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The Americans: Who Knows What Goes On With the Good Pastor?

pastor tim
Paige and Pastor Tim

Scene from the FX television show, The Americans.

Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Phillip (Matthew Rhys) are lying in bed talking about their daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) secretly reading her pastor’s (Kelly AuCoin) diary.

Elizabeth: I told her it was crazy and dangerous and she could never do it again

Strange look on Phillip’s face

Elizabeth: What?  If there was something on him with a parishioner…

Phillip: Elizabeth..

Elizabeth: No, No, I know, but it’s interesting right?  Who knows what goes on with the good pastor.

Who knows, right? There is a myth perpetuated by churches and pastors alike that pastors are morally and ethically superior beings — men who rise above the fray; men untainted by the world; men given to prayer and studying the Bible; men who have the most important job in the world. Christians don’t come to this belief in a vacuüm. After all, this is how the Bible describes the qualifications of men who divinely called by God to be pastors/bishops/elders:

This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)  Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (I Timothy 3)

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;  But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. (Titus 1)

The Apostle Paul, writing to two of his protegés, penned both of these passages of Scripture. Paul makes it clear in I Timothy that what he is writing is the standard all pastors must follow — they MUST be these things. Pastors often preach from both of the passages, detailing the high and lofty qualifications men such as themselves must meet in order to ever-so-humbly lead churches. Of course, no pastor, living or dead — the Apostle Paul, Timothy, and Titus included — has ever met these qualifications.

As a pastor, I struggled with these verses, knowing what they said, yet also knowing what kind of man I really was and what kind of men my colleagues in the ministry really were. How could I be a pastor, I thought, and not live according to the standards set forth by God? I had God, the Holy Spirit, living inside of me, and I had the inspired, inerrant, infallible King James Bible. Surely, with the Holy Spirit leading and teaching me and the words of the living God never far from my reach, I should have been able to live according to Paul’s (God’s) dictates in Titus and I Timothy. Try as I might, there was never a day in my ministerial career when I hit a home run. On many a day, I failed miserably in my quest to be what God demanded I be.

Not measuring up caused me quite a bit of angst and depression. I was able to assuage these thoughts by making sure that I spent time in prayer before entering the pulpit. This way, all my sins were forgiven, and I was, at that moment, the man of God Paul said I must be. This approach was what I now call the Baptist version of Catholic confession.

I am sure my admission here will cause some Christians to say, See! Bruce was never qualified to be a pastor. He never should have been preaching. However, these Pharisaical zealots fail to see that no pastor meets the standards set forth in the Bible. That they think some men do is the real problem.

Why do many Christians think their pastors are better than everyone else? That their pastors are pillars of virtue and morality? One reason is that far too many Christians are blind and naïve when it comes to pastors. They see what they want to see, needing to believe that they are being taught and led by men called of God — men who are bright and shining examples of what Christians should be. What these sincere followers of Jesus fail to see is that pastors, early in their ministries, learn that a certain lifestyle is expected of them. Pastors learn to conform to expectations — outwardly, at least.  Pastor Bruce and Sister Polly may have been having a shouting match on their way to church, but praise God, once they opened the doors of the church, they had on their Oh how I love Jesus smiles, and were ready to serve the people gathered together to hear Wonderful Sermon #3,666.

Most pastors, of course, will never admit what I have written above. Their jobs depend on them playing The Game; on them being first place entrants in the dog and pony show. Years ago, towards the end of my career as a pastor, I said in a sermon that I understood what it meant to be lustful — that I as their pastor had lusted after women who were not my wife. This was an honest admission, one that every pastor could make if he but dare to do so. After the service, a church member came up to me and let me know that he found my admission depressing; that he came to church to be inspired, and he expected his pastor to live a life of v-i-c-t-o-r-y. In other words, this person wanted me to fake it, pretending to be something I was not.

If the Black Collar Crime series has taught readers anything, it has taught them that pastors are no different from other Christians — and no different from the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world. The question, who knows what goes on with the good pastor? can be answered thusly: no one knows. Not his ministerial colleagues; not his parents; not his wife; not the deacon board; not denominational leaders. No one knows everything about him, not even the person he sleeps beside night after night.

