teach good history?
RC: At this point I will continue to use David Barton as I think his work, and the debate surrounding it, truly gets at a number of points I don’t think I could express as easily with any other topic. I also don’t think anyone should feel concerned about students picking up bad habits since Barton and his defenders are so over the top – one student during a discussion asked “Does he know he’s arguing like a 5th grader?” – that it really grates on them regardless of their opinion of the content of his book.
My biggest surprise so far – and perhaps this speaks to your question – is that I’ve never had a defender/acolyte of Barton prepared to go 10 rounds defending him. Now, this could be for any number of reasons; self-selection by students, fear of ‘fighting’ the professor, or simply a desire not to speak in class. At the same time my hope is that students, when confronted with the facts of the Barton controversy, recognize the problems he poses and tend to agree with the critiques. For those concerned that simply presenting bad history might ‘corrupt’ their students, I think that this exercise proves that fear is unfounded. Even with a student body that might be more receptive than the norm to the conclusions of Barton’s work, if not his methods, they seem more than able to separate that from the justified historical critiques of his work.

This is the video that Dr. Clemm shows where Barton attacks me on issues other than history.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni-LLnloEJQ[/youtube]
Many thanks to Dr. Clemm for sharing this activity.

Changes at Mercury One: Should Donors Be Concerned?

naz sign
Nazarene sign used by Mercury One to designate the Nazarene Fund

Mercury One is a non-profit humanitarian organization founded by Glenn Beck about five years ago. The main thrusts of the organization have been education, disaster relief, veteran assistance, and humanitarian assistance to refugees. As a part of Mercury One’s mission, the Nazarene Fund was created to fund the rescue of Christians refugees from ISIS held territories. If the reports of rescues and refugees restored to safe places are accurate, Mercury One has performed a valuable service within a short period of time.
However, there have been some red flags along the way. In the past, Mercury One has reported grants of $100,000 (2013) and $104,000 (2014) to David Barton’s Wallbuilders organization. In 2014, the stated reason for the grant was “to provide help and resources to individuals affected by unforeseen disasters.” (see the 2014 990 on page 82). It isn’t clear at all what disaster relief they supplied to anyone.
Furthermore, what makes the grants of concern is that David Barton is the chair of the board of Mercury One. He oversaw the granting of $204,000 to himself via his position at Mercury One. As I have written in the past, donors who hoped their funds would go to actual disaster relief may be surprised to learn that a large sum of money didn’t go there.
Notice of Donation Allocation
Now Mercury One is changing the way they treat donations. According to a March 13 post on their website, Mercury One will no longer take restricted donations. They want donors to simply give to Mercury One without restriction on how the funds can be spent. Previously, donors could designate funds to humanitarian relief efforts, educational efforts, refugee rescue and resettlement, or for a general fund (to cover administrative expenses). While many charities prefer unrestricted gifts, the rationale given by Mercury One for the change is of concern. The new policy is below:

Mercury One stands for doing the right thing and throughout our five-year history, Mercury One has done just that. While the needs change from season to season, the constant is that Mercury One has been there to respond to those in need. We know that you, our family of supporters and donors, are vital to our mission. One of the reasons we have had so much success with our humanitarian projects and The Nazarene Fund is because people like you have trusted us to be effective and make a real difference in people’s lives. Thank you!
If you have supported Mercury One in the past, or have followed our journey through Glenn Beck, you may know that for each need, we created a separate funding campaign so that we could allocate every penny of your gift to support each specific initiative. It has been amazing to see the outpouring of passion and support for these projects, but it also prohibited Mercury One from immediately distributing funding quickly when a new and urgent need arose.
Beginning in March 2017, Mercury One is streamlining the way we receive and allocate donations. Now, all gifts will go directly to Mercury One. We want to be able to respond more swiftly, and to do this, we are consolidating future gifts to a single account so we can be more nimble and react immediately when a need arises.
Donor intent is very important to us. We have been extremely honored to be able to partner with you, our donors, to make an impact in the world, whether it be to support disaster relief, veterans, those in crisis through our grant programs, or assisting Christians and other persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East. Our mission remains constant. We will continue to support humanitarian aid and education initiatives throughout our nation and the world. What is different, is that we will no longer raise funds for single projects nor for a General Fund to support daily operations. What stays the same is that Mercury One will continue to be conservative in our administrative spending and open with our hearts as we provide assistance to those in need.
We thank you for your continued support and partnership in restoring the human spirit.

A red flag is raised by this paragraph:

If you have supported Mercury One in the past, or have followed our journey through Glenn Beck, you may know that for each need, we created a separate funding campaign so that we could allocate every penny of your gift to support each specific initiative. It has been amazing to see the outpouring of passion and support for these projects, but it also prohibited Mercury One from immediately distributing funding quickly when a new and urgent need arose.

