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On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder

on tyranny

Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University, recently wrote a short book detailing the threat of tyranny facing Americans (and the world) today. Snyder gives twenty important lessons we must learn from history if we are to avoid tyranny. History does not repeat, says Professor Snyder, but it does instruct.

What follows is a summary of Snyder’s Twenty Lessons. I have expanded the text on the points I found most thought-provoking.

  1. Do not obey in advance. Most of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then offer themselves without being asked. A citizen who adapts in this way is teaching power what it can do.
  2. Defend institutions.
  3. Beware the one-party state. The parties that remade states and suppressed rivals were not omnipotent from the start. They exploited a historic moment to make political life impossible for their opponents. So support the multi-party system and defend the rules of democratic elections. Vote in local and state elections while you can. Consider running for office.
  4. Take responsibility for the face of the world. The symbols of today enable the reality of tomorrow. Notice the swastikas and other signs of hate. Do not look away, and do not get used to them. Remove them yourselves and set an example for others to do so.
  5. Remember professional ethics.
  6. Be wary of paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching with torches and pictures of a leader the end is nigh. When the pro-leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the end has come.
  7. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, may God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no.
  8. Stand out.
  9. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. Make an effort to separate yourself from the internet. Read books.
  10. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.
  11. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on the internet is there to harm you. Learn about sites that investigate propaganda campaigns (some of which comes from abroad). Take responsibility for what you communicate with others.
  12. Make eye contact and small talk.
  13. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.
  14. Establish a private life.
  15. Contribute to good causes.
  16. Learn from peers in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends in other countries. The present difficulties in the United States are an element of a larger trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself.
  17. Listen for dangerous words. Be alert to the use of the words extremism and terrorism. Be alive to the fatal notions of emergency and exception. Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.
  18. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. Modern tyranny is terror management. When the terrorist attacks comes, remember that authoritarians exploit such events in order to consolidate power. The sudden disaster that requires the end of checks and balances, the dissolution of opposition parties, the suppression of freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Do not fall for it.
  19. Be a patriot. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.
  20. Be as courageous as you can.

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century can be read in one sitting. You can purchase the book here. Buying the book through the provided link will provide a few shekels for this site. Thank you!

Born That Way

born that way after allI previously mentioned that Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) luminaries Bob Gray Sr., retired pastor of Longview Baptist Temple, Longview Texas, and Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, Arizona are currently in a pissing war over whether homosexuals are “born that way.”  Accusatory winds have blown the conflict into far corners of the IFB universe. The burning question facing these defenders of the one true and holy Baptist faith is this: Are homosexuals genetically born homosexual (nature or nurture)?

That IFB preachers are even considering this question is astounding, a sign that LGBTQ people are making themselves known in IFB churches and families. (Please read The Jonathan Nichols Story: Growing Up Gay in the IFB Church.) While there have always been gays in IFB churches, these tortured souls were buried so deeply in the dark recesses of church closets that there was little chance they would be discovered.

In the years since I left the ministry and Christianity, I have reconnected with several men who were children in one of the churches I pastored. These men are proud, out-of-the closet, sexually active gays.  My mind goes back to the days when these men were young boys and teens who were forced to listened to preaching — not only mine, but that of evangelists and other guest speakers — who regularly excoriated homosexuals for vile, deviant, reprobate sexual behavior. While I have apologized to these men for my hateful, bigoted preaching, I can’t help but wonder how much damage my words did to them.

Over the years, a handful of LGBTQ people wandered into many of the various churches I pastored. While they didn’t announce their sexuality as they came through church doors, over time it became clear that they were physically attracted to the same sex. Sadly, once the whispers of gossips turned into accusations, I was put into unenviable position of deciding how to deal with them. At the time, I believed that LGBTQ sexual behavior was sinful, and, in some instances, a sign that people were reprobates. (Please see Out of the Closet, Into the Light: According to Steven Anderson, I Am a Sodomite.) I regularly preached against sexual sins, giving adultery and fornication as much attention as homosexuality. The difference was how I went about preaching against homosexuality. Shamefully, I must admit that I used derogatory labels when preaching against homosexuality — words such as queer, homo, sodomite, and fag. I refused to use the word gay because I believed that there was nothing “gay” about the homosexual lifestyle. I remember — oh, I wish I could forget! —  when the AIDS epidemic came to light that I let congregants know that AIDS was God’s judgment of homosexuals. Had I remained an IFB preacher, I have no doubt that I would have been staunchly opposed to same sex marriage.

LBGTQ people didn’t stay around long in the churches I pastored (with the exception of the men mentioned above, who were forced by their parents to listen to my preaching for years). When whispers turned to accusations, I confronted these “perverts,” demanding they leave the church. In one church, a gay man visited for months before it was discovered that he was a pedophile. Several fathers came to me and said this man was inviting their young sons to spend weekends with him at his nearby farm. Livid, I went to this man and told him he was not allowed to attend the church. When he objected, I threatened to physically throw him out of the church. He left, never to return. In retrospect, I deeply regret how I handled the matter. If the man was indeed a pedophile, I should have reported him to law enforcement. If he wasn’t, I should have tried to help him, though I doubt that there was much I could do because of my homophobic beliefs. That he was accused of being a pedophile was enough to reinforce the stereotype believed by many congregants: homosexuals are child molesters.

Thirty years later, some LGBTQ people in IFB churches are no longer willing to sit by and silently suffer while their preachers rail against homosexuality and same-sex marriage. I have always wondered why anyone would willingly submit themselves to psychological assaults by supposed “men of God.”  Children and teenagers have no choice, but adults are free to flee the verbal assaults and attacks on their person. Why stay?

As American society becomes more LGBTQ-friendly, IFB churches are confronted with how best to minister to people whom they consider to be sexual deviants. The Steven Andersons of the IFB world think attacking LGBTQ people in their sermons is the best way to “reach” them. I highly doubt such preaching is reaching anyone for Jesus. In fact, I doubt that reaching “sodomites” for Jesus is the goal of men such as Steven Anderson and Bob Gray Sr. As anyone raised in the IFB church movement can attest, attacking homosexuals from the pulpit is a surefire way to get lots of rounds of “amen!” Preaching against certain sins will always invigorate the righteous, and sexual sins are crowd favorites (even though we now know that IFB congregants are not immune from all of the behaviors they deem sexual misconduct, including homosexuality, pedophilia, incest, adultery, and fornication).