I am not, in any way, saying pastors aren’t good people. Many of them are, but they are not what many Christians think they are. At best, they are fleshly men who have demanding, stressful jobs. At worst, they are lazy good-for-nothings who have found a way to loaf and get paid for it. Pastors can and do sin, the difference being that they are often skilled at hiding their sins. If congregants only knew what went on behind the closed doors of studies and manses, I suspect many would lose their faith. And it is for this reason pastors continue to play The Game. Christians needs someone to look up to, someone who is a shining example of godliness. I am convinced that Christianity would be better served if pastors just admitted that they are humans; that they have no magical spiritual powers; that they aren’t special in any way. Can’t do that, though. Churches might get the idea that they no longer need professional clergy; that they and their communities might be better served with laymen who lived and worked locally and preached on Sundays. Why, what would pastors ever do if they had to be like the rest of us?

Black Collar Crime: Pentecostal Pastor Jose Bernal Accused of Sexually Assaulting Children

pastor jose bernal

Jose Bernal, pastor of Tabernaculo De Vida Pentecostal Church in Fort Worth, Texas, stands accused of sexually abusing two girls.

The Star-Telegram reports:

Police arrested a man Wednesday on suspicion of sexually abusing two girls when he was a preacher at a Fort Worth church.

Hurst police reported that officers executed two felony arrest warrants on Jose Francisco Bernal, 52, at his residence in the 7200 block of Deville Drive in North Richland Hills. Bernal was in the Hurst Jail on Wednesday facing two counts of continuous sexual assault of a child. Bail was set at $50,000 for each charge, police said.

Two adult females made outcries of numerous sexual abuse incidents that occurred when they were both juveniles living in Hurst between 2007 and 2013, police said.

Investigators concluded that Bernal met the girls while he was their pastor at the Tabernaculo De Vida Pentecostal Church on West Dickson Street in Fort Worth.

Is Segregation Scriptural? by Evangelist Bob Jones, Sr. the Founder of Bob Jones University

bob jones sr

What follows is an excerpt from a radio sermon preached Easter Sunday, 1960 by Bob Jones, Sr. — the founder of Bob Jones University (BJU). This sermon was reproduced in printed form and sold in the BJU bookstore. No blacks were permitted to attend the college until 1971 — three years after the death of Bob Jones, Sr. Even then, only married black students were permitted to enroll. Five years later, BJU allowed single blacks to enroll, but strengthened its rules against interracial dating and marriage, leading to the IRS revoking BJU’s tax exempt status. Wikipedia states:

In 1976, the Internal Revenue Service revoked the university’s tax exemption retroactively to December 1, 1970 on grounds that it was practicing racial discrimination. The case eventually was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1982. After BJU lost the decision in Bob Jones University v. United States (461 U.S. 574)[1983], the university chose to maintain its interracial dating policy and pay a million dollars in back taxes.

It would be twenty-four more years before BJU would finally allow blacks and whites to date and marry.

Bob Jones University regained its tax-exempt status in 2017.

Is Segregation Scriptural?

My friends, I am going to bring you today one of the most important and most remotely messages I have ever brought. I hope you will sit close to the radio. Do not let anything disturb you. I want you to hear this message through.

Now, we folks at Bob Jones University believe that whatever the Bible says is so, and we believe it says certain fundamental things that all Bible-believing Christians accept; but when the Bible speaks clearly about any subject, that settles it. Men do not always agree, because some people are dumb; some people are spiritually dumb; but when the Bible is clear, there is not any reason why everybody should not accept it.

….

All orthodox, Bible-believing Christians agree on one thing; and that is, that whatever the Bible says is so. When they had old religious debates, they used to get together and say, “Well, we will discuss this subject.” One man would say, “The Bible says this” and another man would say, “You are mistaken. It says this.” They argued about what the Bible said. They agreed that whatever it said was so, but they argued about what it said.

In recent years there has been a subtle, Satanic effort to undermined people’s faith in the Bible; and the devil has helped the race along until men have put their own opinion above the Word of God. You will find that practically all the troubles we are having today have come out of the fact that men in many instances have ceased to believe in an authoritative Bible.

For instance, we are living in the midst of race turmoil all over the world today. Look at what they are facing in Africa, and look at what we are facing in this country. It is all contrary to Scripture — it is all contrary to the Word of God. I am going to show you that the Bible is perfectly clear on races — just as clear as it can be.
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God Almighty did not make of the human race one race in the sense that He did not fix the bounds of their habitation. That is perfectly clear. It is no accident that most Chinese are in China. There has been an overflow in the world, but most Chinese live in China. There are millions and millions of them there, and there are no greater people in the world. I have never known lovelier and more wonderful people than the Chinese.

