What follows is a 1991 Current affairs report about Jack Hyles, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, stealing deacon Victor (Vic) Nischik’s wife. His wife was Hyles’s secretary. If you are not family with Jack Hyles, please read The Legacy of Jack Hyles. (see all posts that mention Jack Hyles)
25 years after this report, the followers of Jack Hyles continue to deny Hyles did anything wrong. The last comment on the video, posted six months ago, stated:
It amazing how all of you seem to hate a guy you dont know. There was absolutly no evidence this happened and as a matter of fact in most cases he was out of town. Vickie boy got caught molesting little girls so he turned things on Dr Hyles. Any idot could see what happened. Why do all you folks condem Jack Hyles but dont hold people you like and love to the same perverted standard? Its because you didnt like what he was teaching….and what he taught came from the Bible. You better hope you are right because if your not your going to give an account for your words. And I will be there making sure that happens.
According to the hysteria wing of the Republican party, also known as Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christianity, President Obama is anti-Christian. Some go so far as to say that he is actually a Muslim, even though he has publicly identified as Christian numerous times. President Obama spoke at the February 2015 National Prayer Breakfast. He stated:
And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ, In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.
So it is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith…
…I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others. That God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others. That somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.
On Easter I do reflect on the fact that, as a Christian, I am supposed to love. And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less-than-loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned.
The rabid religious right thinks these statements prove that the President is anti-Christian. As I read these statements, all I see is a man pointing out the obvious; that Christianity has a violent, bloody past and that many Christians don’t know the first thing about love. What is also obvious is that no matter what the President says or does , the religious right is going to twist his words and use them to make political hay. No matter what he says or how he tries to explain himself, he will be, in the eyes of many on the religious right, the Kenyan born nigger socialist Muslim who hates America, hates Christianity, and is secretly plotting to establish an Islamic caliphate in the United States.
Here are some of the comments left by Christians on the aforementioned One News Now articles:
You BHO are such a liar. You use every opportunity to twist the truth. Actually, you wouldn’t know the truth if it slapped you in the face. Jesus said,”I am the way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father BUT by me.” Can I be adamant about what truth is? You bethcha buster. I repeat, you wouldn’t know the truth if it slapped you in the face, and from Darryl said, I would say that it did slap you in the face, but you still went on reading your prepared, twisted script. You being at the National Prayer Breakfast is like the devil sitting at the last supper. IMHO
Obama’s comments trying to paint Islam and Christianity as morally equivalent in their teachings are infuriating. I am outraged by his efforts to downplay the utter horror of what ISIS is doing right now in the world– beheading, torturing, crucifying, burying alive small children in scores, and selling those who live into sex slavery for the depraved appetites of sick, demon-possessed Muslim jihadists– by drawing attention to crimes committed in the name of Christ many centuries ago. Nothing that is happening in the world today in the name of Christ can begin to be compared for cruelty and brutality to what the demonic savages in Iraq are doing to children in the name of Allah. Mr. President– where is your outrage? They are burying children alive! Professing Christians who committed acts of violence in the name of Christ centuries ago to advance Christ’s kingdom were violating Christ’s teachings; Muslim jihadis who commit acts of violence in the name Allah to promote the Islamic caliphate are fulfilling Mohammed’s teaching. Someone needs to tell our president that the “medieval” problem with Christianity was set right a long time ago; he needs to open his eyes and deal with atrocities happening today in the 21st century, and get off his high horse from which he would scold American Christians for criticizing Islam.
It seems Obama is determined to play down the religious aspect of the Islamic State by stating they are not unique. Bringing up subjects that many people do not have enough information about except for the rhetoric is dangerous, inflammatory and downright wrong. What does he hope to accomplish? Acceptance of his indifference and ineffectual strategy of what to do as our “leader”?
Wow! Are you serious Mr. President? Did you really just go back over 700 years to find an example of how Christianity is as bad as ISIS? Jim Crow? For real? A simple, brief look into Islam and the teachings of Jesus Christ will reveal to any honest seeker of truth that there are vast differences. Mohammed taught “I have the truth of God, convert or die.” Jesus taught, “I am the way the truth and the life, and no man can come unto the Father but by me. ” And to prov God’s love for man Jesus laid down His life for us! Big difference Mr. President!
Our nation is being led by a very confused and deluded individual.
That man…..he really rubs me the wrong way because of his deceitfulness and attempting with all his might to destroy America and lift up Islam. Obama is NOT a Christian! He could go and live in a garage but that doesn’t make him a car!
Jesus said a tree is known by its fruits. President Obama’s fruits are quite evident. He is condescending in his remarks to Christians but always lauds Muslims and the Islamic faith and refuses to link Islam with Islamic terrorists. The President is a Christian in name only.
President Obama’s inconsistency is as disturbing as his overt dishonesty and misrepresentation concerning many other things…. Obamacare, IRS targeting, “Climate Change”, Keystone pipeline, Iran negotiations, arbitrary accusations of racism, etc. His behavior seems, at least, “disturbed”, and unstable. There IS a pattern of anti-Christian rhetoric, as well as a larger pattern of vindictive behavior in reaction to all dissent, opposition, or criticism.
