For the past month, I’ve been recovering from a bike crash.
After getting stitched up in a local hospital, I was transferred to a larger facility with a trauma unit. Just after I arrived, a doctor asked me a series of questions about my health: No, I’ve never smoked. Yes, I drink: one or two glasses of wine or beer with supper, and spirits on rare occasions. No serious or chronic illnesses. Two surgeries: the first, twenty-five years ago, for a deviated septum; the second, fifteen years later, to align my genitals with my gender identity.
Thankfully, no one raised an eyebrow over my last answer. I think he, and the nurses in the room, realized that I was speaking slowly because I was tired and in pain, but that I was coherent. Ironically, that may have been exactly what raised that doctor’s alarm when I unequivocally answered one of the mental-health questions: Yes, I have attempted suicide. But, I explained, not recently: I tried to kill and caused other kinds of harm to myself because of some experiences—including sexual abuse—in my childhood.
The doctor called in someone else —a psychiatrist, I believe. They asked, several times, whether my accident was not an accident. I insisted that my mishap was just that: an unfortunate circumstance. One of the nurses, a native of a Caribbean island, looked into my eyes. She interjected: “No, she wasn’t trying to kill herself. And she’s not going to try anything like that now.”
The other nurse in the room—also from the Caribbean—nodded. The doctor and psychiatrist stopped their conversation and note-taking. The psychiatrist glanced toward them, then at me. “I don’t think she needs to be under watch,” he declared. The doctor scribbled something, which I took as agreement.
Then he asked whether I wanted a chaplain. No, I’m not religious, I explained. I didn’t mention my atheism because I didn’t want to risk a debate for which, at that moment, I didn’t have the energy. I glanced back at the nurse who advocated for my sanity. She looked at me, knowingly.
Two days later, I went home. The nurse and I have stayed in touch. “It was a priest, wasn’t it?”
She didn’t have to pose it as a question. She knows; I think she knew it that night we met in the trauma center.
I’d like to know how she knew. Or do I already know?
Here in the United States, we have the same problems you find everywhere: drug abuse, domestic violence, you name it. One of our problems, though, is that we sweep it under the rug.
Such an admission would be unusually forthright, if not startlingly frank, in almost any place or time. But I recall it so clearly, more than two decades after I heard it, because of the person who uttered it.
He had hired me a week earlier—to work with children from some of the families he was talking about. It wouldn’t take long for me to realize that those problems, and others, had much to do with the very existence of that school.
The boys in that Orthodox yeshiva had been kicked out of other Orthodox yeshivas, almost invariably because of their behavior. I’d heeded the warnings of the man who hired me—the school’s head rabbi, whom I’ll call Halphen—about the “games” the boys might play. They played them, and I wasn’t surprised. (After all, I was a teenaged boy once!) I soon realized, however, that most of the boys would do no better in that school, in part because the main tool the school had for helping the boys was Halakhic law. More important, though, the boys—at least one, anyway—had problems even more serious than the ones Rabbi Halphen mentioned, and “the community,” as he liked to call it, was a cause.
Being a non-Jewish teacher (and a Catholic school alumnus) in an Orthodox yeshiva was, to say the least, an interesting experience. So was being a transgender woman—who was still living as a man—in an all-male environment. Of course, the boys didn’t know about my identity, though some thought I was gay. In any event, I was an outsider.
That meant the boys both looked down on, and even expressed hatred for me, but looked to me for what they couldn’t find from their rabbis and parents, or the other adults in their community. I think now of a dynamic James Baldwin described: whites who saw blacks as their inferiors went to those same blacks for love when no one else was watching them. When groups of boys were together, they mocked my goyishness, but when they encountered me one-on-one, they wanted to talk.
Naturally, they wanted to talk about wishes and dreams that were taboo in their community. One confessed his crush on a Puerto Rican girl. (As someone who’s dated Hispanics of all gender identities, and was married to one, I sympathized.) Others thought they might be gay or simply didn’t want the kind of family life their community proscribed for them: “You get married, start a business, have a bunch of kids, double your weight and get a heart attack,” as one boy mused. Still others wanted careers that weren’t part of the Orthodox menu. And there was the junior who wanted to know what I thought of Allen Ginsberg’s poetry.
One boy, though, haunts me to this day. I’ll call him Moishe. He seemed to circle around me for months before he finally asked whether we could talk during his lunch break. I agreed. Moishe expressed some of the usual complaints about the restrictiveness of his community. All along, I had a feeling he wanted to say something else, but not what he asked a few days later: Could I adopt him?