Realizing that the cultural tide is turning against IFB churches and their incessant prattle against sexual sin — particularly homosexuality — men such as Johnny Nixon and Bob Gray Sr. have cooked up a novel reinterpretation of what the Bible says about homosexuality. Now, these men still believe engaging in homosexual sex, or any sex outside of marriage, for that matter, is a sin, but they now admit that homosexuals are “born that way.” These “eunuchs” are expected to refrain from same-sex sexual behaviors and relationships, and if they are willing to do so, they will be considered Christians. I suspect that the greater goal is to “convert” homosexuals, helping them to see that only by switching sides can they ever know true sexual fulfillment and romantic love. I am left to wonder why, if it is God who determines sexuality, does he make some people homosexual while at the same time saying that homosexual sex is a criminal act worthy of execution. (I refrain from using the LGBTQ acronym because the IFB preachers in question do not consider all sexual identities equally. Their primary focus is on gay men. I know of no IFB church that is accepting of bisexuality or transgenderism.)

My good friend Steve G — an IFB preacher turned atheist who once attended Bob Gray’s church and college and later attended a church named Hyles Baptist Church — recently made me aware that Jack Hyles worshiper David J. Stewart has weighed in on the Gray Sr./Anderson fight. In a post titled Refuting the Book ‘Born that Way After All’ and the Compromised Preachers Who Support it, Stewart stated:

I was surprised today while listening to a sermon by Pastor Steven Anderson (website). There is an ungodly book (published in 2015) titled, “BORN THAT WAY AFTER ALL,” authored by Dr. David J. Nixon and R. G. Hamm. They also have a website at BornThatWay.org. The book is unscriptural and promotes a wicked philosophy of tolerance for sin. What surprised me is that the website lists Dr. Bob Gray Sr., Pastor Jeff Owens and Pastor Paul Chappell, as being supporters of the book and ministry. The book is an ungodly perversion of the Scriptures!!!

I am trying to understand why Dr. Gray and Pastor Owens would approve of something evil like this. Both of these good men have counseled tens of thousands of people combined throughout their church ministries. So I tread lightly and don’t want to criticize them in my article, this is not my intent. However, I will voice my opinion of this ungodly book “BORN THAT WAY AFTER ALL” and their ungodly “BORNTHATWAY.ORG” website. The book is clearly a sinful attempt to bridge the gap between the ungodly homosexual community and the New Testament Church. Dr. David Nixon and his co-author are trying to straddle-the-fence on the issue of homosexuality. As far as I’m concerned, they are pulling on the same rope as the Devil.

David J. Nixon and R. G. Hamm base their strange doctrine on Matthew 19:12, “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” Being a eunuch from a mother’s womb simply means, for one reason or another, that a man is born impotent. The Greek word for “eunuch” in Matthew 19:12 is eunouchos, meaning, “a castrated person (such being employed in Oriental bed chambers); by extension an impotent or unmarried man; by implication a chamberlain (state officer).” Here’s some helpful Bible commentary on the topic, “EUNUCH.”

The Bible mentions eunuchs, who are born “THAT WAY” from the womb, which is equivalent to castration. This is not homosexual lust! A eunuch “FROM THE WOMB” cannot procreate, that is, cannot have children. A homosexual can procreate (with a woman if they so choose). Obviously, homosexuals do not come “FROM THE WOMB”! And as I will evidence to you later, many people who profess to be “heterosexual” admit to committing homosexual acts at times. This tosses a monkey-wrench into David Nixon’s retarded hypothesis! Homosexuality is a sin, and Christians won’t be able to help sodomites unless they address the issue as such. God only saves THE UNGODLY (Romans 4:5-6). It is evil to tell homosexuals that there’s really no problem, because God made them “THAT WAY AFTER ALL,” intending for them to become celibate as eunuchs for God. That doesn’t solve the problem, which is, HOMOSEXUALS ARE SINNERS in need of the new birth. Unless a homosexual is willing to confess to God, “I AM A SINNER,” they cannot be saved. You’ve got to admit that you are a sinner to believe the Gospel. You need to know what you’re being saved from!

On their “BORN THAT WAY AFTER ALL” website, they say:

“The gay community is not the battle field, they are the mission field. They are not the enemy, they are the mission itself. We are in a spiritual battle, but if you view them as the enemy, you are fighting the wrong war (Ephesians 6:12). Our book “Born That Way After All” explains God’s unique design and purpose for those who are not attracted to the opposite sex.”

Although I agree that the gay community is a mission field, from a soul-winning perspective; I totally disagree when such reasoning is used to silence Christians about the evils of homosexuality which is targeting, recruiting and hurting America’s children. Hugh Hefner’s perverted Playboy business could be called “a mission field” too. We could say that the dirty magazine business is not the enemy as well. But does that mean preachers and Christians should be silent about such evils? Of course not. Now, more than ever, pastors and Christians need to expose the evils of homosexuality in our society. Silence is not golden, it is yellow cowardice. The false idea that exposing homosexuality as a filthy sin will hinder reaching the gay community for Christ is a big lie!

Homosexuality Is A Filthy Deathstyle (homosexuals account for 75% of all Syphilis cases!). Placing an adopted child into the hands of two homosexual parents (perverts) ought to be considered criminal child abuse! But our nation’s ungodly courts disregard God’s Word. Americans can legally commit adultery, film themselves in bed having sex and upload it to the internet, get drunk, murder their children by abortion, homosexuals can marry and children are forced into their care by adoption, et cetera. In eternity, God will hold people accountable for even their words (Matthew 12:36).

The insane notion that believers will never convert homosexuals to Christianity by calling them “perverts” is totally untrue. When the rich man in Hell begged Abraham to send Lazarus from the dead to warn his five brothers, “lest they also come into this place of torment” (Luke 16:28). Abraham plainly said that if people won’t listen to the Word of God, THEY WON’T GET SAVED, even if they see miracles and supernatural signs. “Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:29-32).