We were over in Formosa a few years ago and conferred an honorary degree on Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and I never met a greater man. I never met a man of more intelligence or a more wonderful Christian; and Madame Chiang Kai-shek  is a wonderful woman. There they are. Now, what happened? They married each other. She was a Christian Chinese woman educated in America. When she finished her education, she went back to her home in China. How God has used Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek — not only as Christian witnesses but also in other ways. I was never with a man who pulled me to him with stronger ties than Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek when I was over there and conferred an honorary degree on him. All right, he is a Chinese. He married a Chinese woman. That is the way God meant it to be.

Paul said that God  . . . hath made of one blood all nations of men . . . . But He also fixed the bounds of their habitation. When nations break out of their boundaries and begin to do things contrary to the purpose of God and the directive will of God, they have trouble. The world is in turmoil today because men and nations go contrary to the clear teaching of the Word of God. Let’s understand that. The Chinese people are wonderful people. They have internal troubles, of course, because Communism has gone into China and disturbed a great deal of the population. But the Chinese people are wonderful people. The Japanese people are ingenious — they are wonderful people. The Koreans are wonderful people. The Africans are wonderful people. In many ways, there are no people in the world finer than the colored people who were brought over here in slavery in days gone by.

….

What happened? Well, away back yonder our forefathers went over to Africa and brought the colored people back and sold them into slavery. That was wrong. But God overruled. When they came over here, many of them did not know the Bible and did not know about Jesus Christ; but they got converted. Some of the greatest preachers the world has ever known were colored preachers who were converted in slavery days.

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God Almighty allowed these colored people to be turned here into the South and overruled what happened, and then He turned the colored people in the South into wonderful Christian people. For many years we have lived together. Occasionally there will be a flare-up. But the white people have helped the colored people build their churches, and we have gotten along together harmoniously and peacefully; and everything has come along fine. Sometimes we have a little trouble, but then we adjust everything sensibly and get back to the established order.

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White folks and colored folks, you listen to me. You cannot run over God’s plan and God’s established order without having trouble. God never meant to have one race. It was not His purpose at all. God has a purpose for each race. God Almighty may have overruled and permitted the slaves to come over to America so that the colored people could be the great missionaries to the Africans. They could have been. The white people in America would have helped pay their way over there. By the hundred and hundred they could have gone back to Africa and got the Africans converted after the slavery days were over.

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If we would just listen to the Word of God and not try to overthrow God’s established order, we would not have any trouble. God never meant for America to be a melting pot to rub out the line between the nations. That was not God’s purpose for this nation. When someone goes to overthrowing His established order and goes around preaching pious sermons about it, that makes me sick — for a man to stand up and preach pious sermons in this country and talk about rubbing out the line between the races — I say it makes me sick. I have had the sweetest fellowship with colored Christians, with yellow Christians, with red Christians, with all sorts of Christians — the sweetest fellowship anybody has ever had, we have had. Christians have always had it. We have never had any trouble about that.

The trouble today is a Satanic agitation striking back at God’s established order. That is what is making trouble for us. Of course, it is easy to look back over the years and see the situation from another standpoint; but when the folks up North went to Africa and brought the slaves over to this country and sold them to the Southern people, the Southern people should have been Christian enough to have said, “We will not have any slaves. We are not going ahead.”  But, you know, they went ahead.

Only a small percentage of the Southern people held slaves. Only a small percentage of them were slave owners. A great many people in the South in the old days did not believe in slavery — they stood against slavery. But they went ahead, and the commercial element was dominant; and people bought slaves and sold them. This slavery was not right. It should not have been. What we should have done was to have sent missionaries to Africa. Yes, that is what we should have done. That would have been in line with Scripture.

God put the Africans over there. They are fine people. They are intelligent people. Do not think they are inferior in every way. It is not so. But we should have sent missionaries over there, and Africa should have been a great nation of colored Christians. If we had done what God had told us to do and sent the Gospel to them and made a Christian nation out of them instead of bringing them over here and selling them into slavery, Africa could have been a great nation of colored Christians. What we did was wrong. It was not right. It cannot be justified. We should not try to justify it. But people went along. Some good people fell for it and went ahead with it; and God overruled it.

