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Tag: VICE News

I’m a Satanic, Gay, Atheist, Former Pastor

peanut gallery

Last Fall, Vice News came to our home here in Ney, Ohio, to interview me for a video titled QAnon Conspiracies Are Tearing Through Evangelical America. So far, the video has been viewed 1,500,000 times.

Video Link

As one might expect, the comments, 11,000+, have been quite entertaining. Evangelicals have attacked me in every way possible. (And there have been a number of complementary, supportive comments too.) I knew this would happen. After all, the video exposed Trumpist Pastor Greg Locke as a nutjob and conspiracy theorist. YouTube comments can be vicious. Jesus’ followers seem to set their Lord’s commandments aside when commenting on social media. That’s why they find Locke so appealing. He’s a vicious, nasty, violent liar. Personally, I find their comments quite entertaining (and sad), reminders of what lies in the heart of many Evangelicals.

Recently, a man (maybe a woman) left the following comment:

satanist gay atheist

I am a former pastor who is a Satanic, gay atheist. 🙂

I AM a former pastor, and I am an atheist, but gay and Satanic? I am an atheist, so not only don’t I believe God exists, I don’t believe Satan/demons exist either. As far as being gay? Evidently, my rainbow-colored suspenders are a sure sign I’m g-a-y. 🙂 (I do occasionally wear them because I know they irritate the Hell out of Evangelicals. Other times, I wear them to show my support for the LGBTQ community. And, quite frankly, I like these suspenders. I have thirteen pairs of Perry Suspenders. I am a fashionista.) 🙂

Calling me “gay” is meant to be a slur, a way to personally attack me. Juvenile behavior by middle school boys who think it’s okay to call people fags, queers, or pussies. When, oh when, will God’s chosen ones grow up?

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

If You Wear Rainbow Suspenders, It’s Proof You Are Gay

Two weeks ago, my interview with Vice News was posted on YouTube. As of the writing of this post, it has been viewed 652,000 times and received almost 7,000 comments.

Video Link

Most of the comments were about Greg Locke, but some commenters had a problem with my rainbow suspenders or the fact that I am an atheist. Here are seven of those comments:

vice news comments (1)
vice news comments (2)
vice news comments (3)
vice news comments (4)
vice news comments (5)
vice news comments (6)
vice news comments (7)

Such is the nature of social media. People can say whatever they want, regardless of whether what they are saying has any factual basis. For the record, I wear my rainbow suspenders for three reasons:

  • I like them
  • They drive Fundamentalists insane 🙂
  • They show my support for LGBTQ people
bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Vice News Interview: QAnon Conspiracies Are Tearing Through Evangelical America

somerset baptist church 1989

My video interview with Vice News was released today. You can watch it below. Earlier, Vice News published a print story featuring an interview I did with David Gilbert about QAnon and Evangelical Christianity. You can read it here.

Please let me know what you think of the interview and the content of the video in the comment section.

Video Link

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

VICE News Story on the Intersection of Evangelical Christianity and QAnon

qanon

Regular readers of this blog likely remember that VICE News came to my home in August to film a story on the intersection of Evangelical Christianity and QAnon (which should be released soon). Earlier today, David Gilbert, a journalist for VICE News published a print story titled Meet the Pastors Fighting Back Against QAnon. I was one of the pastors interviewed for this article:

Bruce Gerencser was raised in an evangelical household, was educated in an evangelical school, married the daughter of an evangelical Baptist minister, and soon became a fundamentalist Baptist preacher himself.

He freely admits that the gospel he preached, at times, was extreme.

“Our beliefs were quite fundamentalist. We were young Earth creationists—you know, the Earth was 6,000 years old,” Gerencser told VICE News. “We had a long list of rules and standards that govern human behavior, everything from premarital sex and adultery. We were certainly homophobic, or at least I was personally homophobic. Everything was strictly controlled.”

But in 2005, after 25 years as a pastor, Gerencser gave it all up. Three years later, he renounced Christianity and became an atheist and a humanist, after becoming disillusioned with the church’s lurch to the right. 

Now in his mid-70s [actually, I’m 64], Bruce lives with his wife of 43 years just outside the small town of Bryan, Ohio, and he spends his time fighting back against the ills he sees within the church. Most recently that fight has seen him highlight and take on those spreading the gospel of QAnon.

What he didn’t expect was that one of the people he’d be up against was his own son.

Gerencser describes his adult son, whom he didn’t want to name, as a “good kid, polite kid” and an “awesome son,” but he recalls that in January 2020 something changed, and soon he was having discussions about apocalyptic forces of evil and a coming storm. 

“Next thing I know, he’s buying a large number of firearms and ammunition and a bulletproof vest and warning that he’s preparing for what’s coming next,” Gerencser said. “And, you know, and I would say that what’s coming next, what we’re going to have open warfare in the middle of Bryan, Ohio.”

Like many who’ve fallen into QAnon conspiracy theories, Gerencser’s son has also embraced even more violent extremist groups, joining the Three Percenters militia group and espousing support for the leader of the Proud Boys.

But aside from the guns and militias, what shocked Gerencser the most was when his son one day turned around and said he’d returned to the church, joining a local Southern Baptist congregation.

When Gerencser asked his son why he’d rejoined the church, his son told him: “Because that pastor believes the same things I do.”

Gerencser is part of a small but dedicated group of current and former pastors attempting to counter the threat posed by the spread of QAnon within the evangelical community, something that’s happening from the pulpit and in congregations. While the number of pastors and churches openly embracing QAnon is limited, the conspiracy is spreading silently and quickly within the community, taking hold at a time when the church is hemorrhaging parishioners. Despite the dangers posed by QAnon within the church, very few are speaking up about the threat, preferring to bury their heads in the sand and hope the danger passes.

You can read the entire article here. Please do so, and then let me know what you think.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

If You Could Quote Evangelicals One Bible Verse, What Would it Be?

read bible

Last Friday, I did an interview with VICE News at our home. Afterward, I participated in a friendly discussion with two friends: a United Church of Christ pastor and a former Lutheran pastor who currently works as a journalist for the Defiance Crescent-News, at a local restaurant. The whole day was a wonderful experience, albeit I was quite tired and in lots of pain afterward.

The interviewer asked each of us if we had one Bible verse we wanted to share with Evangelicals. Both of my friends replied (and I paraphrase)

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

….

 And he [Jesus] answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. Luke 10:25,27)

My friends focused on the second of the two great commandments (which summarize all of the law of God): loving your neighbor as yourself.

I agree with Jim and Tim. To Evangelicals I say: if you don’t love your neighbors, don’t bother to tell me how much you love God. In fact, if you don’t love your neighbor, you don’t love God. (As an atheist, I admire any sect/church/pastor that values people above dogma.)

My verse (s) came from Matthew 25:31-46 (I wrongly said Matthew 24 in the interview, but my “exposition” was from Matthew 25):

 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

I became quite animated when talking about this passage of Scripture. I fear I did a bit of preaching. 🙂 That said, the two great commandments and Matthew 25 were central to my preaching towards the end of my time in the ministry. I believed then, and still do, that the essence of Christianity is how we treat others, not right beliefs. Evangelicals have largely divorced behavior from belief. Sure, they talk about “sin,” but eternal life in Heaven is conditioned on believing certain theological propositions. The Evangelical gospel is this: BELIEVE THIS AND THOU SHALT LIVE. This belief is the exact opposite of what Jesus allegedly taught in Luke 10 and Matthew 25.

The interview should be available in a few weeks. I will post it when it does.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Bruce Gerencser