Menu Close

Your Questions, Please

i have a question

Greetings, earthlings and residents of other galaxies.

It’s been a year since I asked readers to submit questions for me to answer, so I thought I would, once again, open the call lines and ask readers to submit their questions, along with $66.66 donations to help me reach Evangelicals throughout the universe. Reason — praise be to Reason! — has called me to evangelize Evangelicals, and your donations will help me take the gospel of critical thinking and skepticism to infinity and beyond. Just kidding. While donations are always appreciated, what I really want are questions; your pithy, erudite questions. Please try to ask questions that you think I haven’t answered before.

If you have a question you would like me to answer, please ask it in the comment section of this post. I will answer questions in the order they are received; that is, unless you are a bigly donor. Readers who shower me with cash, checks, gold bullion (ouch), Bitcoins, and restaurant gift cards just might be moved to the front of the line, or be sent a 20×30 glossy photo of me pole dancing at the Big Bear Strip Club — “might” being the operative word. (Long-time readers who know and understand my humor, sarcasm, and snark know whether I am speaking factually. Everyone else? Keep on dreaming of Bruce Almighty swinging on a brass pole wearing only his shorts, suspenders, and wing tips.)

You can also email your questions to me via the contact form.

This post will remain pinned to the top of the front page until Halloween, after which time it will disappear into the bowels of this blog never to be seen again. Or at least until next year at this time.

Let the fun begin.

signature

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Bruce, Were You a Supporter of Israel as an Evangelical Pastor?

i have a question

I recently asked readers to submit questions they would like me to answer. If you have a question you would like me to answer, please leave your question on the page, Your Questions, Please.

ObstacleChick asked:

When you were an Evangelical pastor, did you have an obsession with Israel as part of God’s plan for eschatology? How did you view the Jews? Did you believe that the Jews prior to Jesus were “saved” by belief in a savior to come, but Jews after Jesus are condemned to hell if they didn’t accept Jesus as the messiah? Did you believe Christians were “adopted” as God’s chosen people?

What great questions, none of which I believe I have answered before.

To best answer these questions, I must divide my twenty-five years in the ministry into three distinct periods of time:

  • IFB pastor
  • Calvinistic Evangelical pastor
  • Progressive Evangelical (Emerging) pastor

I was raised in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement, attended an IFB college, married an IFB pastor’s daughter, and worked for and pastored several IFB churches. IFB blood flowed deep in my veins. Theologically, I was 100% IFB. This meant that I believed:

  • The Bible was the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God.
  • The Bible was meant to be read literally.
  • There was a discontinuity between the Old and New Testaments.
  • The Jews were God’s Chosen People.
  • Old Testament Jews were saved by keeping the law.
  • After the death and resurrection of Jesus from the dead, salvation for everyone — including Jews — required putting one’s faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
  • The New Testament church was a branch grafted (adopted) into the vine (Israel); that in this present dispensation of grace, the church was God’s chosen people.
  • In 1948, God miraculously reestablished Israel as a nation.
  • Nations that blessed (supported) reconstituted Israel was specially blessed by God — especially the United States.
  • Multitudes of Jews will be saved during the Tribulation, their salvation requiring martyrdom.

Make sense? I can explain every one of these points in-depth, complete with proof texts, but I am more interested in showing how my views changed over the years. If you have questions about a particular point, please ask it in the comment section.

In the late 1980s, I left IFB orthodoxy and embraced Evangelical Calvinism. As an IFB pastor, I held classic IFB eschatological beliefs: dispensationalism, pretribulationalism, premillennialism. Embracing Evangelical Calvinism dramatically changed my eschatological beliefs, especially my view on the Bible and Israel itself. I believed:

  • The Bible was the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God,
  • The Bible was to be read contextually, interpreted holistically, and preached expositionally.
  • There was a continuity between the Old and New Testaments.
  • The New Testament Church was a continuation of Old Testament Israel.
  • The New Testament Church was God’s chosen, covenant people.
  • Salvation in both Testaments was through the merit and work of Jesus Christ.
  • There would come a time when a multitude of ethnic Jews would be saved.

As an Evangelical Calvinist pastor, I held the following eschatological beliefs: non-dispensational, post-tribulational, amillennial. As you can see, my beliefs about the Jews and eschatology changed dramatically once I became a Calvinist.

In the early 2000s, my theology and politics move leftward, so much so that many of my ministerial colleagues considered me a liberal. This was probably an unfair assessment due to the fact that my theology was still quite Evangelical, with a few caveats. In Evangelical circles, the word “liberal” is often used to define anyone who holds different beliefs from True Christians®. However, by the time I left the ministry in 2005, it was evident that my preacher friends were right; that I had left the farm:

  • I no longer believed the Bible was inerrant and infallible.
  • I still believed the Bible was, in some sense, God’s word, but it was the work of human hands.
  • I believed in inclusive Christianity; that the names on church doors didn’t matter.
  • I believed that ethnic Jews and Israel had no connection to the Jews of the Bible.
  • I publicly stood against Israel’s immoral behavior towards Palestinians.
  • I opposed the United States’ Evangelical-driven support of Israel.
  • I eventually embraced works-based salvation; that a follower of Jesus. demonstrated his faith by his works, not his beliefs.
  • I embraced what is most often called the social gospel.

Evangelical gatekeepers warned that emerging/emergent theology that infiltrated Evangelicalism in the 2000s would cause pastors to reject orthodoxy and embrace liberalism. (Please the Wikipedia entry for the Emerging Church.) These gatekeepers were right. Scores of Evangelical pastors left the farm, so to speak, and embraced liberal Christianity or left the faith altogether. I am certainly a poster child for what happens when someone asks too many questions; when one dares to ask, “Yea hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1)

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Bruce, Do You See Young People Leaving Christianity in Rural Northwest Ohio?

i have a question

I recently asked readers to submit questions they would like me to answer. If you have a question you would like me to answer, please leave your question on the page, Your Questions, Please.

ObstacleChick asked:

Where you live in evangelical conservative land, are you seeing younger people leaving religion as polls seem to indicate in the US?

I live in rural northwest Ohio. While I have lived in Michigan, California, Arizona, and Texas over the years, rural Ohio is my home. I understand country thinking, chafe when city-slickers call us ignorant hillbillies, and generally appreciate the cultural values of country life. That said, as I have moved leftward politically and embraced atheism, I have increasingly found the God-Guns-Republican ethos of rural folks to be stifling and frustrating.

Older locals, with a few exceptions, view me as a curiosity — someone they can’t figure out. I have been told on more than a few occasions, “Bruce, how can you be so smart, yet so dumb?” Those who were congregants of mine or know my Evangelical background are shocked that someone of my education, experience, and faith could ever turn his back on Jesus and start worshiping Satan — “Satan” being a catchall for atheism, liberalism, progressivism, communism, socialism, and other -ism’s their pastors have deemed anti-God.

Over the years, I have been repeatedly eviscerated by local Evangelicals and conservative Catholics in letters to the editors of the Bryan Times and the Defiance Crescent-News. Some of these Jesus-lovers have turned to lies and distortions to “prove” that I am Satan incarnate or a communist infiltrator. One man said that I was lying about my ministerial past, and that he had reported me to the state of Ohio for illegally performing weddings (which he did not actually do).

One day, I received an email from this man’s nephew. He informed me that he considered his uncle a blooming idiot. This 20-something man told me that he didn’t attend church; that he was an atheist. Over the years, I have received numerous emails and social media comments from younger locals. With the exception of one woman — a local pastor’s daughter — these young people voiced their discontent over the right-wing/conservative nature of rural northwest Ohio. Many of them no longer attended church or still went to services on Sundays because they had to.

Based on these anecdotes, I have concluded that local young people are increasingly disaffected from the religious beliefs and politics of their parents and grandparents — especially those who had opportunities to move away,go to college, and experience the world outside of homogeneous rural northwest Ohio.. I see this same disaffection with most of my children. Regrettably, one of my sons has become a gun-toting, Trump-supporting, white supremacist — who is now flying a militia flag and the Christian flag from his front porch. Except for him, my children have liberal/progressive values. Not all of them are atheists, but none of them, except for our white supremacist son, attends Evangelical churches. I suspect all of them will vote for Biden on election day. Even Bethany — our daughter with Down syndrome — if she could vote, she’d vote for Biden. The other day a Trump ad came on TV. Bethany booed and said, FUCK TRUMP! She is certainly a product of her environment.

Generally, local churches are losing younger congregants, especially when they go off to college. Churches are dying on the vine, though local Christians would try to argue that this is untrue. “Look at Xperience Church in Defiance,” they would say. “Xperience is growing by leaps and bounds! See, Jesus is alive and well.” However, as someone who has studied Evangelical church growth since the 1970s, I know that just because a few new Evangelical clubs are growing doesn’t mean the rest of the clubs are okay. In fact, where do churches such as Xperience get most of their new members? Transfer growth — Christians moving from one church to another. (Please see The Fine Art of Church Hopping.) Xperience Church has pillaged other congregations to fuel their explosive growth, Interestingly, some of the churches that have suffered the greatest loss from Xperience stealing members are those who did the very same thing to mainline churches in the 1970s and 1980s. You see, it is immoral capitalism that drives Evangelical church growth. Xperience Church just so happens to be the newest hamburger joint in town. Everyone loves visiting a new restaurant — especially here in rural northwest Ohio where Applebee’s and Chipolte are considered upscale fine dining. (Please see Dear Evangelical, Just Because You Quote the Bible Doesn’t Make Your Comment True, “We Accept Anyone No Matter What,” Local Evangelical Says.)

Looks, then, are deceiving. Yes, some local Evangelical churches are growing. However, the question remains, WHY are these churches growing? Where are there new members coming from? Since virtually everyone in rural northwest Ohio is a Christian, this growth can’t be driven by conversions. What’s driving this growth is people deciding they prefer Wendy’s over McDonald’s. The good news is the fact that many young people have decided they don’t like any of the offerings from local hamburger joints, choosing instead to cook at home, become vegans, or seek out rational, progressive restaurants. When you have had a Five Guys or Red Robin hamburger or eaten at a gastropub in Fort Wayne or Toledo, it’s hard to return to cheap, unsatisfying hamburgers sold on every corner in rural Ohio.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

2009-2019: Local Responses to My Letters to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent-News

writing a letter

This post is a depository for letters written by Christians to the Defiance Crescent-News about one of my Letters to the Editor covering 2009-2019.  The responses are sorted newest to oldest All spelling, grammar, and craziness in the original. 

October 2019

There is no such thing as separation of church and state, and anyone who claims there is is not telling the truth.

The Constitution was ratified in 1787. The very first mention of this myth was in a letter from Jefferson to the Baptist detractors in 1802, 15 years later. It was never mentioned before. To change the Constitution you need a constitutional amendment, not a letter or a decision by the Supreme Court.

Bruce Gerencser claims Trump paid off a porn star, and yet there is no evidence in any form of this. The porn star actually lost her case for lack of evidence, which means even she couldn’t prove it. Every one of the claimed sexual assaults that he claims happened has been disproved or thrown out of court with prejudice.

One of these claims was disproved by American Airlines as the plane it was claimed to have been committed on was not even in service at the time of the “assault” and the armrests on the plane when it was in service were welded down so they couldnt be moved. Gerencser still has not answered why since Trump had a private plane, why he would have been flying commercial.

Even Mueller’s report said there was no treason committed. But people like Gerencser would try to have you believe all their myths.
As for Ms. Singer, she might want to pay attention to reality. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on March 21, 2016 that the Second Amendment protected all forms of weapons and ammo and add ons if they affected the operation of said weapon.

The decision is 577 U.S. (2016) — Jaime Caetano v. Massachusetts, meaning you can’t ban/tax/demand they be moved or made inoperable or regulated out of existence.

Daniel Gray
Defiance

April 2017

Regarding Bruce Gerencser’s letter to the editor of March 29 (“agenda has been exposed”):

He has taken a statist liberal position (one that favors government involvement in all aspects of our lives with economic central planning, particularly in health care — as opposed to a classical liberal position that favors limited government/liberty and a free market economy.)

He has essentially said that the classically liberal position is evil, uncaring and not good for the working class. He implied that Ayn Rand, the Koch brothers, Paul Ryan and the Republican Party are all no-good-nicks, and he sees himself on a high moral plane.

I’ve read items by both Ayn Rand and the Koch brothers, and I try to keep pace with the Cato Institute’s publications — a Koch brothers’ creation that I support and donate to on a regular basis. I’ve found them to be reasonable, sensible, civilized and concerned with human flourishing and advancement. To berate them is to do them a great injustice.

The Democratic Party with its statist liberal stance has given our society legalized theft and enslavement with their various programs of wealth redistribution and defacto extortion with their labor laws, all under the guise of helping the common man, but causing all manner of social pathologies and distortions of labor costs.

This socialist/communist claptrap has been tried many times in many places, and it just doesn’t work. Unconstrained central government with the power to solve everyone’s problems didn’t work in the USSR, Red China under Mao or Cuba, and it is now collapsing in Venezuela with unparalleled trauma for the common man.

At the end of World War II, England found itself controlling India and Hong Kong. The bureaucrats in India chose socialism; the ones in Hong Kong chose liberty and free markets. India had an abundance of natural resources; Hong Kong had none. India starved for decades; Hong Kong developed a living standard commensurate with the U.S.A.

All this brings to mind the thoughts of C.S. Lewis: “Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It my be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent busybodies.

The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Bruce Grerencser proves you can have a very good mind and still get things badly screwed up.

David Teitlebaum
Defiance

November 2016

I have a challenge for Bruce Gerencser. I want him or anyone else from his group to show us where in the U.S. Constitution any mention of a “separation of church and state” exists. It does not and never has.

The Constitution was ratified in 1787, the very first mention of this myth was in 1802 in a letter from Jefferson to his Baptist detractors. Now Article 5 of the Constitution is very clear on how you add to or remove from same. And it does not include an illegal decision by the Supreme Court back in the 1960s.

And article 3 of the Constitution (powers of the judicial branch) does not give the courts the right to “interpret” anything, they can only go by what is written. So Bruce and his group are mistaken both legally and historically. And the 10th amendment clearly says if a power is not mentioned to belong to the government, then it belongs to the people. So the village should replace the sign and tell both of these people to have a Coke and a smile and hush.

Daniel Gray
Defiance

October 2016

It seems Bruce Gerencser is completely ignoring the fact that the person who would be the First Husband has been accused of sexual assault and rape by no less than six women. You want that in the White House?

I find it very amazing that Gerencser would believe any of these women. The latest one is coming forward because Trump refused to loan her money for her failing food business in California, and this is a way to get back at him. The first one claimed to have been groped on a Braniff airline on a 707. Problem is there were no 707s at that time, only 727s, and the arm rest in first class is bolted and cannot be moved. Not to mention that $500,000 was deposited into her account after making the claim and it came from a high ranking Clinton campaign officer. Let’s not forget the $8 million worth of furnishings that Clinton had to return when the Secret Service caught her taking them from the White House.

Let’s not forget that she has used racial slurs against minorities or the Bimbo eruptions and her violation of the federal Anti-nepotism Act of 1968 when she tried to take over health care. The emails that show she is the one that ordered the stand-down of the rescue team for Benghazi and the 600 plus times she ignored ambassador Stevens when he begged for help. Or the simple fact that pay-to-play has been found in the recent Podesta emails.

What’s worse is that Hillary has told Goldman Sachs that her dream is to have a hemisphere-wide NAFTA from Chile to Canada. That would cut the union’s throats and yet they still want to endorse her. Say goodbye to GM and JM.

Isn’t it just strange that Gerencser, and his ilk want the government out of the bedroom, but then turn right around and demand that the government says who can and can’t get married? You can’t have it both ways, either they are not in the bedroom or they are. Mr. Gerencser’s letter is so full of half truths and myths that it would be better to be placed in the fantasy section of the public library.

People should vote for who they want, but just remember you may get what you asked for and there is no way to return it.

Daniel Gray
Defiance

August 2016

A recent letter to the editor on July 20 entitled, “Creation museum draws questions” had an absolute opposite effect on my life. The museum is an awesome experience that answers and defends the Word of God.

In this life when we make decisions there are ultimately two starting points on what we believe. Either we start with God’s Word or you start with man’s word and human reasoning. On the basis of these two starting points we build either a biblical worldview or man’s worldview belief.

Bruce Gerencser, the gentleman from Ney, was critical of both the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter located in northern Kentucky. As stated by him, the Bible is full of myths. Creationism is a lie and both the Creation Museum and Ark are monuments to ignorance. This is a perfect example of man’s word/human reasoning worldview vs. the biblical worldview.

Another comment was that evangelicals bore easily and few return once they tour the Creation Museum and Ark.

First of all, all Christian growth is not boring. The most purposeful life both here and in eternity is to love and serve Jesus Christ. I have visited the Creation Museum over 30 times and have found the museum to be a treasure chest of biblical truths that will help me deepen and defend my faith. Besides the museum my biggest resource is the huge amount of creation material that can be taken home to study.