The ungodly book effectively attempts to silence Christians to the evils of homosexuality, portraying sodomites as a needy group who ought to be ministered to (informed that God really made them to be eunuchs) and otherwise left alone. So while naive preachers are spending the rest of their life reaching out to gays with the Gospel, America’s children are being homosexualized. If churches must become worldly to attract the homosexual community, then they’re coming to apostate religion, not Jesus Christ.

Although I disagree with Pastor Steve Anderson’s lack of love for the homosexual community, I must say that Brother Anderson COMES MUCH CLOSER TO BEING RIGHT than today’s compromised preachers who hobnob with gays and won’t preach against them!!! HOMOSEXUALITY IS EVIL. You’re NEVER going to win sodomites to Christ by tolerating their sins. A fundamentalist preacher ought to be a balance of grace and truth, of strength and beauty! Jude 1:22, “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” John 7:7, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” The Word of God condemns the sinful world. That’s why gays reject the King James Bible, changing it into a lie (Romans 1:25). All of the modern PERversions of the Bible completely remove the word “sodomite.” The unscriptural website “BORN THAT WAY AFTER ALL” says they “do not necessarily endorse the term… ‘homosexual’ for several Biblical reasons.” [1] These are wicked people, who are trying to silence fundamentalist Christians about the evils of homosexuality. The idea that preaching and standing against open public wickedness, is a form of hate, is as satanic as can be!!!

….

I love Pastor Jeff Owens and Dr. Bob Gray Sr. I promote their sermons and ministries, because my heart’s desire is to help others in the Lord. I don’t throw people away because I disagree with them on something. I don’t stop promoting someone because they don’t agree with me. My faithful web visitors know that I often promote and expose someone at the same time. Most preachers won’t do that. Dr. Hyles invited Dr. R. G. Lee to preach at Pastor’s School in Hammond, knowing that Dr. lee was in the compromised Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Hyles didn’t demand that someone agree with him 100% on everything, to be his friend. I like that! There’s not one man that I promote whom I agree with on everything. I want to help others. If I find something that helps me, I want to share it with you also, to help you too. YOU are my Epistle. YOU are the book that I am writing. 2nd Corinthians 3:2, “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.” YOU are my treasure!

Having said that, I love the preaching and teaching of Dr. Bob Gray Sr. and Dr. Jeff Owens. Albeit, I do not agree with them in their support of the “BORN THAT WAY AFTER ALL” book and “BORNTHATWAY.ORG” website, where they are listed. I am 100% in agreement with Pastor Steven Anderson on this issue, because I believe Brother Anderson’s position is 100% Biblical. Romans 1:24-32 plainly condemns the homosexual deathstyle!!! No one is born with a Sodomite tendency. Homosexuality is abnormal, against nature. We are all born with a sin-nature. If the sin-nature is allowed to flourish, uncontrolled and unbridled by moral restraint, anything evil is possible. America was doomed the day in 1963 that the King James Bible was removed from our nation’s classrooms.

All human beings are born with a sin-nature. Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” We are ALL sinners by nature and by choice. A child doesn’t have to be taught to steal. They have to be taught to be honest. Children must be trained and taught the Word of God. And yet, even having grown up in the best home, with the most faithful Christian parents, enrolled in a great Christian school, attending a strong Bible-believing church—They may still ruin their lives and choose to go into a reckless deathstyle of sin. Having good Christian parents does not guarantee godly children. Certainly, training up a child in the admonition and nurture of the Lord stacks everything in their favor when they become adults, but they are still sinners by nature and by choice. What a proper upbringing DOES give a child is a strong FOUNDATION for the rest of their life. So if the house of their life burns down one day, it can be rebuilt!!! Amen!

No one is “BORN THAT WAY AFTER ALL.” I am not trying to be mean or unkind to anyone. If you are not saved, you’ll never get the victory over sin. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” If you have homosexual desires as a believer, then there is a Bible verse for you. 2nd Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

You can read all of Stewart’s homophobic rant here.

Stewart’s website features countless articles against this or that sexual sin, leaving me to say “The [man] doth protest too much, methinks.” I so wish that there were a God and I wish there really were a Jack Chick-like This Was Your Life  final judgment. Can you imagine what would come rolling out IFB closets come judgment day? All of us have things that we have done that we never want to be brought to light. All of us have done things that we regret or wish we had done differently. The good news is that our embarrassments are safely stored in the back of our closets right next to our white buckskin shoes, platform shoes, frayed blue jeans, maxi dresses, and our dad’s collection of old Playboy magazines.

With one exception, I oppose prying open the closets of others, revealing secrets long buried in the dark recesses of people’s lives. We all have a right to have secrets, things that are no one’s business but ours. I do my best to write openly and honestly about my past and present life. But, there are some things that I can’t or won’t talk about (such as being sexually molested as a boy and kissing a boy as a teenager) because I find these events embarrassing, even fifty plus years after the fact.

The one exception I make is for preachers, politicians, and church leaders who deign to be the voices of moral authority; those who demand the Ten Commandments be posted on school walls and self-righteously demand their fellow citizens obey the anti-human moral code found in the Bible (as interpreted by them according to a literalistic, Fundamentalist hermeneutic). These defenders of virginity, the anus, and all things sexual, often don’t practice what they preach. While these “men of God” are preaching against adultery, fornication, pornography, homosexuality, masturbation, short skirts, tight pants, teenage petting, and lustful glances, they are often wallering in the very sins they condemn. (Behaviors they call sins, anyway. I wouldn’t call these behaviors sins, depending, of course, on context. Sins? No. Bad Behaviors? Maybe.) For these self-absorbed preachers of God’s plan of intercourse — Evangelical, heterosexual, married, missionary position only — I am all for exposing their secrets. It is for this reason I write the Black Collar Crime series. The sooner the truth is known — that preachers are no different from the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world — the better. Imagine how different things would be if Evangelical preachers swung wide the doors of their closets and openly talked about what is buried deep within. I am not talking about criminal behavior here.  Sexual predators who hide in plain sight as pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and church leaders should be aggressively pursued and prosecuted. The secrets I am talking about are the things that are common to man. Imagine how different Sunday morning church would be if preachers admitted that they are human, burdened with the same desires, wants, needs, emotions, and feelings as everyone else. Granted, Evangelicals would have to re-write the Bible and abandon previously held certainties for them to truly reenter the human race. As long as they maintain that the Bible and Christianity are morally superior and demand everyone live according to their interpretation of a bronze-age religious text, preachers shouldn’t be surprised when people take delight in their moral failures.