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But racially we have separation in the Bible. Let’s get that clear. Any race has a right to come to America. We do not mean that when we came over here we wiped out the line between races. We did not do that. We should have let the Africans stay in Africa instead of bringing them here for slaves, but did you colored people ever stop to think where you might have been if that had not happened? Now, you colored people listen to me. If you had not been brought over here and if your grandparents in slavery days had not heard that great preaching you might not even be a Christian. You might be over there in the jungles of Africa today, unsaved. But you are here in America where you have your own schools and your own churches and your own liberties and your own rights, with certain restrictions that God Almighty put about you — restrictions that are in line with the Word of God. The Jews have lived a separated race. they have been separated from the other races of the world. They have been miraculously preserved. Now they have a homeland. They are back there today, and what a wonderful thing is happening.

The time has come when we good folks down here in the South — the good colored people and the good white people — need to use our heads. We should not let this outside agitation disturb us down here. Now, listen just a minute. You colored people are entitled to good schools. You ought to have them. I would like for you to remember something. Just remember that the South went through reconstruction and had a hard time. It was not easy. Then remember something else, too. When your ancestors were slaves in the homes of these Southern people, they got a breath of culture that they could not have gotten even in the schoolrooms of America. They heard the old-time preachers. I have said many times that the greatest preachers who have lived since the Apostolic days were the preachers of the South — the preachers who preached to the colored people. And back there the slaves had the Gospel. They were it and were converted. They were saved.

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Now, I am appealing to you colored people and to you white people. Let’s use our heads. Let’s be intelligent. Let’s not try to kick the Bible off the center table. Keep your Bible where it belongs. When they tell you that God Almighty is not the author of the boundaries of nations, you tell them that is wrong. You tell them it is perfectly clear in the Bible that God made of one blood all nations but that He also fixed the bounds of their habitation. There is nothing unscriptural about that.

Listen just a minute. We are trying to bring a few people from other lands here to Bob Jones University so we can educate them and help them. We have two Chinese gentlemen teaching here in this school. They are Christian men. They are intelligent men, and they understand what we are doing. They know where we are going. We honor and respect them.

There is no problem here. But it could be a problem. It could be a problem in California. It could be a problem anywhere. Whenever you get a situation that rubs out the line that God has drawn between races, whenever that happens, you are going to have trouble. That is what is happening today in this country. All this agitation is a Communistic agitation to overthrow the established order of God in this world. The Communistic influence is at work all about us. Certain people are disturbing this situation. They talk about the fact that we are going to have one world. We will never really have one world until this world heads up in God. We are not going to have one world by man’s rubbing out the line that God has established. He is marking the lines, and you cannot rub them out and get away with it.

The established order cannot be overthrown without having trouble. That is what wrecked Paradise. God set up the order of Paradise. He told Adam and Eve how to live and what food to eat and what not to eat. He drew the lines around that Garden; and when Adam and Eve crossed over the lines of God, thorns grew on roses. The first baby that was born was a murderer and killed his own brother. So it has gone down through the ages. It is man’s rebellion (due to the fall) against a Holy God to overthrow the established order of God in this world.

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When you run into conflict with God’s established order racially, you have trouble. You do not produce harmony. You produce destruction and trouble, and this nation is in the greatest danger it has ever been in in its history. We are facing dangers from abroad and dangers at home, and the reason is that we have got away from the Bible of our forefathers. The best Christians who ever put foot on this earth since the Apostolic days were the men and women in America back in the old days. Some of them owned slaves, and some of them did not; and some of them were slaves, and some of them were not. Back in those days they believed the Bible, and God called this nation into existence to be a witness to the world and to be true to the Word of God. Do not let these religious liberals blowing their bubbles of nothing over your head get you upset and disturbed. Let’s get back to the Word of God and be sensible.
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Our heavenly Father, bless our country. We thank Thee for our ancestors. We thank Thee for the good, Christian people — white and black. We thank Thee for the ties that have bound these Christian white people and Christian colored people together through the years, and we thank Thee that white people who had a little more money helped them build their churches and stood by them and when they got sick, they helped them. No nation has ever prospered or been blessed like the colored people in the South. Help these colored Christian not to get swept away by all the propaganda that is being put out now. Help us to see this thing and to understand God’s established order and to be one in Christ and to understand that God has fixed the boundaries of the nations so we would not have trouble and misunderstanding. Keep us by Thy power and use us for They glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

You can read the entire sermon here and here. Transcribed by Camille Lewis 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor David Volmer Convicted of Sex Crimes and Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison

david volmer

David Volmer, pastor of ACTS Christian Church in Perth, Australia, pleaded guilty in 2015 to various sex crimes perpetrated against a 13-year-old girl.