People return because even with a two-day pass it can’t be covered, especially if you do the shows, workshops,, planetarium, petting zoo, etc. There’s so much to do that I don’t have the space to share. Most repeaters bring guests and then the guests bring new people to experience the museum. This is the reason revenues have finished in the black every year at the Creation Museum.

It was indicated the Ark was built on speculation. Genesis 6:15 states the exact dimensions of the Ark and that is exactly the measurements of the Ark Encounter. It was also mentioned that it would be doubtful if the Ark would safely float. That is a non-issue because God promised there would never be another judgment by a flood. The rainbow is that reminder. However, there will be another judgment from God in the form of fire.

Jack Fetter
rural Grover Hill

July 2016

Yet again Mr. Gerencser takes to these pages to spew his bias and bigotry. How else do you explain his constant attacks on Religion? He has no more proof that the Creationists are not correct then the Creationists have that he is not correct so why all the vitriol? I guess he intentionally ignores the teachings of parents everywhere “If you cant say something nice, then dont say anything at all” Or the golden rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Mr. Gerencser can now understand why his writings are met with the disrespect and contempt that he shows others. What a sad example he shows to his grandchildren by doing this.

anonymous (comment on newspaper website)

June 2016

This is a response to the letter published on June 12 from Brian Barnett. In his letter he made mention of the letter that I had written concerning a statement made by Bruce Gerencser; that if a person disagreed with a male using a female bathroom then it was hatred.

Otherwise, if a person disagrees with another person, then it must be because of hatred. I then made a statement, using the same logic, that Mr. Gerencser then must hate Christians, God and the Bible. So I guess my response to Mr. Barnett’s letter would be, Why in his five-paragraph letter did he not respond to my one question that I had made in my letter to Mr. Gerencser?

Since he did reference my letter, then I would think that a person would actually at least answer the one question that was asked.

Pastor Patrick Holt
Grover Hill

May 2016

This is a reply to the May 25 letter by Bruce Gerencser.

In his letter he implied that someone, like myself, who objected to a male using the same bathroom that my mother, wife, daughters, and granddaughters were using was hateful. So, basically, if you disagree with someone, then that, according to Bruce, is hateful. Using that same logic, then Bruce Gerencser, must hate Christians, God and the Bible. Would that not be a proper statement?

Pastor Patrick Holt
Grover Hill

February 2016

To all of you who do not believe in creationism, where will your spirit be when you have died? Mine will be in heaven with my Father, Savior and the Holy Spirit.

I, by faith, accept the Bible to be the inerrant, infallible word of God. The fact is this earth and all of the universe had a beginning. I accept by faith that God created it, and by interpretation, it included the heavens and the earth.

I choose to stake my future beyond my life here on earth on this. The only alternative I have is to spend my spiritual life beyond death, in hell if I do not choose to accept Jesus as my Savior. Jesus is the answer to heaven, and my choice is to accept Him into my life.

We are living in a time when all that our founding fathers crafted in the Constitution is being thrown out. My prayer to my God is, come Lord Jesus. When he does we had all best be ready.

John Wilson
Archbold

January 2016

Only problem that you have Gerencser is that you have yet to prove evolution is fact or disprove that there is a deity. So you really dont know any more then anyone else.. And isnt it so strange that you claim to be a minister from a diploma mill in Washington state and yet this is how you respond? Hows that working out for you since Ohio does not recognize this diploma mill? Hope you have not tried to marry anyone as the JAG of Ohio would not look too pleased if you did.

anonymous3371

Not telling a lie if its the truth. According to the state of Ohio’s own webpage, Gerencser is clearly listed as a member of the Universal Life Church Pastor out of Seattle Washington http://www.themonastery.org/ a place where anyone can get a pastoral license inside of 10 seconds and for $250. they will tell you how to use it. Our own Sec of State Jon Husted has said this is a diploma mill and Ohio is in the middle of revoking any and all who claim to be part of this fake church and Congressman Latta is looking into banning them from isuing these fake diplomas. And anyone can see this is a diploma mill just by looking at the link. Mr Gerencser is just upset that the truth has come out showing he is no more a legal Pastor of any church then the rocks in his front yard. Mr.Gerencser can complain all he wants but its not smearing anything if it is truthful and factual and here is the link to validate it directly from the Sec of States own webpage  http://www1.sos.state.oh.us/ords/f?p=241:1:0::NO:RP:P1_REQ:S  where it clearly shows Mr Gerencser is exactly what I said he was. A fake pastor from a diploma mill “church” in Seattle Washington.

anonymous3371

July 2015

I am penning this editorial in response to the ‘Sins routinely ignored’ contribution. I take issue with the quote, “The Bible sure has a lot to say about adultery and fornication, yet those ‘sins’ are routinely ignored. Only homosexuals and same-sex couples are singled out for discrimination and abuse. Why is this?”

Perhaps Mr. Gerencser recalls the woman who was about to be stoned for adultery (yes, a ‘sin’) when Jesus stepped in. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

The last three words of Jesus are the reason why Christians must defend traditional marriage. Yes, adulterers and fornicators are issued marriage licenses and they can choose to heed or ignore Christ’s words and “sin no more.” However, for a Christian government official to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals and same-sex couples he or she would have to alter Jesus’ three words to read, “go and sin some more.”

I for one am not “homophobic” nor am I an adherent to a “religion of hate.” If Mr. Gerencser would like to label me, and other Christians, perhaps ‘sinophobic’ is a bit more accurate than his chosen adjectives.

Jim Hoops
Pettisville

June 2015

Yet again Mr.Gerencser seems to use fundamental christian as a form of insult. He claims that a letter writer that provided documented evidence against pot being legalized is somehow a scourge against humanity. The letter writer never once has identified themselves with a religion as Gerencser claims yet somehow Gerencser seems to think it is ok to toss out childish insults? And then he doubles down on the insults by saying that Jesus would agree with him? The same person he claims there is no proof of existing? I suspect gerencser’s train has run off the rails quite a while ago, and this just proved it.

Daniel Gray (online comment)

June 2015

After reading numerous “ventings” by Bruce Gerencser in the letters to the editor, I must admit my confusion. Apparently, Mr. Gerencser is horribly offended by a God he doesn’t believe exists.

In addition, any person who does believe in God is labeled a “fundamentalist” whose beliefs are “better suited to the dustbin of human history.” Perhaps, Mr. Gerencser is correct; maybe there is no eternal life (or eternal suffering) after death, but perhaps Bruce, the “committed humanist,” is incorrect.

Me? I’ll keep walking daily in faith, trusting in the Lord, and trying desperately to love others as myself. “And if Jesus were alive today, I suspect he’d agree with me” (Gerencser).

Jim Hoops
Pettisville

December 2014

This letter is in reference to a letter Bruce Gerenscer had written about suffering.

Mr. Gerenscer stated that no one has come back from the dead to testify to the fruits of suffering, but Jesus did. The Catholic Church, which teaches the fullness of the Truth, teaches that suffering is allowed by God to happen for a greater good. Like Jesus who suffered for mankind, we too, are to offer up our sufferings for others or ourselves. He told us to take up our cross and follow Him.

Our suffering may help someone to have a conversion of heart. It may be for our own good so that we realize God’s love for us which manifests itself in a variety of ways. Or, maybe by the way we endure our sufferings, we inspire others to have hope and courage in their sufferings.

Through suffering, we gain virtues such as faith, hope, charity, humility and fortitude. We all know it’s especially difficult to watch those we love suffer, but we can offer their sufferings up just as Jesus’ mother offered up His sufferings. She chose to silently endure and offer up watching her Son die knowing that it was for a greater good, the salvation of all the world past, present, and future.

Since God is love, we know that He doesn’t enjoy seeing us suffer but He allows it for a greater good. We all can relate to this when we must watch our loved ones experience situations such as painful medical procedures, corrective measures for physical problems, grueling practices, disciplinary measures, etc. but we allow them to go through those difficulties for their good.

In reference to Brittany Maynard who was suffering from a brain tumor and then killed herself, it’s an offense to God because He gave each of us a life with a plan. Who are we to decide when that plan is complete? God alone sees the whole picture.

Diane Hammon
Mark Center

October 2014

After reading Bruce Gerencser’s letter to the editor I was thinking to myself that this person has nothing but contempt for “fundamentalists”. Unfortunately, he needs to define what a “fundamentalist” is because I want to understand where he is coming from, but for now I’ll assume he means someone who loves God, reads the Bible and trusts in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sin and strives to live life according to the scriptures — to love one another and share the gospel of Christ to those who are perishing eternally.

That being said, I was also wondering what source he used to substantiate his claims that biology, archaeology, astronomy, and geology contradicts the creation story, when in fact they support it. I have studied the Bible and attended classes in college on both creation and evolution, plus invested in many secular and Christian works on the subject, and wonder how he can be so absolute in his assumptions without any substantiating support.

Regardless of who he quoted in his letter, here are some scientific facts from “Answers In Genesis” located in southern Ohio supporting a young earth: 1. Very little sediment on the ocean’s sea floor; 2. Bent rock layers; 3. Soft tissue in fossils; 4. Faint sun paradox; 5. Earth’s rapidly decaying magnetic field; 6. Helium in radioactive rocks; 7. Carbon 14 in fossils, coal, and diamonds; 8. Short-lived comets; 9. Very little salt in the sea; 10. DNA in ancient bacteria.

Every one of these facts is substantiated and confirmed by science. Evolution is taught in our public schools as if it were fact, but in reality it is only a theory that falls very short in many areas, and is a religion in itself. So, why is it taught at all in schools? We have evidence for the truth of the Bible that can be confirmed by history, archaeology, science and letters of antiquity; that Christianity is not a blind faith, but one that is supported by the knowledge the Creator of the universe has made known to us through His Word, the Bible.

It is a crying shame that a house bill has to be submitted to bring God back into the lives of our young people. I remember in the 1950s when we were taught the Bible in school and were able to pray and pledge to our country’s flag — a place where morality was instilled in students based on the Ten Commandments. Back then there were no school shootings, drug dealers, teen suicides. Every boy wanted to be a fireman or a policeman, and girls wanted to be mothers and child raisers, but now that God’s moral bearing is nowhere to be seen in our schools or public forum, all we have is the bad stuff.

I’m at my 500-word limit and would be more than happy to have an open, honest discussion about this issue with anyone.

Lawrence Smith
Sherwood

September 2014

I wonder if Willie Pack or Bruce Gerencser have heard of the Big Bang Theory (not the television show). Maybe they have heard of the Theory of Evolution, the Theory of Relativity or the RNA Universe Theory. It doesn’t really matter what scientists have been able to accomplish in the last 600 years because they still cannot prove many of the fundamental theories their work is based on.

People like Willie and Bruce put their faith in “science” despite the fact that science cannot explain how life began on Earth, how the universe came into existence (before the “big bang”), or what happened to the fossil record of failed evolutionary species.

I choose to put my faith in God. His book fully explains the things science cannot. Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species begins after life somehow, miraculously, appeared on Earth. It does not explain what happened to “create” that life! Science has to rely on a theory that life somehow, mysteriously, came to be from a pool of RNA. I do not put my faith in that kind of mumbo-jumbo.

Mr. Pack told us that there is no proof that the authors of the Bible were inspired by God. I would remind him that there is no proof that they weren’t inspired either. So, we should concentrate on what they wrote., Mr. Pack also criticized the Bible because it doesn’t reveal anything about diseases, medicine or human health. So what? One could just as easily ask what science has taught us about morality, charity or brotherly love. The answer is nothing as well.

Mr. Gerencser wants the theories he believes in taught in schools exclusively even though there is no fundamental proof that they are accurate. He then faults “creationists” for wanting to do the same thing. Isn’t there a name for people like that?

I’d like to remind readers that Mr. Pack has failed to cite any scientific information to refute what I mentioned four months ago. All he and Mr. Gerencser have done is criticize my belief in God despite the fact that I listed seven scientific facts that led me to believe that the campaign against anthropogenic global warming is political rather than scientific or humanitarian. I am not denying that our climate changes periodically, nor am I fighting science. I am embracing it. There has been no recorded global warming since 1998 (16 years). That’s just one of the facts I cited, and no one has refuted it, nor any of the other facts I listed last May.

Willie and Bruce have made it abundantly clear that we disagree with each other on religious matters. No amount of discussion about religion in this column will resolve that difference of opinion. However, I feel we are close to resolving our disagreement on man made global warming because they have failed to defend their position. If their failure to do so continues, I’ll consider the issue settled (in my favor).

Randall Peabody
rural Defiance

September 2014

This letter is a response to Bruce Gerencser. The first question is why he is so hateful toward Christians and their belief in the God of the Bible.

I first read his article in the Sunday, Sept. 7 opinion page. It really gets frustrating to read his responses to Christians. His arrogance toward the word of God is nothing short of sheer stupidity. He acts like he knows more about God than God Himself.

Is Gerencser an atheist? If God’s word is just a joke and only stupid idiots believe it, why is Gerencser so interested in destroying it? What is he afraid of? Indeed, he should be afraid because if he dies without Christ in his life, he is in for a major shock. Why is he taking such a huge gamble with his life? I’ve been a Christian for over 40 years and don’t regret one second of it.

As far as creationism in schools, what’s the problem? I let people see both sides. Did Gerencser evolve from a monkey? What does he believe? How did we get here? There has to be a divine creator, to believe otherwise is to empty your brain of any rational intelligence.

Gerencser should turn his life over to Him before it’s too late. He could be a modern-day Apostle Paul.

Gary Grant
Paulding

September 2014

In response to Mr. Gerencser’s rebuttal, I am asking the same challenge in my original letter. What scientific evidence is there to support the position he is taking?

Empirical science is a good thing for our education, because it is provable and observable. Science that happened in the past is not observable and is considered historical, but the real issue here is, are we going to rely on man’s wisdom, which is focused on self, or God’s wisdom, which is focused on the only witness at the beginning of time? It’s opinion v. reason.

It would seem he is a little confused about the issues, because as he states himself, he is an atheist, agnostic, secularist, humanist, liberal, Bengals fan, and evangelical pastor that has, in my own words “seen the light” as far as what the real truth is, but in reality is blinded by his own prejudices.

I gave ten scientific evidences that are researchable and verifiable why the earth is believed to be young, but it receives no recognition on his part. It’s like answering someone’s question, but there is no response, just another question or opinion.

Just for the record, I’m going to give 10 of my own reasons why science and history show life did not evolve on its own and the Bible can be trusted:

  1. A complex cell must be completely formed to produce another cell. In other words, it cannot evolve one part at a time and is called irreducible complexity.
  2. When bacteria are viewed under an electron microscope it is a complex machine with many functioning parts that someone built (can’t evolve).
  3. The design of many animals that have their own intricate parts, which allow them to function, and they could not exist without these parts. Some examples are the sponge in a giraffe’s brain that keeps the brain from exploding when it bends down to drink (can’t evolve).
  4. The bombardier beetle’s flame thrower that mixes chemicals without blowing up (can’t evolve).
  5. The woodpecker’s design of the beak and head so it does not kill itself hammering trees (can’t evolve).
  6. Measuring tools to determine the age of organic and inorganic objects all give varying results that are in many cases very inaccurate by many so-called millions and billions of years.
  7. Mt. Saint Helen’s eruption in 1981, which formed a 1⁄40 scale Grand Canyon overnight (evidence for the worldwide flood).
  8. Complexity of the human body (can’t evolve).
  9. Documented historical and archeological evidence that supports the historical narrative in the Bible.
  10. The ability to reason and the common sense that God gives humans created in His image.

I’m amazed to read Mr. Gerencser was a pastor for 25 years. All I can say is he has lost his way and turned from the faith, or maybe he was never in the faith to begin with. In any case, he has not supplied any credible scientific support for his position that evolution is true.

Lawrence Smith
Sherwood

July 2014

Using the Bible basis you and I and Willie Pack and Bruce Gerencser are made by God “a little lower than the angels” (Psalms 8:5), which means that all humans have hidden potential. When something is “discovered” by science some give credit to a “discoverer,” even though God’s Word — the Bible — tells us that all knowledge comes from God (Colossians 2:2-3) and that all living things were created by God so, therefore, God “reveals” what is hidden when it is discovered, meaning it was there all along.

Bible basis says God has limited our knowledge because previous to the worldwide flood, humans and animals lived to be much older, much larger in size, were vegetarians and had greater inherent knowledge. But with a tropical world they became perverted because there was one language, no nations, no boundaries and no laws so humans were free (like the angels) to do anything they could imagine when God “looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted His (God’s) way upon the earth.” (Genesis 6:12)

By contrast Willie Pack writes: “Our knowledge, medical care and most of the comforts we enjoy are directly attributable to science.” Without God?

For example, Neanderthal skeletons are noticed to be physically different than present-day skeletons. Science with God says Neanderthals are remnants of those who lived to older ages after the flood (e.g. Abraham, 175). Science with God using true scholasticism tells students that the word “pre-historic” wasn’t in dictionaries until the 1890s.

