Entertainment

Is Saving a Horse by Riding a Cowboy a Sin?

save a horse ride a cowboy

Some Evangelicals believe that women should be submissive in every way, including during sex.  For these Neanderthals, the missionary position is the proper, God-approved way to engage in sexual intercourse. No oral sex, no anal sex, no trying out the Kama Sutra, and most certainly no woman on top sexual intercourse. Why? Because when the woman is on top she is in a position of dominance and control. Can’t have that.  Thus, to answer the question posed in the post title: it is indeed a sin to save a horse by riding a cowboy.

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Black Collar Crime: Baptist Deacon David Buser Accused of Sexually Assaulting Two Children

david buser

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.

David Buser, a deacon and Sunday school teacher at New Hope Freewill Baptist Church in Dover, Florida, stands accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting two minor girls.  According to News Channel 8, “abuse of one of the victims had been going on for a decade, deputies claim. Records show that the most recent sexual assault happened two months ago.”  According to WFTS News, both victims were first graders when the alleged abuse first occurred. Buser allegedly admitted committing the assaults in a phone conversation with one of the victims while law enforcement was recording the conversion.

Buser is being held on a $600,000 bond.

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Missionaries Jim and Paige Nachtigal Sentenced on Child Abuse Charges

jim and paige nachtigal

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.

Two former Evangelical missionaries to Peru, Jim and Paige Nachtigal, have been convicted of child abuse charges and sentenced to thirty-two months in prison. Jim Nachtigal was, for ten years, the CEO of the Kansas Christian Home in Newton, Kansas. His wife was a missionary for World Outreach Ministries at the time the abuse allegations surfaced.

Amy Renee Leiker, a reporter for The Wichita Eagle writes:

It’s been more than two years since North Newton Police Chief Randy Jordan removed three Peruvian orphans from a tidy home in a tidy neighborhood in his town.

He still gets choked up when he talks about the signs of abuse he saw.

Sitting on the witness stand in a Harvey County courtroom on Thursday morning, he paused to wipe away tears when a prosecutor asked him to describe the children’s injuries.

On the day he took them away from their adoptive parents, Jim and Paige Nachtigal, two of the children – a boy and a girl who were both 11 – looked so thin he was confident they’d been starved. The third, 15, had managed to escape the brunt of the abuse.

The boy had a knot on his elbow, he noticed. The younger girl was limping because her leg had been broken. Both talked of being beaten with a cane and a wooden spoon when they didn’t do the pushups, sit ups and jumping jacks that had been dolled out for punishment quite right. The bruises and welts on their bodies corroborated the account.

Jordan’s testimony came just a few hours before Harvey County District Judge Joe Dickinson ordered Jim and Paige Nachtigal to serve 32 months in prison over their treatment of the children. Known in the local religious community for their involvement at church and their missionary work abroad, the couple was convicted of several counts of child abuse last summer.

Initially they pleaded not guilty. But in August they entered an Alford plea, which allows a person to be convicted of a crime and take advantage of any deal that’s being offered by prosecutors without admitting guilt. The state agreed to drop several other felony charges in exchange, Yoder said at the time.

The Nachtigals’ defense attorneys, Kevin Loeffler and Brent Boyer, asked that they be placed on probation. Neither has prior convictions, are not a danger to society and could receive treatment in the community, their attorneys argued.

Prior to his arrest, Jim Nachtigal served as the chief executive officer at Kansas Christian Home in Newton for 10 years. His wife a missionary at World Outreach Ministries when the abuse surfaced.

….

Jordan, the North Newton police chief, launched an investigation into the children’s welfare in February 2016 after the 11-year-old boy ran away from his home, 401 E. 24th St. in North Newton, for the second time. A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper who was part of a team searching for the boy found him wandering barefoot in a field. The boy told the trooper he feared returning home because he hadn’t done his homework and that was a sin.

What Jordan discovered next – that the kids had been given little or no food, beaten and isolated – eventually led to the Nachtigals’ arrests and criminal charges.

Later medical examinations of the 11-year-olds by pediatrician Kerri Weeks, who specializes in abuse cases, revealed what she said in court was the “extremely severe” nature of the abuse.

The children, she testified, both had calloused hands and cracked feet from excessive exercise and wearing ill-fitting or no shoes, open and sometimes “weeping” sores on their buttocks from spankings, 2-inch long welts consistent with cane whippings and malnourishment so severe that their bones were wasting away.

The starvation had gotten so bad that when the children did get to eat, their bodies “didn’t know what to do” with the food, she testified.

….

The Nachtigals adopted all three children from a region of Peru where they had previously done missionary work. The older girl was adopted through an agency around 2012. The younger girl and the boy were adopted together about a year later. Jordan has previously said that the Department for Children and Families received around a dozen reports from people voicing concern about the Nachtigals treatment of their adoptive children – some coming as early as 2014 – but none were forwarded to his department for investigation.

School staff were among those who contacted DCF after they noticed the boy would bring only a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and would beg for his teacher not to make him go home on Fridays.

….

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How “Thirsting” for God Led to Dehydration and Almost Killed Me

thirsting for god

I grew up in churches that believed Christians were to give their hearts, souls, and minds to God. Followers of Christ were implored to lay their lives on the altar and give everything to Jesus. The hymn I Surrender All aptly illustrated this:

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

Refrain:
I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow;
Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Now I feel the sacred flame;
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

“I surrender my life to you, Jesus,” I often prayed. “I’ll say what you want to say, do what you want me to do, and go where you want me go.” Jesus commanded his followers to take up their cross and follow him. Those who were unwilling to do so were not his disciples. The book of First John had this to say about what Jesus expected of people who said they were Christians:

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:3,4)

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17)

Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (1 John 3:6-10)

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (1 John 4:7,8)

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4,5)

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (1 John 5:18)

If these verses are taken literally, one thing seems clear: most people who profess to be Christians are what some preachers call “professors and not possessors.” These people have prayed a prayer and embraced cultural Christianity, but they know nothing of True Salvation®. These verses, taken at face value, show that God sets an impossible standard of living.