I be glad when black nword is gone.
If any of the eternal optimists out there think things are going to get better anytime soon, just remember this: On any given day, Obama’s approval numbers always remain at the 45-50% level, and he was elected not once, but twice by your fellow “Americans”. I’m no math genius, but that tells me that at least half the country is perfectly fine with the Anointed One’s policies and his performance. And THAT simple fact, my friends, is why the country is doomed.
The country is not doomed if we hold to our 2nd amendment rights and arm ourselves. The Obama government is afraid of us because we are capable of armed resistance in a meaningful way. When we disarm or allow ourselves to be disarmed then the government will cease to be afraid of us and all hell will break loose. Keep buying the equivalent of the 18th century rifled musket, aka the modern high capacity magazine AR-15 or AR-10.
Obama is the walking epitome of an anti-Christian bigot posing as a “Christian”. He hates God, His Chosen People, and the followers of Yeshua Messiah. He NEVER sides with Christians, ALWAYS sides with anti-Christ Islamic teachings, never sides with white folks, always sides with NON-white folks.
He has nothing between the ears , unless a barely disguised hatred against Christians . And the leftist politicians, has a pet hate for Christians . For example , gays and lesbians , persecute Christians , because of their religious values. Are of a very great evil .
The president has lied to us since day one. If he wasn’t a Muslim, then why did he say that the cross had to be cover before he could make a speech at the cathedral? Why did the have Franklin Graham pulled from speaking at the Prayer Breakfast? Why is he giving aid to the Muslim Brotherhood?
Clearly this POTUS is a foreshadowing of the anti-Christ, not the anti-Christ himself you understand, but a shadow of things to come. If he was truly of Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit and full of understanding given by the Holy Spirit, he would not say the things he says or do the things he does. He is what the Godless deserve and just may be a tool of God’s judgement of an increasingly and deliberately Godless America.
I cannot believe that any POTUS would take such opportunities to disparage Christianity at every chance he gets. His disdain for the Christian faith is incomprehensible. I have never seen, in my 70 years of living, a president who insists on undermining the very force that has been the backbone of our country’s social and moral fabric since 1776. Please, Mr. Obama, get out of the White House and out of our lives.
Mr. Obama was raised as a Muslim. His father was a Muslim. According to the Qumran a Muslim who leaves the faith is to be killed. Since there have been no attempts on the President;s life I must assume he is still a Muslim. Perhaps that is why he does not care about Christians and likes to criticize Christianity.
Barrack Hussein is an anti-Christian bigot and a dispicable traitor to the country. Sadly this person is what the American people voted for…twice. I watched him deceive the nation as he spoke with John McCain at Saddleback Church and said marriage is between one man and one woman, then turned to become the first homosexual president. So is Hussein Obama the deceiver to blame or the depraved American society that lives with luxuries that the rest of the world could not even imagine. Do Americans love the darkness and depravity more than the light and goodness? I would have to answer yes. There is no turning back now, this is what America wants. Time for us to stand firm and be the light and lampstand while times and events continue to degrade, as prophesied.
It’s strange that for someone who claims to be a Christian, Barack Obama is the most virulently anti-Christian leader this country has ever had.
And there are a hundred more comments just like these. It is quite evident that many right-wing Christians hate the President. It is also quite evident that many of them are paranoid as hell and think they are being persecuted. I recently wrote about this in The Paranoia and Persecution Complex of the Religious Right.
Is President Obama really doing nothing to combat Muslim extremism? Of course not. We have boots on the ground in the Middle East, drones and bombers in the air, and are spending billions of dollars to combat terrorism.
Right wing Christians should spend some time learning the history of Christianity. Are the bloodletting years of Christianity ancient history? Consider how President George W Bush framed the two wars he started in the Middle East. He called them a crusade. President Bush saw these wars as not only a clash of civilizations, but a clash of religions. President Bush’s public comments were frequently littered with words meant to remind people of the superiority of Christianity and the United States. Perhaps President Obama doesn’t buy the American myth, that we are a chosen people, an exceptional people. If so, this is progress.
The United States is arguably one of most religious countries in the world. Is it any wonder the Muslim world views our war against “terrorism” as a religious war? ISIS, Boko Haram, and other such terrorist groups, should be hunted down and killed. While I am a pacifist, I am also a realist. ISIS is not going to stop until they have exerted their will on the entire Middle East. The President knows this and I think he is doing what he can to stop the slaughter of innocent civilians, regardless of their religious affiliation.
And let me be clear, the United States, through its decade and a half war on terrorism, has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom were innocent civilians. In fact, the United States is one of the most violent, bloody sovereign states in modern history. I will soon be fifty-eight years old and the United States has been at war for most of my life. We’ve not fought a just war in seventy years.
