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My Response to Keith Myers’ Letter to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent-News

letter to the editor

In June, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News about a letter the paper published from Patrick Holt, the pastor of Bible Baptist Church in Grover Hill, Ohio. You can read my letter here. Holt quickly responded, and I rebutted his letter. Several local Fundamentalist Christians (members in Holt’s church?) responded to my rebuttal, including Keith Myers. (See other posts about Patrick Holt.)

Before I get to Myers’ “response” to me, let me first post the letter he is responding to:

Dear Editor,

What follows is my rebuttal of Patrick Holt’s recent letter to the editor.

I never mentioned Pastor Holt’s school shootings “argument” because it is absurd. Holt sees a connection between banning school prayer, Bible reading, and the Ten Commandments in public schools, and school shootings. When he and I were in school, cell phones had not been invented. There were few school shootings. Now virtually every public school student has a cell phone and we have frequent school shootings. Using Holt’s logic, I could easily conclude that cellphones caused the increase in school shootings. I can make the same argument with birth control. Absurd, right? Holt should stop reading the Bible, and read up on the “correlation implies causation” fallacy. Holt wrongly thinks that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between prayer/Bible reading/Ten commandments and school shootings. He provides no evidence for this claim other than he thinks it’s true.

Holt forgets the discussion we had on my blog. He is not a stranger to me. Further, Holt is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preacher. I am generally considered an expert on the IFB church movement. I was raised in the IFB church, attended an IFB college, married an IFB pastor’s daughter, pastored IFB churches, and I continue to closely follow the machinations of the IFB church movement. I know Holt’s beliefs quite well. Holt made no attempt to rebut my claims. I assume, then, that my assessment was spot on.

Holt’s soteriological and eschatological beliefs force him to see the world as fallen, in a continued state of decline. I reject his beliefs out of hand. The current attack by the religious right on women, LGBTQ people, religious minorities, and the separation of church and state rests squarely on the shoulders of Holt and his ilk. The “godless” have no power. While we “godless” are rapidly increasing in number, seven out of ten Americans identify as Christian. If Holt is looking for someone to blame, I suggest he look in the mirror. As a humanist, my goal is to make the world a safer place to live. Instead of blaming atheists for school shootings, put the blame where it belongs: non-existent gun laws, easy access to weapons of mass carnage, and our nation’s continued worship of the AR-15. The solution to school shootings is right in front of us. Or we could just keep praying . . .

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

Now to Paul Myers’ letter. My response is indented and italicized.

The letter to the editor in the July 5 Crescent-News by Bruce Gerencser puzzled me. The author blames Pastor Holt and the religious right for society’s problems and makes fun of Pastor Holt’s theory of cause and effect. The author then uses the cause and effect theory to suggest a solution to mass shootings.

Please read my letter above and see if you can find any place where I “blamed Pastor Holt and the religious right for society’s problems.” All I did was point out the absurdity of his arguments and suggested that he look in the mirror if he is looking for someone to blame. Holt sees a cause and effect where there is none. As I clearly showed, there’s no connection between school shootings and school prayer/Bible reading. None, nada, zip. I tried to show how absurd Holt’s claims were, but my attempt to do so was lost on Holt and Myers. Logic meets cement.

Where is his evidence that his theory is correct other than his beliefs that it is true? By his own standard if Pastor Holt’s belief is absurd, then Mr. Gerencser’s belief is equally absurd.

Sigh. (Please see Why I Use the Word “Sigh.”) Myers totally missed my point. I offered up no comprehensive solution for school shootings. I have one, but that wasn’t the point of my letter. My goal was to challenge Holt’s religious Fundamentalism and his faulty moral foundation.

What is the answer to these mass shootings? Maybe we should start with one of God’s commandments “thou shalt not kill.” That commandment has been so popular that most societies have made it a law, but Mr. Gerencser doesn’t want that taught in schools.

Myers and Holt would have us believe that if public school students were just forced to read and recite and memorize the Ten Commandments, school shootings would be a thing of the past. These men provide no evidence for their claim outside of “the Bible says _________,” and “it seems right to me.” I can’t think of any possible way that reciting “thou shalt not kill” in public schools will in any way make a difference when it comes to school shootings. Offer real solutions such as gun control, strict licensure, universal background checks, and banning assault rifles/high-capacity magazines, and Myers and Holt will be screaming about their Second Amendment Rights. In their minds, the Bible is some sort of supernatural book with magical powers, including stopping mass shooters and high-velocity bullets. Talk about absurd.

According to Mr. Gerencser, we must keep a “separation of church and state,” even though that phrase is not found in our constitution or its amendments.