Evangelical pastors have all sorts of explanations for these verses:

  • There are two classes of Christians: spiritual and carnal. Both are saved, but carnal Christians still live according to the dictates of the “flesh.” Carnal Christians are “babies” in Christ. Readers might remember that this is how some Trump-supporting Evangelicals justified the President’s un-Christian lifestyle. He is just a babe in Christ who needs to mature in the faith, these pastors said. Thus, spiritual people will live according to these verses, and carnal Christians won’t.
  • People become Christians by believing a set of propositional truths. What truths must be believed vary from sect to sect. After they are saved, these newly minted Christians are encouraged to attend church every time the doors are opened, tithe, pray, give offerings above the tithe, study the Bible, give to the building fund, and follow the church’s teachings. Not doing these things will result in a lack of blessing from God in the present and a lack of future rewards in Heaven. Once people mentally assent to the gospel and pray to Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, they are forever saved. (This is why some Evangelicals believe I am still a Christian.) These verses are a lofty goal Christians should strive to achieve, but if they don’t, no worries, they are still saved.
  • Saved people have two natures: the spirit and the flesh. The spirit cannot sin, but the flesh can. The verses that talk about not sinning refer to the spirit, not the flesh. Christians still sin in the flesh, but the spirit is sin-free.
  • These verses must be interpreted in ways that give them nuance, harmonizing them with the rest of Scripture. It’s hard to not conclude with this approach to these verses, that what pastors are saying is that God didn’t mean what he said.
  • These verses are to be taken literally. The Bible commands us to die to self, crucify the flesh, etc. Salvation is conditional. Do these things and thou shalt liveDon’t do these things and you will perish and go to hell. No one can know for sure if he or she is saved. Calvinists say that followers of Christ must endure to the end to be saved. And even then, God, on judgment day, will be the ultimate judge of whether a person’s good works reached the enter into the joy of the Lord (Heaven) level.
  • Some Christians believe that the Holy Spirit takes up residence in people’s lives the moment they are saved, but that there is a separate, special baptism or infilling of the Spirit that can take place at a later date. Often called being baptized with Spirit or a second definite work of grace, those who receive this second filling of the Holy Spirit live lives wholly consecrated to God. Some Christians believe in what is called entire sanctification — a state of sinless perfection. People who are entirely sanctified no longer sin. When doubters point out certain less-than-Christian behaviors by the sanctified, they are often told these bad behaviors are mistakes, not sins.

thirsting for god 3

I spent much of my Christian life seeking to love Jesus with all my heart, soul, and mind. I didn’t know, at the time, that there’s no such thing as a heart or a soul, but I took the commands to live this way as saying that I was to give everything to Jesus. I was to die to worldly pleasures and desires. I was to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. My desires, wants, and needs didn’t matter. All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give, I told myself. My life belonged wholly to God, and he had the right to do whatever he wanted with me. I was, as the Apostle Paul said, God’s slave.

Add to these beliefs my conviction that the Bible is the very words of God and that I had an intimate relationship with God where I talked to him (in prayer) and he talked back to me (through the Holy Spirit), it is not surprising that my life was in a state of constant turmoil. Peace? How could I have peace when there were sins to be confessed and eradicated. Remember, Evangelicals believe that all of us of daily sin in thought, word, and deed. Unlike Catholics who seemly to only sweat the big stuff, Evangelicals believe any thought, word, or behavior that does not conform to teachings of the Bible (and the leadership of the Holy Spirit) is a sin. Jesus, himself, taught this when he said in Matthew 5:28, But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Imagine how difficult life was for me when virtually everything I did in life was potentially a sin. Worse yet, I had to judge my motives for doing anything. Giving $50 to a homeless person was considered an act of compassion, but if I gave the money so people would think well of me, I had sinned against God. And then there were sins of commission and omission. Not only could thoughts, words, and deeds be sins, but failing to do something could be a sin too. Murdering someone was certainly was a sin, but so was not trying to stop abortion doctors from murdering zygotes (Greek for babies).

What I have written above about my spiritual quest can be summed up this way: I had a thirst for God. I needed God more than anything. I wanted his presence and power in my life. I read Christian biographies of great men who were devotes seekers God, men such as Hudson Taylor, E.M. Bounds, C.T. Studd, John Wesley, David Brainerd, D.L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, Adoniram Judson, George Whitfield, George Muller, Nate Saint, and Jim Elliot. These stories stirred a yearning in me that, for many years, could not be quenched.

Of course, living this way is impossible, despite what preachers might tell you. Trust me, there’s not a preacher on earth, dead or living, who met the mark.  But Bruce, what about the Christian biographies that suggest otherwise. Like all biographies, Christian ones are an admixture of truth and fiction. Unfortunately, Evangelicals only want to hear stories about winners; stories about people who were victorious; stories about people they could aspire to be. The recent death of Billy Graham has brought out all sorts of fantastical stories about the barely human Graham. Much like the Beatles decades ago, Graham has been made out to be bigger than Jesus. For those of us who don’t buy the Graham myth, we know the rest of the story. All we need to do is look at his two children, Franklin Graham and Anne Graham Lotz. Both of them are hateful, mean-spirited, caustic Fundamentalists. Where did their beliefs come from? The notion that Billy was not a Fundamentalist is laughable.

It took me until I was in my 40s before I realized that striving for holiness and perfection was a fool’s errand; that no matter how much I devoted myself to God and the ministry, my life was never going to measure up. Decades of denying self had destroyed my self-worth. Jesus was preeminent in my life, but Bruce was nowhere to be found (and my wife, Polly, could tell a similar story). I spent a decade trying to be a “normal’ Christian, but I still battled with thoughts about not doing enough for the cause of Christ; not doing enough to win souls; not doing enough to advance God’s kingdom to the ends of the earth. By the time I left the ministry in 2005, a lifetime of thirsting for God had led to dehydration and almost killed me. I have no doubt that my commitment to serving God day and night; to burning the candle at both ends; to working while it is yet day, for night is coming when no man can work, played a part in my declining health. And, at some level, I knew this, but I told myself, it’s better to burn out than rust out.

Come November, it will be ten years since I walked away from Christianity; ten years since Jesus and I divorced; ten years since I realized that the Bible was not what Christians claim it is; ten years since I concluded that the Christian narrative was false. Once the Bible was no longer central in my life, I was forced to build, from the ground up, a new moral and ethical framework. This, of course, required me to abandon or set aside the countless beliefs, commands, and laws that had governed my life for fifty years. Most of all, I had to find the life that had been swallowed up by God, the Bible, and the ministry. Somewhere along the way, Bruce Gerencser died, and I had to find where and start over. I had to answer two crucial questions: who are you and what are you?  For a few years, this process was quite painful, and without regular counseling sessions with a secular psychologist, I doubt that I would have been able to undergo it. Not that I have, in any way, arrived. I am still reconnecting with who I really am. I am still learning about my emotions; emotions that I had, at one time, surrendered to Jesus by laying them at the foot of his cross.

Rebooting your life at age fifty isn’t easy, as anyone who has done so will tell you. This is why most people who leave Christianity do so at much younger ages. By the time one reaches one’s fifties, it is hard to abandon a lifetime of beliefs, practices, and experiences. On one hand, I felt, and continue to feel, a great sense of freedom. I am now free from the bondage of religion. Much like the Israelites and their flight from the bondage of Egypt to the Promised Land, my Promised Land journey has been fraught with uncertainty and doubt. I wish I had come to the light decades before, but crying over what might what have been accomplishes nothing. I live in the here and now. My present life is all I have, and once it is gone, that’s it. No heaven, no hell, no afterlife. This is why I encourage people who leave Christianity to focus on the here and now. Evangelicals are fond of saying, only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last. For the atheist, this little ditty goes this way: only one life, twill soon be past, and once it’s past you’re dead, so you best get to living.

