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The Porno Bible: I Bet You Never Heard a Sunday Lesson on Ezekiel 23:18-21

warning label
This Label Should be Affixed to Every Bible

Evangelicals pride themselves on being people of THE Book. The first church I worked in had a roadside sign that advertised the church’s location and service times. At the bottom of the sign was a commonly used Baptist cliché: The Blood, The Book, and The Blessed Hope. Despite their pronouncements about being Bible-believers, Evangelicals aren’t really people of THE Book. Like all Christians, Evangelicals pick and choose which verses they believe or consider important.

For example, how many Evangelicals have ever heard a sermon on Exodus 23? This passage of scripture details the sexual proclivities of two sisters, Oholah and Oholibah. It is quite explicit, and would today be considered pornographic literature. Verses 18-21 state:

KJV
So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister. Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt. For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses. Thus thou calledst to remembrance the lewdness of thy youth, in bruising thy teats by the Egyptians for the paps of thy youth.

CEV
She let everyone see her naked body and didn’t care if they knew she was a prostitute. That’s why I turned my back on her, just as I had done with her older sister. Oholibah didn’t stop there, but became even more immoral and acted as she had back in Egypt. She eagerly wanted to go to bed with Egyptian men, who were famous for their sexual powers. And she longed for the days when she was a young prostitute, when men enjoyed having sex with her.

ESV
When she carried on her whoring so openly and flaunted her nakedness, I turned in disgust from her, as I had turned in disgust from her sister. Yet she increased her whoring, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt and lusted after her lovers there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses. Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed your young breasts.”

The Message

I turned my back on her just as I had on her sister. But that didn’t slow her down. She went at her whoring harder than ever. She remembered when she was young, just starting out as a whore in Egypt. That whetted her appetite for more virile, vulgar, and violent lovers—stallions obsessive in their lust. She longed for the sexual prowess of her youth back in Egypt, where her firm young breasts were caressed and fondled.

GNT

She exposed herself publicly and let everyone know she was a whore. I was as disgusted with her as I had been with her sister. She became more of a prostitute than ever, acting the way she did as a young woman, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. She was filled with lust for oversexed men who had all the lustfulness of donkeys or stallions. Oholibah, you wanted to repeat the immorality you were guilty of as a young woman in Egypt, where men played with your breasts and you lost your virginity.

Simply put, Oholibah liked having sex with men who were hung like donkeys, men whose ejaculated semen amount was that of horses. Imagine how entertaining church would be if pastors spent time preaching on Oholah, Oholibah, and their lovers. 

One modern Bible translation team, knowing that this passage is pornographic, decided to edit out the explicit sexuality.

Living Bible

 And I despised her, just as I despised her sister, because she flaunted herself before them and gave herself to their lust. But that didn’t bother her. She turned to even greater prostitution, sinning with the lustful men she remembered from her youth when she was a prostitute in Egypt. And thus you celebrated those former days when as a young girl you gave your virginity to those from Egypt.

I am sure an Evangelical will point out that Ezekiel 23 is actually about Israel’s unfaithfulness to Jehovah. Ezekiel 23:1-4 states:

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother. They played the whore in Egypt; they played the whore in their youth; there their breasts were pressed and their virgin bosoms handled. Oholah was the name of the elder and Oholibah the name of her sister. They became mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.

So then, to use an oft quoted Evangelical cliché, Ezekiel 23 is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Or better put, a pornographic story with a heavenly meaning.  Why use porn to tell a spiritual story? Surely, God, the author of Ezekiel 23, knew that children would some day be reading this passage of scripture. Why didn’t Jesus say to his Father, Dad, think of the children!  I am beginning to wonder if Jesus’ father was addicted to porn. He is, after all, the universe’s biggest voyeur.

How Evangelical Pastors and Church Members Can Overcome Their Porn-Watching Habits

watching porn is a sin

According to an upcoming study by the Barna Group titled The Porn Phenomenon, Christian pastors have a porn problem. While the full study will not be released until April 2016, Barna president David Kinnaman announced some of their findings:

Most pastors (57%) and youth pastors (64%) admit they have struggled with porn, either currently or in the past.

  • Overall, 21% of youth pastors and 14% of pastors admit they currently struggle with using porn.
  • About 12% of youth pastors and 5% of pastors say they are addicted to porn
  • 87% of pastors who use porn feel a great sense of shame about it.
  • 55% of pastors who use porn say they live in constant fear of being discovered.
  • The vast majority of faith leaders who struggle with porn say this has significantly affected their ministry in a negative manner. It is not clear why, but youth pastors are twice as likely as pastors to report this kind of unfavorable impact.

I suspect that the stated number of pastors who are “struggling” with porn, “addicted” to porn, or currently using porn is underreported. It is not surprising to learn that youth leaders have a big problem with pornography. Youth pastors tend to be younger, often with the same raging hormones as the teenagers to whom they minister. I have long believed that Christian youth groups led by youthful pastors are havens for sexual abuse and misconduct.  While churches have all sorts of policies in place that are meant to keep sexual misconduct from happening, rarely does a week go by without a youth pastor being arrested for some sort of sex crime. While these stories get all the press, the bigger story is the sexual misconduct that is covered up by church leaders and parents. Offending youth pastors are quietly fired or shipped off to Fundamentalist treatment centers such as Reformer Unanimous, the ministry that treated child molester Josh Duggar.

Evangelicals have all sorts of ministries and mechanisms they use to combat the “porn problem.” XXXchurch.com is a site dedicated to helping Evangelicals battle porn addiction. They offer things such as X3 groups, which are online meetings for Evangelicals who are struggling with porn. Evangelicals wanting “freedom from porn addiction, freedom from pain, freedom from guilt and shame and freedom from the very things that keep them trapped” will find help in one of XXXchurch’s 60 X3 groups. Joining one of these groups requires the payment of a $19-$39 a month membership fee.