Lots of things aren’t mentioned in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights: God, church, church tax exemption, clergy housing allowance, homeschooling, and a plethora of other things Myers cherishes. There was a day when Baptists without exception believed in the strict separation of church and statement. Today, such believers are hard to find. Christian nationalism has infected countless Evangelical churches. Theocrats know that the separation of church and state stands in the way of their overthrow of our secular society. So, they rewrite history, quote disgraced author David Barton, and pretend that the original framers of our Constitution wanted a theocracy all along. Such people are an existential threat to our democracy.

We wouldn’t want good wisdom like that to guide our children to care about others. We must totally remove God and those who believe in Him from society. We must stop reading our Bibles so that man can live in peace and harmony. That is according to the self-proclaimed humanist.

Myers evidently is unfamiliar with my writing and my letters to local newspapers over the years. Had he bothered to educate himself, he would have learned that I support teaching the Bible to middle school and high school students. Damn, Bruce, didn’t see that coming. Every public school student should be required to take a comparative religion class and a religious literature class. Of course, Myers and Holt don’t want this. They know that teaching children about the various world regions and holy texts would put a real dent in the supremacy of Christianity. Myers and Holy only want one religion taught in public schools: theirs.

For the record, I think students should be required to take logic and philosophy classes too. I even think they should be taught creationism, not in a science class, but in a literature class, right next to other creation and flood myths.

Knowledge is power. The sooner students are exposed to Christianity, the better. The same goes for Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Paganism, Satanism, atheism, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, to name a few.

It’s obvious the letter has only one purpose like all of Mr. Gerencser’s letters: to try to persuade Christians to give up their faith in God and join his “humanism” as they skip and dance on their merry way to their reward.

I am just one man with a story to tell, yet Myers sees me as an existential threat to Christianity; that my goal is to persuade Christians to deconvert. Nothing could be further from the truth. Would the world be better off if it embraced humanism (both secular and religious)? Absolutely. But that’s not going to happen anytime soon. When I write letters to the newspaper, I do so because someone has to be a voice of reason, science, and common sense. Letters from Trumpists and Christian Fundamentalists fill the editorial page of the Crescent-News. I want readers to know that these neanderthals don’t speak for everyone; that there are people out there who are moral and ethical without God; that not everyone voted for Trump; that not everyone is trying to burn down sixty years of social progress.

I love how Myers subtly suggested that I am headed for Hell. Oh, he didn’t say this directly, but he meant it with his line “skip and dance on their merry way to their [humanist] reward.” I can’t skip or dance these days, and the only reward coming my way is death. Sorry, but I’m immune to threats of Hell and eternal torture.

I’m curious when Mr. Gerencser was a pastor did God exist because he believed in Him or was he just lying to his congregations?

Ah, yes, Myers shows that he is a card-carrying member of the Christian Asshole Club. Of course, I believed in the existence of God. I believed in the existence of the Christian deity for fifty years. To suggest that I was lying to the churches I pastored is just Myers’ way of smearing my character. He’s one of these Christians who can’t or won’t understand (or accept) that beliefs can and do change. That’s his problem, not mine.

Saved by Reason,

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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.

Lorraine Schaefer Responds to My Recent Letter to the Editor of The Defiance Crescent-News

abortion
Cartoon by David Fitzsimmons

I recently wrote a letter to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News:

Dear Editor,

Patrick Holt is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preacher. Stuck in the 1950s, Holt thinks America would be great again if we just returned to the homophobic, racist, misogynistic 50s; a return to the days when Evangelical Christianity ruled the roost. Holt looks at our culture and sees decline, decay, and godlessness. He blames these failures on the removal of Bible reading, prayer, and the Ten Commandments from public schools. If only our progeny were led in daily prayer and Bible reading by their teachers and taught the Ten Commandments, our culture would magically return to the glory days of the 1950s.

That ship has sailed, never to return. The 1950s were hardly what Holt intimates them to be. Racism. Homophobia. Misogyny. Patriarchalism. McCarthyism. Criminalization of birth control and abortion. Shall I go on? Those of us who value social progress, equality, and equal protection under the law have a very different view of the world. We intend to push back when Evangelicals try to drag us back to the “good old days.” Evangelical Christianity is dying on the vine. Younger Americans are abandoning organized religion in record numbers. The number of atheists, agnostics, and nones continues to grow, now equaling Evangelicals as a voting bloc.

Holt would have us believe that the only thing keeping him from being a thief and murderer is Jesus. Is that not the conclusion we must come to when he says “Godlessness leads to lawlessness?” I don’t know about Holt, but I murder all the people I want to. I burglarize as many of my neighbors as I want to. I just don’t want to. The unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world have moral and ethical values — no God needed.