I explained that I couldn’t which, of course, he knew—but as I suspected, his question was a pretext to talk some more. Which we did, several more times over the weeks. Then, one sunny Spring afternoon, he came to me in tears. “I want to die!” he exclaimed.
“Have you talked to anybody else?”
He shook his head. “I can’t,” he sobbed. “They’ll never believe me.”
I knew that “they” meant any authority figure in his life: his parents, his other adult relatives, the rabbis in the school and the ones in his synagogue. Nor would anyone else in his synagogue. “They’re all in on it,” he cried.
My spine tingled. This was years before I talked about my own abuse, but I knew he wanted to talk about his. “Who?” I asked.
Moishe then told me about the rabbi in his synagogue who was always calling him in to help with one thing or another. My guess is that his parents thought the rabbi knew he was a “problem” child and they were grateful for the interest he showed. The rabbi took advantage of that trust and use the pretext of errands and chores to make contact with the boy. I am not talking merely about “face time;” I mean, literally, contact—in areas that should be touched only by medical professionals with gloved hands.
Although I would not talk about my own abuse, or name the priest who abused me, until many years later, I had an overwhelming, physically aching, sense of déjà vu. So many things I experienced felt the same way, as a Catholic school alumnus and transgender woman who was still living as a man, during the year I taught in that Orthodox yeshiva. And when I hear about sex abuse in the Catholic church or any other religious institution, I think of Moishe—and the words of Rabbi Halphen, who hired me to teach Moishe and other boys who were living with the issues that were being “swept under the rug.”
I previously mentioned that Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) luminaries Bob Gray Sr., retired pastor of Longview Baptist Temple, Longview Texas, and Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, Arizona are currently in a pissing war over whether homosexuals are “born that way.” Accusatory winds have blown the conflict into far corners of the IFB universe. The burning question facing these defenders of the one true and holy Baptist faith is this: Are homosexuals genetically born homosexual (nature or nurture)?
That IFB preachers are even considering this question is astounding, a sign that LGBTQ people are making themselves known in IFB churches and families. (Please read The Jonathan Nichols Story: Growing Up Gay in the IFB Church.) While there have always been gays in IFB churches, these tortured souls were buried so deeply in the dark recesses of church closets that there was little chance they would be discovered.
In the years since I left the ministry and Christianity, I have reconnected with several men who were children in one of the churches I pastored. These men are proud, out-of-the closet, sexually active gays. My mind goes back to the days when these men were young boys and teens who were forced to listened to preaching — not only mine, but that of evangelists and other guest speakers — who regularly excoriated homosexuals for vile, deviant, reprobate sexual behavior. While I have apologized to these men for my hateful, bigoted preaching, I can’t help but wonder how much damage my words did to them.
Over the years, a handful of LGBTQ people wandered into many of the various churches I pastored. While they didn’t announce their sexuality as they came through church doors, over time it became clear that they were physically attracted to the same sex. Sadly, once the whispers of gossips turned into accusations, I was put into unenviable position of deciding how to deal with them. At the time, I believed that LGBTQ sexual behavior was sinful, and, in some instances, a sign that people were reprobates. (Please see Out of the Closet, Into the Light: According to Steven Anderson, I Am a Sodomite.) I regularly preached against sexual sins, giving adultery and fornication as much attention as homosexuality. The difference was how I went about preaching against homosexuality. Shamefully, I must admit that I used derogatory labels when preaching against homosexuality — words such as queer, homo, sodomite, and fag. I refused to use the word gay because I believed that there was nothing “gay” about the homosexual lifestyle. I remember — oh, I wish I could forget! — when the AIDS epidemic came to light that I let congregants know that AIDS was God’s judgment of homosexuals. Had I remained an IFB preacher, I have no doubt that I would have been staunchly opposed to same sex marriage.
LBGTQ people didn’t stay around long in the churches I pastored (with the exception of the men mentioned above, who were forced by their parents to listen to my preaching for years). When whispers turned to accusations, I confronted these “perverts,” demanding they leave the church. In one church, a gay man visited for months before it was discovered that he was a pedophile. Several fathers came to me and said this man was inviting their young sons to spend weekends with him at his nearby farm. Livid, I went to this man and told him he was not allowed to attend the church. When he objected, I threatened to physically throw him out of the church. He left, never to return. In retrospect, I deeply regret how I handled the matter. If the man was indeed a pedophile, I should have reported him to law enforcement. If he wasn’t, I should have tried to help him, though I doubt that there was much I could do because of my homophobic beliefs. That he was accused of being a pedophile was enough to reinforce the stereotype believed by many congregants: homosexuals are child molesters.
