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Songs of Sacrilege: Dechristianize by Vital Remains

vital remains

This is the latest 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 send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Dechristianize by Vital Remains.

Video Link

Lyrics

[Intro]
Trembling to its fall
Putting and end to it all
By storm, by force
With might, without remorse
We are here to conquer this world

[Verse 1]
Like cancer, our hate consumes the light of elysium
Unstoppable force of demonic supremacy
All destroying, all devouring
Heaven now ravaged; scarred and empty
Strike the death knell of the pandemonium
Imbrue one’s hands in the blood of christ
Washing away all filth of righteousness
The dimming of the light
Engulfing the trinity

He raped the culture of mankind
He raped the pride of the ancient ways
He raped all thought of freewill
I who will watch you fall into obscurity

Washing away all filth of righteousness
The dimming of the light
Engulfing the fucking trinity

I spit upon your deity
Supposed creator of all things
Idol of irreverence you worship above
Show your true face, the image of prevarication

Unhallowed be our twilight
Thy grace untriumphant
Mourn the crowning of unconquerable profanation

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Songs of Sacrilege: Atheists Don’t Have No Songs by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

steve martin and steep canyon rangers

This is the latest 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 send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Atheists Don’t Have No Songs by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers.

Video Link

Lyrics

You know, religious people have such beautiful music and art
And atheists really have nothing…

Until now!

A little tune called “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs”

Christians have their hymns and pages.
(Hymns and pages)
Hava Nagila’s for the Jews.
(For the Jews)
Baptists have the rock of ages.
(Rock of ages)
Atheists just sing the blues.

Romantics play Claire de Lune.
(Claire de Lune)
Born agains sing He is risen.
But no one ever wrote a tune.
(Wrote a tune)
For godless existentialism.
(For godless existentialism)

For Atheists,
There’s no good news.
They’ll never sing,
A song of faith.

In their songs,
They have a rule.
The “he” is always lowercase.
The “he” is always lowercase.

Some folks sing a Bach cantata.
(Bach cantata)
Lutherans get Christmas trees.
Atheist songs add up to nada.
(Up to nada)
But they do have Sundays free.
(Have Sundays free)

Pentecostals sing, sing to heaven,
(Sing to heaven)
Gothics had the books of scrolls,
(Numerologists count)
Numerologists count, count to seven,
(Count to seven)
Atheists have rock and roll.

For atheists,
There’s no good news.
They’ll never sing,
A song of faith.

In their songs,
They have a rule.
The “he” is always lowercase.
The “he” is always lowercase.

Atheists
Atheists
Atheists
Don’t have no songs!

Christians have their hymns and pages.
(Hymns and pages)
Hava Nagila’s for the Jews.
(For the Jews)
Baptists have the rock of ages.
(Rock of ages)
Atheists just sing the blues.

Catholics,
Dress up for mass.
And listen to,
Gregorian chants.

Atheists,
Just take a pass.
Watch football in their underpants.
Watch football in their underpants.

Atheists
Atheists
Atheists
Don’t have no songs!
(Don’t have no songs)

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Sounds of Fundamentalism: Atheists are Stupid Says Evangelical Zealot Logan Joy

logan joy

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

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a six-minute video clip of Evangelical apologist Logan Joy sharing with his supporters why he thinks atheists are stupid.

Video Link

Joy had this to say about atheists on his Facebook page (all spelling and grammar in the original):

Let’s just keep it real, atheism is the belief in nothing, that nothing randomly formed everything for no purpose or reason. A bunch of random people, random events, all living and dying for no reason. No morality, just ignorance and hatred for the one who created it all. Yet Christian’s are stupid? Atheists beg on their deathbed for mercy from a God they claim to not believe in, when in reality, it’s because they hate God. Most people hate God. There’s different forms of hating him. One is to worship the God that fits your lifestyle because the God of the Bible doesn’t cut it for you. Another is to be embarrassed of God and his word. There’s also just unbelief. Not believing and mocking others changes nothing. God has healed me, redeemed me, saved me, change me. If you’ve never felt the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit, once you do, you’ll never be the same.

We teach evolution as fact in schools when it’s undoubtedly a lie. It’s a lie. Well who knows, right? We’ll see when we die? I can pull up hundreds of testimonies of people declared dead for periods of time who will tell you just how real Heaven and Hell are. Oh but can we trust that? Go ahead, trust in nothing. Or be the Christian that believes God raised the dead but no longer raises the dead. Because He’s somehow changed.. Which is impossible. (Malachi 3:6)

Believe in what you want, God gives you free will but this life is fading fast for all of us. And one day, you may wish you listened to the crazy guy named Logan on Facebook.

Repent. Repent. Repent.

That goes for me as well. Pride kills more souls than any other sin. You’re not already forgiven, repentance is not optional.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Dr. David Tee Just Wants to “Help” Evil, Sinful, Mentally Ill LGBTQ People

david thiessen
David Thiessen is the tall man in the back

Transgender and other LGBT preferences are the result of spiritual problems. Not from God but from evil. But since most of the unbelieving world does not believe in or accept evil exists, they continue to harm people who could have been healed.

Instead, they attack God and blame him, which is wrong since it is not God who brought corruption and mental illness into this world. Point the accusatory finger in the right direction and you can see where the source lies and know how to deal with these problems.

Transgenderism, homosexuality, bisexual behavior, and other perversions are not from God nor accepted by him. The problems the LGBTQ people face are not because of the Evangelical Christian. 

Instead, they have problems because the unbelievers on their side of sin are, one, stopping them from getting the right help, and two, encouraging the LGBTQ people to pursue sinful behavior.

The Evangelical Christian is trying to help them solve their problems by bringing the truth to this community and helping them find a way out. Blame evil and unbelievers, not God or Christians for the troubles the LGBTQ face.

….