This Saturday, Defiance will have its first Pride Walk. I have no doubt that Holt will see this event as yet another sign of decay and depravity, a sign of the soon return of the dead Jesus. I plan to be at the Pride Walk. I am sixty-five years old, by all accounts a curmudgeon. Yet, I know that a better tomorrow requires justice and equality for all. I have thirteen grandchildren. I want a better future for them. I understand Holt’s beliefs. I once was an IFB preacher, an Evangelical pastor for twenty-five years. I also know that it is possible to break free from the narrow, bigoted, anti-human beliefs of Evangelical Christianity.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

Lorraine Schaefer, a resident of Payne, “responded” to my letter. Here’s what she had to say:

Lesson one about extraction. There are two such procedures, medical with label “embarrassment, inconvenient or choice” using a longer instrument to enter the cavity, the uterus.

The dental procedure entitled “infection uses a small instrument to enter the cavity named “mouth.”

Both procedures may require crushing the crown, ugh and looking at a picture of an extracted molar you sometimes see four roots. Christian “bigots” might equate them to the medical procedure as two legs and two arms. Hands at the end of those teeny weeny arms once were pictured encircling a surgeon’s finger during a pre-natal surgery.

Suction is always necessary during these procedures — no bits of molar left in the gums to cause problems and often the patient feels a thump, thump there, the same feeling holding a medically extracted red thing you see on Feb. 14 cards called Valentine’s stating “I love you.”

Just as dental, medical suction pieces must be counted and accounted for, even that tiny double sack. Remember your first accordion lesson when no music came out, only air? Those pieces counted prevent infection and sometimes death after a medical procedure.

Neither procedure is a happy one, and some memories last forever.

Two years after adding two beautiful babies to our family I was blessed with another beautiful daughter from my womb. Years later I cried at the grave of my fourth beloved child’s biological mother’s grave in undying gratitude that she had the courage to give my son life and to me.

Mr. Gerenscer, your “dead Jesus” is very alive in our family.

Lorraine Schaefer

Schaefer, who is in her nineties, ignores the bulk of my email and focuses, instead, on my brief mention of abortion. Of course, if she is a regular reader of the Crescent-News over the years, she knows that I support women’s bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. She knows that I am no friend of forced birthers.

Most abortions occur in the first trimester, (Abortion Facts, Lies, and Contradictions) at a time when the human tissue growing in a woman’s womb looks like this:

two weeks
Two Weeks
five weeks
Five Weeks
eight weeks
Eight Weeks
thirteen weeks
Thirteen Weeks

Schaefer, as forced birthers are wont to do, ignores the medical abortifacients and goes straight for the procedure that often elicits heightened emotional response from people: Dilation and Curettage (D&C). Oh my God, they are hacking the baby to death! forced birthers such as Schaefer say. I’m surprised she didn’t try to graphically describe late-term abortion. Regardless of Schaefer’s graphic description, the fact remains that no woman should be forced to carry tissue/fetus to term.

Schaefer objects to me suggesting that Jesus is dead, yet she provides no evidence to the contrary except personal faith. Further, she bristles at being called a bigot, but forced birthers, along with anti-LGBTQ crusaders ARE bigots, so I intend to keep labeling them this way until they show that I am wrong. I’m done playing nice with hardcore Evangelicals, conservative Catholics, and Mormons. I have received countless emails, comments, and social media messages from Christian zealots who object to something I’ve written about abortion and LGBTQ issues. Most of them were nasty, violent, and hateful people uninterested in honest, open, thoughtful dialog. Such people are bigots. If such Christians don’t want to be called bigots, I suggest that they change their tack and humbly LISTEN to people different from them.

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.

Letter to the Editor: My Response to IFB Pastor Patrick Holt

bible baptist church grover hill ohio

Recently, Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preacher Patrick Holt, who pastors Bible Baptist Church in Grover Hill, Ohio, wrote a letter to the Defiance Crescent News decrying the decline and depravity he sees everywhere he looks. He blames these things on “liberals,” saying if we just allowed school teachers to lead children in (Christian) prayers and (Protestant Christian) Bible readings and taught them the Ten Commandments (which Holt doesn’t keep), the United States will magically return to the glory days of the 1950s. Never mind the fact that most Americans are Christians, so if he wants to place blame, I suggest he look in the mirror.

Here’s what Holt had to say:

Liberals got what they wanted

It is definitely a tragedy with the recent and past mass shootings at our public schools. Debate continues on about guns being the problem.