Note:

Born that Way After All by David J. Nixon is described on Amazon.com this way:

Why do some people lack a desire for the opposite sex? They feel weird, like an outcast, often getting bullied or ridiculed for being different. Sometimes they feel trapped in their own bodies with nowhere to turn as they search for answers. Society tells them that they must be gay. But is that the only sensible explanation? In Born That Way After All, you will see the Biblical fact of men and women who were created different and special—unique servants of the Lord. God has created every human being with a unique purpose: do you know yours? TO PASTORS AND CHURCH LEADERS: How would it feel growing up and knowing there is something different about you? You might be surprised if you knew how many families and friends in your own congregation struggle. They don’t want to. They despise it. They need your help. Are you willing to provide that help? Are you prepared to answer their questions? This book can help you learn how to help them—we guarantee it. Remember God’s declaration in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Let’s destroy the void and help the hurting.

Nixon’s book has a two-star rating. Sixty-seven percent of reviewers gave the book a one-star review. However, proving yet again that IFB zealots lack reading skills, only one of the negative reviews came from someone who bought the book. No need to read the book, right? Just read the B-i-b-l-e, yes that’s the book for me. I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-i-b-l-e. BIBLE!!.

Black Collar Crime: Transgender Episcopal Youth Worker Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse

james lilly

In January 2016, James Lilly, a youth worker at Christ Episcopal Church in Bluefield, West Virginia, was arrested and charged with incest, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported:

A transgender Bluefield man who worked in youth ministry at local Episcopal churches was arrested Tuesday and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a juvenile.

James Lilly, 24, was charged with one count of incest, one count of second-degree sexual assault and 31 counts of first-degree sexual abuse, Detective K.L. Adams, with the Bluefield Police Department, said.

Adams said the victim in the case is a juvenile female. He said the abuse began in 2009 when the victim was 9 to 10 years old, and continued until she was 16.

The alleged abuse in the case took place at a home, and not a church, Adams said.

“Mr. Lilly, by his own admission, is transgender,” Adams said. “He is in the process of becoming a woman.”

Adams said Lilly has a degree in religion from a Virginia college and has worked at numerous churches. Locally, he worked at Episcopal churches in both Bluefields.

Lilly is also in the process of getting a teaching degree at Bluefield State College, Adams said.

In August 2016, Lilly pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual abuse in the first degree. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported:

A transgender man pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual abuse in the first degree in Mercer County Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon.

James Lilly, 25, of Bluefield, will be sentenced on Nov. 17.

Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope accepted a plea agreement in the case, which dropped 28 counts of sexual abuse in the first degree as well as charges of sexual assault third degree and incest.

Each count brings one to five years in prison, but with the plea, Swope said two counts are “probated” (no prison time) and the third count carries the possible one to five years at the discretion of the judge.

Swope also said the plea agreement includes a mandatory lifetime registry as a sex offender as well as 10 to 50 years of enhanced supervision.

Assistant Prosecutor John McGinnis told Swope that the plea agreement was reviewed by the victim as well as the victim’s guardian ad litem, Cathy Wallace, and both agreed to it.

Lilly’s sentencing hearing was delayed so a diagnostic evaluation could be completed. Yet to be determined is Lilly’s classification as a prison inmate. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports:

A diagnostic evaluation was completed recently for a former youth pastor and admitted transgender sex offender who is facing a prison term after pleading guilty last year to sexual abuse first degree.

James Lilly, 25, of Bluefield pleaded guilty in August 2016 in Mercer County Circuit Court to three counts of sexual abuse in the first degree. Raleigh County Judge John A. Hutchinson, who was assigned to the case after Mercer County Judge Derek Swope recused himself, delayed Lilly’s sentencing on Dec. 21, 2016 and remanded him to the state Department of Corrections so a diagnostic study could be completed with regard to how he would be classified as an inmate.

….

During the December 2016 hearing, Hutchinson spoke of Lilly’s pre-sentencing report and emphasized that gender disorientation is a recognized condition, saying that he psychologically identifies with being a female.

In mid-April, Hutchinson informed the court that he had received the report resulting from the diagnostic interview, and sentencing was scheduled for a later date. In his order, Hutchinson instructed the Department of Corrections (DOC) to send a representative to Lilly’s sentencing hearing to inform the court about the policies, procedures and protections at DOC facilities “in the event the court determines a sentence in the penitentiary is appropriate for this defendant.”

Update

An October 30, 2017 Register-Herald story reports:

A transgender man who pleaded guilty to three charges of first-degree sexual abuse is now serving his sentence in a northern West Virginia prison, officials with the state Division of Corrections said Friday.

James Lilly, 26, formerly of Bluefield, is currently an inmate at Northern Regional Correctional Facility in Moundsville, according to the state Division of Corrections Inmate Search website. Prison officials confirmed Friday that he was among the facility’s inmates.

A former youth pastor, Lilly was arrested Jan. 12, 2016. A Mercer County grand jury indicted him on 28 counts of first-degree sexual abuse as well as third-degree sexual assault and incest. He pleaded guilty to three charges of first-degree sexual abuse. After being arrested, he told Bluefield Police detectives that he was a transgender who was in the process of becoming a woman.

The victim, a female juvenile, came forward after learning that Lilly was pursuing a teaching career and student teaching at a school. The principal at Bluefield Intermediate School said later that Lilly was a student observer in 2015, but had little interaction with the students. Bluefield Detective K.L. Adams said after Lilly’s arrest that the abuse began in 2009.

In May, Special Judge John A. Hutchison of Raleigh County sentenced Lilly to a pair of one- to five-year sentences that will run concurrently. These sentences are running consecutively with the third charge of first-degree sexual abuse. This gives Lilly a sentence of two to 10 years in prison. He will be subject to lifetime registration as a sex offender after he is released, and he will be under 30 years of supervision.

….

Black Collar Crime: Pastor Colin Davids Accused of Running a Ponzi Scheme

pastor colin davids

Colin Davids, pastor of New Dimension Church in Cape Town, South Africa, was accused in 2015 of running a ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of millions of dollars. In October 2015, IOL reported:

A Cape Town pastor accused of running a multi-million rand ponzi scheme will not be getting access to R290 000 [conversion rate 1 U.S. dollar = 13 Rand] of his seized funds each month, the Western Cape High Court has ruled.

