Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Domestic violence is closely related to child abuse. I've always maintained that if our government were to replace the war on drugs with a war against child abuse, and domestic violence, we might see a decrease in drug use. What do you think DRIVES people to drink and drugs in the first place? Generally, it's a coping mechanism for dealing with abuse within the home.
Thanks to Diann Diaz, an activist on this issue, for posting the video.
Diane's web page: http://dianndiaz.blogspot.com/
Monday, December 28, 2009
Searching for Angela Shelton paints a very disturbing picture of child abuse in America. It seems everyone in this country, from the family to the court system, is, in some way, guilty of enabling molesters.
The premise is novel. Angela Shelton, the actress, begins by calling everyone who happens to share her name. During her intro phone calls with all the Angela Sheltons, our Angela brings up the topic of sexual child molestation.
Wow! That's gotta be a real winner at parties!
"Hi, I'm (fill in your name), did you know a disturbingly high amount of people with our shared names have been sexually abused?"
It almost seems forced, were it not for the fact that every Angela Shelton interviewed has either been raped as an adult, sexually molested as a child, or both. The implication being: if this is the case with everyone who shares the same name as the director, what must the reality be for all the non Angela Sheltons of the world?
Of course, by the time we get to the part where Angela Shelton, the director and actress, reveals the details regarding her case, we suddenly forget the novelty of Searching for Angela Shelton.
We find ourselves focused on the sad, abominable reality that everyone one of us, to some extent, has experienced yet tries to ignore and deny.
Her father, according to the testimony of both Angela and her brother, left Angela's mother for the mother's best friend. Angela was given a choice as to which parent she wanted to live with. She chose the father because his new wife made great kool aid.
Hey, she's a kid! What else is she going to base a life altering decision on?
During this time with her father and stepmother, the dad gets a brilliant idea for 'sex education in the home'.
Well, I can tell you from personal experience at the fundamentalist school I went to, they totally opposed sex education in the school. I've always wondered how parents in denial, who refuse their children objective sex education, instruct them in private. If any of them are like Angela's father and step mother, we have a very serious problem with incest in the American home.
Like Angela's stepmother, some of these places, and families, make very good kool aid.
Her case did go to court. Her father never served jail time. In fact, the wonderful people at the courthouse were so disgusted by the case they tried to get Angela to drop it and move on.
None of the perpetrators in this movie ever served jail time, which means that it's up to the victim to achieve closure on his, or her, terms. In Angela's case, that means visiting her mother, grandmother, stepbrother, and father for some answers.
Her mother, grandmother, and stepbrother, are very supportive of Angela.
The movie takes an interesting turn when the stepbrother, who happens to be gay, discusses the conflict he felt regarding his sexuality.
Was he born that way? Or, did the sexual abuse turned him onto it? Politically correct answers, and even scientifically correct answers, pale in the eyes of a gay teenager trying to come to terms when sexual abuse enters the picture.
All of this is extremely relevant in the stories regarding the various cases against my former church/school that is the basis of this blog. When I went to Jacksonville to host the public awareness meeting on the clergy abuse of children, the conversation came up about one male victim. This person did not pursue a legal case like another (non gay) male victim did.
This person happened to be gay, and I found myself engaged in conversations where the statement was made: "If he was gay, it's because (the predator pastor who molested) made him like that!"
I countered that line of reasoning.
I don't believe that sexual molestation turns a child gay, but I do believe there is the strong possibility that a child predator might sense the future sexual orientation of the child, take advantage of it, thereby sending the victim on an odyssey of sexual confusion during his later years as an adult.
Searching for Angela Shelton explores this issue in a way no other movie has. In fact, I don't believe there is a movie that's explored this subject! Not in this way. That makes Searching for Angela Shelton groundbreaking.
The climax occurs when she confronts her father. We've heard the testimonies of her stepbrother. Support from her mother and grandmother and aunt. Now, when Angela meets her father, we are introduced to his selective memory.
He blames it all on nudist camps.
Angela surprised me by saying she did not have a problem with nudist camps.
I'm with Angela on that one.
Why should we let sexual predators, and those who enable them, become our moral arbitrators?
Why should we allow predators to have an easy way to deny their actions? There are so many predators who want to blame their behavior on pornography, movies, music, drugs, alcohol, but they don't want to embrace the consequences of their own actions. Angela does not let her father get away with that kind of deniability. Nor should we give predators the gift of easy escapism that can only come from blaming others.
The message of Searching for Angela Shelton seems to be that finding closer outside of an apathetic legal system can only come from confronting your predator.
That is difficult! Kudos for Angela Shelton for doing this, much less doing it on camera. Most of us would have a difficulty doing that even if there weren't any cameras.
That is the challenge. Angela does point out that a victim must be ready for that kind of confrontation. You can't just force someone to confront the person who helped make their life hell. Yet, it is a necessary difficulty.
Searching for Angela Shelton is a great meditation on what it takes for a victim to become a survivor and then, ultimately, lead their way to triumph. It's not an easy road. There will be some 'bumps in the road', a phrase that stands in my mind thanks to the late, ever ironic, Jerry Falwell.
You might remember after Bob Gray, the former pastor of Trinity Baptist Church (Jacksonville, FL), and founder of Trinity Christian Academy, the school I graduated from, was arrested on multiple accounts of child molestation, Jerry visited the church and told them their court troubles would ultimately amount to a 'bump in the road'.
Victims will also have bumps in the road. They will be pretty agonizing bumps, too. There might be moments when they have acted out their behavior on others. That must also be confronted.
If you can do so, accept the bumps, and endure to the end, you will be 'saved'.
That seems to be the message of Searching for Angela Shelton.
This movie can be ordered at Searching for Angela Shelton.
You can also watch it for free by visiting: http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/searching_for_angela_shelton.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I wrote one of my new twitter friends, a Hollywood agent, venting my feeling that the subject of child sexual molestation, and more specifically, its effect on adult survivors, seems to be a skittish topic. Granted, the subject of child abuse is common. Usually it's the violent kind of abuse. Not sexual. Those that do cover it seem to have their victims committing mass murder, rapes, drug overdoses, and other sorts of crimes.
My criticism that there are millions of people who experienced abuse who have not done any of those things. Consequently, whenever someone of note admits to being abused as a child, and if it's connected with some crime they were recently caught at (i.e. Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, etc), most victims will not want to associate their names with those types. Or, those kind of movies.
That class of 'victims' appear like they're blaming the past for terrible deeds done in the present. If they hadn't got caught in the first place, they would have skipped happily along in denial. Those kind of stories turn child abuse into some kind of 'get out of jail' card for those who are already bound for jail.
The agent I contacted did not believe this to be the case.
Getting any movie made is difficult, she noted, but there have been movies about child abuse, which she sent me.
I had seen most of the movies, and they usually involved soap opera involving the rich and powerful, a victim rising up and killing her perpetrator, or worse. So, the lady I communicated with advised, "See Precious and Searching for Angela Shelton."
I saw Precious yesterday, on her advice, and I must say this movie has stuck with me.
In order to properly discuss this movie, I will have to expose a spoiler. However, this movie is so good, even revealing the spoiler won't spoil it. Like any good movie, or book, it doesn't just get its power from the mere plot. It gets its power through the dedicated performances, the subtle script, and the execution of the fantasy sequences that Precious uses to escape her predicament.
Precious (played by Gabourey Sidibe) is an obese 18 year old, attending a school in Harlem, with a very abusive mom waiting for her. Mary, her mother does not work. She encourages her daughter to go on welfare, then throws things at her when she falls an inch short of her advice. Precious has one child by an unknown father. She will give birth to another child by the time the movie ends.
Who is the father of the child? This unknown male source?
The climax of this movie has Mariah Carey, stripped of all her diva attire, playing Mrs. Weiss, a social worker, getting to the bottom of this dilemma.
Mrs. Weiss, upon figuring out the deceased father of Precious is responsible for the first child, and the mother's current boyfriend responsible for the second, asks, "When did the abuse start?"