It’s time we be honest about our past and stop thinking that the United States is in any way exceptional or favored by the gods. While we might have good intentions, it is evident that our imperialistic, colonialist tendencies still drive the government and public discourse. As President Obama works hard to broker a nuclear deal with Iran, right-wing Christians and Republicans go out of their way to scuttle the deal, even suggesting that we bomb Iran. Somehow, they envision us bombing Iran and there not being any consequences for doing so. What I see is nuclear weapons being fired and the world being plunged into global conflict. Are those on the right so ignorant of history that they can not see the danger of their rhetoric? Will it take a nuclear bomb landing on Washington DC before they will wake up to the irresponsibility of their words and actions? By then, of course, they will have been vaporized.
As the above comments show, a large number of Christians are buying what Fox News, World Net Daily, and the various right-wing news organizations are selling. I fear that some of them will become so enraged that they really will exercise their so called second amendment rights. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, it is possible that some on the extreme right will go after gays, killing them, or take to the streets in violent protest. Why? Because many right-wing Christian really believe they are being persecuted. They really believe THEIR country has been stolen from them. Their passions are inflamed by war mongering pastors, TV preachers, and right-wing talk show hosts. Once inflamed, reason, responsibility, and tolerance go out the window.
Graphics found on Christian websites.
Anyone who uses the President’s middle name in a comment, article, or news show is revealing that they are a racist bigot.
A couple of years ago, pastor Jack Schaap was fired over a sexual relationship he had with a sixteen year old teenager. The girl was in the church’s Christian school and Schaap was “counseling” her. Schaap was later arrested and convicted and is now serving a 12 year sentence in a federal penitentiary. (you can read the texts, letters, and cards Schaap sent to this girl here)
Several decades ago, Jack Schaap’s father-in-law, Jack Hyles, was accused of having an affair with his secretary. The evidence for his affair was overwhelming, but the church rejected the evidence and Hyles remained the church’s pastor until his death.
Both men pastored First Baptist Church, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church in Hammond, Indiana. The church was an American Baptist church until Jack Hyles pulled it out the convention. At one time, the church was the largest church in the world.
Jack Hyles, 1973
Sexual and financial scandals are quite common in the IFB church movement. Pastors have sexual affairs, molest children, surf porn sites, cavort with prostitutes, lie, cheat, and steal. They are, in every way, just like the rest of the human race. Deacons, Sunday school teachers, church bus workers, Christian school workers, and every-day church members are also just like the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world. No matter how much they might protest, they know if the curtain was pulled back, it would expose for all to see that IFB pastors, leaders, and members are no different from atheists, Catholics, Evangelicals, Mormons, Methodists, or Southern Baptists.
They are human beings, capable of doing good or bad things. They are capable of being good, decent, kind, loving people and they are also capable of being evil, unkind, indecent, and unloving. Like all of us, they have the power to choose what kind of person they want to be. No matter what their theology tells them about the depraved, sinful condition of the natural, unregenerate, unsaved human heart, they KNOW they have the power to be whatever kind of person they want to be. They KNOW that there are countless atheists, deists, non-IFB Christians, and Catholics who are good, decent, kind, loving people, all without believing the King James Version of the Bible is the Word of God or believing in the IFB God at all.
The IFB religion, and it IS a sectarian religion no matter how much they protest that it is not, believes the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. IFB churches and pastors are literalists. Most of them are young earth creationists who believe the universe is 6,019 year old. Most of them believe in the pretribulational, premillennial second coming of Jesus Christ. They believe that the rapture, the great catching away of every Christian, could happen at any moment. After the rapture comes the Great Tribulation, a seven year period when God pours out his wrath on unbelievers. According to most IFB adherents, after the Great Tribulation, Jesus will return once again to earth, establish his millennial reign, fight a final battle with Satan, judge everyone, and destroy and make a new heaven and earth.
They also believe the miracles in the Bible actually happened and that everything in the Bible is meant to be taken literally unless it is very clear that it is not meant to be taken literally. They have specific, albeit contradictory, hermeneutics for determining this. As Bible literalists, they believe Christians are to live sanctified (set apart for God’s service), godly, holy lives. To ensure this, they have long lists of things they consider sins, sins that no Jesus loving, sin hating, devil chasing, IFB Christian would ever commit.
Steven Anderson pastors Faithful Word Baptist Church, an IFB church in Tempe, Arizona. He believes it is a sin for a man to sit down to pee and for a woman to see a male gynecologist
Every IFB church and pastor has their own l-o-n-g list of things they consider a sin. Besides the “big” sins like adultery, fornication, and homosexuality, IFB churches have rules (standards) about things that many non-IFB Christians might not consider a sin. Things like:
Listening to secular music or Contemporary Christian music
Going to the movies
Gambling, playing cards
Men and women swimming together
Cursing or using bywords
Women wearing pants or shorts
Women wearing anything that reveals their “shape”
Long hair on men, short hair on women
Over the years, I heard IFB pastors, including myself, say the following things were a sin:
Wearing wire rim glasses
Having a beard
Having a mustache
Wearing any clothing with “worldly” advertising
Going to stock car races
Sending your children to a public school
Using any Bible but a King James Bible
Not having a Sunday evening or midweek service
Not having an altar call
Using recorded (canned) music
Marrying a non-IFB Christian
Going to a non-IFB college
Having non-IFB friends
Working on Sunday
Letting your children play sports on prayer meeting night or Sunday
Not giving at least 10% of your money to the church, along with extra offerings for revivals and missions
Eating in restaurants that serve alcohol
Allowing women to pray while men are present or teach anyone other than women or children
I am sure, by now, you are trying to figure where the heaven I am going with this post. Let me tie it all together.