Thirty years later, some LGBTQ people in IFB churches are no longer willing to sit by and silently suffer while their preachers rail against homosexuality and same-sex marriage. I have always wondered why anyone would willingly submit themselves to psychological assaults by supposed “men of God.” Children and teenagers have no choice, but adults are free to flee the verbal assaults and attacks on their person. Why stay?
As American society becomes more LGBTQ-friendly, IFB churches are confronted with how best to minister to people whom they consider to be sexual deviants. The Steven Andersons of the IFB world think attacking LGBTQ people in their sermons is the best way to “reach” them. I highly doubt such preaching is reaching anyone for Jesus. In fact, I doubt that reaching “sodomites” for Jesus is the goal of men such as Steven Anderson and Bob Gray Sr. As anyone raised in the IFB church movement can attest, attacking homosexuals from the pulpit is a surefire way to get lots of rounds of “amen!” Preaching against certain sins will always invigorate the righteous, and sexual sins are crowd favorites (even though we now know that IFB congregants are not immune from all of the behaviors they deem sexual misconduct, including homosexuality, pedophilia, incest, adultery, and fornication).
Realizing that the cultural tide is turning against IFB churches and their incessant prattle against sexual sin — particularly homosexuality — men such as Johnny Nixon and Bob Gray Sr. have cooked up a novel reinterpretation of what the Bible says about homosexuality. Now, these men still believe engaging in homosexual sex, or any sex outside of marriage, for that matter, is a sin, but they now admit that homosexuals are “born that way.” These “eunuchs” are expected to refrain from same-sex sexual behaviors and relationships, and if they are willing to do so, they will be considered Christians. I suspect that the greater goal is to “convert” homosexuals, helping them to see that only by switching sides can they ever know true sexual fulfillment and romantic love. I am left to wonder why, if it is God who determines sexuality, does he make some people homosexual while at the same time saying that homosexual sex is a criminal act worthy of execution. (I refrain from using the LGBTQ acronym because the IFB preachers in question do not consider all sexual identities equally. Their primary focus is on gay men. I know of no IFB church that is accepting of bisexuality or transgenderism.)
I was surprised today while listening to a sermon by Pastor Steven Anderson (website). There is an ungodly book (published in 2015) titled, “BORN THAT WAY AFTER ALL,” authored by Dr. David J. Nixon and R. G. Hamm. They also have a website at BornThatWay.org. The book is unscriptural and promotes a wicked philosophy of tolerance for sin. What surprised me is that the website lists Dr. Bob Gray Sr., Pastor Jeff Owens and Pastor Paul Chappell, as being supporters of the book and ministry. The book is an ungodly perversion of the Scriptures!!!
I am trying to understand why Dr. Gray and Pastor Owens would approve of something evil like this. Both of these good men have counseled tens of thousands of people combined throughout their church ministries. So I tread lightly and don’t want to criticize them in my article, this is not my intent. However, I will voice my opinion of this ungodly book “BORN THAT WAY AFTER ALL” and their ungodly “BORNTHATWAY.ORG” website. The book is clearly a sinful attempt to bridge the gap between the ungodly homosexual community and the New Testament Church. Dr. David Nixon and his co-author are trying to straddle-the-fence on the issue of homosexuality. As far as I’m concerned, they are pulling on the same rope as the Devil.
David J. Nixon and R. G. Hamm base their strange doctrine on Matthew 19:12, “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” Being a eunuch from a mother’s womb simply means, for one reason or another, that a man is born impotent. The Greek word for “eunuch” in Matthew 19:12 is eunouchos, meaning, “a castrated person (such being employed in Oriental bed chambers); by extension an impotent or unmarried man; by implication a chamberlain (state officer).” Here’s some helpful Bible commentary on the topic, “EUNUCH.”
The Bible mentions eunuchs, who are born “THAT WAY” from the womb, which is equivalent to castration. This is not homosexual lust! A eunuch “FROM THE WOMB” cannot procreate, that is, cannot have children. A homosexual can procreate (with a woman if they so choose). Obviously, homosexuals do not come “FROM THE WOMB”! And as I will evidence to you later, many people who profess to be “heterosexual” admit to committing homosexual acts at times. This tosses a monkey-wrench into David Nixon’s retarded hypothesis! Homosexuality is a sin, and Christians won’t be able to help sodomites unless they address the issue as such. God only saves THE UNGODLY (Romans 4:5-6). It is evil to tell homosexuals that there’s really no problem, because God made them “THAT WAY AFTER ALL,” intending for them to become celibate as eunuchs for God. That doesn’t solve the problem, which is, HOMOSEXUALS ARE SINNERS in need of the new birth. Unless a homosexual is willing to confess to God, “I AM A SINNER,” they cannot be saved. You’ve got to admit that you are a sinner to believe the Gospel. You need to know what you’re being saved from!