The mother, played by Mo'Nique, reveals it began when Precious was an infant. The mother was, in fact, a witness. She would keep the infant by her side at all times. It was while having sex with her husband that Mary notices her husband fingering the infant.
Not even Precious knew that! How could she remember? That final scene is the most effective, tear jerking moment that the movies, en masse, have delivered all year. Probably the entire decade!
The baby of Precious is nearly wounded when Mary throws a television set at her. Precious is holding the baby when the set hits them both.
Precious, amazingly, ends with triumph. The truth now revealed. The victim now vindicated. Walking with her two children whom she just saved from her abusive mother into a new future. A new life.
What will the future bring? Who knows! Nobody goes to jail. Nobody gets the death penalty. Nobody goes to court. Yet, the exposure of the truth, the shear utterance of facts, provides Precious with her own sense of triumph.
My only quibble is the fact that it is set in an inner city. Yet, that is the reality of her situation.
Just like the story of Mackenzie Phillips abuse can be marginalized as a story that can only happen with fast living rock stars, people can marginalize Precious as just a story of a poor soul in the ghetto.
That is why we need more movies like this! Movies about survivors from different economic classes to show this problem is widespread.
I'm tempted to mention American Beauty, since that does center on the suburbs, and a minor is molested by the end of the movie. American Beauty, though, is not a movie about surviving abuse. Abuse just plays a role in the story which, ultimately, is about an adult male coming to terms with his life.
The abuse portrayed in Precious is happening everywhere. Not just in Harlem.
What makes the situation of Precious so unusual is the fact that. . .it doesn't seem to be unusual.
During the last three years of writing this blog, I have read about cases where infants have been abused. Given the context of this blog, it has been in either missionary schools (see 'All God's Children'), or in the house of the devoted (see 'Deliver Us From Evil').
Loyal readers of this blog might remember the case involving Dave Hyles, son of the late Jack Hyles (pastor of the 'World's Largest Baptist Church'), being investigated for battery upon an infant. The book Fundamental Seduction mentions 'Mrs. John R. Rice' (wives of fundamentalist preachers seem to lose their entire names, not just their last!) stopping Dave from shaking a child.
I do find it interesting that Precious is distributed by Lion's Gate.
Lion's Gate also is responsible for Deliver Us From Evil and Hard Candy.
Hard Candy is a movie about a pre-teenage friend of a victim who tracks down a pedophile, and, through intelligence and manipulation, stops him from committing his crime ever again! I won't reveal the spoiler of that movie. I don't recommend that victims of child abuse seek closure the way our heroine does in Hard Candy.
Lion's Gate might be the company we can rely on for decent movies about surviving abuse.
Okay, next movie to be reviewed: Searching for Angela Shelton.
In the meantime, check out these links:
Roger Ebert reviews Precious.
The Lionsgate surviving abuse collection:
strangers shouldn't talk to little girls!
DELIVER US FROM EVIL
Monday, December 14, 2009
In the meantime, visit me@ twitter.com/dwalker25.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I just watched Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist and am completely speechless. Here's a movie that shows children as little more than punching bags and cheap labor, by both 'the good guys' and 'the bad guys'. Everybody blames the children first. Most don't even recognize them as people. Exactly the kind of movie I think needs to be made about the present state of fundamentalist girls and boys homes!
This most sensitive movie about child labor and abuse was made by Roman Polanksi, currently under house arrest for raping a 13 year old girl.
It occurs to me that Roman Polanksi's Chinatown also has abuse at its center. Most great works of art and literature are centered around certain types of abuse. Chinatown culminates in the revelation of an incestuous relationship between a rich father, his daughter, and the daughter they fathered.
The incident with Roman Polanksi and the young girl occurred after Chinatown was released. After Chinatown, he gave us Tess, a movie about a woman making her way through the cruel world. Polanksi develops a reputation for making sensitive films about women.
After that we have an action movie with Harrison Ford, a dumb pirate movie, and a murder mystery, until Polanksi finally comes to his senses and gives us The Tenant. This movie concerns the victims of the Holocaust. After The Tenant, we have Oliver Twist, which is an adaptation of the Dicken's novel about unwanted children, orphans, and women of foul reputation who actually come from pedigreed backgrounds.
Are these choices related to guilt and introspection? Subconscious, of course. Things never confronted with the full force of an awake mind but, in the accepting environment of art, can be recycled into either redemption, a gradual cinematic confession, or both?
To take more cynical bent: were the post Chinatown themes Polanksi chose to work with a grand exercise in the politics of CYA? In case the criticism and controversy flared its ugly head, these movies could be offered as proof that he was indeed, at heart, a kind, sensitive man who would never harm a fly? Let alone a 13 year old girl on qualudes?
Some themes are just inescapable.
When I first learned about one of the accusations against Bob Gray back in 1992, I had just started a cable access show in Long Beach, CA. I don't do that anymore. When I look back at those interviews, the majority of them center on religion and abuse.
I was not an activist. I was not circulating petitions. I think learning about the charges against Gray definitely shifted the focus of my material.
Who are you going to talk to when you hear about something like that?
Who are you going to talk to if you EXPERIENCE something like that?
Here's a more disturbing question: who are you going to talk to if you INSTIGATED an act of abuse?
Whether you have been abuse, or have abused, or just a bystander: art is a poor man's therapist.
Okay, Polanksi's not poor, but the rest of us can make YouTubes, write books and articles, songs and poetry, paintings and photographs, that reflect the inner turmoil and conflict that cannot be expressed in the real world. You can try to express it, but you'll probably be told to 'get over it!'.
Art never tells you that.
Here's an article that I found on the World's Socialist web site.
I know, how appropriate!
I found the one site still praising Polanksi's work, and they're 'buncha socialists'!
The article, all biases aside, does give a concise view of Roman Polanksi films. It also talks about his 'sensitivity' to the issues which the writer uses as proof that we're just a buncha hooligans who won't stop 'all manner of pious and self-righteous bleatings'.
Whatever. . .
Here's an interesting piece of trivia:
I came away from Roman Polanksi's Oliver Twist thinking about the first time I saw Roman Polanski's Macbeth. It was at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. 1980. Roman Polanksi's Macbeth, by the way, was produced by Playboy.
Our English teacher screened it. There were a few topless scenes in the movie, which our teacher covered up with his hands over the projector lens.
My former English teacher would eventually face, according to according to wftv.com, 'decades of sex harassment and abuse allegations'.
A teacher who would be allegedly charged with a felony? Teaching in a school founded by a pastor, who would eventually be arrested on felonious charges of child molestation? And we're watching a movie made by a film director, who, decades later, would also arrested for a similar felony?
No point, really.
Just trying to comprehend the grand irony of it all. . .
An Evaluation of Roman Polanksi as an artist. (Part One).
An Evaluation of Roman Polanski as an artist. (Part Two).
Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist, a review by The Little Professor.
Excerpt from The Little Professor:
"Oliver spends the entire film being carried, pulled, pushed, and generally manhandled; for all that he's the film's subject, he spends most of the time being an object. "
Yeah, I think most victims and survivors feel the same way!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Try to ignore some of the ignorant comments underneath the article. It seems every article dealing with Darrell Gilyard on the Florida Times Union web page has at least one, sometimes several, racist remarks. Strange, not even the Florida Times Union seems to object!
Article: Former pastor admits to fathering child.
The main reason, of course, was to read the source material for the Stanley Kubrick movie. What changes were made as the novel was translated into film?
The most obvious change was the actress playing Lolita was not 12 years old. If you read the book, it would be very disturbing to see an actual 12 year old actress play this role. Instead, he got 14 year old Sue Lyon to play the role. I know, big change, right?
Kubrick also played down various aspects of the book which, if literally portrayed, would be the most expensive work of child pornography ever produced!
I don't believe Nabokov was a pedophile. Of course, I don't know that as a fact. No one does.
Nabokov does not seem to suffer from the stigma of Lewis Carroll.