Now many in our nation are being deceived by Satan into believing lies about Jesus and God’s Word because money dominates knowledge and research in the U.S.A. Public education is now a federal monopoly under a bureaucracy called “Department of Education” with its’ major competitors being Christian Catholic and Protestant schools.

The word “cancer” is in the Bible as “canker” in II Timothy 2:15-17: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, as workmen that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker …”; and verse 21: “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the master’s use … .”

Why is it so necessary for a federal education department to deny knowledge of our nation’s Christian heritage when they claim they are for knowledge? What if cancer is caused by profane and vain false words? By coveting “chariots and slaves and souls of men,” “empiricism” is omitting the sixth sense; e.g. “pharmacy” (drugs) comes from the Greek “sorcery.”

Larry Tonjes
rural Hicksville

March 2014

This letter is in regards to Mr. Gerenscer’s letter about Christianity when he mentioned in an earlier letter that the Bible is full of contradictions. That is why we need an authority, the Roman Catholic Church, to help us know how to interpret the Bible. In regard to faith and morals, the Bible is not for self-interpretation (2 Peter 1:20).

If we look to the Church Fathers such as Saint Ambrose of the fourth century, saints Augustine and Jerome of the fourth to fifth centuries, and Saint Gregory the Great of the sixth century, they explain who Jesus Christ is and His message. Also, the Doctors of the Church such as saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen of the fourth centuries and Saint John Chrysostom of the fourth and fifth centuries answer questions about Jesus as to who He is, what He taught, what He wants from us and how to be more like Him.

If you have questions or arguments about the faith and want to be in dialogue with someone who will explain the fullness of the Truth, there are several call-in radio programs available. During weekdays 6-8 p.m., Fort Wayne’s Redeemer Radio 1450 AM or 89.9 FM and Leipsic’s Holy Family Radio 88.9 FM have listener call-in shows. Also, 3-5 p.m. on weekdays, Toledo’s Annunciation Radio 89.7 FM has a listener call-in show, too.

I am so happy to see all the religious discussions in the newspaper. That means that Christianity, the greatest author of love, still has an importance in people’s lives.

Diane Hammon

July 2013

So the atheists believe that there is no God and that they can put a monument in the form of a bench beside the granite stone with the Ten Commandment signifying that it is empty and there is no God.

We believers serve a God that cannot be seen with the carnal eye. God is so holy I believe, if we see him, we would surely die. Our God is invisible, he is a spirit and spirits cannot be seen. Who is to say that the Lord God didn’t work it out for them to place that bench beside the granite stone so he could sit there, relax and admire the granite stone with his Ten Commandments on it?

On judgment day, they are going to wish they had believed on him who they cannot see. By then it will be too late. May the Lord have mercy on them.

Joe Trevino

April 2013

It’s true I don’t know Bruce Gerencser. His own words explain as I never could. Bruce wrote that “I object to any attempt to codify the teachings and commands of the Bible into the laws of the United States.”

Doesn’t he know that our system of life, government, laws and three branches was designed based on the Bible?

He objects to Christians trying to make biblical morality the law of the land. It’s been unwritten and in some instances written law until atheists and liberals started outlawing God in the 1960s.

Separation of church and state didn’t exist until 1947 when the atheistic ACLU and a supreme court justice, with approval of our Democrat-controlled House, Senate and presidency forced it on us. We’re losing our foundation. Government-controlled medicine is forced today.

The rights of church and state were always flexible and tolerant of the other until liberal domination in recent years. Bruce isn’t for tolerance. He wants organizations like the Christian-backed Boy Scouts to be forced to lower their moral standards to accept homosexual leaders.

Bruce wants to put the fox in the henhouse. He cares for the rights of gay persons, but not of those whose moral values lie with biblical teaching. He would destroy thousands to attain this and be happy about it. It would destroy the Scout oath.

He wrote: “I live by the precept of not doing harm to others, but be respectful of them.” Facts prove homosexual behavior is destructive to families, especially youth, and yet Bruce wants laws placing homosexuals in the their midst, hurting and destroying many. Hypocrite and disrespect come to mind.

I don’t consider any person moral who attempts to destroy Boy Scout high moral values. Bruce calls the Bible antiquated and irrelevant. Being an ex-pastor he knows God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their immoral homosexuality. If you or he think God won’t bring judgment on us, you’re wrong. This is about destroying the Boy Scouts, not equal protection for gays. His immoral atheistic ideals will bring national suicide.

The further we drift from Christianity and moral values the closer national death comes. We must stand strong behind the Boy Scouts. If homosexual leaders are permitted, the Cub Scouts, Brownies, Girl Scouts, 4-H, Campus Life and all other youth organizations will be forced to accept this immoral lifestyle and America will die.

Death is knocking on America’s door. America is like a 100-year-old barely holding onto life. If Bruce’s immoral desires don’t kill us, government’s anti-God attitude and subsidized medicine will. We must return to God now; tomorrow will be too late.

Richard Mastin
Hicksville

March 2013

I wonder what reality Bruce Gerencser is in as it obviously isn’t where the rest of us are.

First, no one can be called a “bigot” if they are against homosexuality. Every dictionary and encyclopedia classifies bigotry as as having a bias or hatred against a group or person because of their religion-race-creed or disability, it says nothing about homosexuality; as such it is a lifestyle.

You cannot be bigoted against a lifestyle no matter how much Gerencser wishes as there is no medical nor scientific proof that homosexuality is genetic or people were “born that way”. As such, it isn’t genetic by all available present scientific and medical standards; that leaves it to be a lifestyle. Thus Gerencser’s left-wing wishes are just childish schoolyard name calling. I expected better.

Second, it is not just northwest Ohio as he claims as the U.S. Supreme Court rule that the Boy Scouts do not have to associate with homosexuals and cannot be forced to do so. That is nationwide. The state of Ohio’s constitution clearly defines marriage as between a man and a woman, as does federal law (The Defense of Marriage Act).

Sadly, for Gerencser, it takes the U.S. Congress to overturn these as the president is banned from any executive orders as per Article 1, Sec. 1 of the U.S. Constitution which clearly states only Congress and its designates can make a law or give weight of law, no one else. It is called the Separation of Powers Act.

Also, Article 3, Sec. 2, paragraph 2 clearly shows that Congress could overturn a U.S. Supreme Court decision except when the court shows that this is in the U.S. Constitution. Then it takes a constitutional amendment.

Third, no church is going to stop supporting the Boy Scouts as every religion has a teaching against homosexuality, even the United Way does not dare stop supporting the Boy Scouts. If they do then its donations will shrink.

Gerencser had better hope his wish does not come true as a person of the same religious denomination he claims to have received his pastoral license from could turn him into the ruling body and send clippings of his letters. That ruling body could very well vacate his pastoral license for not following the teachings of the denomination he claims to have been part of, thus making his ability to marry anyone void. There is precedent for this. He could then apply for a justice of the peace license, but I don’t think they give them out anymore.

So, in the future may I strongly suggest to Gerencser that he start checking his facts before going off on yet another repeated tirade, especially since he has been proved incorrect on every letter he has sent so far.

Daniel Gray
Defiance

March 2013

Bruce Gerencser’s letter of Feb. 20 spoke of bigotry. It could have been titled Christian bigotry.

He said “there is no place for discrimination against any group of people”. Bruce is one of the blind God speaks of in the End Times. This fallen Christian pastor, turned atheist, can’t see his own bigoted discrimination against Christian morals.

Each time Bruce speaks he pushes atheistic immoralities. He speaks volumes against Christianity and the moral values committed Christians hold dearly.

Bruce left out a few words when he said, “local residents are also free to withhold their giving through United Way to the Boy Scouts”. It should have started, “local atheists, immorals and anti-Christian residents”.

I’m proud to say that I was a Boy Scout and I am Christian. Bruce stands against the Boy Scouts with a reasoning that high morals are evil and destructive, something that must be eliminated at any cost — even America’s death.

Only because Boy scout leaders hold strong moral Godly convictions, Bruce calls them bigots. He views them an evil threat to mankind and his immoral beliefs.

People like Bruce want noticed, so they try destroying something good. If he feels scouting is good for his kind, let him start a new movement called Gay Scouts or Scouts Without God.

As a youth and Boy Scout, I slept in close quarters many nights. Many youth are impressionable and easily ruined. I’m thankful that the immoral homosexuals that Bruce condones were not my fellow scouts or leaders. Homosexuals in youth groups can permanently injure a youngster.

America is failing fast enough without permitting homosexuals guiding our youth. If we can’t follow our Godly moral values, we might as well throw the towel in now.

How can the God of Creation and love be the same as the God who commands, “Kill the infidel Christians and Jews where we find them” or the God of no hope? His statements and actions are designed to confuse and turn America from God.

Atheism, like some other religions, has no God.

Buddhism has no God and offers no hope. All suffering is caused by desires.

Hinduism has a thousand Gods, but they don’t cure or save anyone.

Islam, born of the sword, lives by the sword with no true love for humanity. It’s a religion for men and government domination.

Judaism also believes in the God of Creation and love. I believe their pharisees and sadducees’ selfishness and blindness kept them from seeing God’s light in Jesus.

America has many religious sects claiming to be Christian that are not true and may keep you from God.

The Christian faith is different and above all others in that Christianity is a relationship with God. No others have this relationship. Christianity is the only faith with proof of God’s existence — Jesus.

Christianity is the only faith where you can receive true healing. It’s the only way to heaven.

Richard Mastin
Hicksville

January 2013

I am responding to a Jan. 2 letter to ther editor provided by Mr. Bruce Gerencser.

I am amazed that any lucid person would present an argument concerning a person or an entity that doesn’t exist! How can anyone claim to be an atheist under those circumstances? One would have to consider himself a super-intellectual, disregarding his surroundings or be as Psalm 14:1 quotes, ” A fool says in his heart, there is no God.”

I can’t answer that question. It does seem quite hypocritical to me however, that Mr. Gerencser would mention the “proclamation of angels.” Who declared the birth of Jesus still applicable today? We Christians, (born-again ) consider that babe in the manger to be God come in the flesh.

Lastly, Mr. Gerencser alludes to premarital sex among Christians. He seems to have lost all regard to pre-marital sex among ethnic groups. Babies born out of wedlock reach an astounding 73 percent.

Yet Mr. Gerencser considers his personal morality and ethics to be judged by his spouse, his children, his grandchildren, friends and neighbors. I don’t question them at all. I would suggest that he take his family and friends on a one week trip to the beautiful city of San Francisco, eat at some of the city’s finest restaurants and explain how our country is maturing, when at the tables next to them, people are dining completely nude. That’s progress isn’t it?

Kenny Barnes
Paulding

January 2013

Responding to Mr. Gerencser’s letter in the Jan. 2 issue of The Crescent-News, I must begin by stating that I cannot respond to all of the statements in his letter with which I disagree in the small space provided here. But let me respond to four of them:

  1. Mr. Gerencser begins, “contrary to Luderman’s assertion, my letter was all about the Republican Party,” and then in the very next words continues “and its infection with rightwing religious extremism.”

There’s that label again.

  1. He states “since the United States is a secular state.” What? The United States is not, and was not, a secular state. Our constitution is not founded in secularism; our heritage is certainly not secular. Most of our common law is not secular. We have chaplains and prayers in our houses of government. Government officials are sworn into office with their hands on a holy book. The Declaration of Independence is based on rights with which we are endowed by our creator. Religious freedom and the wall of separation between church and state are not in the Constitution. These are statements which are intetionally twisted by the left.

Jefferson’s response to the Baptist question stated that there is a separation of church and state, but he went on to explain that it was a one-way separation. The state is separated from religion but not religious involvement in the state. Madison stated that our republic would only survive with a strong religious moral background. So you can take issue with our defending our religious morals all you want.

  1. Mr. Gerencser is quite perplexed when I suggest he has no moral values. If he is an atheist he has no morals and no basis for any morals except for his own, which is exactly what I stated. He follows his claim to be an atheist, and in the next statement he claims he is a humanist. That means he is not an atheist. His highest being to which he looks is humanity — himself — again exactly what I said. He is hell-bent on creating God in his own image.
  2. As for his closing statement of letting his wife, family et al judge his morals, suggesting we should keep out of it, then I would suggest that he stop propagating and revealing his morals in public letters to The Crescent-News.

Finally, I am deeply saddened that a man of God has lost his faith. I would gladly meet with him — to listen — and to understand and, yes, to witness. I do not want to be confrontational, but the Constitution allows and my Savior constrains me to respond and to defend the reason for the faith in which I believe. God be with you.

Gary Luderman
rural Hicksville

December 2012

I am responding to an article in the Dec. 12 issue of The Crescent-News by Mr. Bruce Gerencser titled, “GOP is now an ‘extremist party.'”

The title piqued my interest enough that I took time to read the entire article. I take no pleasure whatsoever in stating that I found the letter rather intellectually vacuous. (Wait a minute, saying that didn’t make me feel that badly at all.)

First of all, this was not really a letter against the GOP as it was against Christian morality. Anyway, it appears that Mr. Gerencser does not believe in any moral standards — at least not those of the Christian faith. Not only that, but I gather from the tone of his letter that he feels intellectually and morally superior to people that do. Well, then let me ask two questions:

  1. If Gerencser doesn’t like God’s rules, then whose rules are we to use? His?
  2. Doesn’t Gerencser have any rules or standards at all? Is there nothing that anyone can do that he would not approve of or try to stop? Think about it, if there is just one thing that he doesn’t approve (for example, Christian values), then he is just as bad as GOP Christians. If not, then who is he to set any rules or have any opinions at all? Again, if there is no God, then who makes up the rules?

But there is a much larger issue. His philosophy not only affects you and yours, it is affecting and destroying the heart of our nation. If there are no rules or standards, then no one is free and no one is safe.

Is everybody and everything to be constantly changed and believed by the latest and largest lobby group that arises? Would you like to set up a committee to make moral decisions according to the latest polls?

Mr. Gerencser’s beliefs and thought processes have been around since almost the beginning of mankind. He presents nothing new, modern or enlightened. All he is doing is what mankind has always done — not liking God’s rules, therefore thinking that God is wrong and mankind is right. He takes the place of God and is hell-bent on making God into his own image. As a Republican, I will pray for him.

Gary Luderman
rural Hicksville

September 2012

My answer to Bruce Gerencser’s letter in the Aug. 26 Crescent-News: Our god, our gain — your loss.

Sue Flores

June 2012

Mr. Gerencser is trying to undermine the historical importance the Bible played in the building of our country’s government by villainizing it and by stating; “that the moral code of conduct of a particular religion has no business being codified into law within a secular state”.

What is the Bible? It’s a book, an inanimate object. Mr. Gerencser states that; “The Bible has been used in the past to justify all kinds of vile behavior.” The Bible itself is not responsible for any of the reprehensible acts that have been committed throughout history and have been justified by misquoting the Bible. It is the person behind the act that is responsible; not just for committing them but also for using the Bible in a lie to further their own agenda. No one will inherit the kingdom of God, if the Bible is to be taken literally. It is all of us, myself included. Why, because of our sin nature, and because of this we have all of these “vile acts” throughout history. But the Bible is not just a book, it is God breathed, meaning it came from God.

We the United States of America are not a secular state, but a constitutional republic. Our Founding Fathers created our government based upon the Constitution which was based upon three separate documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta and the Bible. Because of this our government is controlled by the Constitution. That is why it is called a, “living, breathing document”. We have been a Christian nation from the very beginning and many of us still are. Because our Constitution was based upon the Bible, that our government is based upon the Bible and the only way to change that is to change the Constitution. Hence, the fight we have been having over the last several decades.

Mr. Gerencser also stated that, “Our legal system should reflect what is best for the American people. How best to live as a pluralistic people in a secular state.”

Do you know what the second sentence in his quote means? Pluralism is the theory that a multitude of groups should govern the United States, not the people as a whole. These groups or organizations include trade unions, civil rights activists, environmentalists and business or financial lobbyists.

We have all been witness to the glowing success of this in action over the last 3½ years. Just look at how certain groups within our government have tried to bail out the automotive industry and the housing market. All they have succeeded in doing is taking over the private market with an already failing model and enslaved our future generations with debt. A secular state remains neutral in matters of religion and treats all its citizens equal regardless of religion. Our Founding Fathers did not want our fledgling country to be sucked back into what they had just left where your religious stance could get you killed, and they wanted God to be the father of our nation. It all comes down to one thing: Do you believe in God?

“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God.” — George Washington.

Maggie Spangler
Holgate

August 2011

his is in reply to Bruce Gerencser’s letter on Aug. 8. There is only one thing he wrote that I can agree with–that is you only have 500 words or less to respond to a letter that is full of untruths and assumptions.

Not everyone believes in God or the Bible. This is where the problem arises. Every other religion in the world talks about how their God or ways are the only way that’s right.Agnostics, from the Greek word agnostos means, “to not know/’ and agnostic is one who admits, “I don’t know.”

There is only one true God. This is the Being who made each and everyone of us in his likeness and gave us a mind and will of our own. This is the same God who inspired the prophets of old to write the Bible, His Word. The Bible may not be a supernatural book, but it is His Word. The last book was written 1,900 years ago and is still as relevant today as when it was written.