Colin Davids, the CEO of foreign currency trading company Platinum Forex, had requested R90 000 for family expenses and R200 000 for legal fees a month.

ut on Friday Judge Siraj Desai refused the application, saying Davids had yet to explain how R500 million disappeared from the company’s account two months ago, according to an Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) statement.

Desai said R90 000 per month was not considered reasonable for a family of six, reports Weekend Argus.

Davids could also not explain how he had calculated the R200 000 per month for legal costs, the judge found.

In July, the AFU seized assets worth R138 million from Platinum Forex.

Davids, who is a pastor at the New Direction Grace Church in Parow Industria, is being investigated for allegedly:

* Running a company that is not lawfully allowed to provide financial services

* Using investors’ funds for his own benefit, including the purchase of multi-million rand homes in Plattekloof and Hermanus, as well as two BMWs and a Jaguar F-Type V8 S convertible.

* Making false promises to the public, claiming that “investments” would yield interest returns of up to 84 percent.

* Using funds received from investors to pay other members.

Davids claimed his monthly expenses amount to R89 779, including R10 000 for entertainment, R15 000 for groceries and toiletries for a family of six, R2 000 for his daughters, tuition fees for his younger children, and installments for vehicles.

However, Judge Desai found that Davids had failed to make full disclosure of all property and to provide a sworn statement of assets and liabilities.

He referred to the AFU’s submission that less than R2 million remained in Platinum Forex’s Nedbank account when the curator took control of it, after more than R500 million had been deposited between August last year and June this year.

Desai added that the lack of disclosure made it difficult, “if not impossible”, for the court to find in Davids’ favour.

Last week, a South African court ordered Davids to pay back millions of dollars to investors. The Daily Voice reports:

A Cape Flats pastor accused of running a multi-million ponzi scheme has lost his first round in court after a judge ordered that R100 million in funds be handed back to his “investors”.

Colin Davids, the director of Platinum Forex Group, faces charges of fraud, contravention of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (FAIS), for which he was not registered or licensed to perform.

The New Direction Church pastor, aged 49, is said to have run a scheme where investors were promised impossibly high returns, and were repaid with investments from newcomers.

According to an auditor’s report, a total sum of R329m went into Davids’ accounts from over 2 000 investors between November 2009 to July 2015.

Last July, the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) seized assets worth R138m from Platinum Forex.

On Thursday, the Cape Town High Court said that of the over R300m that was initially invested in his company, only about R100m remains, and ruled that a curator oversee the process of distributing frozen funds to investors.

In the ruling, the judge conveyed his sympathy to investors who had simply wanted a good return on their hard-earned money, he further thanked them for their patience and warned the general public to be wary of similar schemes.

The Judge also praised the AFU for their work on the case.

According to the Hawks, investigations against Davids by the Serious Commercial Crime Unit are currently ongoing and are at an advanced stage.

Davids remains out on a R100 000 bail after he was arrested in June 2016 on charges of contravening the FAIS Act and Banks Act.

….

The controversial pastor owns two multi-million rand homes, a luxurious mansion in Plattekloof and another house in Hermanus, and several luxury cars.

However, in September last year, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Leonardo Goosen said the scheme run by Davids was “hopelessly insolvent” and that the accused had been trading recklessly.

 

Out of the Closet, Into the Light: According to Steven Anderson, I Am a Sodomite

sodomites

Warning snark, satire, and slightly risqué humor ahead! You have been warned!

Two Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) luminaries — one sporting an honorary doctorate and a Sunday school-level education from Hyles-Anderson College, and the other who prides himself in not having any theological education — have been publicly sparring with one another over homosexuality. “Dr.” Bob Gray Sr., retired pastor of Longview Baptist Temple, Longview, Texas and deep-in-the-closet Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, Arizona have been hurling attacks at one another for weeks now. The core issue is Gray’s support of Johnny Nixon of Born That Way Ministries and his bizarre, revisionist approach to homosexuality; that the eunuchs of the Bible were celibate homosexuals. (You can read Nixon’s response to Anderson here.)  Anderson thinks Nixon is spouting heresy and supporting the Sodomite cause, and since Anderson is the expert on all things anal, he has decided to publicly excoriate Gray, Nixon, and anyone who supports them.

I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Gray and Anderson go after each other on their respective blogs. Another round of beers on me, boys. Time for the MMA Main Event: Lube-Me-Up Gray vs. Drop-the-Soap Anderson. Bickering like little children fighting over a toy, these “giants” of the IFB church movement are oblivious to how silly and foolish their bickering makes them look. Of course, from my perspective as I sit in the atheist pew, Gray and Anderson are proving once again how arrogant, vile, and nasty IFB preachers can be when crossed. If you are interested in reading up on the Gray/Anderson war, you can find Anderson’s blog here, and Gray’s blog here. Their remonstrations against each other go back to February 1, 2017.

The latest salvo in the Gray/Anderson war comes from Anti-Sodomite Steve writing a post detailing his disagreement with Anti-Sodomite Bob over whether soulwinners — the IFB version of Jehovah’s Witnesses — should attempt to evangelize homosexuals.

Anderson writes:

This thing where Bob Gray Sr. keeps telling us we should ask people whether or not they are Sodomites before witnessing to them is just a straw man argument. When you are out soul winning and an effeminate-looking man or a butch woman answers the door, go ahead and give them the gospel. You ought to give people the benefit of the doubt in these situations, anyway, because some people just dress wrong but aren’t actual homos. Preach the gospel to every creature, but you’ll probably get a lot of doors slammed in your face.

Those of us who try not to cast our pearls before swine have probably accidentally given the gospel to more Sodomites than many of the naysayers who say we aren’t loving enough. Most Sodomites probably don’t look any different than anyone else, so yes, we do try to give the gospel to them at the door. If I am 99% sure that someone is a Sodomite, I still give them the Gospel in case of the 1% chance they are not a homo. However, if they are in drag or state unequivocally that they are a Sodomite, I walk away.