Carroll was known for pedophilia, but let's not allow that to stop us from enjoying the new Walt Disney remake of his book, ALICE IN WONDERLAND! Just temporarily ignore the fact that Disney hired a convicted child molester, Victor Salva, to direct POWDER, and you can enjoy living in fantasyland all your life! Besides, without praising Disney films, how would ex-fundamentalists, especially those from Disney's arch-enemy, the Southern Baptist Convention, be able to prove they're cool?
Nabokov was not an activist. He was an artist, but I'm not finding any articles that indicates he had a problem with pedophilia. I now believe the mere fact that he was able to write about it should be offered as proof that he was not.
Those who might lean toward that pedophilia tend to want to cover it up. The last thing they want to do is openly broadcast it. If anything, his book demonstrated a network of child predators might exist, and he clue'd us in on their tactics.
When I read Mackenzie Phillip's book, I thought of LOLITA. In Phillip's book, John, her father, practically encourages his rock star friend, Mick Jagger, to engage in sex with young Mackenzie. He seems to have his personal network of enablers.
I've speculated openly on this blog whether or not such a network exists, or existed, amongst fundamentalist preachers who've engaged in this crime. In LOLITA, the rivalry between Humbert Humbert and Clare Quilty seems to imply the existence of a network.
The movie downplays the drugs that Humbert uses to have his way with Lolita. In the book, he drugs her. He takes her while she is passed out. The movie does not bring in drugs, consequently we're left with the view that this is a consensual relationship.
In Mackenzie's book, John Phillips drugs her and has his way with her while Mackenzie is passed out. Mackenzie gets hooked on drugs and, as an adult, goes to her father for more. He gives her the drugs, she passes out, and he has his way with her. At no time in Mackenzie's book do we read that she is EVER FULLY AWAKE during these encounters. She went to him FOR DRUGS NOT SEX. The sex only happened after she passed out.
This is what passes for 'consensual' whenever we hear critics of Mackenzie overuse that word. I guess they're hoping no one will actually read the book to find out that 'consensual' somehow includes being passed out on drugs while your father gropes and mauls you.
Barry Crimmins writes an excellent article about 'consensual' and the role drugs played in the abuse of Mackenzie Phillips. It's worth reading, especially if you've never read Mackenzie's book and, for whatever reason, continue to hold on to the word 'consensual' as an excuse to ignore her message.
Article: Child abuse. No laughing matter.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The author of the comment, Meggs, also has a blog called Speaking Out which concerns surviving incest and abuse.
Meggs highlights two events that happened during the past year that deserve our attention.
The first concerns Mackenzie Phillips being given the Darkness2Light Voice of Courage award for speaking out about her experiences.
Meggs writes: Of course, no one in the media wants to focus on the work she is now doing to help prevent child abuse and incest. They all want to dwell on the drug use.
Isn't that the truth! It's all show biz, and trying to make it out like the John Phillips scandal is just an anomaly related to the world of rock stars, like others want to make clergy abuse simply an anomaly of a group's beliefs, standards and practices.
Hey, I keep saying you can't become a Jesuit priest through mail order! You have to go to universities, get credentialed, and the Catholic Church does have its standards churches must adhere to. They're not autonomous, and yet, they were the first religious group that introduced America to the fact that child abuse can happen anywhere.
Sure, Baptist churches, especially independents, might have low standards for their ministers, but, as the Catholic scandals demonstrate, even organizations with high standards and no autonomy can be guilty of turning a blind eye regarding pedophiles.
So, while everybody's patting themselves on the back, thankful they're not subjecting their kids to the abuse of rock stars, fundamentalist preachers, or Catholic priests, there always seems to be someone in any given family, or friends of any given family, who will take advantage of the ignorance that results from stereotyping Hollywood or religious figures.
This is everybody's problem. Hollywood and religious leaders just get stigmatized became they're in the public eye.
In addition to the honor given to Mackenzie by Darkness2Light, Meggs also pointed out an interesting project called 'Searching for Angela Shelton'. This documentary has Angela Shelton taking a trip across America to interview other women who also have the name, Angela Shelton.
It's an amusing premise that's brought into harsh reality when we realize all the Angela Sheltons in this movie have either been raped, or sexually molested, when they were children. Some were also raped when they were adults.
Hmmm, you know, if we treated the Angela Shelton cases like the media treats Mackenzie Phillips, or like other bloggers treat cases of clergy abuse, I can just imagine someone saying, "Well, stop naming your kid Angela Shelton!"
I know! I know! Bad taste. But I keep reading people saying things like, "If you're a pedophile, the best place for you is as a deacon in a Baptist church!" When it happened at a synagogue in New York, a lawmaker actually said, "If you're a pedophile, the best place for you is in a synagogue!" When Mackenzie's story broke, along with the Roman Polanksi arrest, bloggers at Huffington Post were also singing the same tune.
"Pedophilia is wrong, unless you're a famous artist or movie director."
If we're really serious about dealing with the topic of child abuse, some ideas and tactics are just going to have to be abandoned on the highway.
One of those ideas concerns stigmatizing various professions. Some people, in the depths of their subconscious, have the false idea that as long as they're not subjecting their children to:
a: Hollywood moguls
b: religious leaders
c: people in the arts
d: politicians (intern scandals)
. . .that their children are safe from predators.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Stereotyping professions creates a false sense of security. Sometimes the most dangerous place for a child is in his, or her, own home.
Here are some links and video clips related to Mackenzie Phillips and the Angela Shelton project:
From: Official blog of Darkness2Light.
Searching for Angela Shelton.
In another case involving abuse, Horowitz criticizes the attorney's for asking abuse victims questions like, "You've had a couple of abortions. How did that make you feel?"
Epstein Attorneys Scolded for Asking Alleged Abuse Victims About Abortions, Sex Positions.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
John Hari, a writer for the London Independent, gives us an interesting meditation on why artists are flocking to defend people like Roman Polanksi or John Phillips. He brings out sources I've never read, but points of view I've heard before.
I've had this happen. I'll write or say something about preachers caught molesting children, only to have some men crawl out of the woodwork and talk about ancient Greece, Egypt, the Pitcairn Islands, or boys schools in England, and how children have benefited from sexual relationships with adults. I will then respond, "Why don't you speak about this in public? Or, better yet, write an article and I'll post it on my blog?"
Silence. That statement usually keeps them quiet. And the people who make these statements? They have been well educated men. Some with PHD's. Yet, with all their intellectual grace and stamina, they refuse to stand up for their own beliefs in favor of child/adult relationships.
They'll site how society persecutes them. Then, I'll talk about my experiences with this blog and say, "Victims, and those who support them, feel the same way! They don't want to stand up against their molesters because they're afraid of persecution as well!"
So, we have a situation where both victims and their perpetrators, apologists, and would be molesters, both feel this need to express things in private they refuse to express in public.
It's almost a matter of 'who gets there first?'.
If more survivors speak out, their voices will drone out the apologists for abusers.
If they are silent, give it time and the voices of those who apologize for abusers might become the predominant voice.
Something to think about. At least, that's what was going through my mind as I read the above article.
I like how Hari writes the most painful thing is the fact that he admires the work of these artists. It's very similar to people who accept the charges leveled against Bob Gray, yet were influenced by his sermons.
It does underscore what I've been saying all along about Hollywood's relationship to abusers and victims. There are more movies about people being falsely accused of molestation than movies about people surviving it.
It's estimated there are over 3 million victims, and even more that has not been reported. Don't you think they're looking for a little cinematic validation?
They're certainly not going to get it from their pastors. There are a few books, but not enough. At the moment, the best survivors can do is visit web pages, message boards, and, if they're lucky, maybe a nearby support group?
Friday, November 27, 2009
I have no idea if this You Tube is authorized by Bob Jones University. My guess will be 'not'.
Still, a pretty accurate depiction of life at Bob Jones University. Yes, that is actually 'young Mr. Spock' who, by tripping through a fundamental time warp, found the one place in this universe he can really let his ears go outta style: BJU!