XXXchurch also offers video workshops on subjects such as:

  • Porn — Giving you a clear path to Sexual Freedom. This course will finally give you the steps to porn addiction recovery and healing.
  • Sex — Helping you have Better Sex. This course will allow you to experience a deeper connection with your spouse and find greater intimacy.
  • Accountability — Helping you discover a life of Character. This course will give you the tools to finally live a life of accountability and openness.
  • Pre-Marriage — Everything you should know before Marriage. This course talks about great sex and other things your parents wouldn’t. A must for engaged couples.
  • Parenting — Guiding you through parenthood and Tech. This course gives parents a solid foundation to build trust and openness with their children.
  • Spouses — Helping women understand the visual nature of men. This course will give you the keys to understanding how the male brain works, thinks and responds.

Each of these workshops cost $97.

If Evangelicals are overwhelmed by porn and unable to break free, XXXchurch even offers one-on-one coaches who will help sinful Christians overcome their porn addiction. This personal attention doesn’t come cheap:

  • The Standard plan costs $300 a month. For this fee, Evangelicals receive a 1-hour-a-week coaching session and daily chat access with their coach.
  • The three-month Plus plan costs $700. For this fee, Evangelicals receive a 1-hour-a-week coaching session, daily chat access with their coach, Free X3watch Premium annual subscription, FREE X3pure recovery video workshop, and FREE X3groups
  • The Ultimate plan costs $1,500 and includes 7 months of Plus plan services.

According to the XXXchurch website, having a coach will help the porn addict:

  • Identify what triggers you sexually and how to resolve those triggers in a healthy manner
  • Minimize high risk scenarios that often lead to acting out
  • Seal up the leaks in your game that cause stress, and other emotional triggers
  • Find, form and foster healthier relationships
  • Discover the secret sauce of real accountability

XXXchurch is a nonprofit, but something tells me that Craig Gross, the man behind the “ministry,” has handsomely profited from helping Evangelicals with their porn addiction.

A new player in the porn addiction game is Seth Taylor. Taylor offers a program he calls My Pilgrimage (based on the book, Feels Like Redemption). For $399, Evangelical porn addicts receive:

…a four-module approach to finding freedom from pornography and masturbation. It starts with upending everything you thought you knew and ends with complete and total freedom. This book, guidebook, video curriculum, and small group will change everything.

Like Gross, Taylor has found a way to turn sex, guilt, and shame into a moneymaking business.

For Evangelical porn addicts who can’t afford the services of XXXchurch or My  Pilgrimage, “ministries” such as Covenant Eyes offer what is advertised as “internet accountability and filtering.”  For $13.99 a month Evangelical families can use Covenant Eyes’ services to filter internet traffic and block access to pornography and other objectionable material. Each family member is given a username that allows Covenant Eyes to track their internet usage. On a daily basis a report is sent to parents detailing who viewed what. Adults who are addicted to porn can have their wives or pastors be their accountability partners. Each day their porn gatekeepers receive a report showing the addicts’ internet activity.

The next time you to go to a Sunday service at I Love Jesus Church, located at the corner of Self-Righteousness and Moral Superiority, just remember that it is likely that the pastor and some of the church members were surfing porn sites the night before. When the pastor stands behind the pulpit and preaches against masturbation, pornography, fornication, adultery, and homosexuality, don’t forget that he is likely a hypocrite, a man who says one thing but does another.

Forget all these “ministries” that prey on Evangelical fear, guilt, and shame. While I am sure there is such a thing as porn addiction, most so-called porn addicts are weak men (and women) who are unwilling to stop looking at pornography. Instead of manning up and being personally accountable for their behavior, Evangelical men are taught that they are morally crippled and helpless. Evangelicals are led to believe that without Jesus and the church, they would quickly slide down the path of moral decadence. Yet, even WITH Jesus and the church, Evangelicals generally sexually behave in a similar manner as their heathen counterparts in the world. Perhaps Jesus and salvation is not the sin antidote Evangelicals claim it is. In fact, isn’t the very existence of ministries such as XXXchurch and Covenant Eyes proof that the supposed moral superiority of Evangelicals is largely a fiction? If Evangelical pastors can’t practice what they preach, what hope is there for parishioners? (Please see Is Clergy Sexual Infidelity Rare?)

Perhaps it is time for Evangelicals to seriously question their beliefs concerning sin and human sexuality. Instead of shaming people over their use of porn, perhaps churches would be better served if parishioners were taught how to embrace their sexuality. Porn is not the problem. While I have my own ideas about porn, having viewed it a time or two myself, I know that most people can look at pornographic magazines or watch videos on YouPorn without turning into sexual miscreants. While I am sure that secular counselors work with sex/porn addicts, this obsession with pornography and sex addiction is largely an Evangelical phenomena. Perhaps Evangelicals need to take a hard look at WHY they have such a big porn and sexual misconduct problem. Perhaps Evangelical THEOLOGY, with its focus on sin, shame, guilt, fear, and Puritanical sexuality, is the problem.

For readers interested in what science has to say about porn and sex addiction, I will end this post with an excerpt from an article titled Your Porn Addiction Isn’t Real, written by The Daily Beast contributor Samantha Allen:

The last time neuroscientists Nicole Prause (Liberos LLC at UCLA) and Vaughn Steele (Mind Research Network) published on porn addiction, they received six legal threats, several calls for a retraction, and anonymous emails telling them to kill themselves.

Their controversial claim: “porn addiction” isn’t actually an addiction, at least in the sense that it does not neurologically behave like other well-documented addictions.

For therapists that treat porn consumption on an addiction model and for religious groups like Focus on the Family that are invested in maintaining a concept of “porn addiction,” the research undermines the clinical language they used in their approach to the controversial medium. But conclusive evidence for “sex addiction” and “porn addiction” continues to prove elusive.