The church has to keep telling the truth to all who will listen. There is no one else to do this task. God will use your work if you do it right and in obedience to his commands and word.

— Dr, David Tee (whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen), TheologyArcheology: A Site for the Glory of God, Many in the Secular World Have Lost Their Minds, January 20, 2022

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

The Threat of Nuclear War: Why Evangelical Eschatology is so Dangerous

atomic war japan

Originally written in 2017. Edited and Expanded.

When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil. In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un. I’m heartened to see that our president — contrary to what we’ve seen with past administrations who have taken, at best, a sheepish stance toward dictators and oppressors — will not tolerate any threat against the American people. When President Trump draws a red line, he will not erase it, move it, or back away from it. Thank God for a President who is serious about protecting our country.”

Robert Jeffress, Southern Baptist megachurch pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas

Jeffress holds typical Evangelical eschatological (end times) beliefs — that the rapture of Christians from the earth is imminent (any moment), as is the seven years of holy terror (The Great Tribulation) that God will rain down everyone left on earth after the rapture. Jeffress, a premillennial, pretribulational, dispensationalist Baptist believes the next must-see TV program will be when Jesus returns to earth a second time and wages war against Satan and his followers — Satanists, Humanists, Atheists, Agnostics, Pagans, Buddhists, Shintoists, Muslims, Roman Catholics, and anyone else who doesn’t embrace Jeffress’ soteriology (doctrine of salvation) — in the battle of Armageddon. Millions upon millions of Americans hold the same eschatological beliefs as Jeffress, and it is for this reason that Evangelical eschatology is so dangerous.

Evangelicals such as Jeffress believe that life on planet Earth will continue to spiritually and morally deteriorate until God has had enough and tells Gabriel to blow his trumpet, signaling to Jesus that it is time for him to return to earth and safely carry away all the True Christians®. For the Jeffresses of the world, the rapture will be the mother of all middle fingers, telling us God-haters that we are in for it now; that God is going to literally do to us what is recorded in the book of Revelation.

trump jong un dick wagging

This kind of thinking should scare the shit out of rational people, not because Jesus is going to return to earth — he’s not — or that a mythical God is going to turn the earth into a dystopian novel of epic proportions — she’s not. What should scare us is that people who believe these things have the ear of the toddler-in-chief, Donald Trump. As anyone with an ounce of discernment knows, President Trump has no impulse control. He is megalomaniac who will go to any lengths — including destroying all life on our planet — to get his way. That the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, a man who believes he is a god, is metaphorically waving his big dick in Trump’s face is sure to cause the President to throw caution to the wind and order a large-scale military strike on North Korea. Worse yet, Trump has even threatened to use nuclear weapons, answering a question he asked during the election: what good are nuclear weapons if you can’t use them? That the Evangelicals who have the President’s ear are encouraging him — using Biblical and theological justifications — to wage war against North Korea (and Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia and anyone else deemed a threat to God’s chosen nation, the United States) is truly frightening.

Threats of nuclear annihilation have only increased now that Joe Biden is president. During his first two years in office, North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China have all warned the United States to stop their military expansionism and threats — or else.

Atheists and other rational people dismiss Bible thumpers such as Jeffress as quaint relics from a bygone era. Silly Evangelicals. They believe the Bible is a supernatural book written by a supernatural God. Don’t they know that science has thoroughly discredited much of the Bible? However, despite scientific progress and the advancement of humanist principles, Evangelicals still hold fast to the belief that the Bible is an inspired, inerrant, infallible, never-been-proven-wrong religious text. Its word are true, and those who ignore the Bible, do so at their own peril. The fact that millions of Americans think just like Robert Jeffress means that we cannot, at such a dangerous, perilous time as this, ignore the pronouncements of Evangelical false prophets — especially when they have regular sleep-overs at the White House.

Like it or not, the Bible still matters, and how Evangelicals interpret it matters even more. We can augh all we want at their stone-age beliefs, but as long as Evangelicals have access to the highest levels of government, they are a threat that must be taken seriously. As long as we have a pussy-grabbing, lying “Christian” presidents and Evangelical congressmen, there is always a danger that theology will trump reason. Believing that God is on your side and will vindicate you is a sure recipe for disaster. No need to worry about consequences, right? God will take care of things. The most vocal climate change deniers in Congress are men and women who believe the Bible is the Word of God and worship at the feet of the Evangelical Jesus. In their minds, God is in control of e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, so there is no need to worry about carbon emissions and rising temperatures. God has a divine plan —just read the Bible. According to Evangelicals, everything is going exactly going according to God’s perfect, unchanging plan, and if that plan includes nuking North Korea, so be it.

Evangelicals wrongly believe that God will protect his people — as he supposedly did when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. No need to worry about nuclear fallout. God will make sure it doesn’t affect his chosen ones. And if he doesn’t? Well, that just means that God has a better plan and Evangelicals just need to “trust” him. Lost in all their “trust” of Jehovah is the fact that the overwhelming majority of earthlings do not worship the Evangelical God. We are being dragged into a murderous drama that is not of our own making. There is not much we can do about it except working to remove theocrats from office and flushing from Congress anyone who puts God, the Bible, and theology over the safety and welfare of the American people. As of today, the theocrats are winning and Jesus is the speaker of the House.

The late Walter Wink, a progressive Christian theologian, wrote:

In short, the Myth of Redemptive Violence is the story of the victory of order over chaos by means of violence. It is the ideology of conquest, the original religion of the status quo. The gods favour those who conquer. Conversely, whoever conquers must have the favour of the gods. The common people exist to perpetuate the advantage that the gods have conferred upon the king, the aristocracy, and the priesthood.