When I was a fundamentalist attending BJU, I thought they were the center of apostasy. Today, I look at a video like this and laugh. If BJU is smart, they'll do the same.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Letter to Santa program shut down because of sex offenders.
One sex offender is enough to shut down Santa's letter's to kids program, but not enough to shut down the churches, theme parks, and other organizations who have experienced their own problems with offenders.
North Pole shut down until further notice.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
NOTE: Anybody catch the story last September about a child porn ring that operated out of Six Flags?
Check out this article: S'ville man charged in child porn ring.
Garcia and the other man allegedly made sexual comments about young boys at the amusement park, photographed them and talked about viewing boys in the park's bathrooms.
Folks, this is disturbing. I have since communicated with a variety of people in churches to ask them if it's normal for men to bring young girls into bathrooms in mega churches. The answer is 'no', but in theme parks nobody seems to care. Most dismiss this as silly, until you see an article like the one above.
Thing is, to the average theme park custodial worker, who might be getting slightly above minimum wage, they have no idea if those are single fathers or not. To them, it's just an adult male entering a restroom with a young girl. Those places are practically 'no tell motels' for pedophiles.
I submit the idea that these theme parks are more hotbeds of abuse activity than most mega churches. With the exception of the reports concerning Bob Gray at Trinity, most of the allegations seemed to have taken place off church property. Except, of course, for Christian camps.
Not all theme parks are ignorant. Sea World in Orlando co-operated with the Orange County Sheriff's Department and let their employees take a course that demonstrated how to spot sex offenders, and what to do upon catching them. Disney declined to have any part in the program. Six Flags isn't in Orlando, but they could obviously use a program like that.
There are only three institutions who can adequately deal with this problem: government institutions, private institutions, and the family.
None of these three seem to even want to acknowledge the problem exists. But ignorance of child predators will ultimately effect us all. If private institutions and the family don't deal with it, in time, enough victims could pressure government authorities into stiffer regulations for churches, theme parks, and other family based businesses. So, if all these people in private industry (and I include the Southern Baptists under 'private industry', along with theme parks) fail to address this problem, they only have themselves to blame if they ever find themselves saddled with even more regulations in the years to come.
Care about freedom? Then send a child molester to jail! It only takes one to shut down 'Santa's operation' in the North Pole.
Imagine what a couple hundred accusations could do to everyone else.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Gray did not do that.
His lawyers entered a 'not guilty' plea on his behalf.
As far as Gray's own words?
One victim reported him being apologetic to her.
Gray did sigh a lot on the interrogation tape, admit french kissing a minor, and then said, "There's never any excuse to do wrong."
That's about it!
He never actually took to the pulpit and denounced 'false charges'. That was used against him in the court of public opinion. And yet, I'm wondering if that would even have helped him?
Wayanne Kruger (aka, Rae Elizabeth Klein, author of Inborn Justice) is a staunch child advocate who stood behind her daughter, Desiray Bartak in a landmark decision where an abuse victim, waving anonymity, sued her molester and won a million dollar settlement. Desiray would eventually address a crowd on the Capitol steps as she received the 'Making a Difference' award from the National Organization of Women.
Rae and I are working on a documentary called 'Leaving the Lion Behind', about her efforts to stand behind her daughter, and bring more accountability into the system.
Rae's story appeared in the same People magazine that mentioned Michael Jackson's arrest for charges of child molestation. They met, pictures were taken, and we're hoping to negotiate something with the Michael Jackson estate over the use of those pictures.
Rae believes Jackson was not guilty of molestation.
"We were in the same People magazine and when I saw this, I do not think there was a dry eye in our house! Especially since we just came back from Jane Whitney with Latoya Jackson.
As a PhD and when we spoke I will say without certainty; Michael was NOT molested. He was abused in every way imaginable, as he has stated. There were times he had to use shoe polish (he told me) to cover up the whips, bruises, open wounds if he was in public. The websites and you tube that is going up about the hideous allegations disgust me. Those who knew him and his family, children and fans. IMO.
Men who are that abused become more withdrawn into a delusionary world and create in their mind, with such talent as Micheal had, what he could play out in life. Everything was grandiose. Michael could pull that off. He was, the King! They do not become perpetrators as what was stated in my opinion and 25 years of experience. Michael did not have the hand to spank his own children, let alone hurt another child."
You can read more of Rae's opinions on her myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/talkandtell.
Here is a video of Michael Jackson's statement after the police interrogated him.
What I'd like for you to do is: substitute your favorite preacher, who has been arrested for similar crimes, speaking with the same tone as Michael Jackson, and ask yourself, "Would it have made a difference if (fill in the blank) made just an impassioned a plea?"
That was one of the big accusations thrown against Gray!
He was accused of being guilty BECAUSE he did not stand up and shout, "I am innocent." Yet, we have MJ doing that, in very graphic terms, and it still doesn't seem to fly in today's world. Child molestation is one of those crimes that, once it's been attached to your name, is practically impossible to rid yourself of.
Rae is one of the few advocates I've met who realizes that false accusations happen. Sometimes to cover up actual molestations by diverting attention to a scapegoat. Our dedication to attacking a scapegoat often pulls rank over standing up for victims of sex crimes. it just taints the reality of true child abuse cases happening throughout our nation and the world.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I originally approached a local Atheist group to show 'Don't Go In The Church', but they didn't show it because of Chappellaphobia.
Well, while the gallery show was going on, somebody asked me how I got involved with videotaping wrestlers.
I became involved when Jeff Archer, of the Atheist Coalition in San Diego, who was also a wrestling promoter, invited me to videotape the match between Kasie Cavanaugh and Bryan Walsh. Killer Kowalski, now deceased, was the referee. Jeff was also responsible for the 'self help' video Killer Kowalski would later pay me to make.
I didn't meet Jeff Archer in a vacuum! Many of the Atheist, and Humanist, groups in Los Angeles do the same kind of work that Christian charities do. So, I look upon the Humanist Association of Los Angeles, Atheists United, and the other groups, in the same vein you'd look at the various Christian children's funds.
Still, one of the people responsible for the gallery show told me later she wished I hadn't mentioned the phrase 'Atheist Coalition'. She could see a growing pallor in the guy's face.
I smiled and nodded. Agreed. But nothing's going to keep me silent! I'm not going to hide from the word 'Atheist', even if local Atheist groups seem to want to hide from it.
Just like villagers in Transylvania stop talking whenever the name 'Dracula' is mentioned in vampire movies, Lancaster liberals, and some skeptics, seem to stop talking whenever the name 'Paul Chappell' or the word 'Atheist' is used in a conversation.
The reason Paul Chappell, who is allegedly 'cleaning up' Lancaster from its gang problems, has not yet responded, in public, to the scandals regarding the molestation charges that were against Bob Gray, and other Baptist leaders caught with their hands in the cookie jar, is because those who SHOULD KNOW BETTER are buying into the fear. At some point, someone has to stand up and say, "The emperor has no clothes, and it's time to say so!"
In spite of all the posts I've made on this page regarding fundamentalist corruption in Jacksonville and in Lancaster, nobody has yet to show up and make a public challenge whenever I've done these public events.
I am glad the article mentioned 'Don't Go In The Church' (see below). It did provide some context as to why I found myself in Lancaster in the first place.
The fear is bogus, people!
It's time to start speaking out these issues. Especially when it comes to issues regarding the clergy abuse of children. There are more supporters of survivors than you might think, but we're still cowering in a baseless fear.
There's no excuse for that.
NOTE: Click image for the big picture.
This article appeared in Friday's edition of the Antelope Valley Press. It appeared in their Friday supplement section. Very impressed to see it shares the same page that features a review of Michael Jackson's This is it.
The article manages to include Don't Go In The Church!, working at Disneyland (without mentioning the name), a bit about growing up fundamentalist in Jacksonville, and professional wrestling, without missing a single beat!
Film documents devotion to violent craft.
By Lavender Vroman
Antelope Valley Press, Showcase Editor
November 6, 2009
When director Dwayne Walker started making the documentary “Wrestling Then and Now,” he didn’t have much sympathy for those who participate in the violent, flashy sport.