The IFB church movement prides itself on being “better” than other Christian sects and the “world”. Their literalist belief system, along with their list of sinful behaviors, are the standard every IFB church member is expected to live by. For all their talk about salvation by faith and grace, their religion is all about works, as is every religion, to some degree or the other. They will tell you that a person does not have to do any works in order to be saved, but ask them if a person who refuses to live by the above standards is a Christian and they will likely say, I doubt it.
In the IFB world, “true” Christianity is determined by how well a person adheres to the church’s/pastor’s interpretation of the Bible and whatever list of “standards” they have. Some allowance is given for difference of opinion, but not much. Church members who don’t conform are labeled as worldly, carnal, weak, fleshly, or backslidden.
The moral and ethical standard is high, way too high. Remember what I said earlier about IFB pastors, leaders, and church members being just like the rest of us? Well, this poses a real problem for them. They take the high moral ground, believing they are superior to everyone else, including other Christians. They consider themselves pillars of moral virtue. But, they are not, and when pastors, leaders, and church members get in trouble, like in the case of Jack Schaap and Jack Hyles, they have a real dilemma on their hands. Their moral and ethical failures expose the bankruptcy of their claim of superiority. They show that the fundamentalist emperor has no clothes.
The right thing to do would be to admit their failures, confess their “sins,” and come down from Mount “I am Holier than Thou.” Of course doing this would mean that they are just like the rest of us and that ain’t gonna happen.
Jack Hyles, David Hyles, Jim Krall, World’s Greatest Men
The latest major IFB scandal, courtesy of Jack Schaap and First Baptist Church in Hammond, provides for us an excellent example of HOW IFB churches handle having their “humanness” exposed.
First, they deny. When the Schaap scandal first became public, IFB commenters on blogs, news sites, discussion forums, Facebook, and Twitter were quick to deny that Schaap had done anything wrong. The accusations were lies and they were certain that Schaap was completely innocent.
Second, they marginalize. When they could no longer deny the reality of the Schaap scandal, they turned to letting everyone know that Schaap was a “sinner” just like everyone else and, while his “fall” was regrettable, people should not judge the IFB church movement or First Baptist Church negatively. One bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bushel. Actually, it can.
Third, attack the critics. Instead of owning the scandal, many IFB defenders decided to attack those who reported the scandal or wrote negative things about Schaap, Jack Hyles, First Baptist Church, and the IFB.
Across the blogosphere, in discussion forums, in blog comments, and emails, the defenders of the IFB attempted to ameliorate the scandal by attacking people like me. They couldn’t dismiss my impeccable IFB credentials so they attacked me personally or they dismissed me out of hand because I am an atheist. Why should anyone listen to what Bruce Gerencser has to say, they write. He’s a God-hater. He’s bitter, angry, and has an axe to grind. Besides, he never was a “real” Christian. They try to discredit the messenger so they won’t have to deal with his/her message. The goal is direct attention away from the facts.
Fourth, if all else fails, attack the victim. Let’s not forget that there is a victim in the Jack Schaap scandal. Schaap’s “sin” was not a victimless one. He had sexual relations with a minor in his church.
Jack Schaap is a 56-year-old man. He is almost my age. The victim was almost young enough to be his granddaughter. As a grown, mature man, he should be in control of his sexual desire. Surely he KNEW it was morally and ethically wrong to have sex with this girl. Schaap had the power to control the relationship he had with this girl. He was the grownup, he was the “man of God,” he was a married man with children, he was the one with everything to lose
If he had overt sexual desire, a need to get laid, he could have sought out the help of a professional, a prostitute. I am sure there are plenty of adult establishments in the Chicago area that Schaap could have went to in order to get his sexual need met. More than a few IFB pastors have availed themselves to the services of a prostitute. But, Schaap did none of these things and now everyone knows
In the sleaziest of attempts to justify Jack Schaap’s behavior, they attacked the girl. One commenter on this blog suggested the girl was a slut, that she seduced Schaap. She wrote:
So…what about the teenage girl? How hot was she? How hard did she pursue him? We all know young girls flaunt everything these days to get what they want. a rise from any man they can. especially one in the limelight (our a uniform!) They don’t care if he’s married our not, or if he’s her best friends dad. it’s really sad.young girls are a whoring in our churches.
It doesn’t matter how hot she was or whether or not she flaunted herself before him.
He is a grown, mature man, a few years younger than me. By now, he should have learned how to deal with temptation and keep his penis in his pants.
