Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shooter had right wing books by talk show hosts.

Article: Suspect's note cites 'liberal movement' for church attack.

The killer of Unitarians had the following books in his apartment:

"The O'Reilly Factor," by television commentator Bill O'Reilly; "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder," by radio personality Michael Savage; and "Let Freedom Ring," by political pundit Sean Hannity.

I would not accuse the authors of instigating the shooting at the UU church in Knoxville, Tennessee, although I don't know why.

Fairness? Yeah, sure. . .right.

Would those conservative authors pull any slack if the shooter had attacked people in a fundamentalist church and Marilyn Manson records were discovered in his apartment?


Monday, July 28, 2008

Hate Crime? Man kills in Unitarian Church. Fundamentalists silent.

Article: Police: Killer targeted church for liberal views.

I'm posting this due to the irony that I was kicked off the FFF's main forums because I affiliated with the Unitarians. I was accused of claiming alliance with a Christian denomination even though the FFFr's do not accept Unitarians as Christian.

When it came to ousting a critic, the webmaster of the FFF saw no contradiction in accepting Unitarians as Christian. Now that an unemployed man, with a hatred of liberals, visited a church in Knoxville, Tennessee, with 76 rounds of ammo with him, and killed two people, I'm seeing absolutely no mention of this, nor any prayer requests.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sword of the Lord Conference in Walkertown

I decided to break from my on again/off again siesta from this page (until the civil trial kicks in this fall), to mention that the National Sword of the Lord conference is taking place between July 28 to August 1 in Walkertown, North Carolina.

Why do I mention this? No reason except small items of personal significance.

  • I used to subscribe to the Sword of the Lord during the mid 90's when my interest in researching fundamentalism was at an all time high.
  • My personal webpage happens to be walkertown.com.
  • North Carolina is one of the few states that has no statute of limitation laws when it comes to the crime of child molestation.

    This blog will chronicle the upcoming civil trials against Trinity Baptist Church, plus the investigations regarding Camp Tracey in Baker County, Florida. Camp Tracey is not related to Trinity, but one of the counsellors was a student at TCA during my era.
  • Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    July is all about THE KIDS!!!!!

    Hold the phones! Stop everything and go to Trinity Baptist Church's webpage. If you were at Trinity during the seventies you will either be shocked (if still ultra conservative) or envious (if you are liberal!) regarding the cultural changes that have occurred on campus.

    There are two videos now playing on Trinity's web page. They center around Freedom Fest, a celebration held on the grounds of Trinity during the 4th of July holiday.

    The one on the left has somebody skydiving to the Trinity complex. The video to the right has images from Freedom Fest, which includes what appears to be a CCM rock band, complete with electric guitars and drums. Now, any time someone with electric guitars showed up at Trinity, I remember people getting nervous.

    One notable 'teen church' had a woman playing a stringed instrument. I believe it might have been a harp. However, at the intro of one of her songs, she mentioned the Mother Ship from Close Encounters of The Third Kind.She felt elated seeing it because it reminded her of how the New Jerusalem might look when it descends from the sky.

    She played a Christian folk tune. Possibly something from the 'Jesus People' era.

    Hippies for Christ, that sort of thing.

    After the service, Ron Reilly, the youth director, remarked he was surprised she said such a thing and had no idea she played that type of music.

    The anti-rock sermons of the day centered on the beat, regardless of the lyrics. Any music with a beat, even those with a Christian message, were looked upon as suspect. For some reason, this did not apply to QUEEN'S 'We Will Rock You', which was stomped by the fans during football games.

    Decades pass. Things change. And now people sky dive to rock concerts at Trinity!

    Actually, this is a good thing.

    Let's just hope the parachute opened!

    I'm not finding the rock band footage on YouTube, but you can see it at Trinity's web page. I'm guessing the video was projected five minutes before the Sunday morning service, hence the name '5 Till'. Hear the narrator tell us that it's 'all about the kids'. See a guy dressed like 'Captain Jack Sparrow' (i.e. 'Jack Cracker') paddling in the Trinity pond:

    TBC Page with videos.

    NOTE: This topic of how much things have change has prompted this interesting discussion on the FFF. A poster is afraid that while these changes are good, there is a fear it might lead to other horrible things like gays in the pew!

    I kid you not:

    From the FFF: Family Freedom Fest- Awesome!

    Sunday, July 13, 2008

    Trinity's Daniel Davis the target of stalker.

    Trinity Baptist Church deacon and president of Jacksonville's City Council, Daniel Davis, was allegedly stalked by Donald Rhett Tarrer. Tarrer was convinced Davis, and Trinity Rescue Mission, were conspiring to harm him.

    Article: Councilman says he's a target of stalker.

    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    Southern Baptists having problems with existing databases.