Religion exists to legitimate power and privilege. Life is combat. Any form of order is preferable to chaos, according to this myth. Ours is neither a perfect nor perfectible world; it is theatre of perpetual conflict in which the prize goes to the strong. Peace through war, security through strength: these are the core convictions that arise from this ancient historical religion, and they form the solid bedrock on which the Domination System is founded in every society.

Long before the ascension of The Donald to the throne, Evangelicals embraced the false notion that the United States is a city on a hill overlooking the earth, ever vigilant, seeking to advance God’s kingdom on earth. Believing that the United States is “special” and has some sort of manifest destiny has led Americans to commit all sorts of atrocities — beginning with the genocidal destruction of Native Americans and reaching its zenith with the firebombings of Germany and the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Our elected leaders and military have shown that they will do whatever is necessary to preserve America’s capitalistic way of life. Buying into the most horrific lie ever told — that war brings peace — the United States has shown it is willing to maim, kill, and destroy to preserve the American dream.

Thomas Merton, in an essay titled A Devout Meditation in Memory of Adolph Eichmann, wrote:

The sanity of Eichmann is disturbing. We equate sanity with a sense of justice, with humaneness, with prudence, with the capacity to love and understand other people. We rely on the sane people of the world to preserve it from barbarism, madness, destruction. And now it begins to dawn on us that it is precisely the sane ones who are the most dangerous. It is the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without nausea aim the missile, and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that they, the sane ones, have prepared… They will be obeying sane orders that have come sanely down the chain of command. And because of their sanity they will have no qualms at all. The ones who coolly estimate how many millions of victims can he considered expendable in a nuclear war, I presume they do all right with the Rorschach ink blots too.

….

Ponder for a moment Merton’s words:

It is the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without nausea aim the missile, and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that they, the sane ones, have prepared. They will be obeying sane orders that have come sanely down the chain of command. And because of their sanity they will have no qualms at all. The ones who coolly estimate how many millions of victims can he considered expendable in a nuclear war…

trump jong un nuclear war

We want to believe that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense will, when it comes to launching nuclear weapons, stand up to the President, refusing to obey his orders. Wishful thinking, as Merton makes clear. Soldiers obey. When our nation’s sovereignty and Christian way of life is threatened, history shows that the U.S. military can and will use any and every means necessary to preserve our republic.

Merton, in an essay on war that was not published until after his death, wrote:

The Romans, to speak generally, rely on force in all their enterprises and think it incumbent upon them to carry out their projects in spite of all, and that nothing is impossible when they have once decided upon it.

NOTHING is impossible when they — the powers that be — have decided to wage war. Once the United States commits to turning Iran into a parking lot or wiping North Korea off the face of the earth, NOTHING is impossible. Think that the United States would never use nuclear weapons again? Think again. There are most certainly statisticians and military “geniuses” holed up somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon working on reports and charts detailing the likely outcomes of nuking a foreign adversary. There are sane, rational military and government leaders who really do think that nuclear war is winnable. Lunacy, to be sure, but so is believing, as Robert Jeffress does, that Jesus is coming soon. That many of our military leaders are card-carrying Evangelicals should cause rational people to fear for their lives. Just imagine for a moment, a general or two who believe that Jesus wants them to help usher in the Great Tribulation. No worries for us, they think. We will be raptured away.

Let me conclude this post with an excerpt from Thomas Merton’s essay: War and the Crisis of Language. Written during the Vietnam War, Merton shows how reason and the meaning of words are turned on their heads during times of war. Merton writes:

A classic example of the contamination of reason and speech by the inherent ambiguity of war is that of the U.S. major who, on February 7, 1968 shelled the South Vietnamese town of Bentre “regardless of civilian casualties . . . to rout the Vietcong.” As he calmly explained, “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.” Here we see, again, an insatiable appetite for the tautological, the definitive, the final. It is the same kind of language and logic that Hitler used for his notorious “final solution.” The symbol of this perfect finality is the circle. An argument turns upon itself, and the beginning and end get lost: it just goes round and round its own circumference. A message comes in that someone thinks there might be some Vietcong in a certain village. Planes are sent, the village is destroyed, many of the people are killed. The destruction of the village and the killing of the people earn for them a final and official identity. The burned huts become “enemy structures”; the dead men, women, and children become “Vietcong,” thus adding to a “kill ratio” that can be interpreted as “favorable.” They were thought to be Vietcong and were therefore destroyed. By being destroyed they became Vietcong for keeps; they entered “history,” definitively as our enemies, because we wanted to be on the “safe side,” and “save American lives”–as well as Vietnam.

The logic of “Red or dead” has long since urged us to identify destruction with rescue–to be “dead” is to be saved from being “Red.” In the language of melodrama, our grandparents became accustomed to the idea of a “fate worse than death.” A schematic morality concluded that if such and such is a fate worse than death, then to prefer it to death would surely be a heinous sin. The logic of war-makers has extended this not only to the preservation of one’s own moral integrity but to the fate of others, even of people on the other side of the earth, whom we do not always bother to consult personally on the subject. We weigh the arguments that they are not able to understand (perhaps they have not even heard that arguments exist!) And we decide, in their place, that it is better for them to be dead–killed by us–than Red, living under our enemies.

The Asian whose future we are about to decide is either a bad guy or a good guy. If he is a bad guy, he obviously has to be killed. If he is a good guy, he is on our side and he ought to be ready to die for freedom. We will provide an opportunity for him to do so: we will kill him to prevent him falling under the tyranny of a demonic enemy. Thus we not only defend his interests together with our own, but we protect his virtue along with our own. Think what might happen if he fell under Communist rule and liked it!

The advantages of this kind of logic are no exclusive possession of the United States. This is purely and simply the logic shared by all war-makers. It is the logic of power. Possibly American generals are naive enough to push this logic, without realizing, to absurd conclusions. But all who love power tend to think in some such way. Remember Hitler weeping over the ruins of Warsaw after it had been demolished by the Luftwaffe: “How wicked these people must have been,” he sobbed, “to make me do this to them!”