When I first put this movie together, I kind of had a superior attitude toward some of these wrestlers,” said the 48-year-old filmmaker, who lives in Long Beach.
“Some of these young wrestlers are just putting their bodies through so much hell and getting paid very little for it.”
After abandoning the project, and then returning to it about six years later, Walker found himself working on the custodial staff at a major amusement park.
“My body was just rebelling against me. It just wasn’t used to that,” he said. “My paycheck, it was like working two or three jobs and only getting paid for one job. Now, I’m re-editing (the film) and I’m realizing, ‘Hey, aren’t I doing the same thing?’”
Walker said he realized the wrestlers were more noble than him because they don’t complain about the damage inflicted on their bodies.
“They’re sacrificing their bodies because of something they want. Suddenly, these wrestlers are serving as an inspiration to me. Suddenly, it was like this weird thing where this movie was inspiring me.”
Walker ended up quitting his amusement park job to pursue more satisfying endeavors. The completed documentary “Wrestling Then and Now” will premiere Saturday, Nov. 7, as part of “Sound of the Body Slams: Wrestling in Documentary Film” at Antelope Valley College.
The event will also feature a screening of director Arthur Cauty’s “Hard Knocks” which explores the skill, aptitude and dedication required in wrestling; an appearance by wrestling tag team The Ballard Brothers; and a discussion with Walker.
The film festival is recommended for mature audiences. Walker said his documentary contains some adult language and wrestling violence.
“Sound of the Body Slams” coincides with the college art gallery exhibition, “Beyond the Ring: The Art Careers of Professional Wrestlers,” which features the works of Steve “Strong” Cepello; Marc Letzmann, aka “Excalibur”; Jerry “the King” Lawler; Pete Bregman; and Ted Lewin, author of “I was a Teenage Wrestler”.
According to Walker, the film festival and exhibition came about after he sent Antelope Valley College a copy of his short film, “Don’t Go In The Church!”, which deals with the subject of child abuse by Protestant clergy. He also threw in a copy of “Wrestling Then and Now.”
Walker said he contacted art gallery director Christine Mugnolo, who told him she was interested in the wrestling documentary and wanted to organize an art show.
“I’m kind of on cloud nine, the fact that this movie inspired this gallery show,” the director said.
“Wrestling Then and Now” explores the East Coast’s independent wrestling scene, including the injuries, the women’s division, overzealous fans and the system by which wrestlers “pay their dues”.
It features interviews with such “old school” greats as Killer Kowalski, Nikolai Volkoff and Don “Dr. Death” Arnold, and younger wrestling stars, including Homicide, Lowlife Louis Ramos and the Mambo King.
The East Coast wrestling community is a far cry from the ‘glitz’ of the World Wrestling Entertainment empire, Walker said.
“It’s more of a blue collar crowd. You can actually meet the wrestlers, they can sign autographs, you can have conversations with them. It’s my understanding that there really isn’t an indie scene like that out here in Southern California. In New York and New Jersey, it’s a part of people’s life.”
Growing up surrounded by Christian fundamentalists in Jacksonville, Fla., Walker said his childhood love of movies was squelched by his church’s strict disapproval of the cinema.
“I really fell into it hard, too, to the point that I wound up giving up movies for a while.”
When Walker went to college, he started seeing films again. “Unfortunately, I just couldn’t recapture that first love that I had for movies,” he said.
His passion for the cinema didn’t return until the late 1990’s, when he began videotaping wrestling matches in Southern California.
“It just took me away from all of this gloom and doom and hell and damnation,” Walker said.
Through his videography work, the director met wrestling writer and radio show host Evan GInzburg, associate producer of last year’s Oscar nominated drama “The Wrestler” starring Mickey Rourke.
Ginzburg regaled Walker with stories of wrestlers he knew on the East Coast.
“Eventually, he told me enough stories. . . that I said, ‘Ok, maybe I should take him up on this,” Walker said.
The director stayed with Ginzburg in New York for three weeks in 2002, doing nonstop interviews with wrestlers.
“Every single person practically had a hard luck story but there were all about the same thing, ‘This isn’t going to make wrestling look bad is it?’” the director recalled.
“My movie, believe it or not, besides all the hard luck stories, is practically cotton candy because I’m paying tribute to them.”
After a conflict over footage of one of the featured wrestlers, Walker set the project aside. It wasn’t until “The Wrestler” was released that he was inspired to revisit and re-edit the film.
“Wrestling Then and Now” is on sale at Walker’s Web site, walkertown.com.
As for AV College’s elevation of wrestling to an art form, Walker said he wholeheartedly agrees with the approach.
“I do think of it as an art form. I think of it as an extension of the morality plays back to the medieval era. To me, at its best, I see it as like the medieval theater where you have the good guys and the bad guys. When you look at it like that, the question of ‘Is it fake?’ doesn’t even play into it.”
Used by permission.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Messer will be speaking on 'Transition: Leading the church to adapt for greater effectiveness'.
You can see his picture just below Richard Land, who will be speaking, ironically enough, on the 'Persecution of the American church: welcome to pastoring in a persecuted environment.'
What some call 'accountability' others call 'persecution'. In a subculture where paying your taxes is regarded as 'persecution', I think some women who recently got stoned for adultery (some, for even wearing pants) in the Middle East might beg to differ.
Link: Official website for Florida Baptist Convention.
Christa Brown's article: Tom Messer is speaker for Florida Baptist Convention.
Here's my comment which can be found underneath Christa's article:
I'm really not shocked anymore. Kinda just a bit numb. I'd like to see a convention where every preacher who has ever been accused of molesting children, or covering up molesters, appears on the program. We might moving toward that anyway.
The more they put their heads in the sand, the more this seems to be a reality.
I remember being totally shocked when Jerry Falwell publically admitted he recommended First Baptist Church over Trinity Baptist Church. The recommendation was for Tonya Flynt, who just wrote a book accusing Larry Flynt, Falwell's good friend of molesting her as a toddler.
Everybody denied Falwell and Flynt were friends, until Falwell died, then we learned they were in fact friends. Still, I was thinking, "The guy's independent! Why would he recommend a Southern Baptist church over his own 'non denominational' denomination?"
So. . .I actually called Tonya and mentioned the Gray situation. Remember, this is years before Gray had been arrested. I told her I thought it was really odd he recommend this church over Trinity UNLESS the rumors were true. That Gray molested children, and he did not want to gamble on sending someone, known for speaking out loud against her molestation, to a church pastored by someone involved in that particular crime.
She might have had children during that time also. I'll have to look into that. When you look at this way, Falwell might have spared Larry Flynt's grandchild from possible Gray abuse. Isn't that interesting?
Somewhere around this time frame, Falwell went into the Southern Baptist Convention! In fact, I have a Christian newspaper in the garage where that is a headline. There's an article about Falwell joining the Southern Baptist Convention.
So. . .once upon a time, when Southern Baptist Convention preachers got in trouble, they used to leave and become independent and blame their separation on 'liberalism' and 'apostasy'. Today, when independent Baptists get in trouble, they now seem to RETURN to the Southern Baptist Convention.
Guess birds of a feather must stick together?
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I had an interview with Lavender Vroman, a writer with the Antelope Valley Press. The newspaper of Lancaster, CA. A lot of material covered, from the inception of the movie to 'why Lancaster for your screening?'
I have no idea what will, or won't, be used in the article,. Hopefully it will attract people to the screening of my movie, Wrestling Then and Now. As far as the rest of the subject matter we discussed? That will be at the writer's discretion. Let's just say that the creation of Wrestling Then and Now was quite interesting. It truly was a rare opportunity where the creator became inspired by the creation. Very inspirational.
Killer Kowalski, the late wrestling legend, paid me $1000 to make a self improvement video. This video consisted of Killer Kowalski explaining how he gets through the hard ships of life. He put a lot of strength in the phrase, "I Am."
