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.
Here’s my response, which I submitted to the newspaper today.
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.
Previous articles about Patrick Holt
2009-2019: Local Responses to My Letters to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent-News (search for Patrick Holt or Grover Hill)
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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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