On their “BORN THAT WAY AFTER ALL” website, they say:
“The gay community is not the battle field, they are the mission field. They are not the enemy, they are the mission itself. We are in a spiritual battle, but if you view them as the enemy, you are fighting the wrong war (Ephesians 6:12). Our book “Born That Way After All” explains God’s unique design and purpose for those who are not attracted to the opposite sex.”
Although I agree that the gay community is a mission field, from a soul-winning perspective; I totally disagree when such reasoning is used to silence Christians about the evils of homosexuality which is targeting, recruiting and hurting America’s children. Hugh Hefner’s perverted Playboy business could be called “a mission field” too. We could say that the dirty magazine business is not the enemy as well. But does that mean preachers and Christians should be silent about such evils? Of course not. Now, more than ever, pastors and Christians need to expose the evils of homosexuality in our society. Silence is not golden, it is yellow cowardice. The false idea that exposing homosexuality as a filthy sin will hinder reaching the gay community for Christ is a big lie!
Homosexuality Is A Filthy Deathstyle (homosexuals account for 75% of all Syphilis cases!). Placing an adopted child into the hands of two homosexual parents (perverts) ought to be considered criminal child abuse! But our nation’s ungodly courts disregard God’s Word. Americans can legally commit adultery, film themselves in bed having sex and upload it to the internet, get drunk, murder their children by abortion, homosexuals can marry and children are forced into their care by adoption, et cetera. In eternity, God will hold people accountable for even their words (Matthew 12:36).
The insane notion that believers will never convert homosexuals to Christianity by calling them “perverts” is totally untrue. When the rich man in Hell begged Abraham to send Lazarus from the dead to warn his five brothers, “lest they also come into this place of torment” (Luke 16:28). Abraham plainly said that if people won’t listen to the Word of God, THEY WON’T GET SAVED, even if they see miracles and supernatural signs. “Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:29-32).
The ungodly book effectively attempts to silence Christians to the evils of homosexuality, portraying sodomites as a needy group who ought to be ministered to (informed that God really made them to be eunuchs) and otherwise left alone. So while naive preachers are spending the rest of their life reaching out to gays with the Gospel, America’s children are being homosexualized. If churches must become worldly to attract the homosexual community, then they’re coming to apostate religion, not Jesus Christ.
Although I disagree with Pastor Steve Anderson’s lack of love for the homosexual community, I must say that Brother Anderson COMES MUCH CLOSER TO BEING RIGHT than today’s compromised preachers who hobnob with gays and won’t preach against them!!! HOMOSEXUALITY IS EVIL. You’re NEVER going to win sodomites to Christ by tolerating their sins. A fundamentalist preacher ought to be a balance of grace and truth, of strength and beauty! Jude 1:22, “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” John 7:7, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” The Word of God condemns the sinful world. That’s why gays reject the King James Bible, changing it into a lie (Romans 1:25). All of the modern PERversions of the Bible completely remove the word “sodomite.” The unscriptural website “BORN THAT WAY AFTER ALL” says they “do not necessarily endorse the term… ‘homosexual’ for several Biblical reasons.”  These are wicked people, who are trying to silence fundamentalist Christians about the evils of homosexuality. The idea that preaching and standing against open public wickedness, is a form of hate, is as satanic as can be!!!
I love Pastor Jeff Owens and Dr. Bob Gray Sr. I promote their sermons and ministries, because my heart’s desire is to help others in the Lord. I don’t throw people away because I disagree with them on something. I don’t stop promoting someone because they don’t agree with me. My faithful web visitors know that I often promote and expose someone at the same time. Most preachers won’t do that. Dr. Hyles invited Dr. R. G. Lee to preach at Pastor’s School in Hammond, knowing that Dr. lee was in the compromised Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Hyles didn’t demand that someone agree with him 100% on everything, to be his friend. I like that! There’s not one man that I promote whom I agree with on everything. I want to help others. If I find something that helps me, I want to share it with you also, to help you too. YOU are my Epistle. YOU are the book that I am writing. 2nd Corinthians 3:2, “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.” YOU are my treasure!
Having said that, I love the preaching and teaching of Dr. Bob Gray Sr. and Dr. Jeff Owens. Albeit, I do not agree with them in their support of the “BORN THAT WAY AFTER ALL” book and “BORNTHATWAY.ORG” website, where they are listed. I am 100% in agreement with Pastor Steven Anderson on this issue, because I believe Brother Anderson’s position is 100% Biblical. Romans 1:24-32 plainly condemns the homosexual deathstyle!!! No one is born with a Sodomite tendency. Homosexuality is abnormal, against nature. We are all born with a sin-nature. If the sin-nature is allowed to flourish, uncontrolled and unbridled by moral restraint, anything evil is possible. America was doomed the day in 1963 that the King James Bible was removed from our nation’s classrooms.
