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Strip Shinners’ Ministry of its charitable status!

Strip Shinners’ Ministry of its charitable status!

EARLIER this month a damning report by the UK Public Accounts Committee said that the Charity Commission was “not fit for purpose”.  MPs investigating the Commission said it had been “performing poorly” for many years but a strategic review in 2011 had failed to bring about the “fundamental transformation” needed.

Now, under normal circumstances, a report such as this would be of little or no interest to Freethinker readers.

However, one particular decision regarding a ghastly religious organisation called Passion for Souls Ministries does make the Commission’s work our concern. It is this: In 2009 it granted charitable status to Passion for Souls, headed by former footballer Paul Shinners, who hung up his boots to became an evangelist.

Shinners used money from the charity to travel to Africa to “preach the word of God” ­­ – and generate extreme hostility towards gay people.

In December 2012, at a Christian rally, he told a large gathering of the faithful in Uganda that the country was on the right path with its proposed “Kill the Gays” Bill, which has since passed into law, but without the death penalty.

These are the latest accounts we could find for Passion for Souls

These are the latest accounts we could find for Passion for Souls

After Shinners was reported in the The Uganda Monitor as saying [the Bill] was “a clear stand for God and “there is no other nation world over that has such a plan and through this, Uganda is going to be blessed” I, together with San Francisco-based human rights commissioner Melanie Nathan, ran reports about his hatemongering role in Uganda’s campaign of terror against homosexuals.

The story went viral, demonstrations took place at St Neots in Cambridgeshire where Shinners runs the Christian Cornerstone café, , and, as a result, he claimed that his staff had been intimidated and that the café was forced to close on two occasions.

What grabbed media attention was the fact that Shinners flatly denied commending Ugandan lawmakers on their proposed anti-gay legislation, and threatened Nathan and myself with legal action for “defamation”. He also told the local paper that he had demanded an apology from both of us, which was a lie.

This expose of Shinners and Passion for Souls of  may well have led to the formation of an organisation called the Human Dignity Trust, established in 2012 to:

Support individuals who seek to challenge legislation criminalising consensual sexual activity between same sex adults in certain countries.

The HDT applied for charitable status, but was refused. It appealed against the decision last October, and lost. The Charity Commission said:

The principal activity of the HDT is to bring legal proceedings in certain foreign jurisdictions, or in international courts, to clarify the law where the HDT considers that domestic legislation criminalising homosexuality is at variance with constitutional law or international law. The Commission says that the purposes of HDT are not cast in an exclusively charitable form and that it cannot meet the public benefit requirement for a charity as its purpose is directed towards changing the law.

William Shawcross, Chairman of the Charity Commission added:

I sympathise with the aims of the Human Dignity Trust and know that many people around the world will support their work to tackle discrimination. However, the Commission’s role is to assess whether an organisation is charitable in law. We cannot and must not make our decisions based on value judgements about the merits of an organisation’s aims or activities. I appreciate this decision will come as a disappointment to the Trust and its supporters.

So, an organisation that promotes hatred is allowed charitable status, but one that opposes discrimination is not.

Bizarre, but understandable if the granting of charitable status to an organisation like HDT goes against Commission rules.

What does not make sense is the fact that, after receiving complaints about the Shinners’ outfit following our revelations about this foul insititution, the Commission refused to take appropriate action against it. It should have summarily revoked its charitable status.

Commented the Kill the Bill Uganda blog:

We sense more than a little twisted thinking by the Charity Commission on the issue of international human rights where LGBT people are concerned. 

If Shinners imagined that the row over his presence in Uganda would eventually die down and be forgotten, he clearly hadn’t bargained on the persistence of St Neots-based blogger Daniel Law, who for months has been demanding – but not getting – any clear answers from Shinners

And he has organised another demonstration at Cornerstone’s this coming Saturday.

At the last demo Law organised, Shinners invited the blogger into his “Healing Room” for a conversation under the supervision of one of the charity fellow trustees Paul Imrie.

Passion for Souls details on the Charity Commission website

Passion for Souls details on the Charity Commission website

Shinners – who had earlier received an open letter from Law – played the victim.

He claimed he was being persecuted (rather ironic given the situation in Uganda)

When I asked him his opinion on homosexuality he and his college just openly laughed in my face. He was consistently vague and evasive and always brought the conversation back to how he was a victim.