In 2008, I was psychologically dehydrated, near death. It was only when I realized I was doing this to myself that I began to find strength and healing. I remain a work in progress. I will never arrive, but as the old gospel song says, I’ve come too far to turn back now. This blog will remain one man telling his story; a running biography of my former life as a Christian and my present journey as an atheist and a humanist. I have a story to tell, a story of death and resurrection. Thank you for continuing to walk along with me.

Black Collar Crime: Jennifer Roach Tells Story of Sexual Abuse at First Baptist Church in Modesto, California

brad tebbutt

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.

Garth Stapley, a reporter for the Modesto Bee, details the story of Jennifer (Graves) Roach’s sexual abuse in the 1980s at the hands of Brad Tebbutt, youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Modesto, California. (The church is now called Crosspoint Community Church) Tebbutt was never charged for his crimes, and he is still actively involved in the ministry today at Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri.

The following excerpted story is almost 4,000 words in length. Please take the time to read the entire story.

The 27-year-old married youth pastor in Modesto consoled the troubled girl, whose father had just died. Eventually, he kissed her. Then he fondled her.

She was 14.

Over the next 2 1/2 years, Brad Tebbutt sexually abused Jennifer Graves in his office at First Baptist Church, a prominent Modesto congregation, and in his car. After school, before his wife returned from work, he would have sex with her in his home, she said.

At the end of her junior year at Beyer High School, in 1988, Tebbutt and his wife moved away. A recent publication boasts of his 30-year career as a youth pastor, and he now works in a seniors ministry for the International House of Prayer of Kansas City.

How Tebbutt kept his jobs at churches and religious schools, in Oregon and Missouri, is unknown. Interview requests submitted to several known employers and former employers mostly have gone unanswered.

It’s clear that soon after the abuse ended, First Baptist leaders knew.

A few months after Tebbutt left town, the girl confided in another youth pastor, who told then-high school pastor Marvin Jacobo, who has led a long and distinguished ministry both at the church and at a respected religious nonprofit group in Modesto.

Jacobo recently confirmed that he had called Tebbutt after the girl came forward all those years ago, and said Tebbutt confessed to him. Jacobo then contacted Tebbutt’s wife and his boss at the time, he said.

Tebbutt refused multiple interview requests made via telephone and email, and Jacobo would respond only in writing, sidestepping some questions.

The current lead pastor at First Baptist – which changed to CrossPoint Community Church in 2010 – arrived long after church leaders were rocked in private by this sex scandal, as well as two others where adult volunteers molested several boys, in the 1980s.

Enough boys shared their stories with authorities to convict the two men, although a delay in reporting allowed one to prey on more boys at another church down the road, court documents say.

But Tebbutt’s victim – still a teenager, when she finally came forward – was told to forgive and forget.

Church leaders never informed her mother. They never went to police. They termed it an affair, she said.

“They gave me specific directions to never speak of the events to anyone, because it would damage the reputation of the church, and of Jesus himself,” she said. “The abuse was swept under the rug.”

Two friends from those days who also attended First Baptist, Deborah Jules Vilmur and Jennifer Vanderpol Tracz, recently confirmed that she had confided in them about the abuse not long after it happened.

Jennifer Graves Roach turned 47 on Feb. 25. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband and teenage son. Since those days in Modesto, Roach has been ordained in the Anglican Church, she’s earned college degrees and she now counsels sexual abuse victims, among other clients, in a religious therapy group near her home.

And she’s become a silence breaker.

….

In the late 1970s and early ’80s, First Baptist Church was “my whole world, in a lot of ways,” recalled Roach, who attended Sunday services, midweek youth activities and summer camp. “I loved it. It was a second family to me.”

When her father died in a car accident, her mother had trouble coping with three teen children. Roach often was depressed as well, she said, and thought about harming herself. She brightened when the youth pastor in charge of Beyer High paid her attention. She thought her prayers had been answered when Tebbutt and his wife invited her to stay in their apartment, at first overnight, then indefinitely.

“They saved me from a difficult situation at home,” Roach said. “There was lots of affirmation; ‘You’re a special case,’ he would tell me. ‘You’re the prettiest, the smartest, the funniest’ – things you would tell someone to get them to trust you. I absolutely was groomed for abuse.”

Sexual encounters went on for 2 1/2 years, she said. “He became my entire emotional support, and I was this vulnerable, depressed, anxious girl who had just lost her dad and couldn’t get along with her mom and had no other options. At that age, I didn’t feel I had other choices, and he took advantage of that.”

Roach wondered why she didn’t become pregnant. After marrying, she didn’t conceive for five years. “Fertility doesn’t come easy to me,” she said.

When Tebbutt left town, she remained silent for six months. Reading Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” in her senior year at Beyer, a dark work about terrible secrets, prompted her to confide in another youth pastor during a youth activity at the former Roller King.

“I knew she was sad a lot. I could tell she was carrying something heavy. So I just asked her what was going on,” said Scott Mills. “I imagine she was at the point of having to tell somebody or implode. You have to get that out somehow.”

Mills later started and pastored his own church in Modesto, Three Rivers Christian Fellowship, for 14 years before leaving in 2013 for a career in marketing.

“Knowing what I do about life and kids and parents and peer influence and hurt and pain and damage, it grieves me greatly,” Mills said. “Not only what happened to her, but that she didn’t feel she had the support she needed. Looking back, I’m pained by the lack of appropriate response.”

….

“They completely and entirely mishandled the situation,” Roach said. “At first, they didn’t believe me. At subsequent meetings they kept asking me if I wanted to take my story back. They asked if I was just doing this for attention.

“At one point they put me in a room with four or five adult men and they asked me to describe with specific words what had happened. And I was a 17-year-old girl.

“They failed to tell my mom. I was a minor and they kept it from my family. They should have reported it to police and they didn’t. They told me never to speak about this again.”

….

A year before Tebbutt left Modesto, Bob Chapman, then 53, pleaded guilty to molesting 13-year-old boys he met at First Baptist.

Chapman, a church organist, was entrusted to hold meetings of groups of boys in his Modesto home, said one of them, Larry Spencer. One time, Chapman hosted a sleepover. The evening discussion was about puberty and masturbation, Spencer said. Then they watched movies and drifted off to sleep.

“I woke up in the middle of the night with him (Chapman) touching me,” Spencer said. “I freaked out. I didn’t know if I should tell anybody, so of course I didn’t. I really can’t tell you why, if it was out of shame or something. How do you tell somebody, ‘Hey, this guy was touching me’?”

Chapman and his family were good friends with and lived close to Spencer’s foster family, he said. Chapman continued molesting him, in the car while giving him rides home from church, and in the swimming pool during youth activities, Spencer said. In all, he was abused maybe 10 times over a couple of years, he said.

One day, Spencer was in the attic installing the top end of a ceiling fan. He peered through the ceiling hole into a room and saw Chapman grab another boy, he said.

