Saturday, February 27, 2010
When a Christian fundamentalist uses the term 'secular fundamentalist', they are generally referring to any Atheist who decides to come out of the closet. Why is it okay for a Christian to suddenly force Jesus into a conversation that doesn't really have anything to do with Jesus, and still come across as 'fair minded'? Yet, let an Atheist mention his skepticism, and that mere mention categorizes him, or her, as a 'secular fundamentalist'?
No, just coming out with the fact that you are a skeptic, or Atheist, does not make you a secular fundamentalist.
Fundamentalism is an attitude, not a canon of beliefs.
A secular fundamentalist, in my view, is absolute regarding issues of right and wrong to the point of being a jerk. When called upon to defend their 'jerky-ness', can't seem to produce one rational argument that makes sense for their viewpoint. All they can do is throw insults at you. Just like some Christian fundamentalists I've known!
The recent books and articles coming out about Ayn Rand's fascination with child killer, William Hickman, provide enough evidence to illustrate what I'm talking about whenever I use the term 'secular fundamentalist'.
I will admit to having been both a religious and secular fundamentalist. Either alternative made life unbearable for whoever happened to be around me. That does make me feel bad. However, I know I'm not the only one who has been addicted to acting like a jerk then grabbing theology, or philosophy, to justify it.
Any 'cure' for this problem must begin with recognition that it is a problem. The following excerpts from Murray Rothbard's The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult (written in 1972) illustrate what I'm talking about.
I must say, every time I hear, or read, someone use the phrase 'ideas matter', I interpret that as code for 'please ignore how my real life doesn't match with my professed ideals'. Or, to put it more succinctly: 'please ignore my hypocrisy!'.
From: The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult.
Tell me how Ayn Rand's 'disciples' were any different from Christian fundamentalists. This sounds like me as a Trinity student defending Star Wars because of 'the force':
Personal enjoyment, indeed, was also frowned upon in the movement and denounced as hedonistic "whim-worship." In particular, nothing could be enjoyed for its own sake – every activity had to serve some indirect, "rational" function. Thus, food was not to be savored, but only eaten joylessly as a necessary means of one’s survival; sex was not to be enjoyed for its own sake, but only to be engaged in grimly as a reflection and reaffirmation of one’s "highest values"; painting or movies only to be enjoyed if one could find "rational values" in doing so. All of these values were not simply to be discovered quietly by each person – the heresy of "subjectivism" – but had to be proven to the rest of the cult. In practice, as will be seen further below, the only safe aesthetic or romantic "values" or objects for the member were those explicitly sanctioned by Ayn Rand or other top disciples.
Those who attended Bob Jones University, or familiar with Peter Ruckman's Pensacola Bible Institute, might identify with the next passage. You might remember people asking (regarding Ruckman), 'what is Doc's position on divorce, movies, women in pants, etc?'. Or, with BJU, there was a list of businesses not to visit. Why? Sometimes it was quite murky, like a particular florist shop.
Same with Rand and her secular disciples:
Thus, one time a leading Randian attorney was giving a speech on Randian political theory. During the question period, he was caught short by being asked how he could reconcile Rand’s support for the compulsory subpoena power with the Randian political axiom of non-initiation of force. He hemmed and hawed, and then said that he had to think about this – a code phrase for hurriedly checking with Rand and the other leaders on the proper answer.
Part of the continuing need to check with headquarters came from the fact that Rand, though considered infallible by her disciples, changed her mind a great deal, particularly on concrete personalities or institutions. The fundamental line change on Branden is a glaring example, as well as the line change on other formerly high-ranking Randians who were expelled from the movement. But far more frequent if less important were changes of position on show business folk whom Rand might have met. Thus, the "line" on such people as Johnny Carson or Mike Wallace (prominent TV personalities) changed rapidly – largely because of Rand’s discovering various heresies and alleged betrayals on their part.
Bob Jones University was known for having little 'trials' for those suspected of heresy on campus. Ayn Rand and her disciples were also known for that:
We have already mentioned the excommunications and "purges" in the Randian movement. Often, the excommunications – especially of important Randians – proceeded in a ritual manner. The errant member was peremptorily ordered to appear at a "trial" to hear charges against him. If he refused to appear – as he would if he had any shred of self-respect left – then the trial would continue in absentia, with all the members present taking turns in denouncing the expelled member, reading charges against him (again in a manner eerily reminiscent of 1984). When his inevitable conviction was sealed, someone – generally his closest friend – wrote the excommunicate, a bitter, febrile, and portentous letter, damning the apostate forevermore and excluding him forever from the Elysian fields of reason and reality. Having his closest friend take the leading part in the heresy proceeding was of course important as a way of forcing the friend to demonstrate his own loyalty to Rand, thereby clearing himself of any lingering taint by association. It is reported that when Branden was expelled, one of his closest former friends in New York sent him a letter proclaiming that the only moral thing he could do at that point was to commit suicide – a strange position for an allegedly pro-life, pro-individual-purpose philosophy to take.