I graduated in 1967. Guys driving their pickup trucks to school may possibly have had a gun rack with a shotgun or a rifle in the back glass. Semi-automatic guns had been invented by that time. But there were no mass shootings in our public schools.

During the 12 years of my schooling, the day would start as a student read a Bible verse and then followed by another student reading a prayer over the PA system. Then Mr. Dunlap would make the announcements. But along that time there was the liberal left party which said it didn’t want the Bible, prayer and the Ten Commandments in our public schools. And they got their wish.

Shortly after that they said they didn’t want those terrible three in our society. And they have been fairly successful at that. So what they were asking for was a godless school system and a godless society.

Now you have the right to choose what you want or don’t want, but you cannot choose what the outcome will be. You can choose to drink and to drive, but then you shouldn’t complain about the results of your choice.

The liberal, leftist party said, “We don’t want that commandment that says, ‘Thou shalt not kill’ taught to our children in school.” Toss it out. You got your request and the results.

Remember when you point your finger and say, “guns are the problem,” you have three fingers pointing back at you. Those three fingers are: no Bible, no prayer and no Ten Commandments. You got your wish and the results.

You see, if we are godless, then we are lawless. Own up to who is at fault. The problem is not what is in a person’s hand, but what is in their heart.

Patrick Holt

Grover Hill

Here’s my response, which I submitted to the newspaper today.

Dear Editor,

Patrick Holt is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preacher. Stuck in the 1950s, Holt thinks America would be great again if we just returned to the homophobic, racist, misogynistic 50s; a return to the days when Evangelical Christianity ruled the roost. Holt looks at our culture and sees decline, decay, and godlessness. He blames these failures on the removal of Bible reading, prayer, and the Ten Commandments from public schools. If only our progeny were led in daily prayer and Bible reading by their teachers and taught the Ten Commandments, our culture would magically return to the glory days of the 1950s.

That ship has sailed, never to return. The 1950s were hardly what Holt intimates them to be. Racism. Homophobia. Misogyny. Patriarchalism. McCarthyism. Criminalization of birth control and abortion. Shall I go on? Those of us who value social progress, equality, and equal protection under the law have a very different view of the world. We intend to push back when Evangelicals try to drag us back to the “good old days.” Evangelical Christianity is dying on the vine. Younger Americans are abandoning organized religion in record numbers. The number of atheists, agnostics, and nones continues to grow, now equaling Evangelicals as a voting bloc.

Holt would have us believe that the only thing keeping him from being a thief and murderer is Jesus. Is that not the conclusion we must come to when he says “Godlessness leads to lawlessness?” I don’t know about Holt, but I murder all the people I want to. I burglarize as many of my neighbors as I want to. I just don’t want to. The unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world have moral and ethical values — no God needed.

This Saturday, Defiance will have its first Pride Walk. I have no doubt that Holt will see this event as yet another sign of decay and depravity, a sign of the soon return of the dead Jesus. I plan to be at the Pride Walk. I am sixty-five years old, by all accounts a curmudgeon. Yet, I know that a better tomorrow requires justice and equality for all. I have thirteen grandchildren. I want a better future for them. I understand Holt’s beliefs. I once was an IFB preacher, an Evangelical pastor for twenty-five years. I also know that it is possible to break free from the narrow, bigoted, anti-human beliefs of Evangelical Christianity.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

Previous articles about Patrick Holt

IFB Pastor Patrick Holt Thinks I Hate Christians, God, and the Bible

2009-2019: Local Responses to My Letters to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent-News (search for Patrick Holt or Grover Hill)

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.

2003 Letter to the Editor on War

letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor of the Bryan Times. Published January 3, 2003. I thought posting this letter here might help readers understand how much my religious and political views had changed by the early 2000s.

Dear Editor,

What a wonderful and beautiful Christmas Day! The ground is blanketed with six or so inches of snow and all is peaceful and quiet. There is nothing more beautiful than a crisp winter morning after an overnight snowfall. This wintry scene causes me to reflect on the glory of Christmas Day and its meaning. Christmas is about redemption. Christmas is about Jesus, the Son of God, taking on human flesh and being born of the virgin Mary in the city of Bethlehem. Jesus came into the world at the appointed time to bring redemption to all men. He came to proclaim peace and justice for all. He is called the Prince of Peace. Later in His life, Jesus would declare that peace and justice were to be character traits of those who profess to be followers of Him.

It is my thoughts of peace and justice that now begin to cloud my mind on this Christmas Day. Jesus came to bring peace, yet there is no peace. Jesus came to bring justice, yet there is no justice. Those who claim to be His followers show little concern for peace and justice. It seems they are all too busy with eating, drinking, and being merry to bother themselves with such weighty notions of peace and justice. But, concern ourselves with them we must.