I can’t see a reason why Mercury One would have been unable to take funds designated generally for disaster relief and use them in a crisis as needed. In fact, it appears that Mercury One has a history of responding very quickly to natural disasters (e.g. Texas, West Virginia).  While I can’t be sure, the reasoning that they have been hampered by having restricted funds doesn’t make sense to me.
The Problem with Unrestricted Giving
Restricted fund giving is a means donors have of keeping a charity accountable. To my way of thinking, charities have too few mechanisms for accountability as it is. Removing mechanisms for donors to communicate intent is a step in the wrong direction. In the last paragraph above, Mercury One claims:

We will continue to support humanitarian aid and education initiatives throughout our nation and the world. What is different, is that we will no longer raise funds for single projects nor for a General Fund to support daily operations. What stays the same is that Mercury One will continue to be conservative in our administrative spending and open with our hearts as we provide assistance to those in need.

While they pledge to continue fund humanitarian projects, the organization is not now locked into any specific level of support. Mercury One could fund one humanitarian project and put the rest into educational projects. Furthermore, they promise to be conservative in administrative spending but now there is no limit as there was before when they could only spend money given to the General Fund for admin purposes.
This change of allocation should be a red flag to donors. Two examples of other charities moving from restricted funds to one unrestricted fund come to mind: Mars Hill Church and Gospel for Asia.
In the case of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church, at one point in time, donors could donate to their general operating fund or to a mission fund (they called it the Global Fund). When I discovered that the Mars Hill Church leadership was using restricted mission funds to help build their domestic network of churches, Mars Hill decided to remove the option of designating funds just for international mission work and make all donations unrestricted. While the flexibility of the church leaders to spend money how they wanted was increased, the accountability to donors was decreased. When one gives to an unrestricted fund, one has no control over how the funds are spent. If the non-profit doesn’t make their financial statements available, donors won’t ever know how those funds are spent.
Another example of a charity which promised to honor donor intent but did not is Gospel for Asia. GFA is the target of two class action lawsuits alleging fraud. There are many examples of GFA not following donor intent, but I will mention only one of them – the $20-million gift from Believers’ Church to Gospel for Asia to build a new compound in Wills Point, TX. Those funds had originally been given by donors to go to the mission field. However, it appears that $20-million eventually came back from India to help complete construction of GFA’s Wills Point headquarters. Since these shenanigans have been reported, GFA now implies that all funds are within GFA’s discretion and control.
In practice, as these cases show, restricted fund giving doesn’t guarantee that a charity will honor donor intent. However, at least there is some basis for accountability if a charity strays from that standard.
Museum Fund?
To bring it back to Mercury One, just because Mercury One says unrestricted funds will be used for disaster relief, it doesn’t mean they will. In fact, the charity could use most of the funds for some pet project. For instance, Glenn Beck and David Barton recently have been promoting a history museum. In fact, in a recent broadcast, they described a “museum fund.” With the change in donation allocation, it is not clear that there is going to be a museum fund. In fact, I can’t find a museum fund on the Mercury One website. Watch (see especially 1:40) Beck and Barton solicit donations for a “museum fund.”
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVzVs8Az-Uo[/youtube]
Perhaps the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing at Mercury One. In any case, the newest word as of March 13 is that all donations will be unrestricted permitting the leaders (remember David Barton is board chair) to spend the funds as they please within the broad mission of the organization. That museum could be just around the corner.
Another Red Flag
Despite the posting about a change in donation allocation, Mercury One is still advertising the Nazarene Fund. Today, donors could give to the Nazarene Fund and think their gifts would go to rescue and restore refugees. However, if the donation allocation blog post is correct, it is unclear that a donation to the Nazarene Fund would go to that purpose. I am always suspicious of a charity which markets a fund in a way that makes it seem restricted, but in another part of the website or materials says that the funds are unrestricted. Until Mercury One clarifies things more, I would be cautious and not assume that Nazarene Fund gifts will be used for rescue and restoration of refugees.
 

K-LOVE Discontinues The Shack Promotion

KLOVE CarNear the end of February and into the first week of March, K-LOVE promoted the movie The Shack on air. It had all of the trappings of a paid promotional campaign, complete with a ticket giveaway contest.  However, many K-LOVE listeners were not amused (e.g., Tim Challies), viewing The Shack as promoting heresy.
In response, K-LOVE discontinued the promotion. The announcement was low-key and in response to a listener post on the K-LOVE Facebook page:

Thanks for sharing your concerns, Julie. We discontinued this promotional earlier this week and are no longer airing it. If you do have any questions or concerns about our biblical values, you’re more than welcome to call our K-LOVE pastors at 1-800-525-5683.

Just a few days prior to yesterday, K-LOVE defended the promotion but the reaction may have been strong enough to change their minds.
While I cannot be sure, I think the promotion was probably about to end anyway since the ticket giveaway campaign ended on March 5. I wrote K-LOVE about the details but did not hear anything back.
K-LOVE can be responsive to listeners when the leaders perceive it will impact them. I will be watching their Spring fund drive to see if they modify any of their claims to make the promotion more transparent.
 