All human beings are born with a sin-nature. Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” We are ALL sinners by nature and by choice. A child doesn’t have to be taught to steal. They have to be taught to be honest. Children must be trained and taught the Word of God. And yet, even having grown up in the best home, with the most faithful Christian parents, enrolled in a great Christian school, attending a strong Bible-believing church—They may still ruin their lives and choose to go into a reckless deathstyle of sin. Having good Christian parents does not guarantee godly children. Certainly, training up a child in the admonition and nurture of the Lord stacks everything in their favor when they become adults, but they are still sinners by nature and by choice. What a proper upbringing DOES give a child is a strong FOUNDATION for the rest of their life. So if the house of their life burns down one day, it can be rebuilt!!! Amen!
No one is “BORN THAT WAY AFTER ALL.” I am not trying to be mean or unkind to anyone. If you are not saved, you’ll never get the victory over sin. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” If you have homosexual desires as a believer, then there is a Bible verse for you. 2nd Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
You can read all of Stewart’s homophobic rant here.
Stewart’s website features countless articles against this or that sexual sin, leaving me to say “The [man] doth protest too much, methinks.” I so wish that there were a God and I wish there really were a Jack Chick-like This Was Your Life final judgment. Can you imagine what would come rolling out IFB closets come judgment day? All of us have things that we have done that we never want to be brought to light. All of us have done things that we regret or wish we had done differently. The good news is that our embarrassments are safely stored in the back of our closets right next to our white buckskin shoes, platform shoes, frayed blue jeans, maxi dresses, and our dad’s collection of old Playboy magazines.
With one exception, I oppose prying open the closets of others, revealing secrets long buried in the dark recesses of people’s lives. We all have a right to have secrets, things that are no one’s business but ours. I do my best to write openly and honestly about my past and present life. But, there are some things that I can’t or won’t talk about (such as being sexually molested as a boy and kissing a boy as a teenager) because I find these events embarrassing, even fifty plus years after the fact.
The one exception I make is for preachers, politicians, and church leaders who deign to be the voices of moral authority; those who demand the Ten Commandments be posted on school walls and self-righteously demand their fellow citizens obey the anti-human moral code found in the Bible (as interpreted by them according to a literalistic, Fundamentalist hermeneutic). These defenders of virginity, the anus, and all things sexual, often don’t practice what they preach. While these “men of God” are preaching against adultery, fornication, pornography, homosexuality, masturbation, short skirts, tight pants, teenage petting, and lustful glances, they are often wallering in the very sins they condemn. (Behaviors they call sins, anyway. I wouldn’t call these behaviors sins, depending, of course, on context. Sins? No. Bad Behaviors? Maybe.) For these self-absorbed preachers of God’s plan of intercourse — Evangelical, heterosexual, married, missionary position only — I am all for exposing their secrets. It is for this reason I write the Black Collar Crime series. The sooner the truth is known — that preachers are no different from the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world — the better. Imagine how different things would be if Evangelical preachers swung wide the doors of their closets and openly talked about what is buried deep within. I am not talking about criminal behavior here. Sexual predators who hide in plain sight as pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and church leaders should be aggressively pursued and prosecuted. The secrets I am talking about are the things that are common to man. Imagine how different Sunday morning church would be if preachers admitted that they are human, burdened with the same desires, wants, needs, emotions, and feelings as everyone else. Granted, Evangelicals would have to re-write the Bible and abandon previously held certainties for them to truly reenter the human race. As long as they maintain that the Bible and Christianity are morally superior and demand everyone live according to their interpretation of a bronze-age religious text, preachers shouldn’t be surprised when people take delight in their moral failures.
Why do some people lack a desire for the opposite sex? They feel weird, like an outcast, often getting bullied or ridiculed for being different. Sometimes they feel trapped in their own bodies with nowhere to turn as they search for answers. Society tells them that they must be gay. But is that the only sensible explanation? In Born That Way After All, you will see the Biblical fact of men and women who were created different and special—unique servants of the Lord. God has created every human being with a unique purpose: do you know yours? TO PASTORS AND CHURCH LEADERS: How would it feel growing up and knowing there is something different about you? You might be surprised if you knew how many families and friends in your own congregation struggle. They don’t want to. They despise it. They need your help. Are you willing to provide that help? Are you prepared to answer their questions? This book can help you learn how to help them—we guarantee it. Remember God’s declaration in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Let’s destroy the void and help the hurting.