I have been reading of late the Social Essays of the Catholic monk Thomas Merton. These essays were written at the height of the cold war and the Vietnam war. I am amazed at how timely Merton’s essays are for today, though they were written 40 years ago. In his time, Merton had to constantly battle censors within the Catholic Church who attempted to silence his anti-war message. Merton was quite creative in the ways he got his message to the public. His voice still speaks loudly today.

Merton’s essays on nuclear war, unilateralism, and preemptive war should be required reading for all Americans. Merton reminds us of the lunacy of the notion that a nuclear war can be fought and won. Once the buttons are pushed, the world as we know it ceases to exist.  Thoughts of non-defensive, unilateral, preemptive war, Merton reminds us, are immoral and should be condemned by all Christians.

Today, America sits on the precipice of nuclear world war. We have become the big bully who thinks he can get his way by bluffing and threatening. Every once in a while the bully even whips some weakling to show who is the toughest.  Such is the case with Iraq. But now we have added North Korea to our list of nations we are intent on bullying. Unfortunately, North Korea does not quiver and shake at our threatenings. They well remember an America who could not defeat them during the Korean War. Since then, the North Koreans have added nuclear and biological weapons to their arsenal. According to recent newspaper reports, the North Koreans are quite willing to use what weapons they have to defend themselves.

What troubles me the most in all of this is the silence emanating from the pulpits of America. It seems the only voices that are heard come from warmongers such as Jerry Falwell. Does he, and those of his ilk, speak for the rest of us? The German Church silently sat by while Hitler put into force the plans and programs that would later give us World War II and the Holocaust. Now the clergy of America sit by silently as George Bush and Company put into force programs such as the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act. George Bush threatens war and destruction on any nation that opposes him. Our insane notion of national superiority, coupled with immoral capitalistic greed, is leading us down a path that is certain to have catastrophic results, yet nary a word is heard from our pulpits.

The Scriptures are clear: Christians are called to be people of peace and justice. We are to be peacemakers. It is absurd to suggest, as George Bush does, that by waging war we will have peace. War always begets war and history bears this out. Only peace begets peace. It is time for all nations, including America, to lay aside and destroy ALL weapons of mass destruction. Our nation needs to repudiate its doctrine concerning preemptive first strikes against other nations. The world needs to know that America will be a peacemaking nation that desires peace and freedom for all men. While we must leave place for the need of defensive war or even what the theologians call “just war,” we must forsake attacking and killing others just because we do not like their government structure or way of life. Muslims have a right to live as they choose without America interfering in their affairs. It is time we stop exporting Western civilization as the answer to the world’s problems. Better for us to concern ourselves with our own moral, ethical, and civic failures than trying to fix the problems of the world.

Fifty or so years ago the phrase “better dead than Red” was coined. Unfortunately, that philosophy is still alive and well. The proponents of this notion believe it is better for us all to be dead than to have any other government or civilization than we have now. We had best think about the reality of such a notion because when the nuclear bombs start falling, it will be too late. The Reagan/Bush Star War notion of missile defense will not save us once the bombs begin to fall. It will only take a few bombs to render this world unlivable. Those who survive will wish that they had not.

It is not too late. Voices need to be raised in opposition and protest to the war policy of the Bush administration.  Protesters need to make their voices heard via letters and public protest. Conscientious men and women in the military need to say “I will not” to their leaders who want to slaughter them on the altar of political and economic gain. Politicians need to get some backbone and be willing to stand up to the war-mongering hawks on Capitol Hill. They have been raised up “for such a time as this!”

Time is running out.

Rev. Bruce Gerencser
Alvordton, Ohio

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.

2000 Bryan Times Editorial by Pastor Bruce Gerencser About True Christianity

i am god

Published on August 17, 2000. At the time, I was the pastor of Our Father’s House in West Unity, Ohio. This is a good example of how I  used to think about life, God, the Bible, sin, and culture. This was not a Letter to the Editor. I wrote it for the Community Voice editorial column on the editorial page of The Bryan Times.

It is time that we make some radical changes to our printed money and the pledge of the Allegiance. Both our printed money and the Pledge of Allegiance give testimony to the historical truth that the United States was a country that believed in God. Not just any God, but Jehovah God, the God of the Christian Bible.

Sadly, we as a nation no longer believe in Jehovah. Due to misguided thinking about pluralism and tolerance, we have become a nation of many gods. Those that dare assert that we were founded as a Christian nation (and a Protestant Christian nation at that) are labeled narrow-minded, bigoted, intolerant miscreants.