It is reported that he was counseling this girl. If this is true, then he abused his power and authority and, here in Ohio, could be held criminally liable.
Whatever the girl’s faults, she is not the problem in this story.
You men and women be careful. She is closer than we think. the world is full of young sluts stealing our husbands and sons! Praying for Cindy!
And, I responded:
You mean stealing pathetic, poor Christian men who have been taught they are helpless creatures unable to withstand sexual temptation? How about teaching them to be accountable for their own sexual behavior? They have a choice, do they not? Or are they so weak that the slightest temptation turns them into sexed crazed maniacs who are unable to control their lust?
The only right answer to the Jack Schaap scandal, the Jack Hyles scandal, or any other church scandals, is IMMEDIATE, COMPLETE disclosure. Instead of trying to cover the matter up or trying to make it disappear, churches should show they take these kinds of things seriously. What First Baptist Church in Hammond needed was a Penn State moment. They needed to come to terms with fifty years of cover-ups and denials. The deacons and church membership needed to own their own culpability in Schaap scandal. They are they ones who did nothing about Jack Hyles and his serial-adulterer son David. They are the ones who allowed an abusive, controlling, cultic environment to develop in the church. They are the ones who, like lemmings, sat and listened to Schaap’s preaching, shouting Amen. They are the ones who practiced the Jack Hyles Rule, if you didn’t see it, it didn’t happen.
David Gibbs, Christian Law Association
Instead of having a Penn State moment, First Baptist Church called in attorney David Gibbs, the Ray Donovan fixer of the IFB scandals. Gibbs has fixed and sanitized countless IFB sex scandals. Instead of encouraging churches to come clean, Gibbs helps them minimize fallout and loss. The goal is not restitution or helping the victims. Instead, it is all about protecting the church’s testimony.
The Christian Law Association exists to preserve Christian liberty for your children and grandchildren.
CLA received in excess of 100,000 phone calls annually, not counting the thousands of pieces of correspondence from those who are in some way facing legal difficulties for doing what the Bible commands. These cases involve Christians arrested for witnessing to others in public, public school students being told they do not have the right to read their Bibles at school, churches being excluded from communities, Christians being fired for sharing their faith at work, and thousands of other shocking assaults on our precious religious freedoms. CLA provides free legal services based in part on the generosity of God’s people.
Missing from this description is helping pastors and churches manage scandal and marginalize victims. Missing is their motto: Protect the Church’s Reputation at All Costs! Minimize Financial Payouts so the Church can Continue to Win Souls for Jesus.
This will not be the last scandal in the IFB church movement. Their theology and ecclesiology makes it certain that scandals will continue to happen. IFB pastors, leaders, and members are human. That they will, despite their theology, do things that are considered bad is a given. The only issue left to decide is HOW they will respond to these bad acts.
Jack and Beverly Hyles statue
The Joe Paterno statues have been pulled down as a public act of contrition, but the Jack Hyles statute remains, a reminder of who it was that built First Baptist Church. One can only hope that public scrutiny will force the IFB church movement to own their “sins” and that dramatic change will be made, resulting in a reduction of predatory acts against children and teenagers. One can hope, but as of today, it is business as usual in the alternate universe called the IFB church movement.
Imagine for a moment, that you are sitting in the pew of an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church. You are 16 years old and sitting next to you is your 17-year-old girlfriend. As with any normal teenager, you are sitting as close as possible to your girlfriend and the two of you are holding hands.
The pastor is getting ready to preach and he asks everyone to turn to 1 Corinthians 7:1,2. With a thunderous voice, the pastor says, THE BIBLE SAYS:
Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. (1 Corinthians 7:1,2)
and THE BIBLE ALSO SAYS:
Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
All of a sudden, the pastor turns your way, looks at you and your girlfriend, and then slowly turns back to his sermon notes. You feel guilty, so you unclasp your hand from your girlfriends and you scoot a few inches away from her.
Welcome, to just-another-Sunday-morning service at First Independent Baptist Church of Bible, Believersville, Ohio.
In the real world, teenage boys and girls hold hands, put their arms around each other, and kiss each other. We also know that some of them engage in intimate sexual activity. But at First Independent Baptist Church, any physical contact between unmarried teenagers or unmarried young adults of the opposite sex is strictly prohibited.
The thinking goes something like this: fornication, the intimate sexual contact between unmarried people, is a SIN. Committing fornication requires touching, so the best way to avoid fornication is to keep unmarried teenagers or single young adults from touching each other.
Over the years, I told countless teenagers that no girl ever got pregnant without holding hands with a boy first. I repeatedly told them that holding hands leads to familiarity and before you know it you’ll be having sex. So the answer is, no touching.
When I was a teenager, my pastor preached against boys and girls touching each other. Now, this doesn’t mean we didn’t touch each other, it just means that we did our touching away from the sight of the pastor, youth director, deacons, and other church adults.
We turned it into a game. The pastor said we couldn’t touch each other, so while choir practice was going on we would find out-of-the-way places to neck. It was almost like a challenge: we dare you to catch us.