Today, Prause, Steele, and their team of researchers are back with a new study, published in the journal Biological Psychology, that only reaffirms their previous findings: “porn addiction” and “sex addiction,” as we understand them, may not be real.

In what is now the largest neuroscience investigation of porn addiction ever conducted, Prause and a team of UCLA-based researchers asked 122 men and women to answer questions about their relationship to “visual sexual stimuli” to determine if they experienced problems as a result of their porn usage.

Whether the subjects were “problem users” or not, they were all shown several categories of images—pleasant ones like skydiving photos, neutral ones like portraits, unpleasant ones like mutilated bodies, and, of course, sexual images—while hooked up to an electroencephalogram (EEG), a device that measures electrical activity in the brain.

From this body of data, researchers examined each subject’s late positive potential (LPP), a common measure for the intensity of the brain’s emotional response at a given moment. The results were clear: Subjects who reported experiencing problems as a result of their pornography use did not display characteristically addictive brain activity when viewing sexual images.

As Greg Hajcak, a Stony Brook University researcher on the study, points out, a cocaine addict will experience “increased LLP to cocaine-related pictures”—one of the clearest indicators of psychological addiction.

But even subjects in the study who experienced “major problems” related to their porn usage didn’t display this same LLP pattern when viewing sexual images. In fact, as the researchers note, they “showed decreased brain reactions when shown the sexual images, rather than heightened activity”—the opposite of what one would expect to find in an addict’s brain.

Some self-described “porn addicts” may experience legitimate problems as a result of their habits, the researchers are quick to clarify, but neurologically speaking, they do not appear to have the same relationship to porn as a substance addict has to their drug of choice. In other words, porn and sex addictions are probably not addictions and treating them as such could prove counter-productive.

“This study appears to add to a list of studies that have not been able to identify pathology consistent with substance addiction models,” the authors conclude.

So far, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has agreed that there is insufficient evidence to support diagnoses for sex and porn addiction. In 2010, the APA rejected the inclusion of “sex addiction” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). A new condition called “hypersexual disorder” was proposed for the DSM-5 but, in 2012, the APA rejected it as well for lack of evidence.

Note

XXXchurch offers an online sex addict test for those who wonder if they are addicted to sex and/or porn.

The Mormons have a porn addiction problem, as do Catholics.

Dear Mrs. Evangelical, If Your Husband Has a Porn Habit It’s Your Fault

symptoms of porn addiction
Does this describe you? Then you are a porn addict!!

Just when I think Evangelicals have run out of ways to blame women for the weaknesses of men, I stumble across another “blame the woman” article. In an article titled What Women Don’t Understand About Men Who Struggle With Pornography, Jennifer LeClaire, senior editor at Charisma Magazine, interviewed social researcher Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross, the founder of xxxchurch.com:

Charisma News: What do women not understand?

Feldhahn: In general, women are largely unaware of what men are confronted with every day in this culture. Because we are wired differently, we don’t realize that when a man sees a woman who is dressing to overtly draw attention to a good figure, it creates an instant sexual stimulation and temptation in his brain. Even if he doesn’t want that to happen!

And many men make rigorous choices every day to look away, and take those thoughts captive. They fight down the temptation to look, and to let their thoughts go in sexual directions. But other men have gotten pretty weary of the struggle and have made poor choices. And they feel shame that they are trapped, are hiding it and don’t know how to get free.

Charisma News: Why will a woman’s ability to understand help solve the problem of porn?

Feldhahn: In my research over the years I’ve seen that if a husband is struggling with just being visual in this culture, or is actually struggling with porn in some way it is almost impossible for him to get free of it if his wife doesn’t understand or if she doesn’t see why he would even have this temptation, and isn’t supportive of him as her husband. If she’s condemning and furious instead, it certainly may be an understandable reaction—but it definitely won’t incentivize him to open up. And a man needs to open up, to get help.

Gross: We tell women that everything from everyday visual temptation all the way to hard-core porn use will only become more of a problem when it is hidden. Men have to be willing to be vulnerable and open. We have to be willing to bring stuff into the light in order to work on it.

Some men do talk about it with other guys. But in this book, we share with women that the only way a man is going to be willing to talk about it with his wife, is if it’s safe. And it is only going to feel safe if she can talk about it with him, without freaking out. But right now many men assume their wives will freak out, so they stay silent. So they stay trapped. I’m not blaming women for this, mind you. The guy should be willing to open up to other guys. But all too often, his wife is the only person he shares his heart with. So in practice, this becomes the one area that he doesn’t talk about with anyone.

Feldhahn: I’ve heard many a man say he wouldn’t dare to talk about this with his wife … but only because “she wouldn’t understand.” I haven’t found a single man who has said he doesn’t want his wife to understand. Most men said if she could somehow understand, he would actually love to know that she was on his team. That he could talk to her. That this stuff didn’t have to be hidden anymore. Honestly, that is huge.

Gross: Think about the vast difference it would make if men didn’t need to fight this battle on their own, in the dark. If they could talk about it with their wives. Getting women up to speed on this and enlisting them as partners is critical…

Once again, it’s up to a woman, a man’s wife, to help a man find the “victory” over porn. Few within the Evangelical community bother to ask if porn addiction is even a thing. Like with any behavior, someone can become obsessed and it becomes some sort of addiction. However, most men are able to look at porn without any deleterious effect. Evangelical men are told viewing porn is a sin, a habit that can only be broken through the mighty power of Jesus. Perhaps, it’s religion that’s the problem. Instead of lading guilt and fear of judgement on the heads of men, how about telling them that it is healthy and normal to view adult pornography?  At the very least, couples should have a frank, open discussion about pornography and sexual expectations. If the person’s spouse is OK with them viewing porn, and yes women watch porn too, then they no longer have to slink off to the darkness of the closet with their iPad so they can watch the latest video on YouPorn.