….

So much for the practical language of the battlefield. Let us now attend to the much more pompous and sinister jargon of the war mandarins in government offices and military think-tanks. Here we have a whole community of intellectuals, scholars who spend their time playing out “scenarios” and considering “acceptable levels” in megadeaths. Their language and their thought are as esoteric, as self-enclosed, as tautologous as the advertisement we have just discussed. But instead of being “coiffed” in a sweet smell, they are scientifically antiseptic, businesslike, uncontaminated with sentimental concern for life–other than their own. It is the same basic narcissism, but in a masculine, that is managerial, mode. One proves one’s realism along with one’s virility by toughness in playing statistically with global death. It is this playing with death, however, that brings into the players’ language itself the corruption of death: not physical but mental and moral extinction. And the corruption spreads from their talk, their thinking, to the words and minds of everybody. What happens then is that the political and moral values they claim to be defending are destroyed by the contempt that is more and more evident in the language in which they talk about such things. Technological strategy becomes an end in itself and leads the fascinated players into a maze where finally the very purpose strategy was supposed to serve is itself destroyed. The ambiguity of official war talk has one purpose above all: to mask this ultimate unreason and permit the game to go on.

Of special importance is the style of these nuclear mandarins. The technological puckishness of Herman Kahn is perhaps the classic of this genre. He excels in the sly understatement of the inhuman, the apocalyptic, enormity. His style is esoteric, allusive, yet confidential. The reader has the sense of being a privileged eavesdropper in the councils of the mighty. He knows enough to realize that things are going to happen about which he can do nothing, though perhaps he can save his skin in a properly equipped shelter where he may consider at leisure the rationality of survival in an unlivable world. Meanwhile, the cool tone of the author and the reassuring solemnity of his jargon seem to suggest that those in power, those who turn loose these instruments of destruction, have no intention of perishing themselves, that consequently survival must have a point. The point is not revealed, except that nuclear war is somehow implied to be good business. Nor are H-bombs necessarily a sign of cruel intentions. They enable one to enter into communication with the high priests in the enemy camp. They permit the decision-makers on both sides to engage in a ritual “test of nerves.” In any case, the language of escalation is the language of naked power, a language that is all the more persuasive because it is proud of being ethically illiterate and because it accepts, as realistic, the basic irrationality of its own tactics. The language of escalation, in its superb mixture of banality and apocalypse, science and unreason, is the expression of a massive death wish. We can only hope that this death wish is only that of a decaying Western civilization, and that it is not common to the entire race. Yet the language itself is given universal currency by the mass media. It can quickly contaminate the thinking of everybody.

trump nuke or tweet

Listen closely in the days ahead as our political leaders and Evangelical preachers turn language and decency on its head in their justifications of annihilating Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and anyone else who dares to “threaten” the mighty US of A. There will be hell to pay, Kim Jong-Un, but just remember we are killing your people because we love you and God has a wonderful plan for your life. And when hellfire and brimstone rain down on defenseless Americans, the Evangelical warmongers among us will learn — right before they are vaporized — that the God they thought was on their side is actually Korean.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

War and Peace: Think of the Children

drones kill children

Americans love to think of themselves as morally virtuous, people who are, at heart, decent and kind. Yet our history paints a vastly different picture, one of a violent people prone to bloodshed, often at the slightest provocation.

Our forefathers, not long after they landed on America’s shores, turned to violence to rid the land of indigenous people who stood in the way of “progress.” For the two next centuries, American soldiers systematically hunted those we call Indians, indiscriminately killing indigenous men, women, and children. Our political leaders rightly point out the genocidal horrors in other places, all the while ignoring our own dark, shameful history of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Several years ago, the United States government dropped the mother of all bombs on Afghanistan, hoping to destroy ISIS tunnels. Steps were taken to limit “collateral damage,” we were told. I wish government spin doctors would be honest. Saying “collateral damage” hides the truth of American military actions. “Collateral damage” really means women, children, and aged men. What’s the limit when it comes to dead children? How many dead children does it take before the American government changes their death and hell from the skies bombardments?

We Americans are insulated from the human cost of war because we fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here. American children and their mothers don’t have to worry about lethal drone strikes, missiles, bombs, or machine gun fire, but children and their parents in places such as Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Israel, and the West Bank spend their days worrying about being marked for destruction. While American children gleefully play in their yards, children in the Middle East carefully watch the skies, worried that a nameless U.S. drone pilot safely ensconced in a military facility has decided that it is their day to die.

In June, I turn sixty-six years old. The United States has been at war my entire life. My grandparents and parents lived through the World Wars and the Korean Conflict. Millions of civilian men, women, and children were slaughtered by America’s military machine. From the firebombing of Dresden to dropping incendiary and atomic bombs on Japan, the United States showed it was willing to kill anyone anywhere to achieve its political and economic objectives.

Vietnam was my generation’s war. Upwards of two million people died in North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia as the United States unleashed its mighty arsenal of killing machines on peasants and soldiers alike. And who can forget — we dare not — America’s use of napalm on the Vietnamese people? Scores of children were roasted alive, and those who survived were left wishing they hadn’t.

Since Vietnam, the United States government has embroiled itself in numerous military conflicts, including ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and many points in between. Currently, we are spending billions of dollars and providing support to fight a proxy war in Ukraine against Russia. Make no mistake about it, the U.S.A. is at war.

The U.S. military sees civilian deaths, including children, as a necessary cost of war. I wonder if these hawks would deem the cost too high if it were their children and grandchildren who were being killed? As long as the children being slaughtered are brown or black, and live in a faraway land, their deaths are considered necessary sacrifices for the spread of capitalistic democracy.