Bob Gray wants you to think there’s some kind of contradiction between the reprobate doctrine and scriptures that say that salvation is available to everyone that believes, but there is no contradiction. Christ died for everyone, and whosoever will may come. A reprobate used to be a “whosoever,” but has now crossed a line with God. It’s not that a homosexual act is what makes them a reprobate, but a normal person is not tempted with unnatural sins. Burning in your lust toward the same gender is a SYMPTOM of being a reprobate. Romans Chapter 1 lays out the progression of how someone rejects God to the point where God eventually rejects them.

When someone comes to me concerned that they might be a reprobate (perhaps due to something they participated in unwillingly while drunk,) I ask them if they burn in lust toward the same gender. When they say no, I ask some questions to check what they believe about salvation. If they answer everything correctly, I reassure them that if they are able to believe on Jesus Christ, then they are not a reprobate.

“Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” – John 12:39-40

Biblically speaking, a reprobate is someone who has crossed a line of no return and cannot be saved. (And yes, I realize Calvinists and Arminians have been fighting over what the Bible says about reprobation for centuries. I speak here generally, not as a defense of any particular view on what the Bible says about the doctrine.) According to Anderson — one of the greatest theologians of the twenty-first century — Romans 1 provides a road map which, if followed, results in reprobation. Romans 1:18-32:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

According to Anderson, the path to reprobation begins with the rejection of God as creator. Six thousand, twenty-two years ago, the Christian God created the world in six literal twenty-four hour days. This belief runs contrary to everything science tells us about the universe, planet earth, and the biological world in which we live. As a rational being, I am given a choice: believe what Evangelicals say about creation or accept what science says about the universe. Either I accept a theological explanation or I accept a scientific one. Which one should I choose? For most of my adult life, I was in agreement with Anderson — God did it 6,022 years ago. Today I reject the notion that the God of the Bible created anything, and I accept that the sciences give us the best explanations for how things came to be. While science does not have all the answers, and may never have them, scientists continue to investigate, pushing forward our knowledge of the universe. Anderson (and Gray and most Evangelicals), however, stands pat with a literalist interpretation of an ancient bronze age religious text.

By choosing science over the Bible, according to Anderson, I have taken the first step down the path to reprobation. My heart has now become darkened and I am a fool. The Bible says in Psalm 14:1, The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Embracing atheism nine years ago was another step toward the line of no return. Speaking of people who once were saved and now repudiate that which they once believed, Hebrews 10 states:

Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Simply put, God’s going to get those who at one time were saved and who now trample under their feet the Son of God. Hebrews 6 warns:

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

I was once enlightened, having been a follower of Jesus for almost fifty years and a preacher of the gospel for almost four decades. I tasted of the heavenly gift and it was oh so good and sweet. But one day, that which was once sweet to my taste turned bitter and disgusting, so I spit it out. In doing so, I made a mockery of Jesus and his super-duper salvation. By openly disparaging Jesus, I clearly showed that I am a reprobate, and now I am no longer able to repent of my sins and be saved. I am beyond the reach of God’s grace, having been turned over by God to the lusts of my flesh. More ice cream, please!

As you can see, Hebrews 10 and Hebrews 6 dovetail quite nicely with Romans 1. According to Anderson’s check list view of Romans 1, since I have rejected the creator and openly and defiantly have spit in the face of Jesus — rejecting his awesome offer of living for eternity in heaven next door to the likes of Steven Anderson and Bob Gray Sr.  — God has turned me over to the desires and lusts of my flesh. Now that I have been given over to a reprobate mind, it is only a matter of time before I start craving homosexual sex. In Anderson’s mind, homosexuality is the conclusion of my choice to reject God and embrace atheism.

Just remember, the same can be said for all Evangelicals-turned-atheists. We might say we are heterosexuals, but deep down in our hearts we really desire to wickedly fornicate with members of the same sex. According to Romans 1, we know that our licentious behavior deserves God’s punishment, but we laugh in the face of God and take great pleasure in screwing our brains out.

Anderson’s explanation of reprobation is quite convoluted and contradictory. According to Romans 1, Hebrews 10, and Hebrews 6, there is no doubt about me being a reprobate. But, I don’t crave anal sex or blow jobs from men. Does this mean that I still might be able to be saved? Does this mean one foot is on the line of no return? Or perhaps I am hiding my homosexual desires, and that, in time I won’t be able to contain myself and I will give in to my vile, burning lust for men. I ask you, oh great and mighty Anderson, am I a Sodomite?

Anderson is not smart enough to hide his homophobia and bigotry. Instead, he concocts the notion that there are two classes of sexual sin: natural and unnatural. Any sexual behavior practiced by LBGTQ people is unnatural. Heterosexual sex, even if it is adultery and fornication, is natural. But how does Anderson label sexual behaviors practiced by God-fearing, Jesus-loving Evangelicals — you know anal and oral sex, to name two — that are the primary ways LGBTQ people engage in sex? Is natural sex only one man, one woman, married to each other, man on top missionary style, primarily for procreation? I ask you oh real man of genius, exactly what is natural and unnatural sin? 

While I find great delight in watching Anderson and Gray out-homo one another, I am saddened by the fact there are preachers who can still draw a crowd with homophobic preaching. While Anderson and Gray battle over who is the least nice to LGBTQ people, kind, decent, loving people are being hurt by their preaching. I have no doubt that there are deeply closeted gays who attend Longview Baptist and Faithful Word. They dare not reveal their true nature lest they be labeled a Sodomite and a reprobate. Some of these people genuinely love God and believe that Jesus is their Savior, yet they are trapped in churches that invest tremendous amounts of time and effort in destroying them.

I generally subscribe to the theory that Evangelical preachers who scream the loudest about this or that sexual sin have secret lives they are trying to hide. It is not too far of a stretch to think that someday the news headlines will read “Steven Anderson Photographed Leaving Solomon’s Gay Bath House with Bob Gray.” Both men say they were there “evangelizing” S-o-d-o-m-i-t-e-s. Wait a minute! I thought homosexuals were reprobates! I thought reprobates have crossed the line of no return and are beyond reach! What were you really doing, preachers Anderson and Gray?  Ah, we can only hope, right?