There is not one thing in the Bible that has ever been proved to be wrong. There are lots of books that report the Bible is in error, however, nothing in 1,900 years has ever proven it to be untrue. Maybe Bruce kept his Bible on the shelf with his ”classics” the 25 years he was pastor. I feel sorry for any congregation that had to listen to him,especially since he doesn’t believe in God or the Bible to be the divine truth.

lf you are not in the family of God, you belong to the god of this world. This pertains to everyone whose religion does not believe in the one true God. Satan would like each and every one of us to believe that he, hell, and God doesn’t exist. He wants us to believe that all other religions are the only way to go and there is no here-after.

With a humanistic worldview that focuses on the here and now, you don’t have to be good. You can do anything you want, take anything you want, because when you die that’s it. Bruce assumes Christians have no life, no joy, not living and loving. He said they trudge through a wicked world in search of heaven or eternal reward. If this is what he did, no wonder he became agnostic.

God means different things to different people. No two Christians have all the same rules to follow. That’s one reason different views exist. I don’t know about you but I would rather not live in a world that doesn’t believe in God. It would be everyone for themselves, anything goes. If it feels good, do it. You can look and see what is happening in the United States today and it doesn’t take long to figure out we are headed away from God and in the wrong direction.

R.L.Wellman
Defiance

June 2011

In response to Bruce Gerencser’s letter of June 20, we are all children of God.

God is there for each one of us, all you have to do is speak to him. I don’t know one Christian who would say we are not children of God. We sin every day and God gave us choices. We can ask for forgiveness.

Before every baby and child knows the difference between right and wrong they are a child of God. Yes you and I have to be born again. God provides everything for us, it’s what you do with it. GOD provides the sun and rain. You can plow and sow, but without sun and rain you will not harvest anything.

I believe there aren’t very many people who do not believe in God. They just don’t practice it until they need help. Even Satan believes in God. Read Revelation (the last book of the Bible). If you’re right it makes no difference, but if God is right you have everything to lose for eternity. Eternity is not today and tomorrow or next week, it is forever — eternity in the lake of fire and suffering or in heaven with happiness and no more sickness. I chose God.

Dean Kosier
rural Defiance

June 2011

God is real! In response to Bruce Gerencser’s letter, my initial response was anger. It didn’t take long for pity to replace anger.

Obviously, you are mad at God for something and you are trying to discredit Him and his Word.

Whether you want to admit it or not, God is real and there is coming a day when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! I am glad this world is not my home, I’m just passing through. I’m looking forward to walking on the streets of pure gold and seeing my mansion He has prepared for me. My prayer for Mr. Gerencser is that he’ll get right with God before it is too late and he spends eternity in hell.

This world has a lot of problems, that much is true. I’m glad God holds it in the palm of his hand and wins the battle in the end.

N. Lang

June 2011

In reference to Bruce Gerencser’s letter of June 1, his honesty and willingness to stand by what he believes is commendable. It puts many of us Christians to shame.

Yes, I am a Christian and declare Christ as my Lord and Savior. God doesn’t need me nor anyone else to defend Him, however, I wish Gerencser knew how much Christ loves him.

His comments show that he does have a knowledge of the Bible. Has he ever questioned how it is that the Bible has survived 2,000 years without being changed or its message diluted? The Dead Sea Scrolls show it, still today, being authentic when compared with these documents.

I do believe in the rapture of the Church, however, I am not overly concerned with end-time predictions. When I breathe my last breath that will be my end of time, so every day is the time to be ready to meet the Master. Yes, indeed, I am going to heaven.

We don’t have the mind of God. Our understanding is like that of a child compared to an adult so, of course, we have many disagreements and misinterpretations. As I Corinthians 13:12 says, “we see in a mirror dimly.” It is like trying to read fine print without your glasses. If you read the entire chapter of I Corinthians 13, loving God and each other is the cornerstone of our faith.

R Thomas

March 2011

John 19:7-8: “The Jews answered him, we have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he (Jesus Christ) made himself the Son of God. When Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid.”

Afraid of the Jews? No. Pilate feared the wrath of God. The Jews practiced capital punishment under Roman law. On March 2 a letter to the editor opposed capital punishment, but confused Old and New Testament law, saying: “I (Bruce Gerencser) am somewhat amused when Christians appeal to the Bible as their justification for capital punishment … .”

At about the same time the highest ranking Christian (a Roman Catholic) in the Muslim theocratic government of Pakistan was assassinated by some Muslims because he opposed capital punishment.

Bruce Gerencser tried to make it sound like Christians are the same as Muslims. Does he fear assassination by Christians? Did Christ ever call for capital punishment under the law? Yes, but it’s in Revelations when He returns to avenge the blood of the Christian martyrs (Revelation 6:10, Zechariah 1:12), saying “For the great day of wrath is come.” (Revelation 6:17, Isaiah 13:6)

When Christ was here 2,011 years ago He had the power to use God’s wrath, but His mission then and now is “not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” (Luke 9:56). So Jesus saved a woman from being stoned to death for adultery (John 8:1-11) but told her to “sin no more” (verse 11).

When Jesus returns He will save those who stop committing adultery and “repent”, e.g. Revelation 2:22.
“Behold I (Jesus) will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.” The word “repent” is Strong’s #3340 Greek “metaneo” meaning “to think differently” or Hebrew #5162 “nacham” meaning “to be sorry.”

Much of today’s misinformation on the Bible comes from the Ivy League Universities starting with Woodrow Wilson’s (Princeton) The New Freedom of 1914: “All that progressives ask or desire is permission — in an era when “development” evolution, is the scientific word — to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle … .” (page 48) President Obama, an Ivy League graduate, then says in The Audacity of Hope, “Implicit in the Constitution structure, in the very idea of ordered liberty, was a rejection of absolute truth …”

The Bible says God’s word is truth (John 17:17, Psalms 119:142) and Jesus standing before Pilate said, “Everyone that is of the truth hear my voice”. (John 18:37)

The Declaration of Independence says that we are created, and that is self-evident truth.

Columbia University students recently jeered an Afghan war veteran who said some people want to kill us. The Ivy League doesn’t fear the wrath of God. Their theologians want to study “comparative religions.”

Larry Tonjes
rural Hicksville

January 2011

In reply to Bruce Gerencser’s letter of Dec. 19 that this is a Christian nation, my belief as a “theocrat” is that no matter how determined any human wants to be, including Bruce Gerencser, to run away from God, it can’t be done.

The word “theocracy” is defined as “rule by divine authority.” Yes, America has had “war, torture, homophobia (not defined in the dictionary), amoral capitalism, economic collapse, the destruction of the working class and punitive political policies that punish and hurt the poor” as Gerencser mentions, but name me a nation that hasn’t had these problems.

According to the Bible and science, these problems are products of the human condition. In the insurance industry this used to be called “inherent vice,” meaning that everything in this world has an inherited flaw because it is of this world, a flawed world filled with flawed humans and flawed material to work with. The flawed problems mentioned have been endured through every type of government known to man, including Islam, communism, socialism, Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism, Shintoism, democracy. Bruce Gerencser is looking for a scapegoat because Christianity hasn’t solved all our nation’s problems, so he is looking to the current progressive movement for salvation.

Blame it on Jesus? Under the Caesers of ancient Rome there was war, torture, amoralists, economic collapse, destruction of the working class Jews and Romans, and punitive political policies like crucifying innocent civilians. Those were things that Jesus endured, and He is to be blamed for America’s social problems?

According to Jesus, Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). There are many now in our nation who are not examining or even looking for the truth but rather for the sake of convenience or salary prefer to defend lies. For instance, the separation of church and state is not stated in the U.S. Constitution’s Amendment One. It was in the Soviet Union’s communist constitution. It was added to our constitution through inference in 1947’s Everson Decision of the U.S. Supreme Court through prodding from the American Civil Liberties Union who’s result has been the establishment of secular humanism as our nation’s religion which directly contradicts Amendment One’s establishment clause. Will the progressive secular humanist’s “New World Order” save us from war, torture, etc.? Woodrow Wilson labeled the First World War as “the war to end all wars.”

“The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Word, and against His Christ … And now Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.” (Acts 4:26 and 29) “This is the stone which was set at the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12)

Larry Tonjes
rural Hicksville

August 2010

I cannot help but wonder what would make someone who has read the Bible (assuming the entire Bible from cover to cover), attended a Christian college (attending a Christian college does not make one a Christian) and been an evangelical pastor change his mind and become an agnostic humanist.

Richard Dawkins in his book, The God Delusion, contains a chapter entitled “The Poverty of Agnosticism.”

Dawkins is a renowned atheist, and you are probably wondering why I quote an atheist to make a point. In the said chapter he discusses many points concerning agnosticism but I would like to point out two items of interest. First he observes there is an “agnostic spectrum,” varying degrees of agnosticism, ranging from one — “I believe in God but have a lot of questions concerning his existence” — to seven — “I do not believe in God, period.”

Second, he also mentions two types of agnosticism — a temporary agnosticism in practice and a permanent agnosticism in principle. I wonder where Mr. Gerencser stands.

If he was once enlightened and has fallen as far as agnosticism, then there is still hope. The next step is apostasy on which the Bible is very clear. If he has sincerely studied the Scriptures then he knows what I am referring to (Hebrews 6). If not, then he should, perhaps, rethink his position. And, yes, I know his position on the inerrancy of scripture. However, the Bible is as relevant today as it was then.

Bob Palczewski
Defiance

August 2010

In answer to Bruce Gerencser’s letter in Sunday’s paper,he says he is an agnostic and no longer believes.

He said that at one time the Bible had meaning to him and that he pastored an evangelical church for 25 years.Evangelical churches should evangelize. What did he preach ? Did he tell them that God sent His sinless son Jesus to die for our sins? John 3:16. He did. Did he ever truly accept Christ as his Lord and Savior? None of us ourselves will ever be good enough. You cannot prove to me that the Bible is not the inspired Word of God that tells us in Romans 10: 9-10 that if we believe and confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus that we will be saved.

Gerencser asked, What if there is no heaven or hell and we Christians have wasted our lives? If he is right and I am wrong, I have not lost anything. But if I am right and he is wrong, he has lost everything, his soul.

My husband is 85 and I am 82, and neither of us regret the almost 50 years of volunteer service for the Lord. For . 13 years we sang Gospel and ministered with our young family in churches and the migrant camps. Last year after my husband’s bypass surgery and 34 years in the jail and prison Ministry we left it to devote more time to visiting and ministering in our local rest home.

If Gerencser thinks Jesus is not real, he should read our book. He says that we should live and love life. This has not been easy because we supported ourselves in our small businesses. But after 64 years of marriage we are still living and loving, thanks to Calvary.

Gertrude Hitt
Archbold

August 2010

In response to Bruce Gerenscer’s letter of June 20, I am one of those right-wing nuts and Christian Republicans that are dominating Ohio. I am proud to be a Christian. I will tell anyone anytime what I believe, but I won’t make you listen if you choose not to.

God gave us all a choice. What Jack Palmer said in his column on June 10 was the truth. He believes what he says. He has a right to say it. Bruce Gerencser has a right not to believe it, that is his choice. The last time I looked we in America have freedom to say what we want to say. That means we have the same rights as Gerencser has. I thank God for Jack Palmer. We need more like him.

God doesn’t leave us. I am thankful for that. The proof is when you feel Him yourself. God didn’t just save my soul, he saved my life. If I didn’t’ have God, I would not be here this day.

God’s heart breaks because of all the suffering in the world. It goes back to unbelief and the choice He made available to us, and when we choose the wrong way.

Gerencser said he gave thanks to his parents and all the others in his life. If it weren’t for God, he wouldn’t have them in the first place, so I thank God for my family.

Gerencser talked about being on the boat, but you can’t abandon ship unless you were on it to begin with. I hope and pray that one day Gerencser will get back on board.

No one is going to get rid of God no matter what he or she says or does. God answers me so gently in a soft and loving tone, saying “I am with you always, you will never be alone.”

Rose Molnar
Defiance

August 2010

I am writing in response to Bruce Gerencser’s letter to the editor in the June 20 Crescent-News. Gerencser stated in his letter that he wanted “to give credit to whom credit is due.” Well, I too would like to do that.

First, I am thankful to live in America where I have the privilege of writing a letter to the editor to express my opinion. Thank you to The Crescent-News for setting aside a page in your paper to print even those I may disagree with.

Many, many thanks to my parents and husband for working so hard to provide for us. In addition to those Gerencser gave thanks to, I would also like to thank the farmers who provide the food our nation enjoys. Also, a big thank you goes to those serving in the military, past and present, who are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to help protect our nation.

However, I realize that God is the one who actually provides all these. He gives good health in order to do the work. He gives knowledge to the doctors, teachers, counselors, etc. so they can help others. God provides the sunshine and rain the farmers need in order to produce their crops.

Everything we have or do not have comes from God. So, thank you dear God for all these, but most of all I thank you for my home in heaven.

Connie Elston
rural Oakwood

August 2010

Since Bruce Gerencser asked the question, let’s get it answered. Say I believe in a religion and I follow its tenants. I am good to my neighbors and strangers, help the homeless, donate to charities and do the best that I can. Now, when I die if there is nothing, then what exactly have I wasted?

And, if there is something after death, then I will be rewarded for my good works and remembered far longer then Gerencser ever would be. People will remember Mother Teresa or Billy Graham far longer than Gerencser. If you live for today like Gerencser wants and when you die, if there is a creator, you have to stand before the creator and explain why you did not believe and tried to get others to do the same. Somehow I don’t think that saying “whoops, my bad” is going to cut it.

But my other question would be while Gerencser claims to have been a pastor for 25 years and since being an agnostic is one step above being an atheist, as both of them deny the existence of a deity according to every encyclopedia and dictionary out there, is Gerencser now freely admitting that he was living a lie and that his whole life before becoming agnostic was a fraud?

And, if he was a pastor, then what about all the people he was supposed to lead? Is he now admitting that he deceived them as well? And, why bother becoming a pastor in the first place if you were just going to turn your back on your chosen religion, especially one that he has never mentioned? Something about his claim just does not sound correct.

Daniel Gray
Defiance

July 2010

This is in reference to the letter by Bruce Gerenscer (sic) entitled, “not everyone thinks the same way,” which was written in response to Jack Palmer’s June 10 column, “Being thankful fights off sense of entitlement.”

My belief is that everyone has the right to his or her belief, but I was so impressed with Jack’s article that I cut it out to save.

I believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We should be thankful every single day for all our many blessings. Just to name a few, these include: Our very being, the food we eat each day, the water we drink, the very air we breathe, and family and friends. These are all gifts from God.

To me one of the greatest promises in the Bible is that God will never leave us or forsake us. In the Jimmy Stewart movie that Gerenscer mentions (which I did not see) some things are missing. What if God didn’t send the rain and the sun to grow the food? Without the rain and the sun would it grow no matter how hard we worked to grow it?

Everyone has a choice, and I choose to believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and all of God’s promises in the Bible.

Alice Dunbar
Defiance

July 2010

In his recent letter to the editor Bruce Gerenscer (sic) stated that he is an “agnostic” and “there exists an ever increasing number of people in northwest Ohio who do not believe in the Christian God.”

An agnostic is defined in the New Webster’s dictionary as “one who believes that God, life hereafter, etc. can neither be proved or disproved.”

Agnostics do believe that humans exist don’t they, even though a human individual can’t be seen from an orbiting spacecraft? Or they do believe, don’t they, that our earth’s light and heat come from a heat source and light source 93 million miles away? With light traveling at a speed of 186,000 miles per second, it takes 81/2 seconds for a ray of heat to travel through space to the earth, yet the recent weather forecast said that the predicted temperature would be 83 degrees, just two degrees warmer than the average of 81 degrees.

Evolutionists assume that this constant rate of temperature has lasted for millions or billions of years, otherwise the intricate types of life would have frozen or boiled a long time ago. Yet Bruce Gerenscer says that God has “left the building.” We better pray that He has not left the building because if He has, He’s about to turn off the lights.

Agnostics believe that the speed of sound is about 764 miles per hour, but that direct conversation can take place with an orbiting spacecraft thousands of miles away, but they don’t believe they can communicate with Jehovah-God through direct prayer. If we are to believe in human miracles apart from God, then what if God reverses the miracle of the unseen magnetic field? If that happens human technology won’t work and we will be forced into manual labor.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) I prefer to remain with the faithful who place their faith in the unseen forces of the unseen God that governs all nations, powers and peoples who “causes it to rain on the earth, where no man is.” (Job 38:26) And, yes, I believe in Jesus and the resurrection from the dead. If any agnostic out there wants to know the logic, call me and I’ll explain.

Or, here is a question for you: If all that exists is nature and the natural man, then does might make right? Is politics then just the art or science of governing with no regard for right or wrong?

Larry Tonjes
rural Hicksville

March 2009

This is in response to Bruce Gerencser’s letter that appeared in the March 1 issue of The Crescent News.