He accused me of attacking him online without getting his side of the story first, but last year I did attempt to contact him first and he agreed to a meeting but then kept on rescheduling over a couple of weeks until it was clear that he was unwilling to have a conversation.

He was also approached for answers from a number of other individuals both locally and internationally and has been unwilling to respond. His only communication appears to have been to the local paper the Hunts Post and a couple of online bookshop blogs/websites to cover his tracks and protect his business.

Law added:

The conversation quickly descended into farcical nonsense. Shinners claimed to be able to fully cure the blind and his website also claims they can cure cancer. He also said that he would be able to heal my spine injury. When I asked him why there were no scientific papers regarding this he said that they would rather keep it quiet to avoid ridicule.

He appeared ignorant of many parts of the Bible and holds the worrying belief that children who are disabled are born that way because of the actions of the devil.

Throughout our conversation he was continually evasive of the important questions regarding his views on homosexuality, showed complete apathy and (apparent) ignorance regarding the plight of the Ugandan people. He also claimed to have a recording of what he said in Uganda but refused to make it public. Why would an innocent person hide the truth or be unwilling to clearly state his beliefs?

I will be organising a protest outside the Cornerstone café on Saturday,  February 15 to call for answers and action from Paul Shinners and raise public awareness of the situation. If anyone would like to join me or help me organise it please contact me via my email: danielblaw2014@gmail.com

Please feel free to contact the Hunts Post on 01480 443451;  news@huntspost.co.uk or 01480 411481 or editor@huntspost.co.uk if this is an issue you believe is in the interest of the local community.

 

 

 

23 responses to “Strip Shinners’ Ministry of its charitable status!”

  1. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    It would seem that if the word religion is mentioned, then it is still automatically given charitable status, no matter what it is or what it does. The Charity Commission is a joke.

  2. Broga says:

    Sometimes I just have to wonder whether under the benign titles e.g. The Charity Trust, there lies an immoral and shameless character. On this issue the attitude and behaviour, or lack of it, of The Charity Trust are blatantly contemptuous in the way they ignore some approaches to them.

    Are their two main strands here? One is a network, largely covert and denied when exposed, of people convinced of their righteousness and faith. And the other is a revulsion, from these same people, of anything which goes against their fundamentalist beliefs.

    They will, of course, be repelled by homosexuality and atheism. Equally, they will be supportive of Christianity including in its most fundamentalist form. Are these thoughts too fanciful? Review the issue and events under discussion here and consider the extent to which my comments apply to them.

  3. Paul Cook says:

    I have just got charitable status for an organisation. {Nothing remortely to with or against religions], but the clear direction I saw was that to become a charity the main objects MUST be ‘charitable for the public benefit”. without this the application is doomed.

    The main problem is there is no guidance for this. But there are categories of what is charitable.

    And yes promotion of religion is one.

    So, religions are specially given a free ride into charitable status as having a religious Object is the specific get in clause!. Probably because religions ‘are by their very nature charitable”. [I DO NOT HOLD THAT BELIEF as it is moronic.].
    Most religions operate through lack of tolerance, racism, separation and brain washing, and have ‘books’ detailing genocide mass murder slavery rape torture and the like. So how thats all a charitable object is beyond me.

    Charity Commission web site “To be a charity an organisation must have purposes or (‘aims’) all of which are exclusively charitable; a charity cannot have some purposes which are charitable and others which are not.
    1. For the purposes of charity law, a religion is a system of belief that has certain characteristics that have been identified in case law and clarified in the Charities Act 2006. Section 2(3) of the Charities Act states that:

    “religion includes:

    a religion which involves a belief in more than one god, and
    a religion which does not involve a belief in a god”
    http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk

    BROGA you could seriously start your own religion and receive charitable status. It is free to do this. There are no fees.

  4. Broga says:

    @Paul Cook: I’ll give that some thought. I quite fancy being the Messiah. I could call it Broganism.

  5. Paul Cook says:

    Broga

    indeed. Hence why I mentioned it. But you might get locked up for behaving like a messiah.

    You don’t even need to believe in a gawd.

    “a religion which does not involve a belief in a god”

  6. barriejohn says:

    Why the surprise? They decided to grant charitable status to the Plymouth Brethren after all last month – a decision which anyone who knows anything about the sect at all would consider absolutely outrageous (don’t forget, this means that the taxpayer now subsidises their abominable activities):

    http://www.christiantoday.com/article/charity.commission.accepts.plymouth.brethren.application/35326.htm

  7. Paul Cook says:

    Barriejohn I hope you spotted the deliberate mistake?