The God attested to on our printed money and in the Pledge of Allegiance is no longer allowed to be mentioned in our Country. Recently, a young girl wanted to sing the song Kumbya at a camp talent show. She was not permitted to sing this song because it mentioned the word Lord. Government schools have eradicated every vestige of God from the classroom. The very schools that were founded on Christian principles (Just look at a set of  McGuffey Readers) have not only left that foundation, but try to insist such a foundation never existed. School officials are so afraid of God (or is it the god called the ACLU) that children no longer have Easter break. Instead they have spring break. Children are given two weeks off at Christmas, yet they are never told what Christmas is. Attend the average government school Christmas program and you will come away with the conclusion that Christmas is all about snow, Rudolph, Frosty, et al. Pages could be written on the deliberate banishment of Jehovah from every aspect of public life.

What are the reasons for this happening? They are several. First, there is the mythical, so-called “separation of Church and State.”The separation clause is routinely quoted by government and school officials when they want to dismiss the religious requests and activities of others. Truth is, what is really happening is that Jehovah is the only God not welcome. All other gods are quite welcome.The god of humanism is quite welcome.The new age god is welcome.This past school year, in a Williams County elementary class room, a teacher took class time to teach the children about serial killers. Our children can be taught about such perverse things but they can not be taught the solution to serial killing (faith in God)? Schools try to enforce a moral and ethical code yet they fail. Why? You cannot have morals and ethics without a religious foundation. Morals and ethics demand an answer to the question “WHY is this wrong?” Why is it wrong to have sex before marriage? Why is it wrong to steal? Without God and His standard, the Ten Commandments, we have no foundation for morality and ethics.

Another reason is the myth called toleration. Liberals and conservatives alike bandy about the thought of toleration. The foundation of toleration is that all truth is equal and that all viewpoints are valid. Our country has become one big comparative religion class. Truth is, there is no such thing as true toleration, nor can there be. Christians believe the Bible to be their standard of morality and ethics. They believe the Bible to be, not just one truth among many, but THE TRUTH! Christians are called on to love what God loves and hate what God hates. Yes, we are a narrow, intolerant bunch because we dare suggest there is but one God, one way to heaven. We dare suggest there is but one moral and ethical code, the Bible. We dismiss arguments couched in words “well that’s your opinion“ and we reply by saying “Thus saith the Lord.” Matters such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, drunkenness, abortion etc. are not matters for political debate. The Bible is clear on such matters.

It is amazing how we have redefined that which God calls sin. Homosexuality is called an alternative lifestyle. Drunkenness is called a disease. The adulterous partner is now called the significant other. On and on and on it goes. God said “Be not deceived…For whatever a man sows that he will also reap.” We are reaping our harvest in America. The foundations are crumbling. Is anyone paying attention?

It’s time we either admit that Jehovah is dead and remove His name from our money and the pledge of allegiance or perhaps it is time we reassert the kingdom rights of the true and living God. God’s people need to stand up and be counted. Not in Marches for Jesus, but in the workplace, the school. the government and in every public arena of life. We need to sound forth that name which is above every name. That name, and only that name, by which men shall be saved.

Notes

This article might shed some light on why local Christians don’t know what to do with my defection from Christianity. I was a leader, a spokesman for the faithful. I wrote what they wished they could say. And now? An atheist? How can such things be?

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.

Letter to the Editor: It’s Time to Ban the Bible

letter to the editor

Letter submitted to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News.

Dear Editor,

Recently, Evangelical pastor Greg Locke held a book burning service that led to consigning to flames of a metaphorical Hell the Harry Potter and Twilight books, along with other books deemed Satanic. School boards and public libraries are receiving increasing numbers of requests to remove “offensive” books from their institutions — especially books that present LGBTQ people, premarital sex, atheists, and socialism in a positive light. Most of the people objecting to these books are Evangelical Christians.

I agree with them. Any book that presents an alternate worldview besides Christianity should be removed from the shelves. The same goes for books that teach any other religion except Biblical Christianity. Since all humans are heterosexual and it’s a sin to engage in premarital sex, there’s no need to have books that educate teens about gay, transgender, and non-binary people. The Bible tells us we should shelter our children from the “world.” They mustn’t see or engage with people different from them. Public schools are government indoctrination centers. Children would be better off if they were homeschooled or sent to Christian schools that will teach them the “truth,” including the fact that the earth was created in six literal twenty-four-hour days, 6,024 years ago.