Mr. Gerencser made some excellent points, especially in reference to two sides searching for the common ground as opposed to the differences that exist. Regardless of one’s personal views regarding abortion, it seems that it is safe to say that it would be wonderful to reduce the abortion rate and hope that every child is a wanted child.

Decisions about having children are among the most monumental that people consider during their lives. For many families, an unplanned pregnancy will be the difference between fulfilling dreams and struggling to survive. The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rates, unplanned pregnancy rates, abortion rates and STD rates of any industrialized country in the world. These figures are not due to permissiveness but rather are due to our failure to provide good, medically-accurate information to our young people on how to avoid unplanned pregnancies and unprotected sex once they become sexually active.

Placing legal restrictions on abortion does nothing to reduce those rates. If we want to reduce abortions, then we must be proactive in our reproductive education while ensuring access to affordable family planning.

We must foster an environment that raises the standard of reproductive care for young families. We need to support federal, state and local policies that support our young people to achieve their reproductive goals and ensure that pregnancies are wanted and appropriately timed. The answer has been in place and extremely effective for nearly 40 years, but it has gotten lost in political rhetoric and moral agendas.

Title X, a federally-funded family planning program, was started nearly 40 years ago during Nixon’s presidency and continues today. Women and Family Services has been a Title X provider since it began in 1970. This program had strong bipartisan support because these tax dollars provided important health care services and saved the government a great deal of money in the process.

Every tax dollar currently spent on family planning saves at least $4 in pregnancy-related Medicaid. These services also prevent 1.4 million unplanned pregnancies each year which would result in an estimated 600,000 abortions annually. Title X is a public health success story. The program is held accountable to high medical standards by the Ohio Department of Health. Local residents get quality health care based on a sliding fee scale and nobody is refused services due to their inability to pay or due to residential status. Education and prevention are the fundamental driving forces of Title X.

We need not reinvent the wheel. Title X has served thousands of families in northwest Ohio over three generations. Our families and our community are strengthened by reducing abortion rates, infant mortality rates, STDs and unplanned pregnancies. Title X works!

Judy Thrasher
Defiance

March 2009

President Obama has declared war on the unborn. To make matters worse, he has also proven that his many words, promises and moving speeches usually do not measure up to his subsequent actions and vice versa.

In his recent letter to the editor, Bruce Gerencser claims President Obama has made offers to work with the pro-life community. In reality, however, Obama’s stated beliefs have nullified his recent attempts to bring two morally different groups together, resulting in his continued death grip on the unborn. This is exemplified by his signature on an executive order that repealed the Mexico City Policy.

By overturning the Mexico City Policy, President Obama enabled the federal government to provide funding for clinics that promote abortion as a method of family planning in countries that receive U.S. foreign aid. How can our president claim interest in working with pro-lifers to reduce abortions when his repeal of this policy promotes funding for abortions overseas? Adding insult to injury is the fact that the taxpayers’ hard-earned money is being used to kill the unborn not only at home but abroad.

Furthermore, Obama has stated that he wants to restore U.S. funding to the United Nations Fund for Populations Activities (UNFPA) despite UNFPA’s involvement with the Chinese “one-child” population program that includes forced abortions. As a result, the Democratic leadership in the U.S. House has just pushed through an appropriations bill that gives UNFPA $50 million, regardless of whether it violates any provision of U.S. law, including the ban on promoting coerced abortion and sterilization. This same bill also would cut funding for abstinence-until-marriage education by $14.2 million.

Several of Obama’s appointments have also reflected his support for ardent pro-abortionists. For example, the Obama administration chose Dawn Johnson, the former legal director of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) for a top job in the Department of Justice. Obama’s choice for secretary of Health and Human Services, who will guide health care reform, is Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who not only vetoed numerous common sense pro-life laws, but hosted notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller and members of his clinic staff at a 2007 reception at the Kansas Governor’s Mansion.

How are any of these actions likely to reduce abortions? It seems to me that the only “common ground” that Obama is offering pro-lifers is quicksand.

State Representative Lynn Wachtmann
Napoleon

March 2009

This is in response to Mr. Gerencser’s letter to the editor on abortion. Wow! Sir, you are way off the mark when it comes to pro-life. This is what is wrong with the direction of this country. You cannot compromise murder. The commandment is “Thou Shall Not Kill.” It’s quite straight forward. The Bible does not say “Thou shall not kill, unless it is in the first few weeks of a pregnancy”.

If, sir, you are a true Christian, you believe that there is one God Almighty, Creator of All. You also agree that God is capable of anything. So you would have to conclude that if God intended a pregnancy to last in only the final 30 weeks, it would be so. The final weeks are only possible with the first few. This completes God’s cycle. This is how He has said it will be. This is how He has designed it.

By no means am I being your judge. I have four beautiful and talented children that I am extremely proud of. I get quite angry if I see any one of them harmed. I could not fathom having any of my children aborted. The word abort has cleaned it up so much. Let’s replace it with the word butchered or hacked. Could you imagine your children chopped to pieces at any stage of their lives?

If you are a true believer of God and his intentions, you would be appalled by this. I cannot and will not compromise my stand against abortion. A Democrat can’t “throw me a bone” to change my mind. Don’t misunderstand, I am equally upset with the Republicans. The Republican Party wont stop it, they just don’t fund it. I vote Constitution Party. Maybe that party is serious about stopping the killing.

It should make you sick to know that your tax dollars now fund these murders. By repealing the executive order on abortion, your tax dollars as well as mine provide the means to carry out these procedures. This also means that if a religious-based hospital refuses to perform a hacking, the government can take control of the hospital and force the doctor to ‘do the deed’ or face serious penalties. How wrong is that?

On certain issues, compromise is good. Taxes, projects, spending etc. You cannot wheel and deal with a human life. I went to church after reading your letter and said a prayer for you and the number of people you are in contact with who have similar views. I prayed that God would show you the joy of His process of life that He has designed and how wrong it is to stop it. Mr. Gerencser, you can call yourself a Democrat or a Republican, but with views like yours on abortion, you are a far cry from a Christian.

Brett Johanns
rural Paulding

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

2015-2020: A Look at My Writing — Post Christianity

letter to the editor

What follows is a sampling of the letters to the editors of the Bryan Times and the Defiance Crescent-News I wrote between 2015 and 2020. These letters were written after I deconverted from Christianity in November 2008.

March 2015

It’s Time to End the Death Penalty in Ohio

Dear Editor:

It’s time for Ohio legislators to put an end to the death penalty. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, since 2003, twenty Ohio inmates have been removed from death row “through exonerations, clemency, or sentence reductions because of intellectual disabilities.” In December 2014, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer testified before the House Criminal Justice Committee. Justice Pfeifer stated “The death penalty in Ohio has become what I call a death lottery…It’s very difficult to conclude that the death penalty, as it exists today, is anything but a bad gamble. That’s really not how a criminal justice system should work.”

Currently, Ohio legislators are working on bills that would prohibit the execution of those with severe mental illness, create an indigent defense fund, require crime labs and coroners to be certified, and prohibit the execution of anyone convicted solely on the testimony of jail house snitch. While these are great steps in the right direction, it is time for Ohio to altogether abolish the death penalty.

As Justice Pfeifer rightly noted, the death penalty has become a death lottery. Those of means have the ability to hire competent defense attorneys, often resulting in the death penalty being taken off the table. The poor, who can’t afford to hire an attorney, must rely on proper representation from a public defender. In many rural areas, the poor are often assigned an attorney with little capital case experience. While many public defenders do a great job defending indigent clients, there are times when they are not up to the task, lacking the necessary skill and time to adequately defend their client.

When a person’s life hangs in the balance, they deserve competent, aggressive representation. Attorneys who defend an indigent client are paid a pathetic fee and must often wait for months or years to be reimbursed by the state. If we are going to continue to use execution as the means to punish those convicted of a capital crime, then it is morally imperative that we make sure that those facing death have the same access to attorneys, expert witnesses, and crime labs, regardless of their ability to pay.

Currently, 140 men and one woman are awaiting execution in Ohio. Due to controversy over the drugs used in lethal injections, it is unlikely that there will be any executions until 2016. I would encourage Ohio legislators to use this time to find a way to bring an end to executions.

Killing someone because they committed a crime is rooted in the barbaric eye for an eye justice of the Old Testament. While many Christian sects now oppose the death penalty, Evangelicals and conservative Christians continue to demand death for those convicted of a capital crime. I ask, what happened to following in the footsteps of Jesus? Would Jesus, the Prince of Peace, approve of a criminal system that disproportionately punishes the poor and people of color? If Evangelicals, who overwhelmingly vote Republican, would get behind abolishing the death penalty, we can end this abhorrent practice.

Bruce Gerencser

May 2015

Why is the Evangelical God Silent?

Dear Editor:

There seems to be no end to the sermons printed in the editorial section of the Crescent-News. Intractable warriors for the Evangelical God preach against homosexuality, same-sex marriage, abortion, and the evils of socialism, humanism, secularism, and atheism. Letter writers claim to know the mind and will of God on every matter, warning that failure to heed their preaching will result in God pouring out his judgment and wrath on the United States. They warn that two people of the same sex marrying will bring an end to Western civilization. Yet, it seems that their preaching is falling on deaf ears.

Several months ago, St John’s United Church of Christ came out of the closet and declared themselves to be an open and affirming church. This means gays and same-sex couples are welcome at St. John’s. When I read the news report, I could hardly believe it. I thought, have I been beamed away to an alternate universe, to a county where people are not judged for who they love or how they express intimacy? No, right here in Defiance County, a church that is not ashamed to welcome one and all.

Young adults are increasingly gay-friendly and are no longer interested in the bigoted, homophobic religion of their parents. Some of them join the ranks of the nones, those who are atheists, agnostics, or indifferent towards organized religion. On many of the issues that seem to cause Evangelicals great consternation, young adults show that they think love, fairness, justice, and compassion are more important than dogma and literalism.

When I read the letters from Evangelicals, I see an aging group of people desperately trying to regain power and control over a culture that has little interest in what they are selling. Forty years ago, instead of focusing on personal piety and good works, Evangelicals sold their soul to groups like the Moral Majority and the American Family Association. They traded their place in the community for political power. They abandoned reason and rationality and became the purveyors of ignorance and bigotry. And now they are being weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Come June, despite millions of Evangelical prayers, conferences, rallies, and sermons, it is likely that the U.S. Supreme Court will set aside state laws forbidding same-sex marriage. I wonder how Evangelicals will respond? Will they turn to the heavens and ask God why he turned a deaf ear to their prayers? Will they point the finger at their homophobic rhetoric and bigotry? I doubt it.  It will be atheists such as myself, liberals, socialists, and the Kenyan-born usurper in the White House who will be blamed for their inability to return America to the love, joy, and peace of the 1950s.

Evangelicals are like the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. They call out to the heavens asking their God to show his power and act on their behalf. Yet, from my seat in the atheist pew, it seems their God is either deaf or on vacation.

Bruce Gerencser

June 2015

Medical Marijuana and Relieving Pain and Suffering

Dear Editor:

Rarely a week goes by when there is not a letter to the Editor from a fundamentalist Christian demanding their moral code and peculiar interpretation of the Bible be accepted by all.  Even when they aren’t quoting the Bible or reminding local unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of their impending doom, their letters reflect an addled worldview, one shaped by an ancient book they think offers them unchanging truth. If their beliefs were kept in the church house, non-Christians would care little and hope that one day they would see the light. However, their beliefs are not kept in the church house, and because of this people of science, reason, and common sense must continue to push back as Christian fundamentalists try by legal and political means to force people to live by a worldview that is better suited for the dustbin of human history.

Take a recent letter writer who vehemently opposes legalizing the use of medical marijuana in Ohio. Even though they didn’t mention one Bible verse, their letter dripped with the fundamentalist presupposition that suffering and pain are in some way noble and good for us. Numerous Bible verses would certainly lead one to conclude that suffering and pain have probative value and make us closer to God and keeps us from clinging too closely to this life. If we buy into this kind of thinking and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, a life after death that is free of suffering and pain awaits us.

Sounds sublime, right? But what if there is no life after death, no divine payoff for trudging through life suffering for Jesus and enduring pain because it will make us stronger? What if the only life we have is this one? Well, that changes everything. If this life is it, and I think it is, then we should try to relieve not only our own pain and suffering, but that of others. As a committed humanist, I would never want to withhold from anyone that which would relieve or end their suffering and pain. Whether it is narcotic pain medications, medical marijuana, or physician-assisted suicide, I want all humans to have at their disposal the means to lessen their suffering and pain.

Any religion that values suffering and pain is one that should be roundly criticized and rejected. And if Jesus were alive today, I suspect he’d agree with me.

Bruce Gerencser

July 2015

The Hypocrisy of Christian Government Officials Refusing to Issue Same-Sex Marriage License

Dear Editor:

Evangelical Christians are infuriated over the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. Granting U.S. citizens equal protection under the law and affording them the same civil rights heterosexuals have is seen as an affront to God, the Bible, and true Christians everywhere. As a result, a handful of Christian government officials are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claiming doing so would violate their religious beliefs.

Should government officials be required to violate their religious beliefs in the execution of their duties? They serve the public, and when they walk in the door of their respective place of duty, what God, the Bible, or their pastor has to say has no authority or relevance. The United States is a secular state, and the highest court in the land has determined that marriage laws discriminating against same-sex couples are unconstitutional. Every government official is duty-bound to obey the law, and if they can’t they should either quit, be fired, or removed from office.

Evangelicals and their counterparts in the Catholic and Mormon church have at their disposal all the means necessary to undo same-sex marriage. If they feel the Court acted unjustly, the proper recourse is to work towards a constitutional amendment that establishes marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Empty threats of second amendment remedies, secession from the union, and Sodom and Gomorrah-like judgment from God change nothing. If Christians want real change, a return to Ozzie and Harriet’s 1950’s, then they should work to amend the Constitution. They won’t do this, of course, because they know they don’t have sufficient numbers to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision.

Why is it Christian government officials issue marriage licenses to adulterers and fornicators, but draw the line at same-sex couples? The Bible sure has a lot to say about adultery and fornication, yet these “sins” are routinely ignored. Only homosexuals and same-sex couples are singled out for discrimination and abuse. Why is this?

This question is not hard to answer. Having spent the first 50 years of my life in the Evangelical church, 25 years as a pastor, I know firsthand the rampant hysterical bigotry and homophobia within Evangelicalism. Evangelicals are now known as the religion of hate, and every time people such Franklin Graham, Tim Wildmon, Al Mohler, Ken Ham, or James Dobson open their mouth, the public is reminded of this fact.

Bruce Gerencser

January 2016

Letters from Creationists

Dear Editor:

If I didn’t know any better, based on recent letters to the editor and church advertisements touting young-earth creationism, I would think that we are living in the 1920s — the era of the great creationist-versus- evolution debate.

We are almost 100 years removed from the Scopes monkey trial, yet Christian fundamentalists are still trying to hoodwink unwitting people into believing creationism is a scientific theory. Not only do they want the scientifically ignorant to believe that creationism is a scientific theory, Fundamentalists also want them to believe that it is the only explanation for the biological world.

Readers of the Crescent-News need to understand exactly what Christian fundamentalists are saying. According to them, the universe was created by the Christian God 6,020 years ago, in six 24-hour days. They also want you to believe that 2,000 years later God, in a genocidal rampage, killed every living thing with a flood, save Noah, his family, and two of every animal.

While these stories make for wonderful bedtime readings to children, they have no business being taught, outside of a comparative religion class, in the public school classroom. Creationism, along with its gussied-up sister intelligent design, is religious dogma, not biological science. I am of the opinion that any public school teacher found to be teaching creationism should immediately be removed from the classroom. We owe it to our children to make sure that they are taught sound scientific principles. God did it, is not such a principle.

I am sure my letter will bring howls and gnashing teeth from local Christian fundamentalists. They will, as they always do, cut and paste supposed rebuttals of evolution from bastions of ignorance like Answers in Genesis or The Institute of Creation Research. What they will fail to produce is peer-reviewed studies supporting their creationist claims. If creationists want to overthrow evolution, then I suggest they start publishing papers in non-Evangelical science journals. When the weight of the arguments become so overwhelming that they cannot be ignored, I have no doubt that scientists will declare creationism the winner.

This will never happen, of course, because creationism is theological in nature, not sound biological science. If people want to believe that a mythical God created the universe 6,020 years ago, fine. Ignorance is a permitted vice in a free society. But we should insist that public school children be taught science, and not long-discredited religious myths.

Bruce Gerencser

April 2016

Is the Bible the Objective Standard of Morality?

Dear Editor,

Recently, Cal Thomas pontificated about the need for an objective standard of morality. Of course, Thomas, an Evangelical, believes the moral code found in the Bible is the true standard of morality. Thomas believes America is mired in a moral quagmire. Blaming liberals, secularists, and atheists, Thomas believes America’s only hope is for Americans to once again prostrate themselves before the Bible and promise resolute fealty to its author — God.