From the age of 14 until my wedding day, I kissed a few girls, put my arm around them, and held their hands. But, that’s where it stopped. Both my wife and I were virgins when we married in 1978.
Polly and I attended Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac Michigan. The college had a strict no-touch rule. The rule was called the six-inch rule. (about the width of a hymnbook) Young men and women were expected to keep 6 inches away from each other at all times. Failure to do so resulted in severe discipline.
Living in a dorm filled with normal, hormone-raging, heterosexual men and women made the six-inch rule a real challenge. Most of us learned how to discreetly break the rule, and when we went out on double dates we learned to double date with couples who were six-inch rule breakers as we were.
About the gateway issues with card playing . . .I’m not psychologist but I do believe if you restrict normal human behavior in one way, normal human behavior will come out in another. When at Hyles Anderson we were all told to not touch the opposite sex. I mean, no hand holding (which was fine with me and the IFB church I was in before I left for HAC). But no touching through a pen either, like tapping on a shoulder.
We are social beings and I do believe we need touch to stay alive. When at HAC, since all of the women were not allowed to touch a man on his hand or to tap his back with a pen, guess what happened? The dean of woman (Miss Belinda) said she noticed a LOT of petting going on between the women. In chapel, women would sit next to women and they’d pet each other’s hair, they’d stroke each other’s leg. And she was right – all of that behavior was happening. But my question is why? Probably due to the human need for basic touch. Since the women were not allowed to hug their own blood brother on campus, nor to hold hands for 5 seconds, nor to tap a man on the back with a pencil. . .is it any wonder that the women found a way to get physical touch in their lives? It is normal to want a hug and to rub someone’s bad when they are hurting. By repressing opposite sex touching, they encouraged same-sex touching and it was very evident.
Ponder for a moment being exposed to this kind of environment. Is it any wonder that people coming out the IFB church movement often have to deal with emotional, mental, and sexual dysfunction?
When you are constantly told that a normal human desire is sinful, it is bound cause psychological damage. Being normal heterosexuals, we could only suppress our desires for so long, so we found creative ways to get around the rules and the ever-watchful eyes of those charged with keeping us from fornicating.
Bruce and Polly Gerencser, February 1978 The irony of this picture is that we were allowed to break the rule while the photographer took the picture.
In a chapter of The Fundy World Tales I wrote:
Another time I was written up for breaking the six-inch rule. The six-inch rule was a rule meant to keep unmarried men and women from getting too close to each other. Six inches is about the width of a songbook or a Bible and unmarried students were not allowed to be closer than a songbook or a Bible from each other.
I was on the college basketball team. One day during practice I slapped at a basketball and severely dislocated a finger. I was rushed to the emergency room and the doctor was able to fix the dislocation. I’m left-handed and the dislocation had occurred on my left hand.
Every male student was required to wear a tie to class. I found it very difficult to tie a tie with one hand, so one day I asked my fiancé to tie my tie for me. In doing so we broke the six-inch rule. Someone anonymously turned us in for breaking the six-inch rule and we had to appear before the disciplinary committee to answer the charges against us.
We each receive 25 demerits for breaking the six-inch rule. We were warned that if we broke the six-inch rule again we would be expelled from school. Little did they know that we had been breaking it for quite some time.
Most dormitory students lived for the weekend. Students could only date on the weekends. Double dating was required and no student could go farther away than 10 miles from the dormitory. This was called the 10 mile limit. No physical contact between students was allowed. No kissing. No holding hands. No physical contact whatsoever.
Most students tried to adhere to the rules for a while. Some, like my fiancé and me, kept the six-inch rule religiously until we went home for our first Christmas break. While home on Christmas break were allowed to act like normal young adults who were in love. We held hands, kissed, necked, and pretty much acted like any other couple mutually infatuated with one another.
Once the genie was out of the bottle it was impossible to put her back in. When we returned to Midwestern we realized we could not continue to keep the six-inch rule. So for the next 18 months we sought out couples to double date with that had the same view of the six-inch rule as we did. We had to be very careful. Choose the wrong couple to double date with and you could end up getting expelled from school.
Rules such as the six-inch rule put the dormitory students in a position of having to lie and cheat just to be able to act like normal young adults. Many students ended up getting campused (not allowed to leave the campus or date) or were expelled because they broke the six-inch rule.
Illicit sexual activity was quite common among dormitory students. There was always a lot of gossip about who was doing what, when and where. During the spring of my sophomore year many of us rented apartments in the Pontiac area. We were all planning to get married over the summer, and since apartments were hard to come by, we rented them as soon as we found them.
Unfortunately the apartments turned into a big temptation for some couples. They began using the apartments as safe places for sexual activity. I could give you the names of several well-known preachers and their wives who lost their virginity at one of these apartments. Some of these preachers are now known to rail against sexual immorality. It seems they have forgotten about their own sexual immorality many years ago.