In an August 10, 2015 story, Daniel Piotrowski, a reporter for the Daily Mail, wrote:

A teenage girl allegedly abused by a shocking paedophile ring of eight men including her own father was drugged with amyl nitrate and raped by an evangelical preacher.

David Volmer, 41, a married father of two and the South African-born pastor of the ACTS Christian Church in Perth, pleaded guilty to 12 charges relating to the 13-year-old girl’s abuse last month.

Among the offences were three counts each of sexually penetrating a child, indecently dealing with a child under 13 and indecently dealing with a child aged over 13 and under 16.

Court documents obtained by Daily Mail Australia show Mr Volmer also pleaded guilty to three counts of administering amyl nitrate – a ‘stupefying vapour’ – with intent to sexually penetrate and indecently deal with the girl.

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The drug amyl nitrate is sometimes used a sex aid as it relaxes involuntary muscles, according to an Australian Drug Foundation fact sheet.

WA Police announced last month that seven other men, including the unnamed father, had been arrested as part of the ring, who face 503 charges in total.

Daily Mail Australia has also obtained a copy of a semi-autobiographical book Mr Volmer published in 2012, titled The God Standard: Breaking Through The Ordinary.

In the book, Mr Volmer doles out spiritual advice and reflects upon his own spiritual ‘journey’ and an ’emptiness… burning in the depths of my heart’.

He was candid about his marriage difficulties on his path to accepting his ‘God Standard’ and how his relationship with his wife, who he said he viewed at one point as a ‘Christian extremist’, in fact led him to God.

‘The standards she adopted from God meant that I would not be able to listen to the latest music because of its sexual references or its raunchy music videos.

‘Her standard (the God Standard) meant the men’s magazines I had with the semi-naked women on the cover would need to go.

‘It was clear to me that she had taken things way too far and was what I would label a “Christian extremist.

‘Our marriage went through severe difficulty, but my wife continued to pray for me for over five years.’

Mr Volmer said God used his wife as a ‘conduit’ to ‘open my eyes’ and he was terrified she was right – and feared Satan was ‘using’ his thoughts.

‘The void inside me grew bigger each day, and I continued to lash out at my wife.

‘Pride had grabbed such a hold on my life that I could not get myself to confess that what she had was better than what I had.

‘Even worse was that I was terrified of the consequences if she was right! To admit that she was right would mean to admit that I was on my way to hell.

‘Satan used that thought to keep me captured in fear, but the Holy Spirit continued to draw me closer and closer each day.’

In one passage, Mr Volmer also lamented that ‘in a world where sexual immorality has become a way of life through meaningless sexual encounters, homosexuality, and much more, the word of God has been completely abandoned.’

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In a November 5, 2015 article, Piotrowski wrote:

A court has heard horrific details of how a ‘deviant’ Christian pastor and father-of-two drugged and rubbed his genitals on a teenage girl as she laid naked, blindfolded and in tears on a bed – as her father is alleged to have watched on.

David Volmer, 41, from Perth’s northern suburbs, was sentenced to 10-and-a-half years prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to 12 offences against a minor including sexual penetration of a child, and stupefying with intent to commit an indictable offence.

In a statement of facts read by the prosecution and not disputed by Volmer, the West Australian District Court heard the pastor’s crimes against the girl – who was aged 12 and 13 at the time – occurred after the victim’s father replied to an advertisement Volmer put on Craiglist promoting his ‘sexual massage services’.

The prosecution said Volmer first met the father and his daughter at a park in Perth’s north in February of March 2014.

In admissions to police, Volmer said as soon as he saw the victim he knew in his heart she was younger than 16, despite the father’s assurances to the contrary.

The court heard days later, Volmer booked a hotel room in the Perth CBD, which both the victim and her father attended.

Volmer and the girl stripped naked and he indecently dealt and assaulted her, rubbing his naked body and genitals against her, according to the prosecution.

When the victim started to cry, Volmer stopped what he was doing and the girl was chastised by her father, the court heard.

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n February 2015, Volmer contacted the father again using the messaging app Kik, the court heard.