Puritanical morality continues to drive the debate over pornography and behaviors traditionally labeled sexual sins. As a result, both men and women often feel guilt and fear when engaging in behaviors the Bible and Pastor Bubaloo call a sin. This leads to an unhealthy view of sex and marriage and often leads to mistrust in a marriage.

Notes

When I use the word porn, I am referring to adult pornography that is recorded by consenting adults. I am a libertarian when it comes to sexuality. What consenting adults do in private is of no concern of mine, nor should it be the concern of the government.

I consider marriage to be a contract between two people. Each party must agree to the sexual parameters of the marriage. For example, a wife might say, I have no problem with you watching porn, but don’t expect me to be a sexual gymnastics performer. A husband might say, if you want to watch Magic Mike down at Chippendale’s, that’s fine. Just don’t expect me to bust a move like Magic Mike.

Pastor Corey Butler Blames Pop Up Ads for Child Pornography on His Computer

corey butler 4
“Dr.” Corey D. Butler, pastor of Jesus is the Way Christian Center, DeKalb, Illinois

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Another day, another Evangelical pastor caught in some sort of sex scandal. Today’s black collar criminal is Corey Butler, pastor of Jesus is the Way Christian Center in DeKalb, Illinois. The 34-year-old Butler was arrested after the “Illinois Crimes against Children Task Force learned child pornography was being distributed from a computer at Butler’s address.”  Butler was charged with “possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography.”  If convicted Butler could spend up to 30 years in prison. While Butler admits being on an adult porn site, he denies possessing or distributing child pornography.

Butler is represented by attorney Tom Benno. Benno stated :

“He admitted to being on the porno site, which is absolutely inappropriate because he’s a pastor. What I was led to believe is it was all pop-ups.”

“For him to get a $10,000 debond, which means $1,000 and an ankle bracelet, it leaves me to believe that it’s not a slam-dunk case. If he really was a predator, if he really was a pedophile, I wouldn’t have taken the case. But more importantly, the judge would not have let him out.”

Benno needs to use a little bit of imagination here. I can think of other reasons why Butler received such a low bond. Some judges think that pastors are pillars of virtue and morality, incapable of molesting children, sodomizing teenagers, or looking at and distributing child pornography. As regular readers of this blog know, pastors are capable of evil, immoral, despicable behavior. In fact, it seems, anecdotally, that Evangelicalism has a big problem with pastors who molest children, have sex with teenagers, carry on with church members, or surf porn sites as they prepare their Sunday sermon. Pastors are, in every way, human. They are not special, nor are immune to temptation. Just like the uncircumcised, unwashed Philistines they try to convert, pastors are capable of behaving in ways that most decent people consider “sin” or wrong.

According to Katie Smith of the Daily Chronicle:

In an interview with DeKalb police after his arrest, Butler admitted to possessing the material, as well as allowing others to view and download it, according to court records.

Butler said he now denies ever possessing or distributing child pornography, and admits only to visiting an adult porn site.

Aside from the possibility of pop-up ads, Benno said Butler might be the victim of a set-up.

“A lot of time there are stings,” he said. “There are also things called entrapment, where they go on the site, they pose as kids and the post stuff up there. All the person has to do is click once and they go, ‘we gotcha.’ ”

Ah yes, the good pastor was entrapped. While entrapment is certainly a possibility, usually those who scream entrapment are trying to avoid personal responsibility for their behavior. Butler admits to being on an adult porn site, yet he continues to preach at his church.  Hey pastor, no matter how much porn you look at during the week, we know that Jesus is with you on Sunday! Sadly, the fact that he is still preaching is a perfect illustration of how many church members, when their pastor finds himself is a sticky wicket, refuse to see the man of God as a flawed, frail human who is quite capable of doing what he is accused of. Again, pastors are not above the fray. They are not morally superior. The “qualifications” for a pastor are found in 1 Timothy 3. I’ve never met one pastor, including myself, who met the qualifications set forth by the Apostle Paul. These qualifications are not goals to obtain or ideals, The Bible says is 1 Timothy 3:2, a bishop then must be. Not hope to be, but must be. Perhaps it is time for Evangelicals and their pastors to admit that regardless of what the Bible, God, or the Apostle Paul says, pastors are cut from the same cloth as the rest of us. Some of them can behave in ways that result in them being thrown in the hoosegow, not because they were preaching the gospel, but because they are lacking morally and ethically,

In 2011, Butler faced public scrutiny over stating on school board election nominating papers that his name was Dr. Corey Butler:

Butler says he received a degree from Northern Illinois University, and master’s and doctorate degrees from New Song Christian University, although no information about a school with that name could be found online. NIU officials say they have no record of him receiving a diploma.

He said his degrees were earned through Open Door Church in Hammond, Ind., which he said is run by a college accredited through another institution. Butler said he did not remember the name of the accrediting institution.

“My degrees are exclusively religious degrees,” Butler said. “They are for the purpose of ministry. I did not go to what some would call a ‘traditionally’ accredited university such as Northwestern or things of that nature.”

Butler explained he never received a diploma after never officially withdrawing from some classes in his final semester, which then lowered his GPA, he said.

“My NIU degree is a lot of pish-posh because I fulfilled all of the graduation requirements through NIU,” Butler said.

In other words, Butler is lying. Either he has the degrees he says he has or he doesn’t. Instead of producing his diplomas, transcripts, or contact information for the schools, Butler cues the music and starts a one man dance. It’s quite clear Butler is a liar, and if he will lie about his educational background, a lie that has no legal ramifications, he most certainly will lie about possessing and distributing child pornography.