I don't have that video, and I practically have an all points bulletin for anyone who happens to have 'Walter Killer Kowalski's Miracle Video' to get in contact with me. In that video, he talks about using the phrase 'I Am' to pick yourself up. I tried, using his method, and it does seem to work.
Well, if anyone has read Dan Brown's latest book, he keeps harping about some lost freemason saying that will transform the individual. I'm going to give it away since I believe Kowalski has the better answer.
Dan Brown's book, The Lost Symbol, speculates the saying is 'Praise God'. It's apparently somewhere on the Washington monument. According to the book's hero, 'Praise God' is part of our freemason founding father's grand goal of a nation devoted to transforming men into gods.
Kowalski's method of saying 'I Am' is clearly the 'magic phrase', if you believe in that sort of thing. An unbeliever can say 'I Am' and it will be an affirmation that he, or she, is worthy of respect by the pure virtue of existence. A believer can also say 'I Am' with the knowledge that it is also a reference to a deity.
Either way, 'I Am' is a powerful phrase that can be used by both believer and unbeliever. Hence, its uniting power. Plus, with the knowledge that it's both an affirmation of self, and a name for the deity, ultimately puts the person saying it on an equal level with the alleged deity of your choice.
Men into gods!
The theme of Dan Brown's book.
Yet, Kowalski improves on Brown: believer and un believer can be both united, and find strength, through the power of 'I Am'.
Nope, it wasn't a theological scholar who brought that to the public. It was our theological Prometheus, Walter 'Killer' Kowalski!!!
Yes, the foolish things of the world confounding the wise. . .
"Wrestlers make great fundamentalist preachers!" I said to Lavender, "If I ever get a chance to make my dream project, Most Say Nothing, I want professional wrestlers playing the roles of fundamentalist preachers!"
You do hear Kowalski mentioning 'I Am' in the movie, but I think the meaning will pass over people's heads. Unless, of course, someone finds 'Walter Kowalski's Miracle Video' and puts it on the market!
Saturday, November 7, will be devoted to wrestling and the art it inspires. Kasie Cavanaugh, aka Jayne Tryka (gym teacher in original Scary Movie) is slated to appear, as is Bryan Walsh. The Ballard Brothers, from the movie Hard Knocks (which will also be screened) will be there for Q&A between movies.
Lancaster, California residents! Keep an eye out for the paper on Friday. If the article has an internet presence, I'll be sure to link it.
Official gallery link: http://avc.edu/academics/vapa/artgallery/
Walter Kowalski's Miracle Video:
Scroll all the way down for mention of the video. I'm sending a letter to that address to see if it still works. If it does, I'll let 'ya know!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Bob Gray was arrested on charges of child molestation back in May of 2006. This blog has kept tabs of all the major developments in the trial; however, the fact that I am a graduate of Trinity Christian Academy's Class of 1980 (the school Gray founded), and a former member of Trinity Baptist Church (the church Gray once pastored), might have affected my objectivity a bit.
Maybe I'll write about that one day!
Thankfully, Christa Brown of stopbaptistpredators.com was astute enough to create a page devoted to the major issues involved in the various cases against Trinity Baptist Church.
Conservative Babylon also gives a very thorough account of the Bob Gray saga.
Visit Baptist Scandals: Trinity Baptist in Jacksonville, Florida, or Rev. Bob Gray to bring yourself up to speed on this sad drama. However, keep visiting 'Christian School Confidential' for updates on the future trials.
Three are waiting.
Here are the complaints that have been filed, including those that have been tossed:
The Civil Trials against Trinity Baptist Church:
Download as PDF files:
All of these cases, except two, have been tossed. Jane Doe #2 and #3 appear to still be on the dock.
(from Duval County Clerk, if you wish to research).
NOTE: Dates refer to when they were posted on the Duval County Clerk's web page. They do not refer to when the decisions were made.
Jane Doe is tossed, 3/19/2008
Jane Doe appeals, and still tossed.
Jane Doe #4, 12/6/2007
Jane Doe #4 is tossed. The above document contains the lines:
The Court concludes that the Plantiff's claim "the Defendant's silence and/or inaction in the face of an affirmative duty to disclose their knowledge of Rev. Gray's sexual behavior constitutes fraudulent concealment. . . for purposes of deflecting the statue of limitations" is without merit.
Jane Doe #4, 1/25/2008
Jane Doe, #5, 10/26/2007
Jane Doe, #5, 12/17/2007
Jane Doe, #5, 1/11/2008
Denise Green, 4/28/2008
Four depositions were used during the writing of Our Pastor Molested Me, Now What?. They may be obtained by contacting Official Reporters, Inc., 201 East Adams Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32202, (904) 358-2090. You must give them the case name, number, and division. That information is listed below.
State of Florida vs Robert Calhoun Gray
16-2006-CF-07704-AXXX-MA (Division CR-E/SAD)
Excerpt from Spring Break Missionaries:
The Moral Majority once again came to Trinity Baptist Church.
Our first period class had been cancelled due to the presentation, AMERICA, YOU'RE TOO YOUNG TO DIE. It was difficult to tell who was meant to be converted. The students were already on Falwell's side, after all, we wrote letters for him twice that year!
We gathered to watch a multi-media presentation complete with singing, dancing (fundamentalists called them 'stage movements'), and video clips of senators, congressmen, aborted fetuses, and grind houses. The feeling received after such a presentation was, "I'm glad I go to a Christian school where drugs and violence are not a part of everyday life!"
After the presentation, we returned to our homerooms waiting to be dismissed to our second period class. A student expressed disgust over a photo of two homosexuals.
"In my day, we knew how to deal with faggots." a teacher said, "They used to gather at Friendship Fountain. When I was going to high school, a bunch of my friends used to go over and pick on them. We once knocked a guy's head into the side of the fountain! He was bleeding like a squashed tomato."
"That's awful!" said a girl.
"They were queer!"
The boys nodded their heads.
"They're still hanging out at Friendship Fountain." One guy said, "I would have done the same thing."
Something about my teacher bragging about violence bothered me.
"There's a teacher at Trinity who brags about beating up gays. Do you think we should tell Brother Gray?" I asked a youth leader.
"Why should it concern you?"
I asked a teacher his opinion.
"Are you thinking of turning gay, Dwayne?"
"A gay person cannot be saved." It was explained to me, "The Book of Romans teaches that God gave men up to unclean lusts. When God gives men up and withdraws His Spirit from them, nothing will stop them from perverting God's plan. Once they step over the boundary into homosexuality, they cannot be saved---even if they want to! As far as God is concerned, their souls are dead. God looks upon them as animals."
"I know they can't be saved." I argued, "But what about public relations? Wouldn't it hurt our testimony if people knew we were beating up gays? It might keep them unsaved."
"Why should we worry about what the world thinks?" another friend shrugged, "God does not want us to be cruel to animals, but if it happens God won't send anyone to Hell for being cruel."
NOTE: To this day, whenever the scene comes up in Bible Madness where my fundamentalist alter ego expresses the same sympathies, I still have people, who knew me then, and should know better, treating this viewpoint like it was an aberration on my part.
"You won't go to Hell if you're gay! When did we ever say that?"
Plenty of times! In those days, however, I wasn't going around with a video camera documenting people's opinions.
Talk to any gay person who went to a fundamentalist school during the seventies and listen to what they say!
How can fundamentalists have such short attention spans when it comes to their history of gay bashing? They'll conveniently forget how they stood against inter-racial marriages, condemned gays to hell, yet still remember everything the Catholic church did to Baptists hundreds of years ago.
Now, if we could only pass some legislation regarding corporate responsibility regarding child abuse in places heavily frequented by children.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
from Rape Apologism and the response to Mackenzie Phillips.