Is it any wonder that many of us who were raised in this kind of sexually repressed environment require counseling? Being you are told over and over that certain basic human needs and desires are sinful leads to overwhelming guilt and despair (and remember masturbation, self-pleasuring, was also a sin).
This is one of the reasons why I think the IFB church movement is emotionally and mentally harmful. My advice to everyone in an IFB church is that they RUN as fast as they can away from the church of which they are a part. Get out before they so fuck up your mind that it requires years of therapy to regain any sense of self-worth and emotional balance.
How about you? Did you spend your teenage years in an IFB church? Did you attend an IFB college? How did you deal with the no-physical-contact rule? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
This is the fifteenth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please leave the name the song in the comment section or send me an email.
Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Sin City by the Genitorturers, an industrial metal band from the United States.
When the tracks are leading home to the limits of hell We’ll yell, life sure is swell! In Sin City In the streets where the servants of silence dwell The visions of the wicked are sure to sell! In Sin City On the quickest strip goin’, cum holy high rollin’ with me Get you cash cup flowin’, cum holy high rollin” with me Let your holy mother blow your fears away Get on your knees and play! In the heat where the Savior of Sodom dwells Join hands with the women who squirm in hell, In Sin City Because the lord has mercy on the women who sell Their pussies to the preachers who burn in hell, In Sin City The Devil’s home for the depraved Where the souls are never saved That’s why the holy rollers say Get on you knees and pray To breathe in Sin City To lie in Sin City Get high in Sin City Let your holy water wash away your shame Cause the judgment day is just another game On your knees and pray!
According to Bryan, Ohio resident L. Jay Nafziger, Satan, the head toker himself, is behind efforts to legalize marijuana in Ohio. Nafziger had this to say in a letter to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News:
Did legalizing alcohol in the USA make our world a better place to live in? Why not ask one of the thousands who have had a loved one tragically killed by a drunk driver.
Did legalizing abortion make the world a better place to live in? Definitely not for the millions of unborn children who never had the chance to live outside the womb.
Has legalized tobacco smoking made the world a better place to live in? Long before medical science “proved” that cigarette smoke is not good for the smoker or anyone else, good, old-fashioned, outdated, uncommon, common sense could tell a person that drawing smoke of any kind into your lungs over a period of time will probably cause problems.
So who is to say that legalizing pot will make the world a better place to live in? Time and time again, many FDA approved “safe” prescription drugs have been pulled off the market because they were found to be “not so safe” after all.
I will admit that I think it is hypocritical for any government, society or culture to accept and allow alcohol, abortion and tobacco while not allowing marijuana. But then, on the other hand, how about this gateway drug thing? If marijuana is legalized, why not heroin and methamphetamine, and why limit prescription drugs?
Why not get rid of all hypocrisy and judgement and let anyone do anything they want to at anytime as long as they are not “hurting” someone else? And it could all be so good for the economy! Did you just detect my sarcasm?
The greatest evil of all is not alcohol, abortion, tobacco or marijuana, but Satan himself, the father of lies. One of his biggest lies is that we (human beings created in the image of God) can/should disregard the laws (ten commandments) of God (creator of the universe and everything in it) and instead, find happiness and fulfillment in life by “doing our own thing if it feels good, do it.” Then, when we get into trouble and aren’t feeling so good, he (Satan) offers us a short term solution or “fix” like alcohol, abortion, tobacco or marijuana, which can ultimately cause us more pain and dissolution than we had in the beginning.
My new, progressive, updated, upgraded, evolved mindset of 2015 says, “No, do not legalize pot.” Any outdated mindset that keeps another “evil” from being legalized is far better than any updated mindset that says “smoking marijuana is good for you.” How can a person know for sure that they are not being lied to, not by just another human being but by Satan himself?
God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. John 3. 17.
Jesus is the way, not cannibas. Jesus is the truth, not cannibas. Jesus is the light, not cannibas.
I think Nofziger’s letter speaks for itself. He asks “did you just detect my sarcasm?” No, but I did detect the signs of a fundamentalist lobotomy.
I have several questions for Nofziger. If God is the creator of everything, who created marijuana? And tobacco? And alcohol? If drinking alcohol is a sin, was Jesus sinning when he drank wine and turned the water into wine? What about the verses in the Bible that suggest giving a sick and dying man alcohol to ease his suffering? If marijuana can ease the suffering of someone, shouldn’t they be permitted to use it?
I did like the last sentence of his letter: Jesus is the way, not cannibas. Jesus is the truth, not cannibas. Jesus is the light, not cannibas. Ignoring the fact that Nofziger misspelled cannabis, I think Christians churches should start an evangelistic campaign that touts the superiority of Jesus to being high on marijuana. Get High on Jesus!
This is the fourteenth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please leave the name the song in the comment section or send me an email.
Today’s Song of Sacrilege is We’re All Going to Hell by The Bastard Fairies, an American music group from Los Angeles.