What exactly is the Bible’s objective moral standard? The Ten Commandments? Or is it the Nine, since most Christians no longer “remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy?” Or, as dispensational Evangelicals suggest, is just the New Testament the standard for morality? If it is just the New Testament, then why do Evangelicals continue to condemn homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and abortion — none of which is mentioned in the New Covenant? And why do Evangelical pastors continue to collect tithes and offering each Sunday, a practice not found anywhere in the New Testament?

While Evangelicals will point their peculiar interpretation of the Bible to justify the notion that they are the holders of God’s standard of morality, any careful examination of their churches shows that Evangelical moral beliefs are every bit as subjective as their atheist/agnostic/secularist neighbors. There are more than one hundred churches in Defiance County, and not one of them agrees with another about what is considered moral behavior.

On matters of greater importance: salvation, baptism, and communion, local churches fight among themselves, each believing that it has the keys to the kingdom. One church has been running weekly ads in the Crescent-News to remind locals that their church — a Campbellite congregation — preaches the true gospel. Down the street Baptists preachers remind congregants that the heretical followers of Alexander and Thomas Campbell were thrown out the Baptist church mid-19th century. It is the Baptists who have the true gospel. And so the internecine wars continue unabated since the day Jesus was buried in a pauper’s grave.

Atheists such as myself laugh when Evangelicals suggest that the Bible is the standard for morality. Seeing the utter confusion and contradictory beliefs among the various Christian sects, how can anyone know for sure who is right? My money is on none of them being right. As a humanist, I believe it is up to people — not religions — to determine the standards by which we want to govern our lives.

Bruce Gerencser

April 2016

Evangelical Hysteria Over Transgender Bathroom Use

Dear Editor,

Recent news stories have highlighted Evangelical outrage and hysteria over Transgenders using public restrooms. I suspect most Americans at one time or another have taken care of business while in proximity to someone whose sexual identity or orientation is different from theirs. Why all the outrage now over such a banal issue as who and where someone pees?

At the heart of this issue lies Evangelical hatred and disgust, not only for Transgenders, but also for anyone who dares to be different from the God-approved, heterosexual-only, virginal, monogamous-sex-only-within-the-bonds-of-marriage Evangelical belief concerning sexuality. As a Baptist teenager, I vividly remember sermons and admonitions warning teens of the dire consequences of fornication and masturbation. All the scare-tactic preaching did was make us feel guilty when we acted upon normal, healthy human sexual desire.

Evangelicalism is now widely considered a hateful religion by many Americans. Why is this? In the 1970s, Jerry Falwell and Paul Weyrich birthed The Moral Majority — an Evangelical group dedicated to reclaiming America for the Christian God. Along the way new groups such as Focus on the Family and the American Family Association joined with the Moral Majority to fight the war against what they perceived to be the takeover of America by Godless liberals, Satanic secularists, atheists, and humanists. In the 1980s these culture warriors sold their souls to the Republican Party, joining church and state and producing the ugly monster now on display for all to see.

During this same time frame, secularists, their numbers increasing thanks to a growing number of Americans who no longer are interested in organized religion, began to push back at Evangelicalism’s message of hate and bigotry. Atheist groups such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Atheists began challenging governmental preferential treatment given to Evangelicals. Now, thanks to a rising swell of secularism, Evangelicals feel threatened. No longer are they given special treatment. No longer are their blatant assaults on the First Amendment ignored. The more Evangelicals are marginalized, the greater their outrage.

Evangelicals must accept the fact that progress has brought us to place of inclusion and acceptance of those who are different from us. Evangelical preachers are certainly free to keep preaching against what they believe are sinful behaviors. But they might want to notice that many Americans — particularly millennials — are no longer listening.

Bruce Gerencser

July 2016

Ken Ham’s Latest Monument to Human Ignorance

Dear Editor,

Four or so hours away from Defiance, a man by the name of Ken Ham has built a $100 million monument to human ignorance — The Ark Encounter. This monument is a life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark. As one who was raised in the Evangelical church and pastored churches for 25 years, I heard and preached countless sermons about Noah and the Ark. Regrettably, I was in my forties before I learned that this story and many others were myths, having no basis in historical or scientific fact.

According to Ham and his fellow Evangelicals, the universe is 6,021 years old. Everything we see, both on earth and in the skies, was created by God in six literal 24-hour days. According to creationists, the book of Genesis is a science textbook, one that emphatically teaches young earth creationism. Indeed, the entire Bible is infallible and without error, and should be, with rare exception, interpreted literally.

I am sure, just as Muslims who make a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Mecca, Evangelicals will flock to Kentucky to Ham’s monument to scientific ignorance. Adults will pay $40 for the privilege of touring Ham’s Ark, children $26. While there, Evangelicals will be taught “truths” about the historicity and reliability of the Bible and young earth creationism. I am sure most visitors will be awed by Ham’s Ark, ignoring that much of what Ham has constructed is built upon speculation. If Ham built a boat according to Biblical specifications, I highly doubt Kentucky officials would grant it an occupancy permit, and it is doubtful such a boat would safely float.

Ken Ham also operates the Creation Museum, another monument to ignorance. When it first opened, Evangelicals flocked to Kentucky to witness the wonders of the young earth creationism lie. Once witnessed, Evangelicals moved on to other entertainments, resulting in decreasing revenues for Answers in Genesis. Following the script of Field of Dreams, Ham built his Ark believing Evangelicals would visit if he did. And they will, for a time. The problem for Ham lies in the fact that Evangelicals easily bore. Once Evangelicals have seen the Ark, will they return? Probably not, especially if Ham continues to charge King’s Island-like admission prices. Perhaps Ham knows this, and this is why he is already planning a new entertainment venture — a replica of the Tower of Babel. Those who love reason and science can only shake their heads.

Bruce Gerencser

October 2016

Local Evangelical Support of Donald Trump

Dear Editor,

Local Evangelicals often use the Crescent-News editorial page to wage war against sins they believe will cause the destruction of America. If these sins — abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, same-sex marriage, driving while Democrat — are allowed to continue, they believe God will judge our country and remove his blessing. These same writers have spent years reminding readers that electing Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and now Hillary Clinton will result in the United States turning into a Communist/socialist/atheist/humanist state. Only God and the Christian Bible will do, they tell us. Ignore their words, pay the price.

During the primaries, these same people wrote letters extolling the virtues of various Republican candidates. When the dust settled, Donald Trump was left standing. Donald Trump is a misogynistic, xenophobic, racist, sexual predator with the acumen of a third grader. He offers no policy positions other than his plan to make America great again. Recently, Trump fat-shamed women, calling them names, and last week, a recording of Trump admitting that he sexually assaulted women surfaced for all to see. “Locker room talk,” they say, “just boys being boys.”

Many Evangelicals have decided that while Donald Trump’s a vile, disgusting human being, he’s exactly the kind of person God uses for his glory. “What a testament to God’s wondrous grace that God can even use someone like Donald Trump,” they say. Some believe that Trump is a “baby” Christian and will grow in the knowledge of the Lord. What, I ask, do these people see that the rest of us cannot? Here’s a man who told the world that he’s never asked God for forgiveness, yet we’re supposed to believe he’s a Christian? Please, stop insulting our intelligence.

If God really can use anyone to accomplish his purpose, cannot he use Hillary Clinton just as easily as Donald Trump? According to Evangelicals, Clinton’s the Antichrist. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God used Clinton to accomplish his purposes? Dare Evangelicals stand in the way of God’s plan for America?

Trump and his followers want to return America to the 1950s — a time when there was no God but the Christian God, Joseph McCarthy found Commies under every bed, men in white sheets ruled the South, abortion was illegal, blacks knew their place, women stayed at home, and gays stayed in the closet. Those of us who believe in progress must not let this happen.

Bruce Gerencser

March 2017

The True Agenda of the Ayn Rand-fueled, Koch Brothers-funded, Evangelical-empowered, Paul Ryan-controlled Wing of the Republican Party

Dear Editor:

The recent attempt to pass what Donald Trump and Republicans dubbed the American Health Care Act has finally exposed for all to see the true agenda of the Ayn Rand-fueled, Koch Brothers-funded, Evangelical-empowered, Paul Ryan-controlled wing of the Republican Party. The white sheets have been torn away, exposing ideological hatred for minorities, the working class, and what the Bible calls the least of these. We now know that these shills for the one-percenters want to destroy the Federal government, roll back the New Deal, and cut the bottom out of social safety net. Their ultimate goal is to return our society to the days of the wild, wild West – days when every man controlled his own destiny; days when the capitalist with the fastest draw and surest aim or the robber baron with the quickest fists ruled the land.

As of the writing of this letter, Republicans have twice cancelled votes on the AHCA. Facing outrage from all corners of the political spectrum, Paul Ryan is increasingly aware of the fact that he never should have made public his agenda to destroy America. While I thoroughly enjoy watching Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and their surrogates get the public caning they so richly deserve, my joy is tempered by the fact that at the state level Republican extremists are quietly and effectively rolling back much of the social progress of the past century. More frightening than the AHCA debacle is the Koch Brothers-funded plan for a Constitutional Convention. And once a Constitutional Convention is convened, Tea-Party, Libertarian, and Evangelical theocrats will finally have the tools necessary to dismantle the Federal government and turn America into dog-eat-dog capitalist state ruled by men only concerned with their stock portfolios and return on investments. While Evangelicals will certainly make sure that their God is returned to his rightful place as America’s potentate, the real God of these extremists is laissez-faire capitalism.

One positive to come out of electing Donald Trump is the exposure of the true agenda of many Republican officeholders. Now it is up to Democrats, liberals, progressives. democratic socialists, and all who value social progress to coalesce into a movement willing to take on Paul Ryan/Koch Brothers/Ayn Rand Republicans. What lies ahead is a no-holds-barred fight to the death for the future of our Republic. I am ready for the fight. Are you?

Bruce Gerencser

November 2017

I Support the Kneeling Defiance College Football Players

Dear Editor:

I write to lend my support to the Defiance College football players who have knelt during the playing of the national anthem. I commend them for their courage, knowing that most local residents oppose their actions. Their continued protest has brought calls for discipline, including expulsion from school. I commend college administrators and coaches for not bowing to public pressure to silence protest. These students, along with their counterparts in professional sports, need to be heard. Their protests have nothing to do with respect for the military or flag.

What lies behind their kneeling is inequality, injustice, and racism. While these issues might seem to locals to be the problems of urban areas, the truth is that we denizens of rural Northwest Ohio have our own problems related to these things. I recently participated in a forum discussion on racism in Northwest Ohio. Having lived most of my sixty years of life in this area, I can say with great certainty that we are not immune from charges of racism and injustice. We may hide it better, covering it with white, middle-class Christian respectability, but it exists, nonetheless.

Years ago, my family and I walked into a church towards the end of the adult Sunday school class. Teaching the class was a matronly white woman — a pillar of the church. She was telling the class that her grandson was not getting playing time on the college football team because blacks got all the playing time. She reminded me of a retired white school teacher I knew when I lived in Southeast Ohio. At the time, we had a black foster daughter. I had just started a new church in the area, and we were looking for a house to rent. This school teacher had a house available, so we agreed to rent it. When it came time to pick up the keys, she told us she decided to rent to someone else. We later learned that she said she wasn’t going to have a ni***r living in her house.

These stories are apt reminders of what lies underneath our country respectability. It is time we quit wrapping ourselves in the flag, pretending that racism, inequality, and injustice doesn’t exist. Our flag and anthem represent many things, but for many Americans, they represent oppression and denial of human rights; and it is for these reasons, among others, that players kneel.

Bruce Gerencser

March 2019

Why Aren’t Chronic Pain Sufferers Considered Stakeholders When Discussing the Opioid Crisis?

Dear Editor:

Every week articles appear in the Crescent-News about the current opioid crisis. Medical professionals, substance abuse counselors, law enforcement, local government officials, and former addicts routinely are asked for comments or input on how to deal with drug abuse. There is, however, one stakeholder who is never asked to participate in these discussions – the chronic pain sufferer who takes opioid-based medications. Instead, the aforementioned groups speak as if chronic pain sufferers don’t exist. How else to explain the comments by authority figures about medical marijuana? Here’s a drug that can help people with chronic pain, yet law enforcement and government officials in particular go out of their way to make it hard or impossible for chronic pain suffers to access medical marijuana. Republican state legislators, in particular, are doing their best to make it nigh impossible for chronic pain sufferers to access and affordably buy medical marijuana. Local communities, giving into irrational hysteria, have caused harm to suffering locals by banning medical marijuana sellers. Imagine the outrage there would be if local governments banned cancer treatment drugs. Why, they would be voted out of office. Yet, it seems okay to demean, diminish, and harm chronic pain sufferers. Why is this?

One reason for these actions is that chronic pain sufferers are not part of local discussions about opioid abuse and use. Chronic pain sufferers who use narcotics as part of their pain management regimen are now treated like drug addicts. Chronic pain sufferers must jump through numerous hoops put in place by doctors, pharmacies, and government to get their prescriptions filled. Not one time have chronic pain sufferers been asked to have a seat at the discussion table. Instead, they suffer indignity in silence, fearing they will be looked down on if they dare to complain about the increasingly complex process required to get prescriptions filled.

I have read comments by Defiance Mayor Mike “Medical Marijuana is Not Part of Our Brand” McCann that reveal he is clueless about what chronic pain sufferers (and the handicapped) go through every day. The only way to change such ignorant perceptions is to include chronic pain sufferers in discussions about opioid abuse, medical marijuana, and pain treatment in general. Excluding them paints an inaccurate picture, leading to uneducated, ignorant, and irrational conclusions. Thanks to the war on opioids, chronic pain suffers have been pushed into the shadows. We deserve better.

Bruce Gerencser

September 2019

Does President Trump Really Care About “Religious Freedom?”

Dear Editor:

President Donald Trump knows he has no hope of winning the 2020 election without white Evangelical Christians. In 2016, eighty-two percent of voting white Evangelicals cast their votes for Trump. For the President to win the upcoming general election, his conservative Christian base must come out in force. While some of Trump’s moral faux pas have caused base erosion, for the most part, Evangelicals continue to stand by their man.

Why do Evangelicals continue to support President Trump? I was an Evangelical pastor for twenty-five years. There was a time when Evangelical churches and pastors took resolute stands on moral virtue and ethics — especially for elected leaders. I remember my outrage over President Clinton’s sexual misbehavior and lying while in office. From the pulpit and in letters to the editors of local newspapers, I demanded his immediate removal from office. Twenty years later? Evangelicals now turn a blind eye to the behavior of a president who paid off porn stars, allegedly sexually assaulted women, possibly committed treason, and doesn’t go a day without factually and materially lying to the American people. What changed?

In the 1970s, Jerry Falwell and Paul Weyrich birthed the Moral Majority. This small, innocuous group morphed into Hydra — a multi-headed monster. Gaining critical mass in the 1990s, these groups forsook their moral underpinnings, choosing instead to imbibe the sewage water of raw political power. All that matters now is keeping control, outlawing abortion, shoving LGBTQ people back in the closet, and establishing a Christian theocracy. Evangelicals even go so far as to paint themselves as a persecuted religious minority. One need only listen to Trump’s recent incoherent “religious freedom” speech at the United Nations to know he has heard his Evangelical base loud and clear.

While it is undoubtedly true that religious persecution happens in many places — including North Korea and Saudi Arabia — Trump blocking the immigration of the primarily Muslim Rohingya people reveals that his recent “religious freedom” speeches are little more than reminders to Evangelicals that he has their back. I entered the ministry in the 1970s. I didn’t know of a preacher who didn’t believe in the separation of church and state. Today? Scores of Evangelicals deny this wall even exists. For this reason, people who genuinely value religious freedom for all — including unbelievers and non-Christians — must fight the religious right’s attempt to redefine “religious freedom.

Bruce Gerencser

August 2020

The Rotting Corpse of American Capitalism

Dear Editor:

Jerry Bergman’s latest letter to the editor about Karl Marx, Marxism, and atheism would be hilarious if it wasn’t for the fact that his distortions of history are believed by millions of Evangelical Christians. Marxism, socialism, and atheism are the new boogeymen used by preachers to foment outrage and fear among the faithful. Worse yet, many of these same preachers tell congregants that Donald Trump, a fascist, is the only thing standing between them and the socialist/Marxist horde taking over America.

Bergman takes one line from Marx, using it to paint a distorted view of 20th-century history. Here’s the rest of the quote:

“Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.”

As readers can see, Marx’s view of religion is more nuanced and complex than Bergman suggests.

Marx believed that religion provides a fantasy of sorts for the poor and disenfranchised. Economic realities prevent the poor from finding happiness in this life, so religion promises them happiness in the life to come. This Faustian bargain chains the poor to the rotting carcass of immoral American capitalism. It is only when the poor and disenfranchised see beyond the false promises of eternal life and heavenly prosperity that they see their only hope of a better tomorrow rests in casting off the chains of religion and resolutely standing against the political and social status quo.