“I said, ‘Enough’s enough. This guy’s going to screw somebody else up,’” Spencer said, and the story came out. His foster parents were “mad as hell at me, for exposing it and bringing them some sort of shame,” he said.

“I was not very happy with First Baptist, either,” Spencer said. “They kind of pushed me aside as well. I had been extremely involved, at every activity. After I talked about Bob, I was kind of an outcast.”

Boys in the group were questioned, and Chapman was charged in Stanislaus County Superior Court with abusing Spencer and two others. “We were all saying, ‘Fry him; give him as much time as you can,’” Spencer said. A negotiated deal ended with Chapman pleading guilty to two counts of child molestation in return for a 300-day term in County Jail.

….
About the time of Chapman’s conviction, George Austin, a retired California Highway Patrol officer and Sunday School teacher at First Baptist, was molesting boys as well. Court documents indicate that someone got the idea something was going on.

“When (Austin) became suspected of molest at the First Baptist Church and was sent on his way, he then went to the Orangeburg Baptist Church, where he was a youth leader and where he then molested” two brothers multiple times, said then-prosecutor John Goulart, according to a court transcript. The brothers were 7 and 11, a charging document said.

Goulart, now on Modesto City Hall’s legal team, doesn’t remember specifics. “Most likely, it would have been the parents of victims who would have told me that the First Baptist Church discovered the molests, (dismissed) Austin and allowed him to move on to another church where he was in a position to commit more molests,” Goulart said in a recent email.

Austin had taken boys on trips to his former patrol office, to Santa Cruz, to Great America, and camping in the mountains. “These boys were looking up to this man as a father figure, a youth leader, a retired CHP officer, someone they trusted,” Goulart said in the transcript. “He put himself in a position where he could molest the boys.”

Court documents suggest Austin had about 10 victims in all. One spoke when he was sentenced for 12 counts of child molestation, including oral copulation.

“It’s a lot to live with, knowing you’re molested,” the young man said, according to a transcript. “It’s a hell of a lot. He was like a father figure to me. For a long time there I called him ‘Dad,’ even though he was molesting me. He was still the only father figure I ever had in my life.

“He left a very damaging scar. I just wanted to say that I feel he has damaged all of our lives, and I trust you to decide. Amen.”

The judge gave Austin a 28-year sentence. Now 80, he lives in a care home for the elderly in Modesto.

….

In his recent letter to The Bee, Jacobo, now executive director of City Ministry Network in Modesto, said he didn’t go to Modesto police about Tebbutt 30 years ago because Roach “did not want to press charges. We wanted to honor her wishes in that and begin her process of healing.”

Like teachers, child care workers and others, clergy are mandated reporters, required to tell law enforcement when they come across or suspect abuse. But clergy weren’t added to the list of occupations, now 46 long, until 1997, eight years after Roach exposed Tebbutt to church leaders.

At the time, Roach accepted Tebbutt’s “direct apology,” Jacobo said, and “seemed satisfied with the process and the results. I feel like we did everything we knew to do in addressing it. If she now feels this was insufficient, then we sincerely apologize.”

Roach called that “a ‘sorry-she-got-her-feelings-hurt’ apology.”

It’s true that church leaders scripted an arranged meeting a few years after the abuse ended, where Tebbutt said he was sorry and she was pressured to accept the apology, she said.

The fallout for Tebbutt, if any, is unclear.

“There were no allegations of sexual misconduct against Brad that we were aware of at the time he was hired,” said Randy Shaw, field director with the Christian and Missionary Alliance Northwest in Oregon, where Tebbutt worked from 1999 to 2004.

At some point, Tebbutt went through an “18-month repentance and restoration process” with a psychologist, according to a note recently sent to Roach from his church in Missouri, Forerunner Christian Fellowship. He “continues to express deep sadness and sorrow over his actions,” wrote Dale Anderson, the church’s director of pastoral support.

Tebbutt’s other known employers over the years, having been informed of Roach’s story, failed to respond to multiple requests for information. They include Horizon Community Church and Horizon Christian School, near Portland, where he was a chaplain and teacher, and the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, where Tebbutt now works; a spokesman referred The Bee’s sister company, The Kansas City Star, to IHOPKC’s media policy, which reads: “We will not give out sensitive information.”

A few months ago, the publishing arm of MorningStar Ministries released a DVD of a conference featuring several presenters, including Tebbutt, called “Motivated by Love.” The company’s founder and executive director, Rick Joyner, declined to comment.

Tebbutt’s latest position is director of the Simeon Internship, a three-month training program for people 50 and older at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City. Multiple calls to his office went unanswered; in an email, Tebbutt asked if he should submit a statement, then went silent for three weeks.

Tebbutt did reach out to Roach in 2005 with a lengthy letter, apparently as an exercise in repentance; it arrived in an envelope bearing the name of a Christian therapy group in Oregon. The Bee obtained a copy.

“Let me state clearly that regardless of how this has been treated in the past, I understand that I sexually abused you,” one part reads. “There are hurts that you should have never experienced, and they were not yours to own. I grieve over this.”

….

You can read the entire story here.

An April 6, 2018 Modesto Bee story states:

A former youth minister at a prominent Modesto church accused of sexually abusing a then-teen girl three decades ago is the target of an upcoming independent investigation.

GRACE, or Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, led by a grandson of the late Billy Graham, will conduct the probe of Brad Tebbutt, who now works for a religious organization in Missouri, GRACE confirmed to The Modesto Bee late Thursday.

The alleged victim in Modesto, Jennifer Graves Roach, now 47, said she will cooperate with the investigation.

“You don’t get better than that,” Roach said of GRACE’s “impeccable credentials.” She said, “I trust them, and (a third-party investigation) is what I’ve been pushing for.”

….

The Kansas City Star, a sister paper to The Modesto Bee in the McClatchy company, also received confirmation Friday morning from the International House of Prayer of Kansas City. That group had placed Tebbutt on leave March 1 after a February Bee report that included a Modesto clergyman saying Tebbutt had confessed to him about the abuse.

Tebbutt worked for Modesto’s First Baptist Church when he sexually abused Roach for about 2 1/2 years starting when she was 14, shortly after losing her father in a car accident, she told The Bee. He was 27 and married.

IHOPKC cited “inconsistencies between the parties’ accounts of what took place 30 years ago” in an email to the Kansas City newspaper. Tebbutt will remain on leave, IHOPKC said.

First Baptist, which changed to CrossPoint Community Church in 2010, did not refer the girl’s report to authorities and Tebbutt went on to a 30-year career in youth ministry elsewhere before being hired to lead a seniors internship program in Kansas City.

The investigation by GRACE, a nonprofit based in Virginia, will stretch from Tebbutt’s ministry with First Baptist in Modesto to subsequent years with Horizon Christian High School near Portland, Ore., as well as his time with IHOPKC, said GRACE’s Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian, in an email.