Flag-waving, war-mongering patriots want blood, any blood, as long as it isn’t American. These God-loving killers lament the death of brown- and black-skinned children, and perhaps even shed a tear, but when American exceptionalism and national pride are at stake, what’s the murdering of a few Middle-Eastern children, right?  What makes matters worse is that justification for the mayhem unleashed from the skies on unsuspecting civilians is found in the pages of the Christian Bible. America, according to Evangelicals, is a chosen people, a city set on hill, a people with a manifest destiny given to us by God. God is on America’s side because American Christians say he is. Proof for these calls for bloodshed can be found in the Bible. Look at how violent, maniacal, and genocidal the Christian God was, as any honest reading of the Old Testament will reveal.

The American government doesn’t care one whit about children in faraway lands. The darker their skin, the less politicians care. While American leaders might shed an opportunistic tear, their goal is the advancement of America’s domination of the world, and if that means killing children, so be it.

Think of the children, the pictures tell us, but don’t think too hard about who it is that is killing children and why they are doing so. Hurry, new photos to view. Dammit, can’t we stop just for a moment and think about the lunacy of war; that war always ends up killing children and innocent civilians; that no war has ever brought peace?

Let that last line sink in — no war has EVER brought peace.

Cessation of hostilities, yes, but never peace.

Americans need to ask themselves: what has all this violence, bloodshed, and massive expenditures gotten us? Until we are willing to honestly account for the true costs of war, we will continue to think that killing children and innocent civilians is just the cost of doing business.

We say it is about the children, but it’s not.

Let’s quit kidding ourselves.

If it really is about the children, be they Syrian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Russian, Palestinian, or American, we would stop the violence and bloodshed and find a way to world peace. As long as the United States has sufficient weapons to kill everyone on the face of the earth ten times over and make it uninhabitable for thousands of years, no one will take seriously our calls for peace and disarmament. We are a people who say to the world do as I say, not as I do.  Surely I am not alone in thinking it hypocritical that the only nation to ever use nuclear weapons (on primarily civilian targets) is demanding other nation-states get rid of their nukes while the United States hangs on to theirs.

Perhaps someday it will be about the children, but for now they are just props in deadly games being played by power-hungry men who are desperately determined to show the world who has the biggest cock. And once we find out, it will be too late — our world will cease to exist. The means of war that powerful men have at their disposal are such that, unless demands for disarmament and peace are heard and obeyed, we run the risk of not having to worry about global warming because we all will be dead from radiation and economic collapse.

Cynical?

Dystopian?

Perhaps, but what other conclusion can we come to as we watch the United States and North Korea and the United States and Russia play dangerous games of chicken that could result in the destruction of every living thing on Earth?

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Midwestern Baptist College: A Character-Building Factory— Part Three

midwestern baptist college freshman class 1976
Sophomore class, Midwestern Baptist College, Pontiac, Michigan 1977. Polly is in the first row, the first person on the left. Bruce is in the third row, the eighth person from the left

Series Navigation

Midwestern Baptist College, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) institution previously located in Pontiac, Michigan, was never a large school. At the height of its influence within the IFB church movement, approximately 400 students attended Midwestern. By the time my wife, Polly Shope Gerencser, and I enrolled for classes in the fall of 1976, enrollment was closer to 150. In the fall of 1977, sophomore class enrollment was forty-five — thirteen women and thirty-two men. (This count is based on the picture above. It is likely there was a handful of students who aren’t in the photo.) The dropout rate at Midwestern was quite high. By the time a group of freshmen reached their senior year, over fifty percent of them had dropped out. The 1978 Flame Yearbook pictures seventy-one freshmen, forty-five sophomores, twenty-seven juniors, and twenty-eight seniors. Four women and twenty-four men graduated in 1978. Only twelve of the graduates started their days at Midwestern as dorm students.

Most of the students who left before graduating did so due to the pressures of the Midwestern grind, financial struggles, or expulsion. Polly and I dropped out for two reasons: birth control failure and job loss. We had only been married six weeks when Polly informed me that she was pregnant. Severe morning sickness made it impossible for her to work part-time and still attend classes. Three months later, I was laid off from my machine operator job at Deco Grande in Detroit. Our already tenuous finances quickly unraveled. Polly and I talked to one college administrator, Levi Corey, about our struggles and our intention of dropping out for a semester. He insisted that it was God’s will for us to stay in college; that if we would just pray and have faith everything would work out. We pleaded with God to help us, but our prayers went unanswered. In February 1979, we packed up our meager belongings in a small U-Haul trailer attached to our white 1967 Chevy Impala and returned to the place of my birth, Bryan, Ohio (five miles from where we live today). I quickly found employment at General Tire, working in their milling department. I later took a job in the shipping and receiving department at Aro. Five months later, our first child, Jason, was born.

Never Quit! God Never Uses Quitters! These words were uttered countless times by Dr. Tom Malone, the chancellor of Midwestern, professors, and speakers at the daily chapel services students were required to attend. To drop out meant you were a failure; that God would never use you. If God led you to enroll at Midwestern, then he would provide the means for you to stay in college, students were told. What God orders, he pays for! This, of course, put a lot of pressure on students, causing fear and shame if they had to drop out.

Was there a cause and effect between staying in college and later serving the Lord in the ministry? Maybe. Many of the students who enrolled at Midwestern to study for the ministry and later dropped out never became pastors. However, many of the students who did graduate never became preachers either. There were too many variables to come to any sort of cause-and-effect conclusion. For example, some students worked for one of the local auto manufacturers while attending Midwestern. Great pay and benefits. Upon graduation, ready to enter God’s vineyard, these newly minted preachers started looking for churches to pastor. They quickly learned that the ministry was rewarding, but the pay was terrible. Unable to “trust” that God would meet their needs on seventy-five percent less income, with no benefits and insurance, these God-called preachers stayed in Pontiac to continue working their well-paying manufacturing jobs.