It is clear to anyone who is paying attention that American capitalism is a failed economic system. Is Democratic Socialism the answer? Maybe. One thing is certain: capitalism is not the answer. Once Trump and his robber baron cronies are voted out of office in November, we can then begin anew to not make America great again, but to make her more fair, equitable, and just for all Americans.

Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Bruce, Did You Ever Pray for God to Abolish Hell?

i have a question

I recently asked readers to submit questions they would like me to answer. If you have a question you would like me to answer, please leave your question on the page, Your Questions, Please.

Dave asked:

[Christian] Fundamentalists believe you can bring anything to God in prayer and he will answer it. They also believe in eternal torture as this god’s punishment for most of the human race. As a pastor did you ever pray that God would not allow such a monstrosity as hell? Why do you think that this plea is not made continuously by people who hold this belief? Is it because they don’t really believe they can change the mind of God, or is it because they relish the idea that nonbelievers will get what they deserve?

Evangelicals believe that the Bible God hears and answers their prayers. While Evangelicals are all over the place theologically on prayer, they believe that God does hear their petitions and answers in one of three ways:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not now

According to Evangelicals, every prayer that conforms to the will of God is answered affirmatively. Why, then, do most Evangelical prayers go unanswered — especially big-ticket items such as the ones mentioned by Dave? Why does God seem indifferent to human suffering, pain, and loss? According to Evangelicals, God saying no or not now happens for one of these reasons:

  • God wants to increase our faith
  • God wants to test us and make us stronger
  • God wants to chastise us for our sins, restoring us to a right relationship with him
  • God wants to bring glory to his name

While I am sure there are other “reasons” for God saying no or not now, these are the big four — the reasons most often cited by Evangelicals.

For thirty-five years, I prayed every day — often multiple times a day. Yet, I never, one time, asked God to abolish Hell. I believed Hell (and the Lake of Fire) was an awful place of eternal damnation and suffering, yet I also believed the people in Hell were getting exactly what they deserved. Salvation had been offered to them by Jesus Christ, yet they rejected it, choosing instead their own selfish desires. Of course, I dared not think too hard on the matter, lest I see multiple glaring contradictions. Had I thought about that matter, I would have concluded that God was unjust and unfair; that eternity in Hell seemed to be determined by who your parents were and geography.

After embracing Calvinism, I concluded that eternal destiny was determined not by making a decision for Christ, but because God had chosen some people to spend eternity in Hell. No one deserved salvation and eternity in Heaven, so God can’t be blamed for sending most people to the Lake of Fire.

I never believed I could change the mind of God through my prayers. God was the sovereign Lord over all, and everything that happened was according to his purpose and plan. People saved under my ministry were converted because God purposed from before the foundation of the world to bring them to saving faith. When I prayed, it was not so God would give me what I want, but so my will would conform to God’s. Ironically, on many occasions God’s “will” aligned perfectly aligned with mine. It was amazing that God often gave me exactly what I wanted. I later concluded that the only person answering my prayers was me; that my prayers were self-fulfilling wants, needs, and desires.

Dave concludes by asking a question that most Evangelicals don’t want to answer: [do] they [Evangelicals] relish the idea that nonbelievers will get what they deserve?

I do know that some Evangelicals relish the fact that I will some day go to Hell to be punished and tortured by God for eternity. I am viewed as someone especially deserving of eternal torture. I knew the “truth” and rejected it. I spit in the face of Jesus, choosing atheism over the one true faith. I have received countless emails and blog comments from Evangelicals who, with sadistic delight, describe what God is going to do to me after I die. Usually, they end with a call to repentance or “praying for you,” but I suspect that many of my critics relish what awaits for me in Hell.

Deep down, Evangelicals need validation; to know for certain that they are right. Their lives are built on certainty; that their God is the one true God; that the Bible is a supernatural book given to them by a supernatural God, a book that is a blueprint or manual for life; that their decision to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ was the right choice, guaranteeing them an eternity of heavenly bliss.

Those who don’t believe as they do will get exactly what they deserve — eternal punishment in Hell. What better way for you to be proven right than for unbelievers to be cast into the Lake of Fire? I suspect some Evangelical zealots will take day strolls to the rim of the Lake of Fire, and say to unbelievers, I TOLD YOU SO! The eternal suffering of unbelievers is, for Evangelicals, vindication of their beliefs.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

The Atheist Agenda

value life

The Black Collar Crime Series — which details the criminal behavior of pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and other Christian leaders — draws a lot of vitriol from Evangelicals who believe there is some sort of “atheist agenda” behind these stories.

Recently, a self-righteous, indignant Evangelical took issue with my posts on Pastor Raymond Vliet (please see Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Raymond Vliet Pleads No Contest to Attempted Embezzlement). Here’s part of what he had to say:

Do you believe in truth in reporting? I would think putting your name on this article you would have some integrity. did you investigate any of this information you posted or are you just here to Bash any Pastor to push your atheism?

….

If you want the truth and you want to prove email me we will send you all you need to know the print the truth. Unless of course you’re not interested in the truth the Constitution gives you the right of free speech Integrity gives you the right of Truth in free speech.

This man suggests that I have some sort of “atheist” agenda driving my exposure of his pastor as a thief. He provided no evidence that my post was false or misleading. Instead, he accuses me of going after his pastor for nefarious reasons — as he does the sheriff and prosecutor in the case.

Let me state, once again, WHY I write the Black Collar Crime series:

The Black Collar Crime series is in its fourth year, having published almost eight hundred reports of clergy and church leader criminal misconduct. Using Google Alerts, I receive an immediate notice any time a news story about clerical malfeasance is posted on the internet. It is important that these stories receive wide circulation. Victims need to know that there are people standing with them as they bring to light that which God’s servants have done in secret.

I realize that these reports are often dark and depressing, but the only way to dispel darkness is to turn on the lights. Clergy who prey on congregants — especially children — must be exposed, prosecuted, convicted, and sent to prison. By leveraging this blog’s traffic and publishing these reports, I am serving notice to law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges: we are paying attention, and if you fail to provide justice for victims, we will hold you accountable.

Sadly, many clerics have enormous power over people. How else do we explain that alleged repeat abusers of children and sexual predators such as Lester Roloff, Jack Patterson, Bob Gray, David Hyles, and Mack Ford — to name a few — never spent a day in jail for their crimes? Mack Ford, in particular, spent decades physically and psychologically destroying teenagers, yet, thanks to his connections in the community, he was never prosecuted for his crimes. (Please see Sexual Abuse in the Name of God: New Bethany Home for GirlsTeen Group Homes: Dear IFB Pastor, It’s Time for You to Atone for Your SinWhat Should We Do When Religious Freedom Leads to Child Abuse?)

Sometimes, these seemingly untouchable predators are brought to justice, but not until the public puts pressure on law enforcement and prosecutors, forcing them to act. The sordid story of abuse at Restoration Youth Academy is case in point. Decades of reports about abuse were filed with local law enforcement, yet nothing was done. Yes, they finally acted and the perpetrators are now in prison, but what do we say to the hundreds of children and teenagers who were ritually abused before prosecutors got around to doing their job?

I am sure that this series will bring criticism from Evangelical zealots, reminding me that accused/charged clerics are innocent until proven guilty. While they are correct, all I am doing is sharing that which is widely reported in the news. In the twelve years I’ve been writing about clergy misconduct, I can count on one hand the number of pastors/priests/religious leaders who were falsely accused — less than five, out of hundreds and hundreds of cases. The reason for so few false accusations is that no person in his or her right mind would mendaciously accuse a pastor of sexual misconduct. The social and personal cost is simply too high for someone to falsely accuse a religious leader of criminal conduct.

People often believe that “men of God” would never, ever commit such crimes. One common thread in the crimes committed by Jack Schaap, Bill Wininger, Josh Duggar, David Farren, Naasón Joaquín García, and a cast of thousands, is that family and fellow Christians were absolutely CERTAIN that these men of God could/would never commit the crimes with which they were charged. Even when presented with overwhelming evidence, their supporters — with heads in the sand — refuse to believe that these servants of Jesus did the perverse things they are accused of. (Please see What One IFB Apologist Thinks of People Who Claim They Were Abused and Evangelicals Use ‘We Are All Sinners’ Argument to Justify Sexual Abuse.)

Secondary reasons for this series have to do with exposing the lie that Evangelicalism is immune to scandal and criminal behavior. I remember when the Catholic sex scandals came to light. With great glee and satisfaction, Evangelical preachers railed against predator priests and the Catholic Church who covered up their crimes. Now, of course, we know — with the recent Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) and Southern Baptist sex scandals — that Evangelicalism is just as rotten, having its own problem with sexual abuse and subsequent cover-ups. Evangelicals love to take the high moral ground, giving the perception that their shit doesn’t stink. Well, now we know better. Not only does Evangelicalism have a sexual abuse problem, it also has a big problem with pastors who can’t keep their pants zipped up. (Please see Is Clergy Sexual Infidelity Rare?)

I receive threats from people defending their religious heroes. Threats of legal action are common, even though all I am doing is republishing stories publicly reported by news agencies. A pastor featured in one of my reports contacted me and said that reporters had it all wrong. As I do with everyone who asserts they are being falsely accused, I told this preacher that he could give his version of the facts, sign his name to it, and I would gladly add it to the post. Usually, this puts an end to any further protestations. Most often, the accused want to bully me into taking down my post. In this preacher’s case, he provided me his version of events and I gladly added it to my post. After adding the information, I decided to investigate this pastor further. I found more information about his past indiscretions and crimes. I dutifully added them to the post. I have not heard anything further from the good pastor.

I am not immune from making mistakes, so if you spot a factual error in one of the stories, please let me know and I will gladly correct it. If you come across a story that you would like me to add to this series, please use the contact form to email me. Please keep in mind that I need links to actual news reports in order to add them to this series.

Today, my godless friend Brian Vanderlip — who happens to have advanced degrees in sarcasm, snark, and humor — asked me the following question:

I am interested, Mr. Gerencser, in understanding your ‘atheist agenda’, the one you are trying so hard to ‘further’ by publishing false stories about preachers. I keep hearing this ‘idea’ from Christians, how atheists want to turn the world into a moral and ethical cesspool, how they are involved in cultic practices, have sex with and eat babies and so forth.

I have not been able to verify this oft-repeated meme and wonder if you might, as a known perpetrator of atheism, reveal to me your ‘agenda’. Over time, it seems to me that non-believers simply don’t believe in God(s) but often say they are open to being provided proofs and that should these proofs stand scientific scrutiny, they are more than willing to change their position. Christians, on the other hand, firmly knowing their Saviour, actively shout protests when anybody offers them information that is not approved by their local pastor, their Christian club.

So, please, please, Mr. Gerencser, if you would be so kind, explain just what the atheist agenda is, pretty please?

Brian’s question gives me the opportunity to address the notion that atheists with public voices as writers and speakers, have some sort of “agenda.” While I can’t speak for all atheists, nor can I address the motivations of individual atheists, I can speak about my motivations, and what, if any, agenda drives my writing — particularly the Black Collar Crime Series.

Most Evangelicals, preachers included, make all sorts of false assumptions about atheism in general and atheists in particular:

  • Atheism is a religion.
  • Atheists hate God.
  • Atheists want to destroy Christianity.
  • Atheists are deliberately ignorant, refusing to see the “truth” revealed in God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible Word.
  • Atheists worship humans.
  • Atheists secretly desire to engage in sin, especially sexual sins.

I am sure there are more things I could add to this list. While some of these things might be true about certain atheists, I can categorically state atheism is not a religion, and most atheists don’t hate God, want to destroy Christianity, live in “denial” to the truth of God’s word, worship humans, or secretly desire to engage in sexual “sin.” All of these claims are assumptions made by Evangelicals without any credible evidence to prove their veracity. I have written about these claims several times over the years. None of them is true. Instead of engaging atheists on their own terms, fairly and honestly, Evangelicals construct a strawman, which they then gleefully burn to the ground. What Evangelical fail to understand is that what they have torched bears no resemblance to atheism and atheists. Sorry, but we are not the awful, vile, evil people you think we are. In fact, I would argue that atheists — who generally are humanists — are moral, ethical people who promote and value love, kindness, and goodness. Simply put, Evangelicals, just cuz you say it, doesn’t make it so.

Every atheist writer I know is a free agent. We don’t check in with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, American Atheists, American Humanist Association, or Atheist Pope Matt Dillahunty before we write on a particular subject. Some atheists don’t particularly like my writing. I have been accused of being too soft on Christianity. Atheist mythicists don’t like the fact that I believe Jesus was a real person. And atheist libertarians? Why they can be downright vicious, despising my liberal/socialist political views. The other day, we had a mother cat and four kittens eating at Gerencser Buffet for Feral Cats, Possums, and Racoons. The mother had black fur, but the kittens? Talk about genetic diversity. So it is with atheists. We are a diverse lot.

Let me conclude this post by taking a few steps back and viewing atheism as a whole. Are there some generalizations I can make about atheists? Sure.

  • Atheists want to live and let live.
  • Atheists want to live happy, prosperous lives.
  • Atheists want others to live happy, prosperous lives.
  • Atheists value science, believing the scientific method is the best way of explaining the world we live in
  • Atheists don’t hate God. How could they since they don’t believe deities exist?
  • Atheists don’t hate religion, per se. They do, however, strenuously object to what is done in the name of God/religion. If religionists keep their religions to themselves, atheists would have little to say about their practices. However, many religions aggressively proselytize, demand preferential treatment, and use the power of the state to force unbelievers to live according to the teachings of their Holy Books. In the United States, it is primarily Evangelicals who are pushing a theocratic agenda.

So, does atheist Bruce Gerencser have an agenda? Yes and no. I started blogging in 2007. My goal then and now is to tell my story; to detail my journey from Evangelicalism to atheism. My target audience are those who have questions and doubts about Christianity or who have left Christianity. I am not an atheist Evangelist. I am just one man with a story to tell. If I can help someone in a small way, I have done my job.

The Black Collar Crime series was started to provide public exposure to alleged crimes committed by men of God. I often find this series hard to write. I feel as if I need to take a shower after writing a post about a predator preacher. But, if I don’t do this, I know some of these stories will not get the press they deserve. Victims deserve to be heard, and as long as I have the strength to do so, I intend to keep shining light on what’s done in darkness.

This blog is NOT my life, though some days it seems so, especially when I am not feeling well. I’ve been a writer for forty years. I write because I am passionately driven to do so. When I started blogging years ago, my goal was to provide an outlet for me to share my story. That thousands of people now read my writing is beyond my wildest expectations. Do I want more readers? Sure, who wouldn’t, right? But blog traffic has never been my goal. I am grateful for every person who reads my writing — including my Evangelical critics. But, regardless of the numbers, I plan to keep plunking the keys on my IBM Model M keyboard until my fingers drop off. If I have an agenda, it is this: to be an honest, thoughtful, engaging writer.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

IFB Doctorates: Doctor, Doctor, Doctor, Everyone’s a Doctor

ifb preachers importance

Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.

I know a lot of Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preachers who love being called Doctor. They expect church members to call them Doctor and their undoctored colleagues to bow in reverence to them. In the IFB church movement, to have a doctorate means you have arrived, that your dick is bigger than that of your fellow pastors.  Having a doctorate gives one an air of importance and respectability. Go to any of the big IFB conferences, and you’ll find the scheduled speakers list littered with the names of men who have doctorates. But, here’s the thing: the overwhelming majority of preachers sporting a doctorate didn’t earn the moniker. Most likely, one of their preacher buddies, who just so happens to run an unaccredited Bible college, gave them their doctorate. Or, they did minimal coursework at one of many IFB diploma mills. Either way, their doctorate is nothing more than the plume of a peacock. Look, look, look at me, I am special, I am important, I am a Doctor.

Even at the IFB college, university, and seminary level, many of the professors have doctorates that were granted to them by the institution at which they are teaching or some other unaccredited college. I spent 25 years in the ministry, and I came in contact with a lot of Doctors. In every case but one, the doctorates were either honorary or “earned” through minimal work done at diploma mills. The only person I knew that had an earned doctorate was Tom Malone — the founder and chancellor of Midwestern Baptist College. Dr. Malone had a Ph.D. in education from Wayne State University.

Christian Bible College is a good example of an IFB diploma mill:

costs christian bible college
Course Costs Christian Bible College
course requirements for christian bible college
Course Requirements for Christian Bible College

Andersonville Theological Seminary is another good example of a diploma mill:

doctor of theology andersonville
Course Requirement for Andersonville Theological Seminary
costs andersonville
Costs Andersonville Theological Seminary

I know several IFB preachers who advertise that they have a doctorate in counseling. Andersonville offers a doctorate in counseling, complete with licensure from the National Christian Counselors Association. (NCCA) Here’s what Andersonville has to say about their counseling doctorate and NCCA licensure:

counseling doctorate andersonville
Counseling Doctorate Andersonville Theological Seminary

This has all the making of a Holiday Inn commercial: I’m not a licensed, qualified counselor but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

I suspect that most IFB church members don’t have a clue about how their pastor got his doctorate. They naïvely assume their pastor is just like their medical doctor or a professor at the local college. They likely think their pastor went through the rigors of a Ph.D. program and is eminently qualified to teach them the Bible. Little do they know that their pastor’s doctorate is nothing more than a high-five from a friend who operates a college, or a piece of paper given to him after paying a fee and doing minimal course work.