“Due to the fact that this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot make any further statements at this time,” Tchividjian said. He is a former child abuse prosecutor and grandson of Graham, the nation’s most well-known Christian evangelist who died in February at age 99. Tchividjian also is a professor at Liberty University School of Law.

Roach said, “The idea that potentially other victims could be found and receive some help is immensely satisfying.” She now is an Anglican minister and therapist near Seattle who counsels victims of sexual abuse, among other clients, and she is married and has a teenage son.

….

Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Garry Evans Charged with Criminal Trespassing

pastor garry evans

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.

Garry Evans, pastor of Rushville Baptist Temple in Rushville, Indiana, was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing. He wife, Gay, was also arrested. Readers might remember Evans being arrested last year on charges of child molestation, sexual battery, and child solicitation.

Frank Denzler, a reporter for the Herald-Tribune, writes:

A report of criminal trespass received by the Rushville Police Department Jan. 29 led to the arrest of Pastor Garry Evans, 72, and his wife Gay Evans, 70.

The elder Evans had been released from jail after posting a $20,000 bond following his initial arrest in October 2017 regarding a number of allegations of inappropriate activity with minors, according to earlier editions of the Rushville Republican. A condition of his bond required that Evans be placed on GPS monitoring by the court.

Although innocent until proven guilty, Evans was initially charged last fall with three counts of child molestation, a Level 4 felony; four counts of sexual battery, a Level 5 felony; and five counts of child solicitation, a Level 6 felony.

Additional allegations and charges were filed with the courts in November 2017 when another minor child came forward. Following the second arrest, Evans, the longtime pastor of the Rushville Baptist Temple, unsuccessfully attempted to take his own life and, as a result, was hospitalized for an extended period of time.

The couple’s most recent legal troubles began when the pair appeared Jan. 28 at a Rushville residence stating they wished to see a family member they believed to be inside. The tenant reported they would not leave until they spoke with the individual. The tenant and complainant in the case informed the Evanses that they were not welcome at the property and needed to leave. The couple refused and demanded to speak with the relative.

Following several attempts to get them to leave, the complainant stated that she felt threatened and retreated into the residence, where she retrieved a firearm. The woman returned to the door and again told the couple to leave, but they refused. At this time, Gay Evans attempted unsuccessfully to take the firearm from the resident. The complainant then locked herself inside and stowed the firearm.

A few moments later, the resident observed Garry and Gay Evans looking in a vehicle on the property. The complainant then chased the pastor and his wife off her property with a baseball bat.

As a result of the incident, warrants were issued for the arrest of Garry Evans and Gay Evans for criminal trespass, a Class A misdemeanor.

The pair were taken into custody Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 30. During the course of the arrest, Gay Evans became verbally abusive and physically resistant toward officers and as a result was additionally charged with resisting law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor.

….

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Matt Tague Charged With Sex Crimes

matt tague

Matthew Tague, family pastor at North Coast Calvary Chapel in Carlsbad, California, was arrested today and charged with “at least 16 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor.”

ABC-10 reports:

Deputies with the San Diego Sheriff’s child abuse unit arrested 43-year-old Matthew Tague, of San Marcos, and charged him with at least 16 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor.

The charges against Tague, a pastor at North Coast Calvary Chapel in Carlsbad, are not related to his duties or position at the church, according to a release from SDSO Lt. Karen Stubkjaer.

Stubkjaer said there is no indication there are other victims at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

Tague is being held in Vista Detention Facility on $1.9 million bail. He’s due in court on June 2.

Anyone with any information that may be related to this case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 858-974-2310.

North Coast Calvary Church said in a statement they reported Tague to the Sheriff’s Department “immediately” and terminated his employment with the church after learning of the accusation.

“We are deeply grieved to share that early this week we learned that a pastor at North Coast Calvary Chapel, Matthew Tague, was reported to have acted inappropriately with a minor, off church property, and outside of church ministry activities,” the church said.

Tague taught the “whole parenting” class at North Coast. Tague has already been scrubbed from the church’s website, but I was able to find a description of Tague’s class via The Wayback Machine:

Come be a part of “Whole Parenting” taught by Pastor Matt Tague. This class integrates the best of ancient wisdom with modern research on love and attachment to your child, regardless of their age or stage. This once-a-month class is designed to build your parenting as you think through the values and priorities that form a central part of your life and family. This class will grow to become a community of people, interested in their children, who desire the best for the next generation and for their community. Learn more about your child, your own parenting philosophy, and how God wants to grow you as a person AS you parent. Whether your child is 2 or 22, this class is for you. Whole Parenting happens the second Sunday of every month in the Chapel building, Room C105, at the 10:45am service.

North Coast released the following statement: (link no longer active)

With Regards to Matthew Tague

We are deeply grieved to share that early this week we learned that a pastor at North Coast Calvary Chapel, Matthew Tague, was reported to have acted inappropriately with a minor, off church property, and outside of church ministry activities.

When our staff learned of the allegations, we immediately reported the accusation to our Sherriff’s Department and terminated Mr. Tague’s employment. On Wednesday May 31, Mr. Tague was arrested on suspicion of the offense.  The investigation of the accusation is now in the hands of law enforcement.

We ask you to please pray for the victim, as well as the family involved in this tragic matter.  Please pray for law enforcement as they determine the facts.  We also ask you to pray for justice and restorative healing to take place for all involved.

We are utterly heartbroken by these events. We have strict requirements and procedures in place for hiring pastors and staff including professional background checks and exhaustive interviews.  In this case, Mr. Tague had no previous record of arrest or criminal charges.  It goes without saying that we are cooperating fully with law enforcement.

As we as a church family process this tragic event, we know that you will have questions.  Please meet with our pastors, all of whom will make themselves available to you, or contact Executive Pastor, Bob Mackenzie: bob@northcoastcalvary.org; 760-929-0029 ext. 104.

 

matt tague linkedin

Prior to coming to North Coast, Tague pastored Rancho del Rey Church in Carlsbad,California for ten years. Tague was also the assistant pastor of Carlsbad Community Church in Carlsbad for six years.

Update

The San Diego Union Tribune reports:

An assistant pastor at a large Carlsbad church pleaded not guilty on Friday to multiple counts of molesting a child over the past year, charges that upon conviction could send him to prison for more than 100 years.

Matt Tague, 43, was arrested Wednesday, after calling sheriff’s investigators Monday to report the crime himself, authorities said.

It wasn’t a sense of guilt that drove him, according to Deputy District Attorney Patricia Lavermicocca. She said Tague’s wife caught him last week molesting a 13-year-old relative.

Tague has been charged with 14 separate counts of child molestation under duress “because he used his position of power and trust over the minor victim to get her to do things he wanted her to do,” the prosecutor said. She said the victim was made to manually stimulate Tague numerous times, starting in 2016 when she was 12.

On Friday, Vista Superior Court Judge Cynthia Freeland refused to lower Tague’s bail, keeping it at $1.9 million.

