Church News & Propaganda

Title: New York Church Hires Former Police Officer Who Killed 4 In DWI Incident
October 21, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: Parents of students attending a New York Catholic school are angry that a former police officer who served more than a decade in jail for killing a family of four in a drunken driving incident is now working at the school.

Last week, disgraced cop Joseph Gray, 51, was hired to work as a janitor at St. Clare’s School in Staten Island, the Staten Island Advance reported. He was conditionally discharged on April 27, after being denied parole three times, most recently in January of last year.

According to the paper, the pastor of St. Clare’s and the school’s principal wrote a letter to parents announcing the hiring of Gray.

“Mr. Gray shared his previous criminal record with us, and his background check results were reviewed by the Archdiocesan Safe Environment Office. Mr. Gray served a prison sentence for a tragic 2001 DWI incident that caused the loss of several lives,” the letter reads.

It continues, "Since the legal system is satisfied with Mr. Gray’s return to work, we believe he should be given the opportunity to do so, since ours is a faith of forgiveness and mercy."

The hiring didn’t sit well with a number of parents, who called the Advance to vent their concerns about their children’s safety. They wouldn’t give their names.

“Who’s to say he’s not going to act out?” said one parent. “We don’t know what he’s capable of doing. ... We can be merciful toward him, but I do believe that it’s a bad move to put him around children, especially small children.”

Gray was a 15-year NYPD veteran on Aug. 4, 2001, when he killed a family of four following a drinking binge that started midmorning in the parking lot of the 72nd Precinct stationhouse in Brooklyn and continued at a strip club that was off-limits to cops, the Advance recounted.

At 9 p.m. that night, Gray was on his way back to the stationhouse to try to get in a few hours of sleep before reporting for his overnight shift, when he mowed down a pregnant 23-year-old Maria Herrera; her 4-year-old son, Andy, and her 16-year-old sister, Dilcia Pena, as they crossed a Brooklyn street.

The infant Herrera was carrying died 13 hours after being delivered by emergency Caesarean section.

A Brooklyn jury convicted Gray of second-degree manslaughter in May 2002, and he was sentenced to five to 15 years (Fox News, 2012).

Title: NY Lawyer: Egyptian Preacher In Terror Case Being Outfitted With New Prosthetic Arms Next Week
October 26, 2012
Fox News

An Egyptian-born preacher charged in multiple terror plots is being outfitted next week with new prosthetic arms his New York lawyer says will replace the hooks he used before.

Attorney Jeremy Schneider said after a hearing Friday his client needs all the help he can get while at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan awaiting trial. He says next Tuesday's fitting will take place in a facility not constructed with the disabled in mind.

Mustafa Kamel Mustafa was transferred from London earlier this month. He has pleaded not guilty to conspiring with some Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and of helping abduct two American tourists and 14 other people in Yemen. He says he lost his arms fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Arkansas House Passes Bill To Allow Guns In Churches
February 4, 2013
Yahoo News

Abstract: The Arkansas House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday to allow concealed-carry permit holders to take their weapons into churches, and it is expected to be signed into law by the state's governor.

The Church Protection Act would allow individual places of worship to decide whether to allow concealed handguns and who could carry them. The Republican-controlled House passed the bill 85-8 with bipartisan support. The measure previously passed the Republican-controlled Senate 28-4.

Arkansas joins a handful of other states, including South Carolina, Wyoming and Louisiana, that allow guns in churches, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Gun control and gun rights issues have dominated the public conversation since a gunman shot dead 20 children and six adults at an elementary school December 14 in Newtown, Connecticut.

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, a Democrat, was expected to sign the bill into law. His spokesman, Matt DeCample, said that Beebe "wants to continue the discussion with lawmakers and church leaders this session."

"We've had members of the faith community reach out to us with concerns, particularly liability concerns for churches," DeCample said.

Nicholas Stehle, a member of the board of directors of the advocacy group Arkansas Carry said that it was a smart bill.

"It was past time for the legislature to get out of the business of our churches, and it appears that at least 113 legislators agree," Stehle said. "This pro-First Amendment bill gives churches that can't afford private security staff the ability to provide a safe environment for their congregants."

Robert Klein, a minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Little Rock, was one of the religious leaders to express concern.

"I speak only for myself, but I am opposed to anyone other than trained law enforcement professionals carrying guns into a church - and with them only when they are required to carry their weapons by their agency or are requested to do so by the congregation," he said.

He said that tensions are often high in religious communities including life stresses.

"I want to offer those who come into congregations the safety and sanctuary that has traditionally served as a hallmark of congregations," he said "To add the uncertainty about who might be carrying a weapon into the mix is an unnecessary and inappropriate result of this legislation."

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who was once a Southern Baptist minister, told Reuters that guns had saved lives in some churches. "A couple of cases - the church in Colorado where a crazed shooter was stopped by an off-duty deputy who had her gun - probably saved a lot of lives," he said.

Huckabee was apparently referring to a case in Aurora, Colorado last April in which a man crashed his car outside the church, and then shot and killed the pastor's mother, who had come out to help. The man was then shot and killed by an off-duty Denver police officer who was a member of the church, according to the Denver Post (Yahoo News, 2013).