He came to the father’s home and fondled the victim as she lay blindfolded to the bed in the home’s master bedroom, before progressing to further sex acts.

Weeks later, he attended the home again, with her father sitting in the corner with a blindfold on. He twice sexually penetrated the girl, the court heard.

On all three occasions, Volmer drugged the girl with amyl nitrate, a drug commonly used as a sex aid which he obtained from a sex shop.

The victim told child protection officers in April 2015 the substance, which she was made to sniff out of a brown bottle, left her feeling ‘woozy and lightheaded’.

After the last incident, Volmer felt guilty and told the victim’s father they should hand themselves in to police, the court heard.

The prosecution said the victim’s father told Volmer he was ‘making a fuss about nothing’.

The priest, then a pastor at the ACTS Christian Church in Carramar and chief executive of Prison Fellowship Western Australia, broke off all contact.

He made full admissions to the offences when he was interviewed by police on June 18 and pleaded guilty to all charges shortly afterwards.

Defence counsel Nick Scerri said Volmer had tried to find the words to say sorry, but felt they were ’empty and powerless’ and could not undo what he did.

‘He wants to say it (sorry) over and over again, shout it from the rooftops,’ he told reporters outside court.

Mr Scerri said Volmer accepted the consequences and hoped the community would forgive him one day.

Judge Herron said it must have been a ‘frustrating and distressing’ experience for the ‘vulnerable and defenceless’ girl.

He added that the ‘degrading and humiliating’ acts were committed for Volmer’s own sexual gratification.

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Quote of the Day: Reason vs. Faith, Hitchens vs. Luther

dan barker quote on faith vs reason

Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, open mindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.

— Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great

The anabaptists pretend that children, not as yet having reason, ought not yet to receive baptism. I answer: That reason in no way contributes to faith. Nay, in that children are destitute of reason, they are all the more fit and proper recipients of baptism. For reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things but — more frequently than not — struggles against the Divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.

— Martin Luther, Tabletalk (Page 120)

Black Collar Crime; Evangelical Nikolay Kalka Says I’m a Pastor, I Would Never Sexually Molest a Child

nikolay kalka

Nikolay Kalka, a Pentecostal pastor, is on trial for sexually assaulting a girl in a swimming pool.

Cory Shaffer, a reporter for Cleveland.com, reports:

75-year-old Ukrainian-born pastor testified Tuesday that he did not grope a 10-year-old girl and hold her head under water at the Middleburg Heights Recreation Center pool.

Nikolay Kalka, of Parma Heights, carried his oxygen mask and tank to the stand and told jurors through a translator that the girl and her friend splashed him, so he grabbed her and held her head beneath the stream of a gushing fountain for nearly a full minute to teach the pair a lesson.

“I was doing it out of love because I wanted to show them what it was like to splash at people,” Kalka said through the translator.

He did not, he insisted, grope the girl.

“It couldn’t have even come to my mind to do such a thing,” he said. “I live my life a certain way. I’ve been a pastor.”

Prosecutors on Tuesday presented their entire case against Kalka, who faces more than a decade in prison if he is convicted of gross sexual imposition and kidnapping charges that say he touched the girl with a sexual motivation.

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The girl and her friend, who each have turned 11 since the March 11 incident, testified that Kalka grabbed and squeezed the girl’s breast and vagina as she struggled to free herself from his grasp.

Grainy surveillance video of the incident showed the encounter, and that the friend grabbed the girl’s arm and tried to pull her free as Kalka continued to hold onto her.

“I was feeling really uncomfortable and unsafe, and really scared,” the girl told jurors after she broke down in tears earlier on the stand.

Kalka’s version of the story — that he had been fed up with the girls splashing him and his denial that he ever touched the girl’s vagina and breast — seemed to contradict his lawyer’s theory in opening statements.

Marein told jurors Tuesday morning that Kalka “probably did” touch the girl’s private parts. The video, which Marein said “speaks for itself,” clearly shows Kalka grabbing the girl and her struggling to get away. But Marein painted the encounter as “horseplay.”

“Could it have happened? Of course it could have,” Marein said. “Am I hear to say that she is a liar? No. I’m here to suggest to you that this was done without any sexual purpose whatsoever, that this was blown incredibly out of proportion and that this is completely inconsistent with the life that this man has led.”

Kalka, a Pentecostal pastor in his home country, came to the U.S. in 1990 to escape religious persecution under the Communist regime of the Soviet Union. He formed a small neighborhood church after settling in Cleveland.