Defense attorney Raymond Gomez asked for a lower amount, noting that Tague has close ties to the North County area and has no criminal history whatsoever. He also said the only time Tague has been out of the country was on church-related matters.

The judge said bail will remain as set out of safety concerns for the victim.

….

In February 2018, Tague pleaded guilty to “two counts of lewd act on a child.” Tuesday, according to an ABC-10 report, Tague was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for his crimes:

A Carlsbad pastor whose wife caught him molesting a female family member was sentenced to 15 years in prison Tuesday afternoon.

Matthew Tague stood in Superior Court in Vista to read a statement of apology; taking 100 per cent responsibility for hurting those closest to him and saying he’s getting counseling for his sex addiction.

“For all these things, I am and will be truly and profoundly repentant and in light of my terrible and reprehensible actions. I would like to share why I’m grateful that I was discovered on May 5, 2017.”

His wife stood then, talking about rehabilitation and forgiveness. “This sentence my husband faces, we all know is indeed lifelong; no matter what number of years is decided, these events will follow him for the rest of his life.”

Deputy district attorney Patricia Lavermicocca hammered on Tague’s role in the community, as pastor of North Coast Calvary Chapel. “This isn’t just a father; he is a pastor who teaches the community the morally right thing to do.”

Judge Daniel Goldstein noted Tague’s selfishness and aggression, calling his acts outrageous and heinous. “I do consider that you never had a criminal history but you stepped off the deep end.”

Tague, 44, pleaded guilty in February to two counts of lewd act on a child.

….

Why Are So Many Evangelical Preachers Arrogant and Full of Themselves? Part Two

humble pastor

Read part One

Why are so many Evangelical preachers arrogant and full of themselves? While it would be easy to answer this question simply by saying that these so-called “men of God” are narcissistic Assholes for Jesus®, the correct answer is more complex and nuanced. In both yesterday’s and today’s posts, I will use the fifty years I spent in Christianity and the twenty-five years I pastored churches in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan as a backdrop in an attempt to answer this question. While no two life stories are exactly the same, I am confident that I can pick things out of my own story that can also be found in the life stories of many Evangelical preachers.

In the 1960s, my parents moved to San Diego, California hoping to improve their lives financially. Unfortunately, their California dream proved to be an illusion. Two years later, Mom and Dad packed up our earthly belongings and moved back to Ohio. The Robert and Barbara Gerencser who left Ohio for the promised land of California were very different people when they returned to Bryan, Ohio. While in California, my parents and I were saved at an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church — Scott Memorial Baptist Church. Overnight, Mom and Dad became devout followers of Jesus.  Not long after I asked Jesus into my heart, I told Mom that I wanted to be a preacher when I grew up. I was six years old.

At the age of fifteen, during an Al Lacy revival meeting at Trinity Baptist Church in Findlay, Ohio, I made another public profession of faith in Christ. I remember feeling a deep sense of conviction over my sin, and once I prayed to Jesus to forgive me of my sins and save me, the shame and guilt I felt over my sins was gone. Several weeks later, feeling, yet again, a deep sense of God working in my heart, I went forward during an invitation — a time at the end of church services where people are asked to come forward to the altar to do business with God — and publicly confessed to the church that I believed God was calling me to preach. At that moment, I became the latest member of a special group called “preacher boys.”

Preacher boys, called by God to do the most important job on earth, are viewed by pastors and churches as the future of Christianity. Without a steady supply of preacher boys, churches wouldn’t have pastors, new churches wouldn’t be started, and the lost would go unsaved. Thus, preacher boys are treated in ways that make them feel unique and special. Pastors love to brag about how many preacher boys were called to preach under their ministry. Similar to gunslingers putting notches on their six-shooters’ wooden grips every time they killed someone, pastors see preacher boys as notches on their ministerial guns.

After announcing my call to the ministry, I spent the next four years being handled by pastors who took it on themselves to prepare me for the work of the ministry. In the fall of 1976, at the age of nineteen, I packed my meager belongings into the back of my rust-bucket of car and moved from my Mom’s trailer three hours northeast to Pontiac, Michigan. Pontiac was the home of Midwestern Baptist College — an IFB institution started in the 1950s by Dr. Tom Malone (who pastored a nearby megachurch, Emmanuel Baptist Church). Midwestern was established specifically for training preacher boys for the ministry.  Midwestern was an unaccredited school, so students received no financial aid. Most of the preacher boys had to work full-time jobs while attending classes. These future pastors were also required to work in one or more of the ministries at Emmanuel, along with being in attendance for Sunday school, two worship services, and midweek prayer meeting. Students were busy seven days a week, with little time for relaxation. It should come as no surprise, then, that many students washed out after their freshman year. Men who endured until the end were viewed as battle-tested preachers ready to enter the hard work of the ministry. Filled with pride and given the approval of IFB giant Tom Malone, these newly minted men of God fanned out over the world establishing new churches and pumping new life into older, established IFB churches. Forty years later, most of the men from my class are still plucking grapes in God’s vineyard. I am, as far as I know, the only person who attended Midwestern and later pastored churches who is now an atheist. (Please read The Midwestern Baptist College Preacher Who Became an Atheist.)

Evangelical young men who enter the ministry most often spend their entire lives in what I call “the Evangelical Bubble.”  Within this bubble, pastors are sheltered from the world; within the bubble Evangelical theology and practices make perfect sense; within the bubble pastors are rarely challenged concerning their beliefs; within the bubble pastors are viewed as God-called authority figures; within the bubble pastors receive the praise and adulation of congregants; within the bubble pastors are revered and treated as demigods; within the bubble pastors answer only to God; within the bubble pastors have no equal; within the bubble pastors put into motion their agendas, their God-given visions for their churches; within the bubble pastors’ birthdays and ministerial anniversaries are celebrated; and within the bubble God uses pastors in unique ways to supernaturally advance His kingdom.

Pastors who remain in this bubble are surrounded by like-minded people who believe the same things, sing the same songs, and generally live cookie-cutter lives (at least outwardly). Exposure to the outside world is limited, especially for those who are full-time pastors. I have long advocated for churches forcing pastors to be bi-vocational. Doing so exposes pastors to a world far different from that of the Evangelical bubble. Unfortunately, few churches see the value of having part-time pastors. Churches which, out of economic necessity, pay their pastors part-time wages often demand their pastors give them full-time attention.

Safely ensconced within the Evangelical bubble, pastors go about doing the work of the ministry.  These sheltered men frequent pastors’ fellowships and conferences — meetings where pastors get together to whine about how evil the world is and how hard it is to be a pastor.  These meetings provide pastors yet another opportunity to have their right-beliefs and right-practices reinforced and approved by fellow clergymen. Such meetings are pep rallies meant to rally and energize the generals of God’s army.

