Posts in this section were archived prior to February 2010. For more recent posts, go to the HOME PAGE.

Saturday, February 21, 2009                                                                                       View Comments

Megachurch pastor's son arrested for indecent exposure

The Potter's HouseInside the Potter's House, via Flickr

Jermaine Jakes, arrested after approaching male officers in park, lists T.D. Jakes Ministries as his place of employment

The son of T.D. Jakes — the Dallas megachurch pastor who’s called homosexuality a “brokenness” and declared that he would never hire a sexually active gay person — was arrested in a gay sex sting in Kiest Park in January, according to Dallas police reports.

Jermaine Donnell Jakes, 29, faces a charge of indecent exposure after allegedly exposing himself in front of two undercover vice detectives shortly after 10 p.m. on Jan. 3. Senior Cpl. Janice Crowther, a DPD spokeswoman, confirmed Thursday, Feb. 12 that the detectives were both male.

According to an arrest affidavit, the detectives were conducting an investigation into citizen complaints of sexual activity when they observed Jakes and several other unknown males park their vehicles in the lot east of the park at 2106 W. Kiest Blvd.

The detectives followed Jakes into a wooded area, where he approached them with his penis exposed through his unzipped pants, the affidavit states. Jakes masturbated for several seconds while making eye contact with one of the detectives.

Jakes made no attempt to conceal his penis despite people walking and jogging on a trail nearby, the affidavit states. According to court records, Jermaine Jakes listed his place of employment as T.D. Jakes Ministries. Jakes was released at the scene after being detained.

T.D. Jakes is the founder of the Potters House, a 30,000-member church in South Dallas. A vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, he’s been criticized by HIV/AIDS activists for undermining prevention of the disease by stigmatizing homosexuality and drug use.

On same-sex marriage, Jakes once told USA Today: “To date, I have not seen scriptural authority that allows me to stand on behalf of God and say I now pronounce you husband and husband, and wife and wife. This is an issue the government is undecided about. The Bible is not.”

Jermaine Jakes’ attorney, Faith Johnson, issued a written statement this week.
“We are aware of potential allegations involving Jermaine Jakes and are undertaking our own investigation of these allegations at this time,” the statement said. “Given an apparent government investigation, we have no further comment at this time.”


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, February 20, 2009                                                                                       View Comments

Pastor sent to jail for violating abortion clinic buffer law

A pastor found guilty of violating a city law created to provide an 8-foot buffer between anti-abortion protesters and women entering clinics was sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to stay 100 yards away from the clinic at which he was arrested for the next three years.

The Rev. Walter Hoye, the first person charged and found guilty of the city's two-year-old law must also pay $1,130 in fines and remain on probation for three years after either serving his 30 days in county jail or entering an alternative program run by the sheriff's department.

The ruling, which was made by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing, came amid a charged atmosphere in the courtroom packed with both abortion-rights and anti-abortion advocates.

Supporters of both groups crammed the hallways of the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse before the hearing and at times shouted at each other as they jockeyed for a spot in the 63-seat courtroom.

The tensions continued after the hearing as one anti-abortion advocate wrestled with sheriff's deputies as he shouted at the judge, condemning him for placing Hoye in jail, while others sang "We Shall Overcome."

Hoye's case, a misdemeanor charge, has garnered national attention from anti-abortion supporters, many of whom traveled from as far as Dallas to speak in support of the pastor, who they said was having his First Amendment rights taken away.

Hing also said he received stacks of letters in support of Hoye, an executive elder of the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church of Berkeley, urging him to set the pastor free.

"It's not an issue of pro-life or pro-choice, it's about the ability of a man to stand up and speak his truth," said Dion Evans, shortly before he was restrained by sheriff's deputies as he shouted at the judge.

But Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Robert Graff, who successfully tried the case, argued that Hoye was not an innocent man standing on a sidewalk with a sign but someone who violated a city law.

"To suggest that he was merely holding a sign on the sidewalk does not speak to the totality of what is going on here," Graff said. "This is a balancing of rights here. These people's rights have to be balanced as well."

Hoye was arrested last May after he approached two women and their escorts who were trying to enter the Family Planning Specialists Medical Group in Jack London Square. Hoye was originally charged with four counts of violating the city law but was found guilty last month of two counts.

Hoye's defense attorneys, paid for by the Life Legal Defense Foundation, argued, at times with tears in their eyes, that the law was unconstitutional and that a punishment of jail was cruel and unusual.

While Graff agreed Hoye should not be placed in jail, he asked Hing to place the pastor on three years probation with an order to stay 100 yards away from the clinic. If Hoye did not agree to that, Graff said he should be sent to county jail for two years.

Hing asked Hoye if he would abide by the ruling during court Thursday. The pastor refused, saying he could not follow a law he found to be unjust.

As a result, Hing sentenced Hoye to 30 days in jail with the option of entering a sheriff work-release program that allows him to do sheriff-sponsored community service in exchange for jail time.

If Hoye is found approaching women at the clinic in the future, he would be in violation of his probation and could face additional time in jail.

Meanwhile, the Life Legal Defense Foundation is challenging the city's law in federal court.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, February 19, 2009                                                                                       View Comments

Phelps family banned from entering the UK

Fred Phelps
Fred Phelps has been banned from entering the UK along with his daughter

From BBC News:

A father and daughter from a US church which preaches hatred of homosexuals have been banned from entering the UK by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

Fred Phelps and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper from the Westboro Baptist Church had urged protests against a play being put on in Hampshire.

Queen Mary's College in Basingstoke is staging The Laramie Project, a play about a man killed for being gay.

The UK Border Agency said it opposed "extremism in all its forms".

A spokesman added: "Both these individuals have engaged in unacceptable behaviour by inciting hatred against a number of communities.

'Punished by God'

"The government has made it clear it opposes extremism in all its forms.

"We will continue to stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country.

"The exclusions policy is targeted at all those who seek to stir up tension and provoke others to violence regardless of their origins and beliefs."

Members of the extreme anti-gay Westboro Baptist church picket the funeral of Lance Cpl Matthew Snyder in March 2006
The church's pickets of military funerals have outraged Americans

The Westboro church's website advertised the picket which was set to take place on Friday, proclaiming: "In merry old England they plan to further enrage the living God by putting on the farce known commonly as The Laramie Project.

"We will picket them, and see if they actually believe those lies they tell about how tolerant and accepting Brits are."

Hampshire Police said they were aware of the planned protest and officers were monitoring the situation.

The church was unavailable for comment on whether it expected UK-based members to carry out a protest at the college.

Members of the group - based in Topeka, Kansas - have denounced homosexuality for years and have in the past targeted the funerals of Aids victims.

In 2007, the church was told to pay $10.9m (£5.2m) after its members cheered a soldier's death as "punishment" for US tolerance of homosexuality.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]