Nixon’s book has a two-star rating. Sixty-seven percent of reviewers gave the book a one-star review. However, proving yet again that IFB zealots lack reading skills, only one of the negative reviews came from someone who bought the book. No need to read the book, right? Just read the B-i-b-l-e, yes that’s the book for me. I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-i-b-l-e. BIBLE!!.
A transgender Bluefield man who worked in youth ministry at local Episcopal churches was arrested Tuesday and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a juvenile.
James Lilly, 24, was charged with one count of incest, one count of second-degree sexual assault and 31 counts of first-degree sexual abuse, Detective K.L. Adams, with the Bluefield Police Department, said.
Adams said the victim in the case is a juvenile female. He said the abuse began in 2009 when the victim was 9 to 10 years old, and continued until she was 16.
The alleged abuse in the case took place at a home, and not a church, Adams said.
“Mr. Lilly, by his own admission, is transgender,” Adams said. “He is in the process of becoming a woman.”
Adams said Lilly has a degree in religion from a Virginia college and has worked at numerous churches. Locally, he worked at Episcopal churches in both Bluefields.
Lilly is also in the process of getting a teaching degree at Bluefield State College, Adams said.
A transgender man pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual abuse in the first degree in Mercer County Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon.
James Lilly, 25, of Bluefield, will be sentenced on Nov. 17.
Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope accepted a plea agreement in the case, which dropped 28 counts of sexual abuse in the first degree as well as charges of sexual assault third degree and incest.
Each count brings one to five years in prison, but with the plea, Swope said two counts are “probated” (no prison time) and the third count carries the possible one to five years at the discretion of the judge.
Swope also said the plea agreement includes a mandatory lifetime registry as a sex offender as well as 10 to 50 years of enhanced supervision.
Assistant Prosecutor John McGinnis told Swope that the plea agreement was reviewed by the victim as well as the victim’s guardian ad litem, Cathy Wallace, and both agreed to it.
Lilly’s sentencing hearing was delayed so a diagnostic evaluation could be completed. Yet to be determined is Lilly’s classification as a prison inmate. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports:
A diagnostic evaluation was completed recently for a former youth pastor and admitted transgender sex offender who is facing a prison term after pleading guilty last year to sexual abuse first degree.
James Lilly, 25, of Bluefield pleaded guilty in August 2016 in Mercer County Circuit Court to three counts of sexual abuse in the first degree. Raleigh County Judge John A. Hutchinson, who was assigned to the case after Mercer County Judge Derek Swope recused himself, delayed Lilly’s sentencing on Dec. 21, 2016 and remanded him to the state Department of Corrections so a diagnostic study could be completed with regard to how he would be classified as an inmate.
During the December 2016 hearing, Hutchinson spoke of Lilly’s pre-sentencing report and emphasized that gender disorientation is a recognized condition, saying that he psychologically identifies with being a female.
In mid-April, Hutchinson informed the court that he had received the report resulting from the diagnostic interview, and sentencing was scheduled for a later date. In his order, Hutchinson instructed the Department of Corrections (DOC) to send a representative to Lilly’s sentencing hearing to inform the court about the policies, procedures and protections at DOC facilities “in the event the court determines a sentence in the penitentiary is appropriate for this defendant.”
A transgender man who pleaded guilty to three charges of first-degree sexual abuse is now serving his sentence in a northern West Virginia prison, officials with the state Division of Corrections said Friday.
James Lilly, 26, formerly of Bluefield, is currently an inmate at Northern Regional Correctional Facility in Moundsville, according to the state Division of Corrections Inmate Search website. Prison officials confirmed Friday that he was among the facility’s inmates.
A former youth pastor, Lilly was arrested Jan. 12, 2016. A Mercer County grand jury indicted him on 28 counts of first-degree sexual abuse as well as third-degree sexual assault and incest. He pleaded guilty to three charges of first-degree sexual abuse. After being arrested, he told Bluefield Police detectives that he was a transgender who was in the process of becoming a woman.
The victim, a female juvenile, came forward after learning that Lilly was pursuing a teaching career and student teaching at a school. The principal at Bluefield Intermediate School said later that Lilly was a student observer in 2015, but had little interaction with the students. Bluefield Detective K.L. Adams said after Lilly’s arrest that the abuse began in 2009.
In May, Special Judge John A. Hutchison of Raleigh County sentenced Lilly to a pair of one- to five-year sentences that will run concurrently. These sentences are running consecutively with the third charge of first-degree sexual abuse. This gives Lilly a sentence of two to 10 years in prison. He will be subject to lifetime registration as a sex offender after he is released, and he will be under 30 years of supervision.