On Sundays, pastors mount the pulpit and preach sermons they believe God has laid upon their “hearts.”  Congregants gather to hear the Word of God from the man of God, showing their approval by shouting “amen,” nodding their heads, and raising their hands. After services, pastors stand at the back of their churches, shaking hands and listening to members tell them how wonderful their sermons were. In the twenty-five years I spent pastoring churches, I never had a church member shake my hand and say, Pastor Bruce, that sermon sucked or Pastor Bruce, are you sure God told you to preach that sermon?  I preached plenty of bad sermons over the years, but congregants still praised me for giving to them the Word of the Lord. Imagine being in an environment where no matter what you do, everyone tells you what a great job you are doing. Spend enough time being praised and never criticized, you will begin to think — to speak bluntly — your shit don’t stink.

Taking what I have written above, is it any wonder that many Evangelical pastors become arrogant and full of themselves, especially when their churches grow numerically? Outwardly, these men of God are humble, but inwardly they think, Wow! Look at what God is doing through me — ME! ME! ME! being the operative word. Praised by congregants and peers alike, preachers find it is easy for them to lose touch with reality.

Rare is the man who can withstand a lifetime of praise and adoration without negatively being affected. Over time, pastors start to believe their press clippings, thinking that they have arrived. Sunday after Sunday, congregants file into services to hear THEIR pastor preach. It is not too much stretch for me to say that many pastors begin to develop bigger-than-life personalities, thinking that congregants are there to see them perform. Credence is given to this when pastors leave their churches for new ministries. What happens?  Many congregants stop attending services. If Pastor Ain’t He Awesome isn’t preaching, I’m not going, they say. Let pastors take a sabbatical or vacation and what happens? Church attendance declines. Evidently, while the proverbial cat is away, the mice play.

Throw in certain personality and psychological traits pastors tend to have, it should come as no surprise that many Evangelical pastors are insufferable, arrogant, full-of-themselves assholes — especially in the view of those who live outside of the Evangelical bubble. Does this mean that Evangelical pastors are inherently bad people? Of course not. But years spent in the Evangelical bubble can change pastors, often for the worse. I have no doubt that some pastors will whine, complain, and howl over what I have written here, saying I AM NOT LIKE THIS!  Others, however, will admit that what I have written here hits too close to where they live.

Pastors can become so immersed in the work of the ministry that they lose all sight of reality. The solution, of course, is for pastors to leave the ministry and devote themselves to reconnecting with humanity by wallowing in the pigsty of the world. As long as they remain in the Evangelical bubble, pastors will not see things as they are. Of course, pastors aren’t going to listen to me. The calling of God is irrevocable, they will tell me, God has CALLED me, and I must not disappoint or disobey Him!  And therein lies the problem. Evangelical pastors believe that God is behind their call into the ministry, and that every sermon preached and every decision made is done by the mighty power of the Spirit of God. Until these Gods become men, I fear there is little that can be done to deliver them from the other-world, rarefied air of the Evangelical bubble.

For me, once I finally admitted that I was not what I claimed to be, that the wizard behind the curtain of Bruce Gerencser’s life was not the Evangelical God, but Bruce himself — then, and only then, could I make sense of a lifetime spent in the ministry.  Every decision I claimed was made according to God’s leading was, in fact, influenced not by God, but by my parents, pastors, peers, and my own wants, needs, and desires. I now know that I genuinely want to help other people; that I love trying to fix things that are broken; that I love the thrill of building things from scratch. And yes, I now know that I loved receiving the praise and adoration heaped on me by congregants. I loved being the center of attention, the decision-maker, the man with all the answers. Does this mean I was a bad person? I will leave that to others to decide. All I can do is give an honest accounting of my life. In doing so, I hope former Evangelicals and those trying to extricate themselves from the Evangelical bubble will be gain a bit of understanding about what they have experienced at the hands of God’s men. While I did many good works as a pastor, things that I am proud of, I must also admit that I was not always a good person; that I was, at times, filled with pride and arrogance. Am I better man today than I was as a pastor? Most certainly. I now know what it means to be human. And in reconnecting with my humanity, I have found that I still have much to offer, without, of course, the baggage of Christianity.

Quote of the Day: The Worst Reality Show on TV, ‘Duck Dynasty,’ Ends Tonight by Rob Sheffield

duck dynasty

These days it’s tough to find reasons to be cheerful about the state of the nation – but an America without Duck Dynasty is a good place to start. No show in television history has ever sucked quite like this one. And if the TV gods are willing, no show ever will.

A&E’s massive hit became a cultural presence in 2012 for its down-home charm – the zany adventures of a real-life Lousiana clan who kept their country manners and backwoods habits, with Phil, Miss Kay, their bearded sons and loopy Vietnam vet Uncle Si. Tonight, after five seasons of shenanigans running the family duck-call business, the Robertsons sign off tonight with their series finale, the last gasp of their barely noticed farewell go-round. The decline and fall of Duck Dynasty seems like it should have been a big-deal event, but it’s a surprisingly meek exit for a hit that loomed so large just a couple of years ago. This is the way the dynasty ends – not with a quack but with a whimper.

It’s poetic justice that 2017 is the year the Robertson family is finally heading off to the duck pond in the sky. The show represented the pre-Trump Christian right’s fantasy of itself – a family of hairy but God-fearing bootstrappers bowing their heads in prayer over the dinner table. Just a year ago, this was the most feared demographic in American politics – the bloc that couldn’t be bought or sold. But when the Christian right fell in line behind the most flamboyantly secular presidential candidate of the past century – a pussy-grabbing New Yorker who didn’t pretend to owe Jesus a damn thing – they sold themselves out, ensuring it’ll be a cold day in heck before they get another chance to vote for one of their own. The right is a whole new bird hunt now, as the godless white nationalists take over from the church ladies. And that makes Duck Dynasty look pitifully dated, in addition to everything else that blows about it.

The Robertsons weren’t even fun to watch on a reality-trash level, because they were too phony to believe – so artificial in their micro-scripted dialogue, so cynical in their piety, so bone-headed in their recycled sitcom plots. Hell, even their beards looked fake. So their family values always came across as a made-for-TV shuck; however sincere they may or may not have been in real life, the Robertsons never failed to turn into show-biz frauds onscreen. In one episode, Miss Kay confides that Phil never remembers their wedding anniversary – the only dates he can remember are Christmas and Easter. Aaaaawww.

Yet as any viewer with any kind of Christian background could have informed the writers, Easter isn’t a date – it’s a moveable feast that bounces between various Sundays. (This year it’s on April 17th.) A church lady like Miss Kay should know that, right? Except either she didn’t know, or she didn’t care, or the writers felt it was such a clever button-pushing line they made her say it anyway.

….

Duck Dynasty always had plenty of those cynical moments. In one episode, Phil refuses to bathe for hunting season, while Miss Kay wants him to wash up, so they read Bible verses to each other to defend their positions. Miss Kay wins the argument by reading the proverb, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Except that isn’t in the Bible. (It dates back to John Wesley in 1778.) Either Miss Kay and Phil don’t really know their family Good Book, or they’re just obediently reciting any old half-assed banter the writers feed them.

….