    Southern Baptists repent of inflated membership numbers.
    "Even Jesus can't tell some Southern Baptists what to do."

    Tom Ascol, pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, Florida.

    This article from Christianity Today demonstrates that the Southern Baptist Convention has inflated the number on their membership roles. They can barely keep an accurate data base of existing members, let alone a database of ministers who have been found guilty of molestation.

    Charge against 18 year old dropped.

    Charge dropped in camp sex case.

    A charge of lewd and lascivious behavior was dropped against the 18 year old who was arrested regarding the incident at Camp Tracey. The father of the victim did not wish to prosecute.

    An investigation is still underway regarding 'dorm father', John Edward Wilson, accused of choking, slamming, and throwing a 14 year old teen.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    Child molestor told to remove Florida Gator decal from vehicle.

    No probation exit for child molestor.

    Stephen Edmonds, the former deacon from First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, and once a president of the Northeast Florida Builder's Association, accused of child molestation, is about to be a free man. His probation will end in March, but he was hoping to end it early. His request was denied by Judge John Merrett.

    Merrett, you might recall, is the judge who packed a pistol and pointed it at a man on trial for child molestation, yet, strangely enough, gave Bob Gray, then on trial for molestation, the greatest latitude by postponing his trial for a year.

    This time, I kid you not, Judge Merrett ordered Stephen Edmonds to remove a Florida Gator's decal from his vehicle because one victim found it 'disturbing'.

    Monday, July 7, 2008

    More Camp Tracey

    Is camp salvation or ruin?

    This article from the Florida Times Union paints a disturbing picture.

    Two men sued Harvest Baptist Church this year because they claim to have suffered 'repeated sexual and physical abuse by staff and senior residents in the late '80s and early '90s.'

    The primary focus of the article concerns the brother of Harvest's pastor, Cedric McCormick. Cedric is no longer at the camp.

    According to Kirk Griffin, the man who sued the church, he was forced to perform oral and anal sex on two counsellors.

    Parents had to sign a contract that kept their children at the camp for a year. They were not allowed state counsellors, and dental and medical care was only for emergencies. Five minute phone calls to parents are only allowed on birthdays and visitation days.

    Camp counsellors put older teens in charge of younger teens. The older teens, sporting gang tattoos, allegedly abused the younger teens.

    Parents were told their children would lie and make up stories.

    One parent wanted to remove her child, but was told she would face legal action if she did. They also blamed the victim for not defending himself and said they are not responsible for third party actions.

    A Clay County mother had similar experiences with her daughter, according to the article:

    "Her first sexual experience should not have been in a place like Camp Tracey or with a woman," the mother said. "I feel something very special was taken from her, and it now is a part of her life and memory forever."

    The camp has refused regulation using the separation of church and state defense.

    A mother sets the record straight about Camp Tracey.

    In this response to the Florida Times Union article about Camp Tracey, BK, a mother who sent her daughter to Camp Tracey, sets the record straight. BK visited the camp and was shown a pleasing picture of horseback riding, farming, and rehabilitation.

    She became suspicious when she was not allowed to see her daughter.

    Upon seeing her daughter, the woman learned:

  • 'She (BK's daughter) told me about cutting her hand, and the only medical attention she received was having electrical tape wrapped around her hand with no salve, peroxide, alcohol, etc.'

  • 'She was tied to a chair to await swats during which time she was required to stand up and bend over.'

  • 'Children were disciplined with cattle prods.'

  • 'They were told no one would believe them if they complained or told anyone what was going on out there.'

  • 'My daughter was exposed to things there she had NEVER been exposed to before. The children were used as slave labor and entertainment for “campers” from other churches.'

  • 'they make a profit from selling the products grown and made by the child slave labor.'

  • 'Please listen to the children. It’s a true story they tell. No one has listened to them before and this has been allowed to continue for at least 25 years. It’s time for it to STOP!'
  • Saturday, July 5, 2008

    former deacon of First Baptist Church wants a change in sentence.

    First Baptist Church deacon wants his sentence changed.

    Trinity Baptist Church isn't the only Jacksonville church under the eye of scandal. In addition to Harvest Baptist Church (see article below), First Baptist, the prestigious downtown church, has a former deacon who plead guilty to fondling a 16 year old boy.

    Unlike the 18 year old in the below article, this fellow was a respected adult, deacon, and former president of the Northeast Florida Builders Association.

    Arrest at Camp Tracey

    From North Florida News Daily: Group sex, abuse investigations lead to arrests at Camp Tracey

    From Florida Times Union: Sex case at camp leads to 2 arrests.

    From 2003: Man sues church, alleges abuse - Harvest Baptist's Camp Tracey cited.

    Official Camp Tracey webpage: Camp Tracey.