Here’s “Dr.” Butler’s info from LinkedIn:

corey butler

corey butler 2

There is no internet listing for New Song Christian University. According to the aforementioned news report, Butler said his degrees came from An Open Door Church in Hammond, Indiana. Why then are they not listed on his LinkedIn page?  Based on what information is available, it is unlikely that Butler has any degrees and is guilty of repeatedly lying about his educational acumen. Again, if a man will brazenly lie about his education, a “sin” that has no legal ramifications, one could easily conclude Butler would most certainly lie when facing criminal charges that could send him to prison. Even if Butler is found innocent, would anyone want a pastor who can’t tell the truth? Evidently, in DeKalb, Illinois, at least for the people who gather at the Holiday Inn on Sunday to hear Butler preach, the answers is YES.

This isn’t a matter of Butler making a mistake. The Jesus is the Way Christian Center website states:

Dr. Corey D. Butler, a native of Chicago Illinois was called to preach at the age of four years old. Dr. Butler formally began his ministry at the age of 12 when he preached his first sermon in 1992 Dr. Butler matriculated through the Chicago public school system and graduated from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL. Dr. Butler also completed the Masters and Doctorate program at NSCU.

During his tenure at Northern Dr. Butler organized a campus bible study ministry named Jesus Is The Way Campus Outreach Ministry. In 2003 pursuant to his graduation from N.I.U., Dr. Butler spoke with his Pastor and Spiritual Father Dr. Meredith D. Shackelford who confirmed and affirmed his pastoral call. Dr. Shackelford Later That year Dr. Butler was Officially Ordained and Installed as Founder and Senior Pastor of Jesus Is The Way Christian Center.  In the summer of 2004 Jesus Is The Way Christian Center held it first services as a church. Dr. Butler accepted his call to the office of the Apostle and now serves as establishmentarian and presiding Apostle of the Fountain of Life Fellowship.  Dr. Butler in his apostolic capacity serves as spiritual father, advisor and covering for churches nationally and internationally.

Dr. Butler has and apostolic mandate to Teach, Train, Impart, Activate and Release the members of the Body of Christ into their destinies…

As I was looking for other information about “Dr.” Corey Butler, I stumbled upon a Ministry of Helps Application for Jesus is the Way Christian Center. Evidently, if someone wants to be involved in the ministry of the church or leadership capacity they must meet the following qualifications:

corey butler 3

Evidently, “illegitimate sexual habits” doesn’t include surfing porn sites and downloading and distributing child pornography.  I also found it interesting that the application mentioned tithing twice. A perfect story, played out by numerous men in various cities, all which seem to have two crucial components, sex and money. I hate to be blunt, but it really is all about the penis and the Benjamins.

Notes

Butler’s pastor and spiritual father is “Dr.” Meredith Shackelford. Shackelford has a doctor of ministry degree degree from Friends International Christian University (FICU), an unaccredited institution incorporated in Arkansas and located in California.  According to FICU’s website:

FICU is an International University with more than forty affiliate centers across the United States and around the world. Friends International Christian University has one of the most preeminent alumni in the world. A few of our graduates are Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potters House, Bishop Clarence E. McClendon, Harvest Fire Ministries & Siloam Bible College Ron Kenoly- Award Winning Singer/Songwriter, Helen Baylor – Grammy Nominee, Ira Hilliard – The New Light World Outreach and Worship Centers, Bishop Don Meares, President of ICLC, to mention a few.

FICU offers lifetime learning credits,  a sure sign that an institution is either a diploma mill or lacks rigorous academic standards. The doctor of ministry program costs $3,600 plus the cost of books. There is no thesis requirement and the class schedule includes such heavyweight classes as:

  1. Leadership & Church Management
  2. Rational Pastoral Theology
  3. Advanced Homiletics I
  4. Advanced Homiletics II
  5. Ministry Internship
  6. Church Records
  7. The Church Library
  8. Church Officers
  9. Sacred Music Philosophy
  10. Sacred Music Methodology and Pedagogy
  11. Sacred Music Contemporary
  12. Practicum In Sacred Music
  13. Advanced Choreography II
  14. Creative Project in Religious Dance
  15. Philosophy Of Religious Dance
  16. Practicum In Religious Dance
  17. Advanced Audio Production & Editing
  18. Advanced Video Production & Editing
  19. Advanced International Missions Communications
  20. Independent Study in Audio Communications

Here’s Corey Butler’s testimony of call to the ministry (link no longer active):

In 1998 just prior to starting his college career then, Minister Corey D. Butler received a prophetic word from his pastor, Apostle Meredith Shackelford and the Prophetic Presbytery of An Open Door Church. The word stated in no uncertain terms that Min. Butler would not look for bible studies to attend but he would start them. It was from this prophetic word that Minister Butler was apostolically released to fulfill his purpose in DeKalb. Almost one year later Minister Butler was sitting with friend talking about the word when the Lord spoke to him clearly, Its Time. This word brought back the vivid words that were spoken over his life the year prior.  There was uneasiness in his spirit so he immediately conferred with his pastor for permission, instruction and direction. With the apostolic approval of his leader and his release God begin the prophetic journey of Jesus Is the Way Christian Center…

…Time progressed and God revealed himself in many ways to Minister Butler and Jesus is the Way Ministries. In May 2003 now, Elder Butler completed his matriculation at NIU and graduated. While leaving DeKalb there was a feeling of incompleteness because there was no one to continue the work that he has started.  The summer that preceded his graduation was trying. Elder Butler was in a state of confusion, but in a miracle moment at the An Open Door Churchs Anniversary Elder Butler and Apostle Shackelford walked pass each other pivoted and they both turned. Apostle Shackelford spoke two words Go Preach! It was from this prophetic word that the certainty of Jesus Is the Way Ministries was obtained.  Returning to NIU in the fall, Elder Butler proceeded to speak with his leader before he left for DeKalb.  This conversation was a sudden, yet pivotal shift for Elder Butler. While in conversation with Apostle Shackelford, God had instructed Shackelford to ordain Elder Butler and release him to start his own work. This word was not well received by Elder Butler, but after God spoke firmly and said Who are you to argue with my will! He abdicated.  The work began on the new church. As he left Shackelfords office God spoke and said Jesus Is the Way Christian Center.  It was from this place the labor began to organize the new church.  The fall of 2003, marks the beginning of Jesus Is the Way Christian Center.