    …..debate, appeal and evolution at the Plymouth Brethren.

  8. Trevor Blake says:

    Not a single word or deed committed by Mr. Shinners is outside of mainstream Christianity and it’s Bible. He is no extremist or distorter of faith. He is a ‘good Christian.’ Which means a poor human being. Rotten fruit from a diseased tree.

  9. Dan Klang says:

    A great man by the name of Christopher Hitchens said “just set your watch” and wait for the person in question to be found in an embarrassing situation.

    Now what will it be for Shinners?
    Homosexual behaviour…no problem except for his bigotry.
    Child molestation in the countries he visits.
    Siphoning money from his Charity
    Human trafficking from the countries he visits.
    Any other ideas?

  10. barriejohn says:

    He’s got a lovely Wikipedia entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Shinners

    After selling dance machines to schools, Shinners now runs a charity and coffee shop in St. Neots, Cambridgeshire and has been on many trips to Africa to spread his Anti-Gay propaganda. On his most recent trip he spoke in favour of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality bill (the Kill the Gays Bill) which includes the death penalty for homosexual acts, saying that “There is no other nation world over that has such a plan and through this, Uganda is going to be blessed.”

    Did YOU play a hand in that, Barry?

  11. andym says:

    He looks like the love child of Bruce Forsyth and Rene off Allo Allo. And sounds like a possible psychopath-he seems to have a very superficial relationship with the truth.

  12. Barry Duke says:

    No BarrieJohn, as it happens I didn’t. I did chortle though when I found that entry on Wiki.

  13. charlie says:

    Yes, this asshats IS a good xtian. He follows his holy book to the letter, or nearly so. Wonder how closely he follows it in private. No doubt he will be caught out in some “unfortunate” position before long. Just sit back and wait for it.
    Vile disgusting sort, but religion does that to people.

  14. Broga says:

    We need a campaign to ensure that a priest of the FSM is given a slot on Thought for the Day. The beliefs of those who worship the FSM are as logical, persuasive and interesting as any others on TfTD. The existence of the FSM is as likely as that of the God who is mentioned on TfTD.

  15. Dan Klang says:

    Just occurred to me that Shinners has god on his side. Which is why I am a committed anti theist.

  16. 1859 says:

    @Broga: But as a new Messiah Broga, you’re drifting into deep waters – soon there’ll be Broganists versus Flying Spaghettists – you could cause a religious war!

  17. Marky Mark says:

    (After selling dance machines to schools,)

    What the heck is a dance machine?

    (soon there’ll be Broganists versus Flying Spaghettists – you could cause a religious war!)

    I have read somewhere a post that said, “we have sheits bombing Sunnis’, Prodies bombing Catholics, but never once has an agnostic bombed a Atheist organization.

  18. remigius says:

    Slightly off topic. Birdshit ‘stephen’ Green has posted a rant about an independent Scotland becoming a have for African gays.

    http://www.christianvoice.org.uk/index.php/2014mar01humza/

    I posted this comment, though I doubt it’ll be published.

    I think it is very reassuring that an independent Scotland should wish to give sanctuary to those who are persecuted.

    Britain has, throughout its history given asylum to those in need of safe protection from religious intolerance.

    I am sure Mr Green doesn’t need to be reminded of the safe haven given to the Huguenots, who both integrated, and made such a valuable contribution to our society. The Jewish refugees we took in from Nazi occupied Europe, who again settled and prospered under our protection.

    And, more recently, the Asian/Hindu community expelled by the despotic regime of Idi Amin Dada, who have enriched our land and made us more aware of other cultures – much to the better.

    Any persecution, of any peoples, whether on the grounds of belief, race, colour, gender or orientation, should be countered. And those subject to such persecution should be given every accommodation that we, in a civilised society can offer.

    Wouldn’t you agree Stephen?

  19. Daniel Law says:

    Please read/Share… New post…

    http://stopugandanantihomosexualitybill.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/cut-aid-to-uganda-boycott-cornerstone.html

    stopugandanantihomosexualitybill.blogspot.co.uk

    Thanks

  20. Have you thought about starting up an e-petition through change.org or avaaz?

    This could then be supplied to the charity commission.

    JP