This is the one hundred and second installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!
Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip of two supporters of Fundamentalist Alabama Justice Roy Moore sharing their “love” for transgenders.
Richie Clendenen is the pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in Benton, Kentucky. One out of every four residents of the Blue Grass State attends a Baptist church. One out of three Kentuckians self-identify as Evangelical. Kentucky is the state that gave us Kim Davis and Ken Ham, and is currently governed by Southern Baptist Matt Bevin. By all accounts Kentucky is, from stem to stern, a Christian state, yet Pastor Clendenen thinks Evangelicals are being persecuted. Clendenen recently stated:
I never thought we’d be in the place we are today. I never thought that the values I’ve held my whole life would bring us to a point where we were alienated or suppressed.
Clendenen also thinks that Evangelical Christians are the most hated people group in America. More hated than gays, Muslims, and atheists, Clendenen claims that Evangelicals are the most despised people in America:
The Bible says in this life you will have troubles, you will have persecutions. And Jesus takes it a step further: You’ll be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.
Let me tell you, that time is here.
There’s nobody hated more in this nation than Christians. Welcome to America’s most wanted: You.
Clendenen confuses persecution with being forced to treat all people with respect. Clendenen thinks those of us who demand justice, fairness, and equal protection under the law are persecuting Evangelicals, yet he provides zero support for his claim. Are Clendenen and his fellow Evangelicals free to worship as they please? Are they free to verbally attack gays, Muslims, Transgenders, atheists, socialists, secularists, Democrats, and Barack Obama from the pulpit? Are Evangelicals free to bar anyone who doesn’t believe as they do from attending their churches? Yes, yes, and yes.
Clendenen is 38 years old. He grew up in an era when Evangelicals wielded great political power. But, the times, they are a-changin’, and Evangelicals have lost their seat at the head of the cultural table Thanks to the LBGTQ community, secularists, atheists, humanists, liberal Christians, and the fastest growing religion in America — the NONES — Evangelicals are no longer the cultural authority on moral and ethical issues. Preachers such as Clendenen view their banishment from cultural discussions as persecution. These preachers of intolerance and hate demand, like toddlers who stomp their feet when they don’t get their way, that everyone bow in obeisance to the Christian God and their peculiar interpretation of the Protestant Bible. And when millions of Americans say NO? Stop persecuting us, cries Clendenen.
Clendenen is right about one thing. An increasing number of Americans DO hate Evangelicals. Evangelicals are now the face of bigotry, homophobia, and misogyny. Evangelicals oppose all forms of sexual expression except virgin-before-marriage, monogamous, married, heterosexual, only-with-a-Christian, missionary-position, God-glorifying intercourse. Evangelicals are anti-abortion, anti-immigration, anti-social-progress, and anti-science. Granted, I am painting with too broad a brush, but Evangelicals need to understand that this is how they are perceived by non-Evangelicals. If Evangelicals want to change how they are viewed by others, I suggest that they shut the hell up and devote themselves to ministering to “the least of these.”
Pastor Clendenen was a Ted Cruz supporter, as were many of his fellow Evangelicals. Cruz is an arrogant, bigoted Christian nationalist, yet Clendenen thinks Cruz would have made a wonderful President. Can he not see that his support of Cruz is yet another reason non-Evangelicals despise the people who claim to be the purveyors of True Christianity®? And now many Evangelicals are supporting fascist Donald Trump. Trump is the most unqualified man to ever run for President, but Evangelicals have backed themselves into a corner with their fawning support of all things Republican, and they are now obligated to vote for a misogynistic, racist, narcissistic, KKK-approved blowhard.
So yes, many Americans hate Evangelicals, and the Pastor Clendenens of the world have no one to blame but themselves. Instead of following in the footsteps of Jesus, Evangelicals spread their legs wide and gave themselves to the Republican Party. Impregnated with power, Evangelicals brought to life a hateful ideology that has caused untold harm. Over the past year, Americans have watched as Evangelicals hysterically attacked gays, immigrants, same-sex marriage, and Transgenders. Oozing revulsion from every orifice, Evangelicals, along with their Republican overlords, have become the party of hate. And to this I say, to quote Evangelical Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick:
A man by the name of Patrick Holt from Grover Hill, Ohio responded today to my May 25, 2016 letter to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News concerning the Transgender bathroom use issue. Holt, as far as I can tell, pastors an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church in Grover Hill. I featured his church in the On the Road Looking for God’s True Church series. Here’s what Holt had to say:
This is a reply to the May 25 letter by Bruce Gerencser.