Butler’s attorney, Tom Benno, is a “professional wrestler  in the Gladiator Aztecs Lucha Libre International league known as GALLI.”

Are You a Porno Freak?

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Debi Pearl Wonders What Her Husband Michael is Doing Behind Closed Doors

Snark and adult humor ahead.

According to Michael Pearl, a defender of the Quiverfull movement and of ritual child abuse, anyone who wants to work quietly and privately in his office or study is a porno freak. Here’s what Pearl had to say in the June/July 2015 No Greater Joy magazine:

Never trust your children, and don’t trust your spouse if any activity seems suspicious. My wife and my staff have complete access to my computer. The main server is beyond my reach. It maintains complete records of all my activity. I am never locked in a room by myself to “do my work without being disturbed.” I don’t own a cell phone, but if I did my wife and my staff would be on the account and be able to review all of my activities. If any adult is less open than I describe, they are porno freaks and need to repent. Don’t doubt it. “Provide things that are honest in the sight of all men.” (Romans 12:17)

No, Michael, those of us who prefer to work quietly and privately are not porno freaks. I had six children and the only way I could productively read and study was to have a private office where I could work undisturbed. I did not spend my time surfing porn sites and masturbating. It’s called discipline and self-control, traits sadly lacking in the Evangelical church. Did I ever look at porn as a pastor? Sure, but having dial-up service severely ruined the thrill. I had to wait until my post-pastor days when I got broadband service to indulge my inner porno freak. I quickly found out that, for me, watching porn was boring. Seen one blow job, seen them all. Like drinking beer–been there, done that, yuk, no thanks. (Not that I think there is anything wrong with a man or woman viewing porn as much or as little as he or she wants.)

Michael Pearl is another example of a weak pathetic Evangelical man who fears he will fall to the temptations of a porn-filled internet if left to himself. Pearl fears that, if left alone behind closed doors, he will surf on over to quiverfullbabes.com and give in to his inner porno freak. Viewing women with dresses above their ankles and daring to show their feminine shape, Pearl fears losing control and masturbating until he is as blind as Bartimaeus.

Pearl writes about all the safeguards he has in place to keep him honest, yet anyone with decent computer skills can easily hack and overcome these safeguards. Wouldn’t the safest approach be to not have a computer or the internet? The Bible says, neither give place to the devil and abstain from all appearance of evil. Surely, even booting up a computer is giving place to the evil one, right? And on this point we see the hypocrisy of Michael Pearl. He really should get rid of his computer and avoid anything that has to do with the internet. “If any Christian is unwilling to do as I prescribe, then  he is a secret porno freak,” thus saith Bruce Almighty. The reason Pearl has a computer and internet access is because it is the only way he can spread his Quiverfull STD to the masses. It is the only way he and Debi can rake in money from people who buy into their pernicious teachings.

Come on Michael…be a real Christian, get rid of your computer and cancel your dial-up service.

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Are Pedophiles Hanging out at McDonald’s and Starbucks? Donna Rice Hughes Says YES!

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Macaulay Culkin, Home Alone

If you spend any time reading Evangelical Christian websites, blogs, or news sites, you will likely read things like:

  • Making same-sex marriage legal will destroy America.
  • Removing prayer, Bible reading, and the Ten Commandments from public schools will cause moral decline.
  • Allowing abortion to continue will cause God to pour out his judgment and wrath on America.
  • Barack Obama is a Kenyan-born liberal, socialist, communist Muslim who plans to institute Sharia Law, set up death panels, and arrest Christians. Besides, he’s black and his middle name is Hussein.
  • Rock music is Satan’s music and listening to it open up your mind to demonic oppression and possession.
  • ISIS is setting up camps in the U.S.
  • Federal government is planning to invade and take over Texas
  • Jesus is coming soon.
  • The rapture, it could happen today.
  • Atheists, agnostics, humanists, Buddhists, Hindus, Shintoists, Taoists, pagans, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientologists, liberal Christians, Roman Catholics, and anyone else who is not an Evangelical will go to hell when they die. God will then fit them with a body that is capable of withstanding fire and torment, and then he will torture them for eternity.

What do all these things have in common? Fear! Fear is the fuel that powers the Evangelical machine. Without it, Evangelicalism dies. The fear-mongering tends to increase when a Democrat is president, and since Barack Obama is a Demoncrat and he is a descendent of Ham and Ishmael, fear levels are at an all time high.

Fear also generates donations. Without fear, Evangelical church members are less likely to give money to their church. Parachurch groups like Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, American Family Association, Parent Television Council, Liberty Counsel, American Center for Law and Justice, Home School Legal Defense Association, Alliance Defending Freedom, Concerned Women For America, Faith & Freedom Coalition, American Right to Life, Eagle Forum, National Organization for Marriage, Christian Coalition of America, Operation Rescue, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality,Worldnet Daily, and  Oath Keepers, along with thousands of Evangelical church and pastors, use fear to motivate the faithful to give their money to God, God being the church and parachurch organization. And every night, on millions of Evangelical TV screens, Faux News, Pat Robertson, John Hagee, Rod Parsley, Franklin Graham, Jack Van Impe, and James Robison stir the fear pot, hoping the fearful Evangelicals will give them money.

Fear the blacks, fear the browns, fear the homosexuals, fear the atheists….and keep them donations coming.