Many of the students who dropped out learned during their time at Midwestern that the ministry wasn’t for them. The work was hard and demanding, requiring long hours of work and putting God and the church above family. Unwilling to sacrifice their humanity and economic stability for the “sake of the call,” these students dropped out, often returning to their home churches and serving there in a lay capacity.

As I reflect on the rigors of being a Midwestern student, I have concluded that Dr. Malone and other people associated with the college deliberately made things hard for students. The goal was to cull from the herd those who were weak; those who couldn’t hack it. That’s why the attrition rate was so high. I was a full-time student. I typically attended classes Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to Noon. Afterward, I would eat lunch and change my clothes, before heading to my full-time employment at a factory, laundry, or grocery store. I typically arrived back to the dorm after curfew. I followed this routine five days a week. On Saturdays and Sundays, I attended two church services, taught Sunday school, drove a bus, visited a bus route, and preached at a drug rehab center in Detroit. I also had a social life. Polly and I dated for the two years we lived in the dorm. We went out on one or two dates every weekend, depending on whether I had any money. (Polly was destitute most of her time at Midwestern. Her work opportunities were severely limited by the draconian rules governing employment and travel for female dorm students. Her parents, who were barely holding their heads above water working at an IFB church in Newark, Ohio, sent her very little money.)

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Polly Shope Gerencser, first row, first person on the left

As you can see, I had very little time to even breathe or relax, and neither did Polly. While Polly was only allowed to work poor-paying part-time jobs, she too had church commitments. She also traveled with a college hand-bell group that performed at various IFB churches in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. For both of us, there was great pressure to obey and perform, instilling in us the idea that this way of life was the “will of God.”

Some dropouts defied the quitter label. I know Polly and I did. The day we were packing up our belongings, a dorm roommate and groomsman in our wedding named Wendell stopped by to beg us not to leave. He reminded us of what had been drilled into our heads in chapel: God never uses quitters. His passionate plea fell on deaf ears. In 1980, we returned to Pontiac and spent the weekend with him and his wife, taking time to reconsider leaving Midwestern. Wendell, once again, pleaded with us to return to college, reminding us that God never uses quitters. Alas, it was not to be. By then we were living in Newark, Ohio and I was a general manager for Arthur Treacher’s. Polly was teaching third grade at a local Christian school. Over the next five years, I helped my father-in-law start a new IFB church in Buckeye Lake and then I started a new church in Somerset — a congregation I pastored for eleven years.

By the mid-1980s, Somerset Baptist Church was booming, reaching a high attendance of 206. Somerset Baptist was the largest non-Catholic church in Perry County. By IFB standards, I was a success. One weeknight, I attended a conference at the Newark Baptist Temple, an IFB church pastored by Polly’s uncle, the late Jim Dennis. Jim was a 1960s graduate of Midwestern, a college trustee, and the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the college. Dr. Malone was the featured speaker for the night.

Before beginning his sermon, Doc noticed that I was in attendance. He mentioned me by name, complimented me on my work, and then admitted, “if Bruce had stayed any longer at Midwestern, we probably would have ruined him.” I guess I wasn’t a quitter, after all.

My dorm roommate who pleaded with me not to quit? He graduated from Midwestern, returned home with his wife, and never pastored a church. Does this mean Wendell was a quitter, a failure? Of course not. By all accounts, he and his wife have built a wonderful life together. I have no doubt that he faithfully serves Jesus in his local church.

People “quit” for all sorts of reasons. Get divorced, leave jobs, drop out of college. Rarely does any of us do anything for a lifetime. We grow up, and we change, developing different wants, needs, and desires. This is the grand experience we call life. Midwestern caused great harm to its students when it promoted and amplified the false idea that if you say “God is calling me” you must fulfill that calling no matter what. I wonder how many former students still have feelings of guilt over not fulfilling their calling? No matter what they ultimately did with their lives, their failure to graduate or enter the ministry is a millstone around their neck.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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How to Become an IFB Pastor, Start a Church, and Other Sundry Thoughts

ifb

Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches are independent congregations. Each church is an entity unto itself. The IFB church movement is not a denomination per se, but churches do “fellowship” and join together around groups or institutions such as Bible colleges and missionary agencies. These voluntary associations are called “camps.”

In a post titled Let’s Go Camping: Understanding Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Camps I wrote:

To properly understand the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement, you must first understand the IFB concept of camps. In the IFB, a camp is the tribe to which you belong. It is a membership group that is defined by such things as what Bible version is considered the “true” Word of God, what college the pastor attended, approval or disapproval of Calvinism, open or closed communion, or ecclesiastical, personal, and secondary separation. Many IFB camps will have multiple “positions” that define their group, and admission to the group is dependent on fidelity to these positions. Many pastors and churches belong to more than one camp.

As an IFB pastor, I swam in the waters of several camps: Sword of the Lord, Baptist Bible Fellowship, Midwestern Baptist Fellowship, and Buckeye Baptist Fellowship. While every camp has its own peculiar identity, the one thing they all had in common was their independence from ecclesiastical control.

I pastored two denominational churches: a Southern Baptist congregation in Clare, Michigan, and a Christian Union church in Alvordton, Ohio. The churches I pastored in San Antonio, Texas and Montpelier, Buckeye Lake, Somerset, and West Unity, Ohio were all independent congregations. All but one of these churches were new church plants, three of which were planted by me.

While the Southern Baptist and Christian Union churches I pastored were denominational congregations, there were no rules governing who could or couldn’t be a pastor. I found that these churches were every bit as free to govern themselves as IFB congregations.