Note

I find it ironic that both Anderson and Gray believe that people are saved through mental assent to a set of theological propositions; that requiring sinners to actually turn from their sins and forsake them is “works” salvation. When Anderson and Gray, along with their followers, fan out into their local communities to go soulwinning, their goal is to get people to one-two-three, repeat after me the sinner’s prayer. (One,Two,Three, Repeat After Me: Salvation Bob Gray Style) No demands are made, and any sinful lifestyle choices are between God and those who prayed the prayer.  That is, except for homosexuals. Evidently, sodomy is the ONE sin that must be forsaken. Both Anderson and Gray agree: there are no Sodomites in heaven. Of course, the Bible also says neither will fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, the effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous people, drunkards, revilers, extortioners, liars, murderers, those who practice witchcraft, those who cause strife, those who are envious, those who are at odds with others, those who don’t regularly bathe (uncleanness), those given to wrath, and those with heretical beliefs inherit the Kingdom of God.

If the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, and every word is straight from the lips of the Big Kahuna, then this means, based on the aforementioned verboten sins list, that every Evangelical church member, including Gray and Anderson, will someday join LGBTQ people in hell.

Imagine how delightful hell will be one day when Anderson and Gray arrive, thinking they are going to heaven, only to find that they are roommates with Harvey Milk, RuPaul, and Neil Patrick Harris. Surprise! Surprise! (Please say in Gomer Pyle voice.)

Of course, there is no hell, except for the hell caused in this life by people such as Bob Gray Sr. and Steven Anderson. Since these men are likely reprobates, past any hope of a course correction through which they gain a modicum of love, kindness, decency, and respect, all any of us can do is try to do is rescue as many people as possible from the IFB cult.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Tate Pigg Accused of Sexual Assault

tate pigg

Tate Pigg, former youth pastor for Pinnacle Community Church in Amarillo, Texas, was arrested on a charge of sexual assault of a child. Amarillo Globe-News reports:

Tate Jeffrey Pigg, 22, of Amarillo, formerly a youth pastor at Pinnacle Community Church, was arrested on April 8 following a March incident with an underage girl, according to police. He was booked in the Randall County Jail but was released on the same day.

Pigg is facing charges of sexual assault of a child and purchasing or furnishing alcohol to a minor from an incident that happened on March 13, according to records.

According to Texas State Law, sexual assault of a child involves sexual activity with a person under 17 but older than 14. The crime, if indicted and convicted, could be punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Purchasing or furnishing alcohol to a minor in Texas is considered a Class A misdemeanor and could be punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000, if indicted and convicted.

Pinnacle Community Church’s lead pastor Kurt Oheim confirmed Wednesday that Pigg had formerly worked as a youth minister with the church, but said Pigg has not been affiliated with the church, or seen at church services, since late in 2016.

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Shawn Greaves Accused of Battery and Attempted Kidnapping

shawn greaves

Shawn Greaves, pastor of Faith Family Outreach Ministries in Kissimmee, Florida, “stands accused of battery and attempted kidnapping of another teacher.” WESH-2 reports:

Deputies said Shawn Greaves, 52, threw a woman in a classroom closet and made sexual advances earlier this month.

….

The longtime teacher at Parkway Middle School stands accused of battery and attempted kidnapping of another teacher.

Osceola County deputies arrested Greaves on Tuesday, but the incident allegedly took place inside the school two weeks ago.

In the classroom of a third teacher, a woman told police on April 5 that Greaves, “put his hands around her buttocks area, lifted her up and threw her over his shoulder.” Greaves then allegedly carried the woman over to a closet, where he put her on a desk and, “pressed his body against hers,” thrusting several times.

The woman said she kept telling him to stop, before Greaves left.

A call went out to parents of students on Wednesday from the principal of the school, alerting them to the arrest.

Greaves is also listed as the president/director and senior pastor of Faith Family Outreach Ministries in Kissimmee, where at least one neighbor couldn’t believe he’d been arrested.

“For the most part, he’s an awesome person. I’ve never seen him do anything like that, ever,” a neighbor told WESH 2 News.

Greaves was reassigned from his work at Parkway Middle School and moved to another facility where he’s not around kids.

Although the report details sexual advances, Greaves got out of jail on Wednesday, charged only with simple battery and attempted kidnapping.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Tim Omotoso Accused of Sexual Molesting Young Women

tim omotoso

Tim Omotoso, pastor of multi-branch Jesus Dominion International Church in Durban, South Africa, has been accused of sexually molesting young women. As of the writing of this post, Omotoso has not been arrested or charged with any crime.[Please see updates below.] He remains under investigation.  The Herald Live reports:

A young Port Elizabeth woman has claimed she is among a group of victims allegedly molested by a popular Durban pastor who is being investigated by the Hawks for suspected sex crimes.

Social media has been abuzz with the claims against the widely celebrated pastor in the wake of a TV feature in which the allegations were made by a number of women who have had contact with him during his ministerial work.

The 25-year-old Port Elizabeth woman alleges she was molested at the age of 14 during an incident in Durban. She alleges she was summoned into an office where the pastor rubbed himself against her.

While police are not looking for the 58-year-old pastor as yet, the Hawks say they have been investigating a number of alleged sexual violence cases against him for months now.

The news comes in the wake of a special television feature on the pastor recently.

….

Speaking about the alleged incident that occurred when she was a teenager, the Port Elizabeth woman said: “There was talk among the girls regarding ‘the rod of Moses’, but I did not know what it meant.

“But one day I innocently remarked during music rehearsals that I also wanted this rod of Moses.

“Immediately, he [the pastor] summoned me to his office.”

The woman claimed she had been asked there if she wanted the “rod of Moses” and she responded that she no longer did.

“He [the pastor] came closer to me, saying it was nice,” she said.

“He hugged me and rubbed [against] me with his lower body … I felt very uncomfortable and began to sob.”

The woman said the pastor had asked her what she wanted from God and she had replied that she needed to be blessed.

She alleged that he had handed her R1 000, which she refused, but he had insisted that she take the money and give it to a relative.

The woman claimed that the pastor targeted females, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, to whom he promised a better life.

She said the majority of his alleged victims were attracted to his church because of the “miracles” he claimed to perform.

“He loves girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. He creates a ploy to be a father figure to them,” she said.

She claimed the pastor would preach a sermon about sex and would ask “me to stand up, saying look how beautiful I look”.