All survivors experience backlash by going public — that backlash is only going to grow tenfold when the abuser is famous. It’s this backlash that makes coming forward so difficult, but also so significant. People don’t like to hear that their heroes can also be rapists, and that rapists can also be heroes. People don’t like to hear that rapists can have separate qualities worth admiring, can have talent, and depth, and people who love them. People don’t want to hear anything about rapists that doesn’t involve them being evil, slimy, instantly identifiable monsters, who have absolutely no worth or humanity. People don’t want to hear it because it makes rape easier to ignore, deny, forget, and believe could never happen to them, could never be committed by someone they know.
That is precisely why people need to hear it.
Monday, October 19, 2009
But Jordan was more skittish than most — and emphatically said, "No." Crain wasn't fazed. He worked the thrill-hungry crowd of inmates to his advantage, and when he began hinting to Jordan that maybe he wasn't quite man enough to handle the job of human cutting board, the 19-year-old responded to the challenge just the way you would expect. He climbed up the wooden platform and laid himself back on a weight-training bench that had been used in an earlier act. And Crain placed the melon on Jordan's belly.
Click photo to see bigger picture.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Mike Crain of Ft. Bluff fired.
Excerpt: 07-15-2008, 08:38 PM
Just Gettin' Started
Join Date: Jun 2008
Our church went recently and we were told that he had to leave. It involved a 9 year old daughter of one of his staff.
This thread is followed by people piling up on 4 the truth.
This is the same manner the Bob Gray situation was introduced on the FFF. One person comes out before the news media catches on, everyone piles on him. Knocks him. Gives him 'red', etc. Although, the FFF did not have 'red' back then.
I remember the first time the Bob Gray situation was mentioned on the FFF. It was eons ago, before the current ownership of the FFF. People replied to the post by saying 'I believe the situation was handled correctly, etc.' along with 'why don't you call them?'. One person from those days actually did call, got a straight answer from Trinity, then posted it on the FFF, and people STILL didn't believe him.
It appears the same dynamic is at work with the Mike Crain saga. People discussing the matter a year or so before his arrest. In this case, stories about him getting fired began in 2007. Word about molesting a girl didn't get discussed until 2008. Heart attack and dementia then, as now, used as an excuse.
Okay, reality check! If this has been going on since 2007, I can't keep defending these people. If this had been recent, I could understand. Sounds like they've been down this river before. Now, it's reached the trial stage.
Let's see what happens.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
We'll see if anyone crawls out of the woodwork with any accusations that might have occurred before the heart attack.
This reminds me of an incident at Trinity someone pretty much warned me against discussing. I was specifically told not to blog about a similar situation that happened over a decade ago with a former TBC bus worker.
Ah, ya' gotta love the South and it's bordering neighbors like Texas and Tennessee!
Growing up there's a lot like growing up in Disneyland.
Gotta be careful what you talk about. Nobody ever gets ill. Or dies on premises. Or gets molested.
And mental illness? Surely, you jest!
So, knock me all you want! Things like this have happened before and were quickly hushed up.
That's why I'm glad to see Tim Walterback speaking up about this. Because of his openness, I'm 'almost' willing to give Crain a break (that is, if there are no other accusations stemming before his heart attack). It wouldn't be the first time someone, in the fundamentalist world, who had a real mental illness, overstepped his boundaries.
The only caveat I make concerns one of the victims who was molested twice. Did she tell anyone between incidents? Who did she tell? Did officials try to cover it up the first time?
After praising Marty Braemer to high heaven, then having it revealed, through the FFF, that some were intimidated from speaking out about his situation (adultery, leaving the pulpit to pastor in Florida, etc), I'm a little nervous praising too many people.
Article: Founder of Fort Bluff Charged With Sexual Battery.
Mike Crain may be best-known nationwide for a poster several years ago showing his Karati skills, or one where he sliced a watermelon on the stomach of a young Michael Jordan.
Article: Christian Camp Director Accused of Sexual Battery.
"He was an icon, everybody loved Big Mike," Tim Walterbach, the Executive Director of the Fort Bluff Camp, says.
Tim Walterbach says that's why Mike Crain's recent arrest on three counts of sexual battery astounded people across the country.
"They're shocked and saddened by the situation as we are and yes a big part of my job has been mending broken hearts,"
Friday, October 16, 2009
It was a long time ago! Crain is definitely one of the 'golden agers' when it comes to the history of Trinity Baptist Church. He also founded the Fort Bluff Camp and the National Association of Christian Athletics.
His lawyers are allegedly threatening a blogger over the use of an image on his vinyl records. If you want to see vintage Mike Crain, click here.
Mike Crain was arrested on three counts of sexual battery on October 13, 2009. One of the assaults happened while the victim was asleep. She awoke to find Crane allegedly assaulting her.
The defense argument appears to be "progressive cognitive dementia".
Article: Mike Crain turns himself in to sheriff's department.
What's the deal here? Is this a matter of just 'bide your time' and everyone you ever saw behind the pulpit will eventually be arrested for some sexual crime? Okay. . .whose next?
Thursday, October 15, 2009
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
I'm getting really tired of the hypocrisy.
This clip from the Daily Show illustrates what I'm talking about. All the conservatives getting worked up over ACORN and the sting involving the fake prostitutes, but nobody seems to care when a woman is gang raped by Halliburton employees. The Republicans, currently in office, have denied this woman the opportunity to hold those people accountable. Fortunately, the Democratic majority over ruled them.
Why is it I don't hear criticism about this from those attacking fundamentalist preachers who have sexually abused children and/or adults? Most of those institutions that have sheltered abusive fundamentalist preachers have been very involved in conservative politics. Yet, those advocating for victims seem to be so bent on showing how they haven't become 'apostate' or 'liberal'. They suddenly become quiet when conservative politicians help shield abusers.
I first noticed this when McCain released his ad accusing Obama of wanting to teach sex education to kindergartners. Obama really was endorsing a program that warned children about sex predators and how to deal with them. Did I see one web site, which took a stand against fundamentalist apathy regarding abusive preachers, set the record straight? Nope. Not one. Most victims of religious abuse, at least those on-line, still backed McCain and seemed to ignore how education is a weapon against sex predators.
Those who complained about their words being twisted by fundamentalist preachers did not seem to care how a program designed to stop child sex predators was also given a false description, by the same conservative politicians endorsed by their abusers, as 'sex education for kindergartners'.
And now, everybody's all ticked off about the ACORN scandal, but few seem upset that Republicans do not want to hold Halliburton employees accountable for gang rape.
What a mixed up country we live in!
It's like those 'drink responsibly' quotes that you keep seeing after liquor commercials! After awhile, you stop taking them seriously.
It's amazing how conservatives seem to think gang rape, child sex abuse, and even sexual abuse of adults, can be subject to arbitration without involving government or the police. Even more amazing when victims of fundamentalist abuse, whether as children or adults, and those defending such victims, don't speak out against this.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I no longer defend the integrity of Polanski, however.
The last two or three years of blogging about the Bob Gray case had something to do with it.
Here is an excellent article centering on Polanski weaving a personal myth. Substitute the name 'Polanksi' with your favorite (or non-favorite) pastor who has been accused of child molestation, and tell me this doesn't fit:
Megan Carpenter's Roman Polanski, And The Making Of A Legend.
The Rapist is still the disgusting, knife-wielding alley-dweller, the man who can only get "sex" one way, the criminal, the man from whom children and women would shy away. Maybe, in the corners of our collective consciousness, we can believe that The Rapist the lewd guy at the party, the perv, the one who doesn't want to have to put the effort into seduction, the one rejected one too many times to try his hand at obtaining consent. These archetypes, seared into our conscious, ignore one thing: rape isn't about sex, at least insofar as most (normal) people understand sex.
Who would want to perform sexual acts on a crying, protesting, resisting woman? One rendered unconscious or semi-conscious? It's grotesque to think about what rape is: a crying, fearful, unresponsive, protesting woman in pain, or one that simply lies there, unconscious, and must be moved like a rag doll to achieve her rapist's ends. It's not sex as much as its an assault, a penetration with a painful but non-deadly weapon. And people don't want to think about Polanski in that way, for their own reasons--but that doesn't mean it's not exactly what he did to his victim.