Most Evangelical churches in the United States are congregationally governed. The church membership has the final say on everything, including who will be their pastor. A small number of Evangelical churches are board-controlled. In these churches, congregants have very little control over the church. Most IFB churches are decidedly congregational, although pastors can exert substantial influence over church decisions. Some pastors are quite dictatorial. While their churches are congregational, the church membership is little more than a rubber stamp for whatever the pastor wants to do. This, of course, can lead to all sorts of problems, especially when a pastor has been at a church for a long time. Long-tenured pastors can become quite possessive, thinking that their church is some sort of personal possession.

How, then, does a man — no women allowed — become an IFB pastor? What are the requirements for becoming a pastor?

Many denominations require prospective pastors to meet certain guidelines. Some, however, do not. That was certainly the case for the Christian Union and Southern Baptist churches I pastored. The respective denominations had no requirements whatsoever for ministers. The Southern Baptist Convention and its churches, are no different from IFB churches in this regard. This became clear during the sect’s recent sexual abuse scandal when people realized that the Southern Baptist denomination has no power over individual churches. All that the SBC can do is kick a church out of the denomination. They have no control over the internal workings of affiliated churches. So what I write next about IFB congregations and pastors can also be said about SBC churches.

IFB churches require that a prospective pastor have a credible salvation testimony, be baptized by immersion, be a member in good standing of a local New Testament Baptist church, and demonstrate a calling from God to be a preacher. Three of these four qualifications can easily be verified, However, it is the fourth qualification that can be problematic. A “call from God” is a subjective experience. How does a church know that a man is called to preach? Because he says he is. In my case, I was called to preach as a fifteen-year-old boy, two weeks after I was saved. Within a month, I preached my first sermon. Not one person ever questioned my calling. How dare they, right? If God was calling me to full-time service, who were they to question God’s work in my heart?

Many IFB preachers enter the ministry without any formal education. All a man needs is a calling from God, the Holy Spirit, a King James Bible, and a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Many preachers-to-be go off to college to prepare for the ministry, typically attending the Baptist equivalent of finishing schools. Typically, these colleges are unaccredited or deceptively say they are accredited by organizations no one has heard of. While some IFB colleges have national accreditation, most do not. All one has to do to check an institution’s accreditation is ask whether it accepts Federal financial aid such as the Pell Grant. If the college says no, that means it is not accredited.

Sadly, many IFB colleges provide inferior educations for pastors-to-be. The goal isn’t knowledge as much as it is reinforcement of beliefs, continued conditioning, and indoctrination. I can’t emphasize this point enough. The goal of Midwestern Baptist College, the character-building factory I attended for three years in the 1970s, was not to teach me new things, challenge me, or expand my academic horizons. The goal was to train me to be a hardened soldier in the IFB army, a hellfire and brimstone preacher of the IFB gospel. Midwestern professors made it clear to students that there was an approved doctrinal script they were required to follow. Failure to do so would cost them their jobs. Certain theological subjects were not talked about: Charismaticism, Calvinism, and using non-KJV translations come to mind. Any professor or student found promoting these heresies was booted out the front door of the college. Thus, I left Midwestern in the spring of 1979 with zero knowledge about the Charismatic movement and Calvinism, other than I was a’gin it.

The quality of education varies from college to college. While I learned many practical things at Midwestern and met the love of my life, I receive an inferior, almost Sunday school-like, education from men who had received a similar education before me when they were students at Midwestern. While I struggled with some of my classes at Midwestern, it wasn’t due to academic rigor. My struggles came from working a full-time job and trying to perform and fulfill all the church and ministry requirements. I suspect many students had similar difficulties. There were only so many hours in a week.

Not one church I pastored ever questioned the quality of the education I received at Midwestern. Part of the reason for this is that I worked very hard over the course of twenty-five years in the ministry to plug the holes in my training. I was a voracious reader, a man who took seriously preaching the Bible. I spent upwards of twenty hours every week reading and studying the Bible and preparing my sermons. I was determined to become an educated IFB preacher. I largely achieved that goal, as my colleagues in the ministry can attest.

Once a man is ready to pastor his first church, he is typically ordained by his local church. I was ordained in 1983 by Emmanuel Baptist Church in Buckeye Lake, a church I started with my father-in-law. Two months later, I left Emmanuel and started a new IFB church in Somerset. Ordination is the stamp of approval the local church puts on a man whom they believe is called to preach . While ordination grants new pastors certain legal and financial benefits, the purpose is mainly to say “we approve.”

Scores of American IFB churches are pastored by men with substandard educations, with no other qualification other than a subjective calling and a local church’s approval. Once on the field, these newly minted pastors are free to do their own thing with no control or oversight. Remember, every church is independent.

If a man stays within the confines of the IFB church movement, he can have a productive ministry, However, it is when he leaves the movement problems arise. Let’s say he wants to change sects. He quickly finds that there are rules he must follow. He might need to be re-ordained or go back to school for more training. Some Evangelical sects have strict educational requirements (though they still can be quite limited in scope). Some IFB pastors want to leave the ministry altogether. They soon learn that their Bible college educations are worthless. Imagine spending four years getting a Bible college education, only to learn that your degree is of no value outside of the church. Just because you can teach at a Bible college or a Christian school doesn’t mean you can do the same in the “world.” While men with IFB educations can use their degrees as resume fodder — I did — HR departments, if they do their due diligence, will quickly learn that their prospective employees’ degrees are not worth the paper that they are written on. I found that my college education opened employment doors for me, especially if the person interviewing me was a Christian. What carried greater weight was my extensive ministerial experience. Prospective employers quickly learned that I had good people and problem-solving skills.

I have interacted with numerous IFB pastors who have left the ministry. Some deconverted, others were flat worn out from the incessant demands and pressures that come with pastoring IFB congregations. Make no mistake about it, pastoring an IFB church is hard work and not for the faint of heart. Some men leave the ministry because they want a “normal” life: better pay and benefits, more family time, and reasonable employment expectations.