In his letter he implied that someone, like myself, who objected to a male using the same bathroom that my mother, wife, daughters, and granddaughters were using was hateful. So, basically, if you disagree with someone, then that, according to Bruce, is hateful. Using that same logic, then Bruce Gerencser, must hate Christians, God and the Bible. Would that not be a proper statement?
Patrick Holt, Grover Hill
Holt would like people to think that the whole Transgender bathroom use issue is all about differences of opinion. It’s not. Holt knows that many Evangelicals — himself included — hate transgendered people and homosexuals. Many Evangelicals — especially those at the far extreme right of Evangelicalism — want sexual perverts (code for non-heterosexuals) to be punished for their deviance. Some Evangelicals even go so far as to call for the incarceration and executions of such people. I think I am on firm ground then when I say that many Evangelicals HATE, not just the sin, but also the sinner.
Holt, as most people who hold to his version of sexual hysteria, sees the Transgender bathroom use issue as one of men using the women’s restroom. He fails to understand that most of the “men” using the women’s restroom are in the process or have completed chemical/surgical gender reassignment. This means that the “men” Holt is so worried about look like women. In fact, some of them are quite beautiful.
Why doesn’t Holt mention “women” using the men’s restroom? I have yet to hear a peep from Holt’s crowd about Transgenders using the men’s room. Again, most of the “women” using the men’s restroom look like men. I think that the primary reason Evangelicals focus on the “men” using the women’s restroom is because they view their mothers, wives, daughters, and granddaughters as weaker vessels (1 Peter 3:7) in need of protection. I think that if a man actually went into the women’s restroom while women were present, well…he would likely run screaming from the room, minus his testicles.
Holt’s attempt to paint me as a hater falls flat on its face. People who know me know that I am not inclined to hate anyone. I hate certain ideas and beliefs. I despise Holt’s Evangelical beliefs because I think they lead to intellectual stagnation and can and do cause psychological damage. And in some instances these beliefs can cause physical harm. Politically, Evangelical beliefs are the theological currency which drive the move towards establishing a Christian theocracy. Denying the separation of Church and State, many Evangelicals will not rest until King Jesus is sitting on a throne in the Oval Office. Socially, Evangelical beliefs lead to cultural stagnation and impede progress. Evangelicals, armed with an ancient religious text, have waged war against women, undocumented workers, abortion doctors, atheists, humanists, secularists, Democrats, non-Evangelicals, liberal Christians, Barack Obama, and those who have sex outside of monogamous heterosexual marriages. Scientifically, many Evangelicals are determined to teach creationism and Noah’s flood in the public school classrooms. You see, there are plenty of Evangelical beliefs to hate, but unlike Holt with Transgenders and homosexuals, I don’t hate Evangelicals. While I think people such as Ken Ham, Steven Anderson, the Phelps clan, and a cast of thousands, are first-rate cretins, dolts, morons, halfwits, loons, numbskulls, schmucks, or numbnuts, I don’t hate them. If anything, I pity them, knowing that religious ignorance keeps them chained to the Bible with its fables and contradictions.
Holt — like many Evangelicals — thinks atheists hate God — God being, of course, the Christian deity. If Holt were sitting across the table from me I would ask him if he hated Harry Potter, Santa Claus, or Darth Vader. Holt would surely reply, Of course not. These characters are fictional. I wonder if Holt would see the irony in his response? Atheists don’t hate the Christian God — or any other God for that matter — because he is a fictional being. Suppose in 2055, the followers of Harry Potter have turned J.K. Rowling’s books into divine texts read each Monday at Potterite churches. Taken literally, these divine texts lead people to do all sorts of mischief, often leading to physical harm or death. Atheists in 2055 would likely hate the beliefs of the Potterites. Does this mean these atheists think Harry Potter is a real person? Of course not. So it is with the Christian God. I don’t hate God for one simple reason — he doesn’t exist. What I DO hate, however, is what is done in the Christian God’s name.
As far as hating the Bible, Holt surely knows that the King James version he holds dear is an inanimate object, right? Hating inanimate objects is a waste of time. What I DO hate is what is done with inanimate objects. Guns are used to wage war and murder. Cars are used by drunks to kill and main. And the Bible is used to indoctrinate and enslave. I hate how the Bible is used in our modern world to promote ignorance, often leading to bloodshed and loss of freedom. So, yes, Patrick Holt, I hate God, Christianity, and the Bible, but NOT in the ways you think I do.
I have added Holt’s letter to the Local Response page. If you would like to see how local Evangelicals and Catholics have responded to past Letters to the Editor, please check out this page.