I clicked on fundamentalforums.com and got a blank page with this URL: http://server9.urljet.com/suspended.page/
Hmmm, gee, wonder why the FFF would ever get suspended? Well, when you got crazy guys talking about praying for the President's death, others being rather gleeful about the killing of George Tiller, and not one person (it would appear) saying these are bad things, it shouldn't come as a surprise.
We shall see. . .
I doubt seriously this will catch on! Whether it does, or does not, it kinda confirms what I've been thinking for the past decade about fundamentalist churches and schools (especially independent Baptists).
It is possible, I believe, to graduate and totally repudiate everything you were taught in the school, but you will still be embraced as long as you accept conservative Republican values. I've seen it in practice! People who have become Atheists, or even spreading praises toward Anton Lavey-styled Satanism, have been described as 'smart', but let a Christian, who believes the same things regarding salvation as fundamentalists do, venture down anything resembling 'liberalism' and they will be exiled.
I don't think it's a liberal/conservative thing, though. It just seems to be that most conservatives do not like laws that demand accountability from organizations. It doesn't matter whether those organizations are financial firms or non profit churches. They just want to be left alone!
Fundamentalists don't want the government telling their people how to live. Fundamentalists, after all, do that job quite well themselves!
Sooo. . .since it seems to be politics they worship over their own values, doctrines, and what not, why not rip out the story of the woman caught in adultery? According to this article, she will be one of the first victims.
While you're at it, do something about that pesky millstone story.
Hmmm, exactly how do you define 'offend' these little ones?
If you have not inflicted 'pain', then you have not 'offended' the little ones?
Well, that will let a lot of child sex predators off the hook! The possibilities are endless with the new conservative bible!
Of course, as the events of the last two weeks have demonstrated, there really is very little difference between conservatives and liberals when 'their own' are arrested or accused.
"I am guilty of a transgression, but it was neither sexual nor immoral."
the late Bob Gray, Conservative Independent Baptist, commenting on child molestation accusations against him.
"It wasn't rape-rape. It was statutory rape."
Whoopie Goldberg, liberal Democrat, commenting on Roman Polanksi, who was arrested for drugging and raping a 13 year old girl.
It appears neither side seems to respect sexual crimes when committed against children.
Wonder why that is?
If it involves children, it's neither 'sexual nor immoral', nor is it 'rape-rape'.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Hasn't this been a wild week for child abuse headlines? First, Mackenzie Phillips gets the ball rolling with the bombshell that her father, John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, drugged and sexually molested her when she was a teen.
The relationship continued for ten years, although she concedes 'the Stockholm syndrome' might have been at work in her head. She pleaded with people not to hate her father, which even disturbed shock radio host, Howard Stern.
There was mention about others who might have known, like fellow band member, Denny Doherty, but Mackenzie does not want to exact revenge.
Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland for drugging and sexually molesting a 13 year old girl.
This stems from an old case from the early seventies, but, then again, so were some of the incidents brought up in the Bob Gray saga. Click here if you are not familiar with Bob Gray saga, the central figure who inspired the blog you now read.
Gray was not alleged to have drugged his victims, but maybe didn't have to. The King James Version of the Bible, in the hands of a man already claiming power and absolute authority, can be the most addictive drug of them all.
How many victims have been deluded into giving a pastor unbridled authority over their lives because of a few well chosen words from scripture, with a 'gotcha' attitude to match?
Let's get back to Hollywood scandals.
Here's where things get screwy:
Most, outside of Hollywood producers, writers, and directors, agree Polanksi needs to answer for his crime. Even if the victim forgave him.
Things are different when it comes to Mackenzie!
Half of America seems to be filled with hate and anger toward her for even bringing it up. Those who would otherwise want Polanksi in jail, or the death sentence against fundamentalist preachers who molested children, have now become turncoats when it comes to accusations against John Phillips.
Excuses are made.
"She was a drug addict!
. . .has a book coming out!
. . .career's on the skids!"
What's conveniently left out of the anger is the fact it was her father, who introduced her to drugs, which helped put her career on the skids! Let's face it, if you had been raped by your father, don't you'd think you'd want some drugs to just get the thoughts out of your mind?
The Fighting Fundamentalist Forum, the primo place to discuss abuses by fundamentalist preachers, is filled with amazing posts by people ragging on Mackenzie for being on drugs in the first place!
What's weird is the people trashing Mackenzie on the FFF are also critical of abuses at places like Hephzibah House, as well as other fundamentalist predator/pastors.
If her book alleged abuse by a fundamentalist minister, would her motives even be questioned?
Why the double standard?
Take, for instance, the women accusing Ron Williams, the founder of Hephzibah House, of physical abuse. When supporters of Williams try to use the past of the HH victims against them, the critics of HH are front and center declaring how unfair it is to bring up the victim's past.
Yet, when it's Mackenzie, even the critics of HH seem to not care about bringing up the drug issue, even if it was her father who introduced her to it. How dare Mackenzie tread on our precious memories of Mamas and Papa tunes!
I'm not posting the links of these comments because I'm very disappointed in these people. For awhile, I thought they really cared about child abuse! Silly me! Concern about child abuse ALWAYS takes a backseat to whoever we happen to be scapegoating at the time.
You can sift through the posts by clicking here. Those who would otherwise defend victims of child abuse by religious figures are suddenly turning on Mackenzie Phillips, victim of a once popular musician. It's just sickening.
I think a lot of these people spent their formidable years defending rock music against the wild accusations of fundamentalist preachers. Now that we see that some accusations against popular musicians (no matter how 'out of date' they are) actually had validity, those who once defended victims (of religious abuse) suddenly lapse into an unexpected 'blame the victim' mode.
I don't see them blaming the victim when it comes to accusations against fundamentalist preachers, but when it's against their precious musical memories, somehow it becomes okay to blame a victim.
I'm sure John Phillips and Roman Polanski felt exactly like Bob Gray, Eddie Dunagan, Daryl Gilyard, and other alleged evangelical preacher/predators.
"Nobody's going to turn me in! I'm known as a great artist!"
Or, "I'm practically a 'Christian rock star'!"
Nobody will touch them. There's too much 'respect' in the waters for that. Too many people dependent on them for their financial income.
And their victims? Like Mackenzie Phillips, they have 'questionable backgrounds', according to those who defend the preachers.
Indeed, one of the first accusations I heard against a victim of Bob Gray concerned the use of marijuana by one of the accusers. How is that any different from those accusing Mackenzie of being unreliable because she had a 'needle stuck up her arm for 35 years'?
It's not just the FFF, though. Nor is child sexual abuse being mishandled only by fundamentalists, Catholics, rock stars, and film directors. Read through the comments at this Huffington Post article.
America, and the world, is still out to lunch when it comes to the issue of child sexual abuse.
There's also a lot of people spouting the ridiculous idea about John Phillips needing to be around to 'defend himself'.
How dare she wait until he's dead!
Mackenzie displayed great compassion by waiting until he was dead.
Let's face it, there's nothing more fun than a celebrity trial. Why would she want to put herself through that? You think Mackenzie is being dragged through the dirt now? Imagine how she would fare having to face her father on the witness stand!
Her background would be totally used against her.
Imagine how terrible her father would feel!
Ha! I know, you're thinking, "Why should we care?"
Those who seemingly care about John Phillips not being around to defend himself somehow miss that Mackenzie did John a great favor by not addressing the issue while he was alive. She spared him from further embarrassment, not to mention her family when the inevitable 'who knew' questions would be asked in court.
A victim's first responsibility is to herself, not the entertainment of the masses. If she had brought this up while he was alive, the issue of child abuse would most likely have been swept under the rug. She would have probably settled for an 'undisclosed amount', and that, most certainly, would have guaranteed her silence.
By not going through that fiasco, she's made it possible to shine a light on a problem that's affecting millions of people throughout the world.
NOTE: ABC News reports that since Phillips’ public admission on the Oprah Winfrey show this week, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) has seen a 26 percent jump in its hotline calls and an 83 percent increase in traffic on its Web site.