Why Christian Nationalism is a Problem – Exhibit A: India

Yesterday, Terry Mattingly at Get Religion blog began a post about the NYTs coverage of India and Compassion International like this:

If you have followed news in India in recent years, you know that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party – commonly known as the BJP – has continued its efforts to promote “Hindutva,” or Hindu-ness, which essentially argues that Hinduism is an essential component of what it means to be a citizen of India.
Thus, it’s goal is to defeat secular pluralism and the recognition of a valid role for other faiths in public life. The side effect has, in many cases, been a crackdown on many of the activities of other faiths in India – especially ministries linked to foreign groups.

For discussion’s sake, let’s Americanize these observations:

If you have followed news in the United States in recent years, you know that the Republican party – commonly known as God’s Own Party (GOP) – has continued its efforts to promote “Christian nationalism,” or Christian-ness, which essentially argues that Christianity is an essential component of what it means to be a citizen of the USA.
Thus, it’s goal is to defeat secular pluralism and the recognition of a valid role for other faiths in public life. The side effect has, in many cases, been a crackdown on many of the activities of other faiths in the US – especially the construction of new mosques and activities of foreign groups.

frank-amedia-potus-shield-just-potus12If you read the NYT’s article, you will get some insight into conditions in India where Hindu nationalism appears to be on the rise. Christian journalist Mattingly properly locates opposition to Hindu nationalism in human rights. When the government or a political party takes sides in religion, eventually freedom of conscience suffers.
Christians don’t like these policies in other countries but seem to be oblivious to the same or similar rhetoric and actions here. We should oppose religious nationalism even when the perceived winner is our team.

Reparative Therapy Pioneer Joseph Nicolosi, Dead at 70

NIcolosi
Joseph Nicolosi

I was saddened just now to read in the Daily Beast that Joe Nicolosi died suddenly early this morning.  The Beast cited the Facebook page of Nicolosi’s clinic, the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic in Encino, CA for the news. According to the note, posted earlier this afternoon:

We are deeply saddened and shocked to announce the death of Dr. Joseph Nicolosi yesterday in California from complications from the flu.

My condolences to his wife Linda and son Joseph, Jr.
The illness must have come upon him quickly; I know someone who spoke to him just recently. As always, he was vigorously defending his ideas.
We disagreed about a great many things, but I can say to his credit that he cared deeply about his family, his work, and his clients.
Nicolosi was the co-founder with Charles Socarides and Ben Kaufman of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) in 1992. Along with Focus on the Family and Exodus International, NARTH was a third of the ex-gay movement’s trinity. Nicolosi spoke frequently at Exodus conferences and was for many years the featured speaker at Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out traveling ex-gay conference.
Nicolosi adapted psychoanalytic ideas from Elizabeth Moberly and others to promote what he considered to be a therapeutic approach to sexual orientation change. He was most interested in the formation of male homosexuality and believed distant fathers and overbearing mothers together created a family triad which greatly increased the chances that a male child would become gay. Even as neurological and family studies called his work into question, Nicolosi defended his ideas via media appearances and his organization NARTH. At his death, Nicolosi was in the middle of a research project with psychologist Carolyn Pela.
In response to reports of harm from Nicolosi’s theories and practice, many gay rights advocates made ending reparative therapy a prime objective. Currently, five states, DC and several cities have banned reparative therapy for minors.
This evening Nicolosi’s wife Linda released a statement on the clinic Facebook page.

Six Months Later David Barton Still Hasn't Explained His Earned Doctorate

In early September of 2016, self-styled historian David Barton posted the following video:
[youtube]https://youtu.be/7ivAbp6vX-0[/youtube]
The day after he posted the video, he removed it from his Wallbuilders website and Facebook page. He has never addressed why the video was up for a day and then gone.
Barton Life University SealBarton ridiculed progressives for disbelieving his claim to have an earned doctorate. Then all of a sudden the video was removed and he stopped talking about his doctorate. None of the people who rely on his work apparently care that he claimed to have an earned doctorate when in fact it came from diploma mill Life Christian University. The claim just vanished as if it never happened.
Will Barton ever address his claims?
For the rest of the story, see these posts.
 

Three People Listed by Ecclesia College as Regents Didn't Know They Were on the Board

EcclesiaNow that’s embarrassing.
Steve Henderson, H.D. McCarty and Pat Boone are listed by Ecclesia College as members of their Board of Regents. However, the men now say they didn’t know they were listed as members. Pat Boone told Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Bill Bowden he never heard of the school.
Henderson and McCarty both know about the school and know beleaguered president Oren Paris but they didn’t know they were on the Ecclesia Board.
Paris has been indicted on charges of fraud for his part in an alleged kickback scheme including two Arkansas state legislators, Sen. Jon Woods, and Rep. Micah Neal. Neal has already pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Woods and Paris maintain their innocence.
Those listed as Board of Regents are:

Please click on the names below to find out more about our featured Board of Regents members:
Honorable Bob McEwen
Dr. David Barton
Pat Boone
Dr. Steve Henderson
Dennis Lindsay
Dr. H. D. McCarty
Eric Metaxas
Twila Paris
Winkie Pratney
Valentin Vale

If the leadership of the school would mislead the public about something as important as who is on the Board of Regents, it does make me wonder what else they aren’t being honest about.