Recently, I was at the Defiance Public Library and I was astounded to find a book on the shelves filled with all sorts of vile behavior: homosexuality, incest, rape, fornication, adultery, murder, and genocide. This book called for the execution of people who were gay, worshiped false deities, or were disobedient to their parents. This book was loaded with bloody violence, including the story of a man who chopped up his daughter and sent her body parts all over the country. Worse yet, this book taught that women are second-class citizens, consigned to lives of dutiful marriage, bearing children, cooking Hamburger Helper, and obeying their husbands’ commands.

This book is available to children, teens, and adults alike. I am calling on the Defiance Library to immediately remove this book from its shelves. Our children must not be exposed to this book. It’s name, you ask? The Bible. Using the standard promoted by Evangelical pastors such as Greg Locke, it’s clear that the Bible, in all its versions, must be immediately removed from library shelves.

Of course, what I have written above is sarcasm. I encourage local school boards and librarians to reject all attempts to ban books.

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.

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1999 Letter to the Editor of the Bryan Times by Bruce Gerencser: Evolution Incompatible with Christianity

adam or ape creationism

Published on March 18, 1999. At the time, I was pastor of Our Father’s House in West Unity, Ohio. This is a good example of how I used to think about life, God, the Bible, sin,  and culture. I encourage readers to read a letter to the editor I wrote on January 19, 2016, about the same the subject. You will quickly see that my viewpoint has changed a wee bit over the past 17 years.

Bryan Times:

I am writing in response to the recent editorial that suggested evolution is not being taught in public schools because teachers fear right-wing religious zealots. The zealots are portrayed as being anti-science and intellectually stunted. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Evolution is a theory. Even the writer of the editorial admits such. Yet, just a few paragraphs later, he advocates teaching the theory as fact. He then states that man cannot understand biology without evolution.

What arrogant presumption and distortion of truth. Evolution is a theory of “how” things came into existence. It is, at its root, a faith religion that suggests a random existence apart from a divine being. Evolution demands that there is no God, no creator, and that man is nothing more than the most evolved of creatures. Man becomes nothing more than an animal that has evolved to a more mature state than that of other animals.

Evolution is incompatible with Christianity. Christianity begins with the premise that God is, and whatever God says is true. The Bible is God’s revelation to man, and he reveals in the first three chapters of Genesis how this world came into existence. To deny the biblical record is to deny God and his revelation, and the result is eternal damnation. Christians fear being viewed as ignorant if they deny the teachings of evolution. They become just like the schoolteachers who fear the religious zealots. If God is who he says he is, and he meant what he said in the Scriptures, then let us not fear, but instead declare boldly “Thus saith the Lord.”

Bruce Gerencser, Pastor
West Unity, Ohio

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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A 2002 Bryan Times Editorial by Pro-Life Pastor Bruce Gerencser

thou shalt not kill

Published on January 13, 2002. At the time, I was pastor of Our Father’s House in West Unity, Ohio. This is a good example of how I used to think about life, God, the Bible, sin,  and culture. This was not a Letter to the Editor. I wrote it for the Community Voice editorial column on the editorial page of The Bryan Times.

The anniversary of the famed Supreme Court decision Roe vs Wade has just passed. Almost 30 years ago the Supreme Court ruled that abortion on demand was legal in the United States. Since that time, a battle between the forces called pro-life and pro-choice has raged without abatement in our country. We truly are a nation divided when it comes to abortion. Both sides have taken to the legal and political arena in an attempt to stifle or crush their opposition. In the case of the pro-life movement, some on the far extreme of the movement have taken to murdering clinic workers and the doctors who perform the abortions.  Several men with such beliefs are on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.

How are we, as Christians, to respond to the continued murder of babies in abortion clinics, private doctors’ offices, and hospitals? Some may suggest that I am asserting that the word Christian and pro-life are synonymous. Such observation is correct. Christianity and pro-choice are not compatible one with the other. I have written a number of times over the years on this issue, and each time I receive letters from supposed pro-choice Christians. Perhaps such folks are well-intentioned, but it is theologically impossible to square being a Christian with also being pro-choice. To be a Christian is to walk in the steps of, and follow after, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was pro-life and the Law of God states very clearly “Thou shalt not kill.”

The command “Thou shalt not kill” has a positive precept attached to it. That precept is “thou shalt preserve life.” If we are not to kill, then we are to preserve life instead. This preserving of life extends to not only the abortion clinic, but also the prison and countries where we are engaged in war. The Bible teaches and permits capital punishment, but it also prescribes when and who it is to be carried out. The Bible permits just war, but it also prescribes when and how such war is to be carried out. We must always remember that the killing of other human beings shows the baseness of human society, not its superiority.  As Christians, we have a duty to preserve life at every opportunity. We must stand against abortion. We must work to outlaw the practice in the United States and the rest of the world. We should also be actively working to promote justice for those in prison and to insist that God’s law be followed in the execution of those guilty of first-degree murder. We must hold our government and military accountable for its actions in Afghanistan. Find the terrorists. Punish the evildoer, but in doing so do no harm to innocent men, women, and children.