I have heard more than one account of people nearly starving themselves into malnutrition by following Lester Roloff's strange dietary laws. Well, Christian fundamentalists aren't the only ones with strange views of health that they use their beliefs to justify. Consider Ayn Rand's view of smoking and how that affected her followers:
The all-encompassing nature of the Randian line may be illustrated by an incident that occurred to a friend of mine who once asked a leading Randian if he disagreed with the movement’s position on any conceivable subject. After several minutes of hard thought, the Randian replied: "Well, I can’t quite understand their position on smoking." Astonished that the Rand cult had any position on smoking, my friend pressed on: "They have a position on smoking? What is it?" The Randian replied that smoking, according to the cult, was a moral obligation. In my own experience, a top Randian once asked me rather sharply, "How is it that you don’t smoke?" When I replied that I had discovered early that I was allergic to smoke, the Randian was mollified: "Oh, that’s OK, then." The official justification for making smoking a moral obligation was a sentence in Atlas where the heroine refers to a lit cigarette as symbolizing a fire in the mind, the fire of creative ideas. (One would think that simply holding up a lit match could do just as readily for this symbolic function.)
Now that I think about it, there's probably not really a contradiction between Ayn Rand's view of life and that of Christian fundamentalists. Both profess allegiance to a higher form of 'reason'.
Rand's form was Objectivism. Christian fundamentalists tended to flock around Francis Shaeffer, or any teacher of their choice who threw around scripture verses like 'come now and let us reason together'. Ultimately, individual thinking was stifled in both extremes.
Reason really was not celebrated as much as strict obedience to rules, teachers, preachers, and revered writers. If you went to movies, or read novels, or did anything that might be interpreted as 'fun', it was expected to explain why this appealed to you. Just merely enjoying something was not enough. Even sex within marriage had to be interpreted as 'worship' when not used for procreation.
What Ayn Rand provided for religious fundamentalists was the idea that even if your rejected the bible, you still had to accept certain absolutist views of right and wrong that were in line with right wing politicos.
Most of those views were generally opposed to holding leadership accountable for any wrongs enacted against their members. In fact, any wrongs perpetuated on the followers by their leaders were ultimately the fault of the followers.
No wonder some of Rand's biggest fans can be found amongst fundamentalist Christian leaders and followers!
Friday, February 26, 2010
An Atheist with a view of free market capitalism will be accepted moreso than a professing Christian whose politics tends to be liberal.
Well, it turns out she did express a great admiration for child murderer William Edward Hickman who eventually became a model for her male heroes portrayed in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
This really doesn't come as a surprise to me. I read about her admiration for Hickman in The Journals of Ayn Rand, but never grasped he killed and dismembered a 12 year old girl whom he liked!
In her Playboy interview, she is asked about a comment made by one of the characters in Atlas Shrugged about who the most depraved person is. Playboy even mentioned the phrase 'child molester', but Ayn Rand did not accept that even a child molester was the most depraved individual.
Nope, the most depraved individual was 'a man without a purpose'.
Keeping that in mind, let's look at some excerpt from her journals courtesy of this article by Mark Ames:
Ayn Rand, Hugely Popular Author and Inspiration to Right-Wing Leaders, Was a Big Admirer of Serial Killer.
Hickman did kidnap and kill a twelve year old girl. Here is his description of how he did it:
"It was while I was fixing the blindfold that the urge to murder came upon me," he continued, "and I just couldn't help myself. I got a towel and stepped up behind Marian. Then before she could move, I put it around her neck and twisted it tightly. I held on and she made no outcry except to gurgle. I held on for about two minutes, I guess, and then I let go. "When I cut loose the fastenings, she fell to the floor. "I knew she was dead. "Well, after she was dead I carried her body into the bathroom and undressed her, all but the underwear, and cut a hole in her throat with a pocket knife to let the blood out."
Hickman embraced the philosophy of Nietzsche and used it for his defense. It was this use of philosophy to defend himself that captivated Rand, and was eventually adopted for her character's defense of acts that would be criminal in the real world:
According to an LA Times article in late December 1927, headlined "Behavioralism Gets The Blame," a pastor and others close to the Hickman case denounce the cheap trendy Nietzschean ideas that Hickman and others latch onto as a defense:
"Behavioristic philosophic teachings of eminent philosophers such as Nietzsche and Schopenhauer have built the foundation for William Edward Hickman's original rebellion against society," the article begins.
The fear that some felt at the time was that these philosophers' dangerous, yet nuanced ideas would fall into the hands of lesser minds, who would bastardize Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and poison the rest of us. Which aptly fits the description of Ayn Rand, whose philosophy developed out of her admiration for "Supermen" like Hickman.
"Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should," she wrote, gushing that Hickman had "no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people.'"
This echoes almost word for word Rand's later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead: "He was born without the ability to consider others."
Ayn Rand wrote of Hickman:
Hickman represented "the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatsoever for all that a society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul. Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should."