On one level, who cares, right? But, many of these “Doctors” are counseling people with serious mental health problems. A troubled church member goes to their pastor thinking he is qualified to help them. After all, he has a doctorate in counseling, right? He is just as qualified as the psychologist at the local mental health clinic, right? Unbeknownst to the church member, their pastor’s doctorate is little more than words scrawled on used toilet paper.

As Paul Harvey used to say: now you know the rest of the story.

Doctorate-sporting IFB preachers are like Diotrephes in III John: they love to have the preeminence. Go to an IFB church or conference and watch how Dr. Bob or Dr. Jack or Dr. Paul are fawned over and treated like gods. I wonder when these Doctors last preached on James 2:

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

(Please see The Evangelical Cult of Personality.)

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Rebellion and How an Authoritarian God Deals With It

rebellion

Rebellion is a common word in the vocabulary of Evangelical Christian pastors, church leaders, husbands, and parents.

Here’s what the Bible says about God’s view of rebellion:

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (1 Samuel 15:23)

Those who practiced witchcraft were to be put to death (Exodus 22:18, Deuteronomy 18:9-11), so it is clear that God considered rebellion a serious matter.

God commanded a harsh punishment for a rebellious son:

If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them; Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you and all Israel shall hear, and fear. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

The Old Testament is the written record of how a thrice Holy God dealt with a rebellious people, Israel. Page after page details God’s judgments against his people and those who got in his way.

When we get to the New Testament, the word rebellion is not used. Does this mean that God has changed? Of course not. How is it possible for a perfect God to change? Malachi 3:6 says:

For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

The Bible says, speaking of Jesus:

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)

It is clear, from the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God that God is immutable. He doesn’t change (though there are a few texts that seem to suggest otherwise).

Evangelical churches and pastors generally believe that both Testaments are authoritative (especially those Old Testament verses about tithing). Granted, Evangelicals are quite contradictory in their interpretations of the Old Testament, picking and choosing what they want to believe, but they do say all sixty-six books of the Bible are authoritative.

The key word is AUTHORITATIVE.

Evangelicals take seriously the matter of rebellion because they believe that the Bible is an authoritative text, and from that text they deduce an authority structure.

It goes something like this:

  • The Christian God is the supreme authority over everything. He is the sovereign King and Lord over everything. He is the creator. He is in complete and absolute control. Even with salvation, no one can be saved unless God permits them to be saved. Both Calvinists and Arminians alike believe God is the final arbiter when it comes to salvation.
  • The Christian God has established an authority hierarchy in the church. Under Jesus Christ, pastors (elders, bishops) are the head of the church. They have been called by God to teach, correct, lead, and direct the church. They are to initiate discipline when necessary to ensure the church is a pure, holy body (though many churches have a pretty low standard for pure and holy).
  • The Christian God has established authority hierarchy in the home. Again, under Jesus Christ, the husband is the head of the home, and his wife is to submit to his authority. Children are to obey their parents, and submit to their authority.
  • The Christian God has established an authority hierarchy for nations. All nations are to bow to the authority of the Christian God. Their laws should reflect God’s law. Better yet, theocracy, God rule, is the best form of government.

Evangelical Christians believe God rules over everything. There is no King but Jesus, and no God but the trinitarian deity of Christianity.

The problem here, of course, is that Evangelical Christians are human. Contrary to all their talk about being saved and sanctified, Christians are pretty much like the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world. For all their praying and confessing sin, they live and talk just like everyone else. Simply put, like all of us, they do what they want to do.

And that is a big, big problem.

You see, the authoritative God of the authoritative Bible demands absolute obedience. God expects Christians to implicitly and explicitly obey his commands. All of them. God will have none of this picking and choosing that American Christians love to do.

So everywhere you look you have Christians in some form of rebellion against God, their pastors, their parents, or their husbands. No matter how much they pray, read the Bible, go to the altar, and promise to really, really, really obey God this time, they continue to lapse into sin and rebellion.

This is what Jesus told his followers in Matthew 5:48:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

It seems “nice” Jesus didn’t lower the standard when he came to earth. God expects and demands perfection. God will have none of this “I am not perfect, just forgiven” cheap grace Christianity. Jesus expects his followers to walk in his steps. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they have been given everything they need pertaining to life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3)

The difference between atheists and Evangelical Christians is guilt. Evangelicals live in a constant cycle of living right, rebelling, feeling guilty, repenting, and going back to living right. This cycle can go on numerous times a day. Atheists can feel guilty at times, but since they are not encumbered by a long list of Biblical laws, commands, rules, regulations, precepts, or standards, they are less likely to feel guilty. With no God hovering over them and no pastor preaching at them, the atheist is pretty much free to enjoy life. Generally, atheists try to live by the maxim: don’t hurt or cause harm to others, and when they fail they are likely to make restitution and ask for forgiveness from the people they hurt. No need for a God, Bible, church, or pastor. As humans, atheists have all the faculties necessary to be a good person.

What makes it worse for Evangelicals is that when they go to church on Sundays, their pastors remind them, from the Bible, of course, of how rebellious they are. These fallible, frail, sinful men of God point out the sins of their congregants, reminding them that God hates sin. These whitewashed sepulchers call on rebellious church members to repent. You would think that people would get tired of all this, but each week they dutifully return to church so their pastors can remind them of their sinfulness and need of repentance.

Children, especially teenagers, get this same treatment from their parents. When children don’t obey their parents, they are chastised and reminded that God hates rebellion. But kids will be kids, as every parent knows, and in most homes, it seems that children are either starting into rebellion or coming out of it.

Parents are commanded by God to beat the rebellion out of their children (Proverbs 13:24). God provides himself as a good role model to follow.  Hebrews 12:5-10 says:

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

The Bible records how God goes about chastising rebellious Christians. He maims them, makes them sick, kills their families, takes away their possessions, starves them, and, if necessary, kills them. God goes to great lengths to make sure a Christian seeks after the “peaceable fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11)

Here’s how God expects Evangelical Christian parents to respond to the rebellion of their children:

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15)

Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. (Proverbs 23:13,14)

Let me tie this all together.

A divinely authoritative text from an authoritarian God establishes authority structures (hierarchies) for the church, family, and nations. Disobedience to God-ordained authority is to be punished.

For those of us raised in this kind of Christianity, we well know how this works out practically. The Bible, in the hands of God’s man, the pastor, is used to dominate and control people. Individuality and freedom are discouraged, and, in some cases, severely punished.

Pastors remind their churches about “pastoral authority.” Parents remind their children that they are to be obedient, and threaten them with punishment if they don’t. Husbands remind their wives that they are the head of the home and their word is f-i-n-a-l. Collectively, Christians warn government officials that Jesus is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and God demands they submit to the authority of God, the Bible, and his people (this is the essence of the theocracy movement in this country).

Some readers are likely weeping by now. Their minds go back twenty years or more to a time when they were teenagers. Their parents considered them rebellious. Often their rebellion consisted of things such as listening to rock music, smoking, getting pregnant, talking back, having sex, or smoking marijuana. Their parents, needing to show them that they were in charge, sent them off to group homes to get their “rebellion” problem fixed. What really happened is that they were cruelly misused, abused, and debased. Years later, their lives still bear the marks of the Godly “rebellion” treatment they received.

It is hard not to see cultism in all of this. I am sure Bible-believing Christians — people of the book — will scream foul, but the marks of a cult are there for all to see if they dare but open their eyes. Millions of people attend churches that believe the things I have written about in this post. This is what Bible literalism gets you. How could it be otherwise?

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Just Remember, Satan was the First to Demand Equal Rights Says IFB Pastor Tony Greene

knoxville baptist tabernacle

Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle, pastored by Tony Greene, is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church in Knoxville, Tennessee. According to the church’s website:

In May, 1952, Dr. R.W. “Bob” Bevington led a group of earnest Christians in establishing the Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was founded on the principles of strong Bible preaching, house-to-house soul winning, separation from the world, and support for world-wide missions.

Through the years, some of America’s greatest preachers and soul-winners have spoken from our pulpit– men such as John R. Rice, Lee Roberson, Billy McCarroll, Fred Garland, Dolphus Price, Lester Roloff, among many others.

The Tabernacle was a participating host for many years of the International Fellowship of Fundamental Baptists.

Prior to Bro. Bob’s Homegoing in 2009, the Tabernacle called Bro. Tony Greene as its second pastor.  Bro. Greene continues the ministry in the same vein as Bro. Bob, with a strong emphasis on evangelism…

The church also operates a Christian school.

Several years ago, the sign at the top of this post caused quite a bit of controversy. WATE.com reported (link no longer active):

A sign posted by a Knoxville church continues to raise eyebrows and spark both discussion and outrage after it was posted online.

The sign posted by Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle Church read “Remember Satan was the first to demand equal rights.” Many people posted the picture to the WATE 6 On Your Side Facebook and Twitter pages, starting a debate about what the sign really means.

The pastor says the purpose of the sign was to send a message about unity and spark conversation in the community. He says it wasn’t meant to offend anyone.

Our sign referencing Satan demanding his equal rights to ascend into the heavens and be God was simply ‘I’ and all about that individual,” said Pastor Tony Greene. “It was not a statement against any one group in particular, you know what about the rights of the unborn babies, the rights of children, the rights of everyone?”

After the picture was posted on Facebook, there was mixed reaction to the message. Stephanie Settlemyre said, “As a Christian, I find this highly offensive, these kinds of signs and messages are exactly the reason why people are turned off by Christianity.”

Adam Miller posted, “Honestly thought that the photo was shopped, I thought, “surely someone wouldn’t post such a thing,” said Miller. “Makes me sad I was wrong, and doubly sad that these folks are in my back yard.”

Ashley Smith wrote, “Church offends many anyway, you could write Jesus loves you and someone would get bent out of shape.”

Now the sign reads: “Glad you reading, did not intend to offend, we all need Christ.”

Pastor Greene spoke about why he made the change.

“We are a diversity congregation of people. We’ve reached people that know us and know our stand in this community know what we’ve done,” said Greene. “My heart breaks in the dividedness of our country.”

Greene says they like to interact with the community and they typically change the sign once a week. Greene says they will have another message posted later this week…

knoxville baptist tabernacle 2

Does anyone believe that Pastor Tony Greene and the Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle didn’t mean to offend? Does anyone believe they had no particular group of people in mind? Of course not. It is in the DNA of IFB pastors and churches to offend anyone and everyone who believes, thinks, acts, or lives differently than they do.

Pastor Greene’s message is clear: those demanding equal rights — you know, LGBTQ people — are in league with Satan.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Robert Gilmore, Sr. Accused of Sexual Abuse

arrested

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Robert Gilmore, Sr., pastor of an unnamed Evangelical church in Casper, Wyoming, stands accused of repeatedly sexually abusing church girls . While the news story does not name the church Gilmore, Sr. pastors, a LinkedIn page for Robert Gilmore, Sr. says he is the bishop of New Life Tabernacle (no web presence) in Casper.

K2 Radio reports:

[Pastor] Robert Lee Gilmore Sr. often took on a father figure role for the girls — whose dads were in prison or absent for other reasons — before sexually abusing them, court documents state.

In one case, a victim took her own life after turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with the abuse in her adult life, court documents state.

Gilmore Sr. is charged with six counts of second-degree sexual assault and seven counts of indecent liberties with a minor. If convicted of all charges, he could be sentenced up to 190 years behind bars.

He has not entered a plea to the charges.

According to a heavily redacted affidavit of probable cause, a man contacted Casper police in March involving Gilmore Sr. The man told police that Gilmore Sr. spoke at a funeral for a family member. As Gilmore Sr. spoke, a woman got up and left the chapel.

The woman told the man Gilmore Sr. sexually assaulted her when she was a child and Gilmore Sr. was the pastor, court documents state.

Court documents do not specify at which church Gilmore Sr. was a pastor.

A Casper police detective contacted the girl and described an incident in 2003. She told the detective that she was in Gilmore Sr.’s office preparing for her baptism into the church when Gilmore Sr. sexually assaulted her, court documents state.

Gilmore Sr. allegedly told the girl, who was 5-years-old at the time, that God had chosen her to perform those sex acts with him and that they were necessary to prepare her to be baptized and given “the holy ghost.”

According to the affidavit, a woman came forward and told investigators that she witnessed Gilmore Sr. sexually assault a friend of hers when he was in his 20s and the girl was 11.

As the girl in that instance grew older, the sexual relationship between her and Gilmore Sr. continued, court documents state.

“(Gilmore Sr.) would provide (the alleged victim) with methamphetamine and money as a way to keep her from disclosing the sexual abuse that (Gilmore Sr.) inflicted on her as a child,” the affidavit states. That alleged victim, as an adult, took her own life in 2009.

The affidavit goes on to describe an additional victim who disclosed to a friend that Gilmore Sr. sexually abused her as a child.

Charging documents detail an incident in 2018 when a woman was taking care of her parents who lived in an apartment. An alleged victim of Gilmore Sr.’s was also at the apartment helping out when Gilmore Sr. called and said he would stop by. The alleged victim panicked to the point that she jumped out a window and started running away.

According to the affidavit, yet another alleged victim came forward and described an incident that happened in the spring of 2004 or 2005. In that case, the alleged victim described being taken into the church basement after Sunday school to change into a baptismal gown. Gilmore Sr. allegedly accompanied the girl into a closet to change her clothing. He reportedly took the girl’s clothing off, including her undergarments, and molested her.

In that instance, Gilmore Sr. told the girl that the assault was God’s will and that God would be angry at her if she did not relent.

According to court documents, police spoke with a victim from 1998 who described preparing to be baptized when Gilmore Sr. brought her to his office and said it would “hurt” God if she didn’t let him sexually abuse her.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Black Collar Crime: United Methodist Pastor John Hackmann Accused of Soliciting Child Pornography

pastor john hackmann

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

John Hackmann, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Marion, Illinois stands accused of soliciting child pornography.

KFVS-12 reports:

Reverend John S. Hackmann, Jr., 45, was charged with child pornography and intimidation.

The Williamson County sheriff said on Monday he had bonded out of the Williamson County Jail.

According to the State’s Attorney’s Office, Hackmann’s preliminary hearing was set for Nov. 19.

Court documents state Hackmann solicited a teen to get lewd photos of female friends that are her age. He’s accused of threatening to show the teen’s mother a private video of her and boyfriend.

Frank J. Beard, Bishop of the Illinois Area, The United Methodist Church, released the following statement:

Conference leadership has been notified of the arrest Thursday by Williamson County authorities of the Rev. John S. Hackmann II, 45, pastor of Marion First UMC.

In the best interest of all concerned, Rev. Hackmann has been temporarily relieved of his pastoral duties while an inquiry is made into the circumstances which led to the arrest.

An interim pastor will be assigned to serve Marion First during this time. It is our intention to cooperate with the criminal investigation as it unfolds.

The judgment of guilt or innocence regarding the criminal charges will come through that process. Our responsibility is to care for the welfare of the people involved and of the Church.

Please join us in prayer for Rev. Hackmann, his family, all parties involved and this congregation as we move forward guided by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Abner Anibal Rolon Accused of Fraud

abner anibal rolon

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Abner Anibal Rolon, pastor of Calvary First Assembly in Haines City, Florida, stands accused of attempting to “bilk an 85-year-old woman with visual, hearing and mobility impairments for more than $35,000.”

News Chief reports:

Abner Anibal Rolon, 46, a Davenport resident and senior pastor at Calvary First Assembly in unincorporated Haines City, allegedly attempted to bilk an 85-year-old woman with visual, hearing and mobility impairments for more than $35,000, according to a Haines City Police Department press release.

He also was charged by HCPD with scheming to defraud in the amount of more than $20,000 and presenting himself as a contractor without a license. Rolon turned himself in on Friday. He was subsequently released on $10,500 bond, according to Polk County Jail records.

According to HCPD, the victim, who resides with a caretaker, was seeking flooring and roofing repairs in preparation to sell her home. Rolon allegedly handed the woman “A Servant’s Hand” business card in June in which he presented himself as a licensed contractor capable of multiple services.

HCPD stated while the caretaker was away, Rolon insisted more services were necessary. He eventually billed the woman six times between July and September for work totaling $36,440.

According to police, the Haines City Building Division and Code Compliance unit discovered a water heater, ceiling fans, windows, electrical work and light fixtures were incorrectly installed and must be reworked. Rolon allegedly also billed the woman for roof and porch repairs that were not done.

HCPD stated Rolon was not licensed for electrical and contracting work and failed to procure permits for the work.

“To take advantage of an elderly woman trying to sell her home and to this extent, is simply unconscionable,” HCPD Chief Jim Elensky said. “We should be able to rely on our local pastors to serve as community leaders — not lying, stealing and taking advantage of people.”

Rolon and his wife, also a church pastor, have already been scrubbed from the Calvary First Assembly website. Their Facebook page is currently unavailable.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.