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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Evangelical Pastor Michael Orten Defends Allowing Rapist to Work at His Church

blood of jesus

Thomas Hopper was convicted in the 1990s of raping and sodomizing a thirteen-year-old girl while holding a razor knife to her throat. He spent ten years in prison for his crimes.  Hopper was also convicted of criminal confinement, battery, and trespassing in the early 2000s. He was also arrested for stalking a high school student. Today, Hopper, a convicted sex offender, is a volunteer worker at Truth Apostolic Church in Madisonville, Kentucky. According to news reports, Hopper leads the church’s care ministry, and is responsible for its nursing home and bus ministry.

When asked about Hopper working at Truth Apostolic, Michael Orten, the church’s pastor, replied:

… this is a situation, if that girl chooses…it takes two to tango, okay?  So if that girl chooses to sleep with him, she’s just as guilty as he is.

Orten later stated:

He was mad and angry, both of them were on drugs. Yeah, that’s still his past. It ain’t like we don’t know nothing about this. Like I said, the media and people are ignorant when they want to turn around and dramatize or hurt somebody.

Orten said that Hopper’s past has been washed clean by the blood of Jesus. The past is in the past, and since Hopper is now a new creation in Christ Jesus:

So what you’re saying is, is the church is no good for forgiveness? Jesus Christ can’t save you? So if you steal a piece of candy from a store because you were young and stupid. And make stupid mistakes. You’re still a thief even though now you’re 40-years-old?

When asked by a reporter, Well, I think stealing candy is a little bit different than rape, Orten replied:

No, it’s not. No, it’s not. No, it’s not. It’s still sin. And if you get caught, there are consequences and you will pay.

Dear Pastor Orten, Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Yes, it is.

The church’s website currently returns a 404-page not found error message.


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    The really depressing thing here is that this man still has congregants, men and women who (presumably) are aware of this situation and his remarks and who aren’t sufficiently angry and disgusted to walk away. Who apparently feel that his remarks are acceptable. Who share his view.

    What a total failure to understand what rape is. Total lack of understanding about consent (big clue: if someone is holding a razor to your throat, it is NOT consensual.) I hope the police and the child protection people in Madisonville are keeping a close eye on this man.

    As for forgiveness, that is the prerogative of the victim. And of God, if he exists. No amount of forgiveness should ever equate to “We’re going to allow this man to work in our church community and we are going to describe his appalling crime as consensual sex and hold the victim equally responsible.” Disgraceful. Religion: a bolthole for rapists and molesters.

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    Right, because a razor to the throat equals consent.

    I concur – attitudes like those espoused by the pastor above are exactly why today’s youth are leaving religion and the church.

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    The refusal to understand what consent means is appalling. To give this convicted sexual predator open access to further victims is criminal.

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    Wow. Just, wow. But I suppose this Pastors viewpoint isn’t surprising. After all, Jesus’ blood covers a multitude of sins! I wonder if, had he not been executed, this man would have allowed Ted Bundy to lead the “Care Ministry”? I mean, he made a commitment to Jesus, didn’t he? Sooo, why not? One wonders how some of Ted’s victims, who might be in “heaven”, feel about hanging out with him! 😉

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    Oooooh! I am a Kentuckian, very familiar with Madisonville. I have family members who live there, and I shop there occasionally. I can be there in 45 minutes. I wonder if this church will let a woman “testify”???????

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