The challenge, of course, for men who leave — regardless of the reasons — is what to do going forward. Most men have to reinvent themselves. I know I have. While I am still, in some sense, a “pastor,” I had to change virtually every aspect of my life after I left the ministry in 2005. While health problems put an end to my work career, I have found new things to do such as writing, collecting electric trains, and making up for all the time I lost with my family while I was a pastor. My sister owns a medical training school in Phoenix, Arizona. I do some tech work for her.

It took me years to come to terms with the new me. Until 2005, my whole adult life had revolved around the work of the ministry. Just ask my children. If their Dad was anything, he was committed to God and the church. Everything we did as a family was to that end.

Do you want to be an IFB pastor? You can become one today. Do you want to start an IFB church? You can do that today too. In 2016, I wrote a post titled You Can do It: How to Start an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church detailing how you can start an IFB church:

John “Jesus Lover” Baptiste recently graduated from an unaccredited Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) college. After three or four years of superficially studying the Bible, John received his degree in Jesus-Loving, Devil-Chasing, Sin-Hating Pastoral Ministry. Now what?

Graduates are encouraged to go into all the world — well mainly the United States — and win souls for Jesus. The best way to do this is to start a new church.

Here is what John “Jesus Lover” Baptiste needs to do to start a brand spanking new Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church.

First, find a town where there are churches on every corner and convince yourself that ALL of those churches are liberal, apostate, using the wrong Bible translation, or using worldly music.

Second, confuse your own desire and ambition with the Holy Spirit leading you and God calling you to start a new church.

Third, rent a meeting place or building. Make sure you get the building as cheaply as possible. If the building owner is a Christian, lay a spiritual guilt trip on him to get him to lower the rent and then invite him and his family to the first service.

Fourth, put a puff piece in the newspaper telling locals why you are starting a new church in their community. DON’T tell them that you think ALL the other churches in town are liberal, apostate, using the wrong Bible translation, or using worldly music. You want to be able to poach members from other churches later, so it is important no one knows what you really think of every other church in town.

Fifth, every day pray that God will bless your endeavor. Convince yourself that God put you in the community to win everyone to Jesus, and that without you they will all go to hell.

Sixth, tell your wife and children that you love them, but they are going to have to understand that Jesus comes first, and you will have to neglect them in order for a GREAT church to be built. Also, tell them that they will have to mow the churchyard, clean the church, play the piano, work in the nursery, teach Sunday School, and anything else you ask them to do. Try to explain to them that, yes God called YOU, but he expects you to bring luggage.

Seventh, much like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, knock on every door in town and witness to everyone who dares to answer. Lie to them by saying, I am not here to take you from your church home. All that is important is that you know Jesus as your Savior. Don’t let them know that if they get saved you will expect them to come to the church that cared enough to lead them to Jesus. And get baptized. And attend services every time the church doors are open. And tithe. And obey every edict uttered by you from the pulpit.

Eighth, run some ads in the local newspaper and put up flyers on every public bulletin board. Church-hopping members (please see The Fine Art of Church Hopping) from nearby IFB churches will notice the ads and see this as “God leading them” to leave their churches. This is the quickest way to start a new church. And just remember, when they leave your new church a few years later for a newer church, that you were willing to sacrifice your integrity for numerical gain. You are now ready for your first service. Remember one thing: most new church plants fail, especially IFB churches. Perhaps, it would be better if you join up with one of the other churches in town and help them. Silly me, you will never do that. You are a God-called, Holy-Spirit-powered, Independent Fundamentalist Baptist pastor, and such a calling deserves its own church, and a BIG sign that says, in BIG type, JOHN BAPTISTE, PASTOR.

The Bible says that the calling of God is irrevocable. Thus, I am still a Christian, a God-called preacher. I even have an ordination certificate to prove it. 🙂

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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Should a Monument to Anthony Wayne be Erected in Defiance, Ohio?

letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent-News.

Dear Editor,

Plans are afoot to erect a monument to Anthony Wayne on the original site of Fort Defiance adjacent to the Defiance Public Library or on a donated lot across the street. It seems that almost everyone is in agreement that this monument should be erected — a 6-foot testimony to the greatness of Mad Anthony. Defiance mayor Mike McCann assured locals that his team, along with people associated with the Andrew L. Tuttle Museum, will ensure that the plaque on the monument is historically correct, right down to its punctuation. Of course, the text of the plaque has not been made public.

I wonder if the plaque will mention that Wayne was a slave owner; that he used a scorched earth policy to starve local indigenous people; that he burned their villages; that he was known for, to quote the Philadelphia Aurora, “the uncommon slaughter of Native Americans.” Wayne took by force land that belonged to indigenous people. He did so through violence, cruelty, and horrific bloodshed. Further, at the Treaty of Greenville, Wayne promised indigenous locals that the land of “Indiana” and lands to the west of Ohio would be theirs forever. He lied. Will any of these historical facts be on the plaque?

Further, if people want to erect a monument to commemorate eighteenth-century Defiance history, why not erect a monument memorializing the great indigenous people groups that once walked the shores of the Maumee (Hotaawathiipi), Auglaize (Kathinakithiipi), Tiffin, and St. Joseph (Kociihsasiipi) rivers — something more significant than a memorial about a big apple tree or the name of a park. This project has been talked about on and off in recent years, but seems to be on hold.

Our local history is steeped in the blood of indigenous people. Wayne, under the authority of the U.S. government, was a usurper; a man who believed in manifest destiny. In his mind, indigenous people stood in the way of White Americans achieving their God-given destiny. If they would not willingly give up their houses and lands, he would use violence to take them. Is Anthony Wayne really the kind of man we want to memorialize in 2023?

I hope Mayor McCann and city leaders will refocus their attention on building a monument that memorializes the lives of Native Americans who once lived here, and not a man known for ethnic cleansing and the destruction of indigenous people.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Bruce Gerencser