Every day, it is something new to fear. In today’s American Family Association’s action alert, the new fear is unrestricted Wi-Fi at McDonald’s and Starbucks. According to Donna Rice Hughes, CEO of Enough is Enough and the woman who was accused of banging Presidential hopeful Gary Hart, there are predators and pedophiles lurking at your local McDonald’s and Starbucks. Here’s some of what Hughes had to say:

At many restaurants and stores, free public Wi-Fi comes with your morning coffee or your child’s Happy Meal. While the convenience of this connectivity allows many to work or surf the net for fun at public cafés or fast food joints, a growing number of people use public Wi-Fi to view pornography.

With public Wi-Fi serving as an unwitting channel for pornography to creep into our children’s field of vision and attracting felons – all in public squares – large corporations continue to ignore the public outcry for change. A growing movement, National P*rn Free Wi-Fi Campaign, has been calling on Starbucks and McDonald’s as early as March 2014 to filter their Wi-Fi networks…

…So what’s the big deal with unfiltered public Wi-Fi? What happens if Starbucks and McDonald’s doesn’t do something to make their networks safer?

Imagine teenage girls chatting over a Frappuccino after school, just one table over from someone browsing sexually explicit materials. Children in the play area can be just five feet from a man, sitting in plain view, watching pornographic films. These are not simply potential scenarios; they have already happened.

Perhaps more dangerous is that, according to federal officers, the anonymity of public Wi-Fi attracts criminals to engage in sexual solicitation of children and trafficking of child pornography right there in public places. On December 29, 2014, USA Today reported the arrest of a registered sex offender while he was allegedly downloading child pornography at a Hillsboro, Washington Starbucks…

…he availability of unfiltered public Wi-Fi also means that children and teenagers whose parents turn on filtering controls on their home internet service can bypass those parental controls and freely access pornographic materials in public. Even when they are not looking for explicit material, a misspelling on search engines could expose them to images or otherwise lead them to pornographic sites – everything from adult pornography (the kind of images that appear in Playboy and Penthouse) to federally prosecutable obscene material depicting graphic sex acts, live sex shows, orgies, bestiality and violence. Even illegal content depicting the actual sexual abuse of a child (child pornography) — once only found on the black market — is instantly available and accessible on the Internet…

…Unfiltered public Wi-Fi poses real threat to our society, and it’s high time that businesses take measures to make their Wi-Fi policies family-friendly and safe for their customers…

…A mom brings her kids to get a Happy Meal, and there’s a man in an adjoining booth enjoying hard-core pornography or even child pornography? Law enforcement reports this has happened. If parents understood that strangers can view hard-core pornography and child pornography in front of their kids in these establishments, I believe they would join us in saying, “Enough is enough!”…

Has anyone ever sat in a public restaurant or coffee shop and used free Wi-Fi to look at porn? Sure. But, more than a few Evangelical pastors have used their church’s Wi-Fi/internet service to look at porn too. Should we demand that all churches be required to have porn blocking filters on their internet service?  Why are people like Hughes not outraged over porn surfing pastors?

There are likely more predators and pedophiles in the church house than there is at McDonald’s or Starbucks. Ask the Family Research Council about  resident pervert Josh Duggar. And dare we mention the Catholic church sex scandals, the Southern Baptist and Independent Fundamentalist Baptist sex scandals? American Christian churches and parachurch groups are infested with men (and a few women) who are sexual predators, yet Donna Rice Hughes and the American Family Association is worried about someone viewing a porn site at the home of Ronald McDonald?

While I am sure somewhere in America someone is now using McDonald’s or Starbucks free Wi-Fi to gaze at pornography, I highly doubt that it “poses a real threat to our society.” This is little more than shaking the Evangelical money tree hoping some cash shakes free.

It’s not up to businesses to make sure that children and teenagers responsibly use free Wi-Fi. If people like Hughes are so afraid that their children are going to catch a glimpse of a YouPorn video or Victoria’s Secret’s website, then I suggest they keep their children near them at all time. I suggest that  they not allow them to take their smartphone or tablet outside their porn-safe home. It is up to PARENTS to make sure their children and teenagers don’t see things that are inappropriate. It’s up to PARENTS to make sure their children and teenagers use the internet and public Wi-Fi responsibly.

Businesses that offer free Wi-Fi have the ability to control what kind of sites can be viewed on their network. It takes all of five minutes to set up OPEN DNS or some other filtering software. Should businesses use filtering on their public network? Probably, but if they don’t, then parents have to be PARENTS and make sure their children and teenagers can’t access inappropriate material. It’s not the businesses fault or Obama’s faul  if 13-year-old Johnny uses public Wi-Fi to look at porn or catch a quick glimpse of a scantily clad model. If a parent wants to make sure Johnny lives in a porn-free world, I suggest they NEVER allow him to use a computer or smartphone.

The real issue I have here is with Hughes’s fear-mongering. I seriously doubt this is a problem, and Hughes provides no evidence that McDonald’s or Starbucks has a sexual predator or customer porn surfing problem. I’ve never walked into a McDonald’s and wondered if there were perverts sitting there watching porn, hoping they will have the opportunity to sexually molest someone’s child in the McDonald’s restroom. I have, however, walked into Christian churches and wondered if there were any sexual predators working in junior church or the nursery.

We have house-wide Wi-Fi access at our house. We have a main router/access point, two access points, and two Apple Airport Express. This weekend, there will be over 20 people in our home and many of them will have a tablet or smartphone. They will most likely use our Wi-Fi to access the internet. Because a teenager, several children, and my daughter with Down Syndrome will have access to our Wi-Fi, I use OPEN DNS to block certain sites. You see, that’s what a responsible grandparent and parent does. I’m not waiting for the government or Time Warner to block these sites.