    Camp Tracey, in Baker County, Florida, has been the subject of investigation for physical and sexual abuse by camp workers and older residents for at least twenty years, states the above article, from The Florida Times Union. An arrest has been made. The first arrest on a charge of child abuse in twenty years.

    According to Camp Tracey's official webpage at, camptracey.org, it is run by Gary Byram and Dr. Wilford McCormick.

    McCormick is pastor of the Harvest Baptist Church, the church associated with Camp Tracey. He has been the pastor since 1972 and founded Camp Tracey in 1981. Byram was the pastor of Bible Baptist Church in Bradenton, Florida. He resigned from his church in 2004 to become staff evangelist and national representative of Camp Tracey Ministries.

    Harvest Baptist Church was sued by Kirk Griffin in 2003 stating he was abused by two camp counsellors. He claimed he was forced to engage in sex acts with two camp counsellors and 'spiritual advisors'. Alas, 'repressed memory' played it's ugly role and he didn't remember anything until 2003, which happened to be the year his lawyer, Joel Magolnic, initiated the lawsuit.

    Griffen says there are other victims.

    Harvest was represented by the Christian Law Association, the same organization that gave legal advice to Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida.

    A Baker Grand Jury convened on Camp Tracey back in 1987. They issued a presentment 'criticizing the camp for excessive corporal punishment and the use of ropes and handcuffs to restrain children at the camp'.

    The Grand Jury's recommendation? In light of the ropes and handcuffs on children?

    Give 'em another chance!

    According to the 2003 article, 'jurors also criticized education and health care at the camp and said it would consider criminal charges if changes weren't made.'

    They let them go with a slap on the wrist.

    The state of Florida generally gives a free pass to teen homes when it comes to physical abuse. Obviously, that is my opinion based on my personal involvement in the case involving Mike Palmer's Victory Home for Girls in Southern California. I videotaped a former student's testimony, the tape was sent to the Department of Children's Services, and the home was shut down.

    The wonderful state of Florida welcomed Mike Palmer with open arms and now he enjoys nearly total immunity in the panhandle.

    Nobody seems to care about child abuse unless sex is involved, and that's the case with the current arrest. It appears boys played with themselves and a counsellor who, although he might have anger control problems, does not seem to have been involved. Nevertheless, he appears to be taking the blame for the independent activities of sexually curious teens.

    The other arrest is of an 18 year old boy who, although slightly older than the other boys (14 years,4 years difference), may now face up to fifteen years in prison. I've always been opposed to arresting 18 year olds for engaging in sex with those slightly younger than themselves.

    Considering how skittish we are in this country to discuss sexual matters, it makes sense that this boy was not told the finer points regarding statutory rape. In my opinion, those laws should be used to protect children from adults, not used to punish 18 year olds because adults are too scared to talk to them about the birds and the bees (beyond 'don't do it!').

    It appears this latest case takes advantage of the boy's ignorance in order to bolster the state's case against Camp Tracey.

    Physical abuse, and sexual abuse by adults and camp counsellors, is serious and should be investigated then punished to the fullest extant of the law.

    I'm not seeing that in this case.

    The camp worker was released on his own recognizance, but the teen is still in jail.

    It appears the past investigations and lawsuits failed (settled 'out of court'), and now officials are banking on punishing this young boy in order to bolster their case against Camp Tracey.

    Does it take one type of state sanctioned abuse in order to expose other abuses?

    I notice Larry Brown and Johnny Pope, two preachers who have been associated with Trinity Baptist Church (preaching at Trinity's youth camp) will be at Tracey's 'Camp Jubilee 2009'. Camp Tracey has had former graduates of Trinity Christian Academy, and former members of Trinity Baptist Church, on their staff.

    Trinity Baptist Church and Camp Tracey are not connected.

    I'll be following this one.

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008

    I wonder how this case will play out?

    Youth pastor's house searched without warrant.

    The youth pastor already pleaded guilty to 9 counts of voyeurism and resigned from his church. His house sitter let the police in. She claimed the tapes she found, presumably of her daughter and other young girls, taking a shower, were videotaped by him.

    How were they videotaped? It's difficult to videotape shower scenes in stealth. The steam can easily put the camera out of commission. He must have been really dedicated and invested in some spy ware.

    Did the youth pastor have a habit of inviting underage girls into his house to take showers? What evidence do we have that the house keeper, in fact, did not videotape her daughter, and others, in order to plant the evidence? Hey, any time things are done 'without a warrant', it begs these kind of questions.

    If the police overlooked a warrant in a frame up, how do we know the police overlooked other matters in some cases that might be legitimate? Selectively ignoring things like 'warrants' makes it difficult for other legitimate complaints to be heard.

    Those engaged in child exploitation must be severely dealt with, but prosecution must adhere to the letter of the law in executing their justice. Any time I read about the police engaging in searches 'without a warrant', I tend to become a bit concerned.