When a reporter visited the ministry’s Port Elizabeth church yesterday, a number of people were inside, praying.

Most of the congregants refused to speak, except one woman who had joined the church in 2002.

Asked about the allegations, she said: “We can’t speak about what the pastor is accused of. It is not up to us to judge.”

Another congregant, when asked for the pastor’s cellphone number, said: “You can’t call him. He is a man of God.”

But she said the allegations made in the TV feature were rubbish.

“Where is the evidence? They must show us the evidence.”

She said the claims were orchestrated by other pastors within the church who wanted to oust the pastor at the centre of the allegations.

….

Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities chairwoman Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said churches were supposed to be a safe space.

“We have a serious problem of rape culture in this country and if it is happening in church, we have a much bigger problem.”

She said the commission had finalised its report into the commercialisation of religion and abuse of people’s belief systems.

“We will brief parliament on the report over two days in June,” Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said.

“We need a peer review mechanism to put an end to this.

“When pastors do something wrong, they can be held accountable and removed from the register.”

She said among their recommendations was the vetting of pastors and traditional healers.

“Right now, we could have a pastor with a sexual violence background leading a church, or a Sunday school teacher who just wants access to children.”

According to Omotoso’s website:

Tim Omotoso Global Outreach (T.O.G.O) is an Apostolic and Prophetic ministry designed under Trinitarian auspices to propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ to this generation with signs following. As result of Tim Omotoso’s obedience to the high calling of God, the ministry has been able to transform the lives of countless people around the globe. Through global crusades, ministrations, Church services and TV ministry, the unadulterated Word of God is preached to all. T.O.G.O is a ministry of great wisdom, revelation, power, prayer and praise without compromise. It is the umbrella to the church arm, of Jesus Dominion International (JDI); Youth Empowerment Project and Help the Helpless. T.O.G.O not only believes in winning billions of souls into the kingdom of God, but also challenges believers to rise up as Sons of God and utilize the authority and divine power given to them through Christ Jesus.

Tim Omotoso is a Prophet and as part of his unique call he holds meetings entitled “Holy Ghost Clinic” these “clinics” are live counselling sessions which reveal the mysteries that hold keys to the success of individuals. The root causes of issues and problems are also diagnosed. These meetings are an exposition of the wiles of the enemy in the life of believers. People have been healed, restored, delivered and received solutions in meetings such as “Holy Ghost Clinic,” “House of Jacob,” and many more. Tim Omotoso is the founder of ADBN (Ancient of Day Broadcasting Network) and has written a Prayer Bonanza book which contains powerful and targeted prayer points, he also writes daily devotionals annually. His television broadcast is entitled “Just as I am.” He is happily married to Taiwo and they are blessed with three Children, Victoria, John and Victor.

Update

Sunday World reports: (link no longer active)

Controversial Nigerian pastor Tim Omotoso has hired prominent Port Elizabeth defence attorney Alwyn Griebenow to represent him in the face of allegations that he sexually molested young girls at his home in Umhlanga‚ Durban.

Griebenow confirmed that he was Omotoso’s attorney and that he and defence advocate Terry Price will be meeting with the Hawks on Thursday afternoon in Port Elizabeth. The Hawks are investigating the allegations against Omotoso.

Omotoso‚ of the Jesus Dominion International Church in Durban‚ is accused of molesting more than 30 young girls on the pretext of rescuing them from drugs.

The Nigerian evangelist came under scrutiny after his church featured on current affairs programme Special Assignment on Sunday. The programme spoke to women who claimed that they were lured into performing sexual favours for the pastor.

Update #2

The Herald Live reports:

Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso was arrested by the Hawks Human Trafficking unit in Port Elizabeth on Thursday on a charge of alleged human trafficking‚ the elite police unit confirmed.

Omotoso was arrested shortly after arriving at the Port Elizabeth international airport by the Hawks and members of the South African Police Service’s Tactical Response Team (TRT) this afternoon [20/04/17].

“The 58-year-old pastor allegedly trafficked young women and girls from various branches of his church to a house in uMhlanga‚ Kwazulu-Natal‚ where he allegedly exploited them sexually‚” Hawks spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Netshiunda said.

Update #3

Video Link

Update #4

The City Press reports:

Hundreds of worshippers from Jesus Domination International church, where Timothy Omotoso is the head pastor and prophet, filled the Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

They came in support of Omotoso, who was nabbed dramatically by the Hawks with a heavy contingent of the Tactical Response Team (TRT unit), shortly after he landed at the local airport with his three escorts on Thursday afternoon.

He has been accused of sexually abusing women who worked at the churches he managed in South Africa.

….

Omotoso’s supporters came wearing purple-banded gold medals around their necks, holding placards with messages of support for him.

….

An unidentified woman inside the court said they believed that Omotoso’s exposé was an inside job.

“The people who are responsible for this are unruly members of the church that do not want to be changed by the man of God,” she said.

“If Omotoso was a sexual offender, why didn’t he sleep with the multitudes of international prostitutes that have been coming in and out of his church?” she said.

She said all the prophets across the world were fasting for Omotoso.

“God will show them wonders, the blood is at work.”

….

A member of the Hawks discreetly confirmed to City Press that Omotoso was not planning to hand himself over on Thursday.

“We found him in possession of return air tickets for four people,” said the member.

“It is clear that he had no intention of handing himself over as we were expecting him to.”

Netshiunda also confirmed that if they had not applied their own instincts and ambushed Omotoso, he would have slipped away.

“We were misled into believing that his flight was delayed,” said Netshiunda.

“When we reached the airport his flight was on schedule and he attempted to escape, but only ended up in the toilet, where we found him locked in the cubicle,” he said.

….

His Port Elizabeth lawyer is Alwyn Griebenow, who also represents Christopher Panayiotou – who has been charged with the murder and conspiracy to murder his wife, Jayde, two years ago.

An application for bail was made by Griebenow on behalf of his client, who was remanded until May 3, when an official bail application will be formally heard in Court 22.

The state, represented by Zelda Swanepoel, stated that more evidence was to be compiled from the different provinces where Omotoso is alleged to have committed the alleged crimes.

The remand was met with deep sighs of disappointment and sobs from his supporters.

“Daddy! We love you Daddy,” sobbed the worshippers, as Omotoso was led out of court by the TRT unit.