It’s up to the adult internet user to determine what is appropriate. Donna Rice Hughes likely considers the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition to be pornographic. I don’t. She’s free to block any site that she thinks is inappropriate, as I am I and every other internet user. We have all the tools we need to block whatever it is we don’t want our children to see. (or our husband, wife, or pastor)

Perhaps the real reason that Donna Rice Hughes wants to block internet access is so no teenage boy ever has an opportunity to see:

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Clay Yarborough and the Evangelical Fear of Breasts

angela strassheim naked pregnant woman
Angela Strassheim Photo of of Naked Pregnant Woman

For those of us raised in the Evangelical/fundamentalist church, we are quite familiar with the fear preachers and church leaders have of exposed breasts and cleavage. Women are oft reminded to cover up, lest the weak, pathetic men of the church throw them down in the middle aisle of the church and ravage them. As the recent GRACE report on sexual abuse and rape at Bob Jones University reveals, women are viewed as temptresses out to beguile helpless men. This kind of thinking is found in the Bible:

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life.Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. (Proverbs 6:23-29)

For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death. (Proverbs 7:6-27)

Clay Yarborough, 33,  is president of the Jacksonville, Florida city council. Yarborough, an Evangelical, attends First Baptist Church, a  Southern Baptist congregation. Fundamentalist Mac Brunson is his pastor,  Recently, Yarborough objected to the city providing funding for an art display that included a picture of a naked pregnant woman on a couch. Yarborough stated:

“I am trying to promote a positive moral climate in our city and though some will defend the pornography by labeling it ‘art,’ we need boundaries in order to be healthy, especially where it concerns our children.”

Ah yes, think of the children.

Yarborough’s puritanical objection resulted in a threefold increase in attendance at the Museum of Contemporary Art exhibit.

The 14 photographs in the exhibit were shot by photographer Angela Strassheim. Asked her opinion of Yarborough’s objection, Strassheim said:

“The man is entitled to his own opinion,But I don’t think it in any way is pornography. Maybe he hasn’t seen enough porn.”

The more enlightened in Jacksonville rightly poked fun at Yarborough’s fear of breasts. Here’s a picture of a protester that was posted on The Folio Weekly:

ban boobs
Picketer Supports Exhibit with a Ban Boobs from City Hall Sign

As a photographer, I think the photo celebrates the beauty of womanhood and pregnancy. It was tastefully done and in no way is it pornography. Unlike Yarborough, I have seen porn and this ain’t it. (though I highly doubt, being the good Baptist boy that he is, that Yarborough has never, ever seen porn)

The Museum of Contemporary Art issued a press release stating:

The Cultural Council stands ready to defend the artistic and curatorial choices of our cultural service grantees.

Council President Yarborough’s objection to a photography exhibit featuring the human form, which has been present in museums, homes and galleries since the dawn of time, is unfortunate and could be viewed as an effort to stifle artistic expression. This particular exhibit, which celebrates the “transitional points” in life – “the precious, fleeting nature of childhood and adolescence” – opened to rave reviews last week. We’re proud to have an organization of MOCA’s caliber in our community and we stand behind it, it’s executive and the artist behind this amazing exhibit.

Mark Woods, writing for the Florida Times-Union, sums it up best when he writes (link no longer active);

It was almost noon on Black Friday. While many people undoubtedly were busy doing something wholesome, like preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ with a new big-screen TV, I headed downtown, paid my $8 and went inside a building to see some porn.

Or at least that’s how the president of the Jacksonville City Council views what’s in the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville these days…

…We do know this: There is an image in MOCA of a nude woman lying on a couch, her breasts and pregnant belly visible.

That’s right. A female nude with bare breasts and a round belly. In a museum. Shocking, right?

From the Cummer to the Louvre, pretty much every museum in the world has more than a few nudes, male and female, sometimes even together, sometimes holding naked babies. And have you seen that chapel in Italy? Nudes everywhere. Even the ceiling. Not sure what porn-peddler was responsible for that.

Even by itself, without any context whatsoever, it’s hard to imagine the photo in MOCA coming anywhere close to the legal definition of pornography. And the photo isn’t hanging by itself. It is one of 14 in a new exhibit on the towering atrium wall. The basic themes of this exhibit are — please cover your young one’s eyes — childhood and motherhood…

…I’m not exactly sure what Yarborough wants to see hanging in the atrium, what will avoid his personal version of the “I know it when I see it” definition of pornography. Something without nudity, I presume. Maybe a giant still life of fruit. (Well, as long as there’s not two bananas together. That clearly would be wrong.) Or better yet, how about some nice velvet art? But, please, no dogs playing poker. That only would glorify the issue we have with canine gambling.

In all seriousness, this City Council and its president had been on such a roll. I was preparing to come back to the paper and heap praise on them for doing a lot of hard, serious work and avoiding the kind of silliness that has marred the past. But now it appears we’re taking a detour back down Silly Street.

It would be one thing if Yarborough wanted to argue that tax dollars shouldn’t be used for anything related to the arts. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that, but I’d be able to respect that position more than the idea that tax dollars should be pulled from this museum because of this photo.

If the councilman wants to bemoan taxpayer-funded titillation, he might want to check out a football game or concert or a lot of other things that, while still far from pornography, might not send the best message to kids…

When this story first came out I posted it to my wife’s Facebook page, complete with the photo of nude pregnant lady. Within seconds, several people reported the posting to Facebook. We suspect that the offended are several of our fundamentalist extended family members. Go back and look at the photo again. Is there anything that suggests impropriety or that a teenager seeing it would be harmed (since the minimum age for a Facebook account is 13)? This is silly, isn’t it? Yet, countless Evangelicals have this irrational fear of breasts. Preachers have spent endless hours reminding women to cover up lest the poor, pathetic men of the church be led astray. Perhaps it is time to teach men to embrace their sexuality. Stop treating men like they are helpless and stop treating women like they are temptresses out to bed any man who dares to gaze upon her comeliness. We do live in the 21st century, yes?

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