….

But Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Jennifer Driscoll repeatedly pointed to the video, which showed that the girls swam up to him and splashed him in the pool’s whirlpool section. He splashed them back.

The girls later approached Kalka near a fountain in the kiddie pool and start splashing him again. The lifeguard on duty that day, Nathaniel French, testified that the girls looked happy and he thought they were horsing around with Kalka, who he thought may have been their grandfather.

Then Kalka grabbed the girl.

He forced her head under the stream of the fountain. He held her there for nearly a minute. The friend, after failing to rip the girl free, went to summon French.

Kafka let the girl go, walked into the pool’s steam room and sauna, then to the locker room before a police officer at the rec center arrested him.

…..

Driscoll hammered Kalka on cross-examination. She asked if he felt her trying to get away.

“Yes, I could tell she was trying to get away, but I wanted her to get wet from the fountain,” Kalka said through the translator.

Driscoll, in a raised voice, asked if he would approve of a strange man grabbing his grandchild and holding them underwater against their will. When Kalka said he treated the girls as his own grandchildren, Driscoll asked if he ever held his own children against their will and groped them.

“Children when they see me, they just run to me,” a clearly flustered Kalka said.

Driscoll pointed out the girls were trying to run from him, not to him.

“No, they weren’t running away from me,” he replied. “I love them, they love me. And the little ones just run all over me and I have to listen to what they want.”

Update

Cleveland.com reports:

A Ukranian-born pastor who faced a potential life sentence for groping a 10-year-old girl at the Middleburg Heights Recreation Center pool this summer was instead sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday.

Dozens of 75-year-old Nikolay Kalka’s friends and family wailed after Judge Kathleen Ann Sutula sent the ailing man to prison for five years, and exchanged words with the judge over the sobs of Kalka’s wife and children.

“Twelve jurors found him guilty, not this court,” Sutula replied. “Watch the video. God saw.”

Kalka faced a potential mandatory life sentence with his first shot at parole in 10 years after a jury found him guilty last month of kidnapping the child with sexual motivation at the pool on May 11.

But Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley’s office asked Judge Kathleen Ann Sutula to sentence him instead on two counts of gross sexual imposition, which carried a maximum of five years in prison each.

Sutula ran the counts concurrent to one another, “only out of mercy, not because I don’t think you deserve the full 10 years,” she said.

Kalka will also have to register as a sex offender every six months for the next 25 years.

….

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor David Thorne Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes

david thorne

David Thorne, youth pastor at Goodyear Baptist Church in Picayune, Mississippi, pleaded guilty Monday to “one count of sexual battery and one count of touching a child for lustful purposes.”

The Sun Herald reports:

A former pastor at a Pearl River County church is facing jail time after pleading guilty to two sex crime charges in Hancock County.

The Sea Coast Echo reports that David Matthew Thorne, 35, of Picayune, on Monday pleaded guilty in Hancock County Circuit Court to one count of sexual battery and one count of touching a child for lustful purposes. He will be sentenced Sept. 25.

Thorne was arrested in March 2016 for molesting a 15-year-old girl in a church van while he was the youth pastor at Goodyear Baptist Church in Picayune.

He was also arrested on a charge of sexual battery, his third sex crime charge, in Pearl River County less than 24 hours after his arrest in Hancock County. The alleged crimes came under investigation after the child’s parents notified law enforcement officials.

Hancock County sheriff’s Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan told the Sun Herald the child was first abused Jan. 31, 2016, in Hancock County.

Thorne was relieved of his duties at Goodyear Baptist Church after his arrest.

My Photography Website

bruce gerencser 2016
Bruce Gerencser, 2016

New readers might not be aware of the fact that I am a photographer. I have been taking photographs since the 1990s, and over the past year I have been working to get a photography business — Defiance County Photo — off the ground. You can check out my work on my business website. If you live in rural Northwest Ohio or Northeast Michigan and need to hire a photographer, please email me. I do on location and studio work. I also do business and real estate photography.

My photography business has a Facebook page. If you are so inclined to do so, I would appreciate you clicking LIKE on my page.

I also plan to get my Santa business up and running later this year. I have the beard and build. Soon my wife and daughter will have completed sewing my suit. I have spent the past year being called Santa more times than I can count. I might as make some money off my celebrity status.(My beard is five or so inches longer than in the photo above.)