A typically phony gag, from this phoniest of reality franchises. Farewell, Duck Dynasty. The end of your era is a rare reason to celebrate in 2017 – but we’ll take it.

— Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone, Fowl Play: Saying Goodbye to ‘Duck Dynasty,’ TV’s Worst Show, March 29, 2017

Let me end this post with a photographic reminder of how these frauds looked BEFORE their Duck Dynasty Days and a few quotes from anal sex obsessed Robertson patriarch Phil.

robertson family before

“God says, ‘One woman, one man,’ and everyone says, ‘Oh, that’s old hat, that’s that old Bible stuff. But I’m thinking, well, let’s see now. A clean guy — a disease-free guy and a disease-free woman — they marry and they keep their sex between the two of them. They’re not going to get chlamydia, and gonorrhea, and syphilis, and AIDS. It’s safe.”

“Men should use the men’s bathroom and women should use the women’s bathroom. Just because a man may ‘feel’ like a woman doesn’t mean he should be able to share a bathroom with my daughter, or yours. That used to be called common sense. Now it’s called bigoted.”

“In this case, you either have to convert them[ISIS], which I think would be next to impossible. I’m not giving up on them, but I’m just saying either convert them or kill them. I’d much rather have a Bible study with all of them and show them the error of their ways and point them to Jesus Christ… However, if it’s a gunfight and a gunfight alone, if that’s what they’re looking for, me personally, I am prepared for either one.”

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

“Women with women. Men with men. They committed indecent acts with one another. And they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant God haters. They are heartless. They are faithless. They are senseless. They are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.”

“I’ll make a bet with you. Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude? Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if this was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.If it happened to them,” Robertson continued, “they probably would say, ‘something about this just ain’t right.”

“I tell people, ‘You are a sinner, we all are. Do you want to hear my story before I give you the bottom line on your story? We murder each other and we steal from one another, sex and immorality goes ballistic. All the diseases that just so happen to follow sexual mischief. So what is your safest course of action? If you’re a man, find yourself a woman, marry them and keep your sex right there. … You can have fun, but one thing is for sure, as long as you are both healthy in the first place, you are not going to catch some debilitating illness. There is safety there. Commonsense says we are not going to procreate the human race unless we have a man and a woman. From the beginning Jesus said, ‘It is a man and a woman.’ Adam was made and Eve was made for this reason.”

“Look, you wait ’til they get to be 20 years old, the only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket. You got to marry these girls when they are about 15 [Robertson’s wife was 15 when they married] or 16. They’ll pick your ducks. You need to check with mom and dad about that, of course. Make sure that she can cook a meal. You need to eat some meals that she cooks. Check that out. Make sure she carries her Bible. That’ll save you a lot of trouble down the road. And if she picks your ducks, now that’s a woman!”

“Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God … Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

“Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there — bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

“We murder each other and we steal from one another, sex and immorality goes ballistic. All the diseases that just so happen to follow sexual mischief… boy there are some microbes running around now.”

“Jesus will take sins away, if you’re a homosexual he’ll take it away, if you’re an adulterer, if you’re a liar, what’s the difference? If you break one sin you may as well break them all.”

“Temporary is all you’re going to get with any kind of health care, except the health care I’m telling you about. That’s eternal health care, and it’s free… I’ve opted to go with eternal health care instead of blowing money on these insurance schemes.”

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

“There is a penalty to be paid from what the beatniks and had morphed into the hippies, you say ?what do you call the hundred and ten-million people who have sexually transmitted illnesses?? It’s the revenge of the hippies. Sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll have come back to haunt us. In a bad way.”

“Why do they murder and why do they hate us? Because all of them … 80 years of history, they all want to conquer the world, they all rejected Jesus and they’re all famous for murder. Nazis, Shintoists, Communists and the Mohammedists. Every one of them the same way.”

“I am a God loving, Bible believing, gun-toting, capitalist!”

The Sounds of Fundamentalism: Badgering ‘God Haters’ by Tony Miano

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This is the one hundred and twenty-fourth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is video clip of street preacher Tony Miano badgering a passerby.

Video Link

The Sounds of Fundamentalism: ‘Rockin’ With Jesus by Joyce Shaffer

joyce-shaffer

This is the one hundred and twenty-third installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a music video of the song ‘Rockin’ with Jesus, sung by Joyce Shaffer. Shaffer describes her music this way:

My music is God inspired and I give the praise to HIM! I’m a Christian patriot and sing songs to encourage folks to put God first in their lives and let Him do the worrying for us. He has sustained me through many losses and heartaches and know He is still in control. My music is about true to life experience or people who have influenced my life, giving the praise to the One who loves us most!  “American Country Gospel” is my cup of tea in music and I hope you will enjoy listening!  I wear the colors of our Nation and “on my knees I stand behind the Cross”….. when Christians are serious about taking a stand, we will begin on our knees!!!!  Want some changes in your life or in our Nation?? Duck and let God do it!

Video Link

Lyrics

I’m free from the prison I’ve been living in
Heartaches and failures have come to an end
I’m living a life I’ve never lived before
Just rockin’ with Jesus on heaven’s front porch

No candy mountain just water of life
No more worries to always get it right
Loving Jesus there’s a door I walk through
Just rockin’ with Jesus waiting for you

Some may wonder they don’t understand
Things can control you like money or land
No Gods before Him He can set your course
To rock with Jesus on heaven’s front porch

I know you’ll miss me please don’t cry
It’s better than vacation I’m living mighty high
Rockin’ with loved ones who’ve come before
We’re rockin’ with Jesus on heaven’s front porch

 

If This is What Church Has Become, I Am Ready to Return

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Recently, Cedar Creek Church in Toledo, Ohio used a worship team cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody to inspire and thrill congregants. As I watched the following video, I thought, man if churches start playing 1960s-1980s rock music, with a bit of Staind, Theory of a Deadman, Seether, and Puddle of Mudd thrown in, why I might be persuaded to return to church. As the video shows, the Cedar Creek band is top notch, as are some of the singers. The guy singing the lead? He’s no Freddy Mercury.

Video Link

What this video really shows is how far some Evangelical churches will go to attract, maintain, and entertain its members. While I am sure congregants were wowed by the worship team’s rendition of one of the greatest rock songs ever, I wonder if any of them asked themselves, what in the hell does this song have to do with worshiping God?

Here’s the original rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody:

Video Link

Comparing the two, it is easy to conclude that the Cedar Creek version is a cheap imitation of the original — as are most attempts to mimic the “world’s” music.  I wonder if Cedar Creek thought about the “nothing really matters” focus of this song? Perhaps that best explains entertainment-driven, cutesy, hip, nondescript shopping mall-like Evangelical churches — nothing really matters.

Now, I am not r-e-a-l-l-y planning to return to church. I had to say this lest anyone thinks I am sympathetic to returning to church. I don’t want word getting out that I am considering a return to the dark side.

What do think? Are you ready to join me next Sunday for church?