We must continue to wage the war of words with the pro-choice crowd. They speak of the “woman’s right to choose” and yet they are rarely challenged to the assertions they make in regard to this statement. I too, support a “woman’s right to choose.” She makes a choice to have sexual relations with a man, and she must live with the consequences of such an action. The pro-choice movement is at the forefront of the “right to have sex whenever with whomever movement” and then with the quickness of a magician they deny any accountability for the choice that is made. There are many choices a pregnant woman can make, but far too often abortion is the only option given because it is the easy way out. Adoption is an option. Extended family assistance in raising the child is an option. Our government needs to streamline the adoption process making it easy for families to adopt these unwanted babies

We must do more than just object to abortion. We must also put our words into action. We must help support women in their pregnancy and provide the means for their care. Every unwanted baby needs a home. My wife and I are the parents of six children, yet if needed, we would take on the responsibility of another child. It would not be easy, but our words must be backed up with action.

We must continue to oppose the fringes of the pro-life movement that advocates violence and murder in the name of God.  Murdering a baby via abortion is a sin but so is murdering an abortion clinic doctor.  We must not bear the sword. God gives government the responsibility of bearing the sword to punish evildoers. As we stand against abortion we must work to change the laws of the land. Abortion must once again be illegal. We must work to enact laws that make it criminal to participate in any part of the abortion process. We need to stop the tax flow to organizations that promote abortion. Let Planned Parenthood get its money from its liberal constituents, but not from the American taxpayer. There is much work to do and killing an abortion doctor will not stop the abortion mills. There will always be another to take their place. Instead, we must make abortion illegal thus removing the financial incentives that continue to fuel the abortion mills.

It is easy to become complacent in the matter of abortion. As I watched the events of September 11th my heart was grieved. I mourned and wept for days over the tragic loss of life. Yet, keeping it all in perspective, the loss of life at Ground Zero equals one day of work in the abortion clinics of America. Our hands are covered with the blood of millions of babies that have been aborted since that fateful day when Roe vs. Wade became law. We must not rest until justice for all once again prevails in our Land. May God give us the grace and strength necessary to not waver in this battle of battles.

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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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Letter to the Editor: Evangelicalism is One of the Most Hated Religious Sects in America, And They Only Have Themselves to Blame

letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor of The Bryan Times. It was published on July 8, 2021.

Dear Editor,

Evangelicalism is one the most hated religious sects in America, and they only have themselves to blame. Not that they care. Evangelicals have a persecution complex like no other. Forty years ago, the late Jerry Falwell, started the Moral Majority. Its purpose was to turn America back to God by waging a war against our culture. This war has now reached a fever pitch. As more and more people self identify as atheists, agnostics, or indifferent towards organized religion, Evangelicals fear that they are losing their hold on our culture. Instead of praying, evangelizing sinners, and doing good works, Evangelicals have turned to attacking those they oppose, both physically (the January 6 Insurrection) and with words.

The Bryan Times has become a platform for Evangelicals to verbally savage people they believe are their enemies. Pastor Luke Nagy’s vitriolic attack on transgender people several weeks ago is a prime example. I am sure those who think like Nagy shouted AMEN when they read his column, but for those of us who are not religious (I was an Evangelical Christian for fifty years), Nagy’s words are yet another example of why Evangelicalism is one of the most hated sects in America.

In 2016, eighty percent of white Evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. I was astounded by the fact that Evangelicals knew how immoral Trump was and voted for him anyway. Four years later, eighty-four percent of white Evangelicals voted for Trump again. The very same people who raged against Bill Clinton’s sex scandal in the 1990s, demanding his resignation, now think such behavior is okay. Why? Political power. Unable to win the culture war with prayer, evangelism, and good works, Evangelicals have turned to politics to slay their secular enemies. And in doing so, they have sold their souls for bowls of pottage.

I was an Evangelical pastor for twenty-five years. The Evangelicalism of my early days in the ministry no longer exists. The theocrats have won the day — for now. As with all political power grabs, such victories are shallow and short-lived. Evangelical pastors will one day wonder what went wrong. Where did their members go and why are their churches closed? They need only look in the mirror. The reflection they see will tell them who is to blame for their demise. Preaching hate and savagely attacking those different from them will not succeed over the long run.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

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.

Bruce Gerencser