All you Mormons who like cussing, you are going to hell All you preachers who like fucking, you are going to hell Little boys that choke the chicken, you are going to hell It’s the nature of evolution, the dinosaurs went to hell
-CHORUS- Hell hell hell it’s a wonderful place It’s a place of fire and brimstone
All you Christian politicians, you are going to hell Magic Jesus apparitions send you to hell Buddhist monks without god you are going to hell Those of you dissecting frogs, you are going to hell
(talking) I need a beer -Can opening- Ha-ha that was pretty good Ahh. Okay
All you Catholics wearing condoms, you are going to hell All us fatties eating bonbons, we are going to hell Unbaptized babies learn to limbo, purgatory is hell And your religion is a gamble and you are going to hell
Check this shit out x 2 It’s gunna change your life x2
There once was a man who thought that if he ate all the pages in the bible he could kill most anything In 1913 he died of a stroke when he tried to eat the book of kings
This is the thirteenth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please leave the name the song in the comment section or send me an email.
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 bow in reverence to them. In the IFB church movement, to have a doctorate means you have arrived, that your dick is bigger than 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 a doctorate. But, here’s the thing, the majority of preachers sporting a doctorate didn’t earn it. Most likely, one of their preacher buddies, who just so happens to run an unaccredited 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 they are teaching at 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 doctorate was either honorary or “earned” through minimal work done at a diploma mill. The only person I knew that had an earned doctorate was Tom Malone. Dr. Malone had a PhD in education from Wayne State University.
This has all the making of a Holiday Inn commercial: I’m not be a licensed, qualified counselor but I stayed 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 PhD 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? But, many of these “Doctors” are counseling people with serious mental health problems. A troubled church members goes to their pastor thinking he is qualified to help them. After all, they have a doctorate in counseling, right? They are just as qualified as the psychologist at the local clinic, right? Unbeknownst to the church member is that 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?
My Church stresses inclusivity. All are welcome. By grace through faith anyone can enter the kingdom of God. We will find out at death, but right now it is above my pay grade. I only accept it.
I am in favor of equal treatment for all humans. I am not in favor of gay marriage. The Bible does define marriage as a man and a woman. I know at least one person from several gay couples. I have no problem. Their decision. God will separate the sheep from the goats. We are all going to be surprised who we find in Heaven or Hell. We may make a judgment, but God is the judge.
This Evangelical Christian thinks his church is inclusive, all are welcome. But is it? Can a gay person be a pastor, Sunday school teacher, nursery worker, or youth worker. Of course not. Their wicked lifestyle precludes them from doing anything in the church but sitting in the pew. The goal is to convert the gay and rid him of his Sodomite lifestyle. Once delivered from his sin, then he can serve in the church.
This Evangelical, like many namby-pamby Christians, says it is up to God to judge gays. Does he really believe this? Of course not. He doesn’t want to look like the bigot that he is, so he plays the God is the final judge card. However, since this person believes the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, he already knows God’s opinion on homosexuality. Why is he afraid to say what God has said on the matter? Come on, tell the truth: All practicing homosexuals will go to hell when they die and be tortured by God for all eternity.
He wants us to believe that there will a lot of surprises in heaven. Really? Isn’t God’s Word clear? The Bible says in I Corinthians 6:9-11:
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
and in Revelation 22:13-15:
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
Seems pretty clear to me…there will be NO homosexuals in heaven.
This Evangelical Christian says he “supports equal treatment for all humans” and then turns right around and discredits what he said. He supports an equality that is defined by the Bible. Since God defines marriage as one man-one woman-for life, same-sex marriage is a sin. He realizes this makes him look bad. After all, he is denying same-sex couples equal protection under the law and the same civil rights he enjoys, so he plays the HEY I KNOW A GAY COUPLE card. This is the same card played by racists.
He desperately wants to be seen as a nice guy. I know a lot of Christians like this. Good people, nice people. Great neighbors. But, they have beliefs that are hateful and discriminatory. They want us to separate the belief from the person, love the person hate the sin. However, like a skunk and his smell, you can’t separate a person from his beliefs. This Evangelical’s beliefs stink like a factory farm on a warm July day. Try as he might to spray perfume on his beliefs, they still stink.
Peter Ruckman, pastor of Bible Baptist Church, Pensacola, Florida
A Ruckmanite is an Independent Baptist, 1611 King James Only, follower of twice divorced, thrice married Florida Baptist preacher Peter Ruckman. Ruckmanites believe the 1611 King James version of the Bible is the p-e-r-f-e-c-t word of God for English-speaking people. They are generally known for having bombastic, hateful personalities. They think they are the smartest person in any room and consider Bart Ehrman an illiterate hillbilly. Ruckmanism is quite popular in Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches.
Over the weekend, Polly and I took a road trip south of here and ended up in Delphos, Ohio. As we were checking out Delphos, we stumbled across a Peter Ruckman follower or at least a person who buys signs and bumper stickers from Ruckman’s bookstore. Here’s some of the photographs I took of the Ruckmanite’s home and automobile. I think the photographs will tell you all you need to know!
Yes, that is the Israeli flag
Look closely at the window and you will see a Confederate flag