You know, I've got to confess, there was a time when I actually confessed to a twisted admiration of criminals. Those who flaunt society's rules. I often wondered why that was. Now, after reading this article, I can understand where that twisted admiration originated from.
Thing is, it's not just me. This sociopathic mentality glorified by Ayn Rand has influenced the highest levels of our government:
What's really unsettling is that even former Central Bank chief Alan Greenspan, whose relationship with Rand dated back to the 1950s, did some parasite-bashing of his own. In response to a 1958 New York Times book review slamming Atlas Shrugged, Greenspan, defending his mentor, published a letter to the editor that ends: "Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should. Alan Greenspan."
As much as Ayn Rand detested human "parasites," there is one thing she strongly believed in: creating conditions that increase the productivity of her Supermen - the William Hickmans who rule her idealized America: "If [people] place such things as friendship and family ties above their own productive work, yes, then they are immoral. Friendship, family life and human relationships are not primary in a man's life. A man who places others first, above his own creative work, is an emotional parasite."
And yet Republican faithful like GOP Congressman Paul Ryan read Ayn Rand and make declare, with pride, "Rand makes the best case for the morality of democratic capitalism." Indeed. Except that Ayn Rand also despised democracy, as she declared: "Democracy, in short, is a form of collectivism, which denies individual rights: the majority can do whatever it wants with no restrictions. In principle, the democratic government is all-powerful. Democracy is a totalitarian manifestation; it is not a form of freedom."
With heros like these, it would be amazing if I, or anyone influenced by Rand and the fundamentalists who admired her, didn't develop any personality disorders!
This article by Michael Prescott is also quite illuminating.
Romancing the Stone-Cold Killer: Ayn Rand and William Hickman.
I remember reading The Journals of Ayn Rand when it first came out. The editor just didn't see fit to tell us the girl Hickman was accused murdering was not only twelve years old, but dismembered. Prescott mentions this.
Ayn Rand seemed to have a sneering attitude toward young victims:
" '[My hero is] very far from him, of course. The outside of Hickman, but not the inside. Much deeper and much more. A Hickman with a purpose. And without the degeneracy. It is more exact to say that the model is not Hickman, but what Hickman suggested to me.' "
I could say that about Ted Bundy or Charles Manson! It's not what Charles Manson was, it's what Charles Manson suggested to me! Hmmm, what does Charles Manson suggest to you?
Okay, more excerpts:
The editor also provides the briefest and most detail-free synopsis of Hickman's crime possible: "He was accused of kidnapping and murdering a young girl. He was found guilty and sentenced to death in February of 1928; he was hanged on October 20, 1928."
As far as I can tell, this is the one and only reference to Hickman's victim to be found anywhere in the book. Ayn Rand never mentions the victim at all in any of her journal entries. The closest she comes is a sneering reference to another girl, "who wrote a letter to Hickman [in jail], asking him 'to get religion so that little girls everywhere would stop being afraid of him.'"
Notice that the editor does not bother to tell us that the victim in question was twelve years old, that Hickman tormented her parents with mocking ransom notes, that Hickman killed the girl even though the parents paid the ransom money, or that Hickman cut the girl in half and threw her upper body onto the street in front of her horrified father while scattering her other body parts around the city of Los Angeles.
Rand is quite critical of the jury:
Rand discusses the jury in the case: "Average, everyday, rather stupid looking citizens. Shabbily dressed, dried, worn looking little men. Fat, overdressed, very average, 'dignified' housewives. How can they decide the fate of that boy? Or anyone's fate?"
Their sin, evidently, is that they are "average," a word that appears twice in three sentences. They are "shabbily dressed" or, conversely, "overdressed" -- in matters of fashion, Rand seems hard to please. They are "dried" and "worn," or they are "fat." They are, in short, an assault on the delicate sensibilities of the author. Anything "average" appalls her. "Extremist beyond all extreme is what we need!" she exclaims in another entry.
Well, she sure got it! The only people who seem to admire her these days are the extremists.
Speaking of 'fat people', according to Barbara Brandon, Ayn Rand developed a weight problem of her own from eating too much Godiva chocolates.
I shouldn't criticize, of course, since that's the kinda thing that happens to 'ordinary' people.
All this is ultimately used to condemn Christianity:
But of course we know the real villain in the picture. Not Hickman, but Christianity! More specifically, "All the criminal, ludicrous, tragic nonsense of Christianity and its morals, virtues, and consequences. Is it any wonder that he didn't accept it?" So it is Christianity that is characterized as "criminal," just as it is average Americans who are excoriated for their "sins and crimes."
In case there is any doubt as to Rand's position vis-a-vis Christianity, a few pages later we find her fulminating against the depravity of:
"... the pastors who try to convert convicted murderers to their religion... The fact that right after his sentence Hickman was given a Bible by the jailer. I don't know of anything more loathsome, hypocritical, low, and diabolical than giving Bibles to men sentenced to death. It is one of those things that's comical in its stupidity and horrid because of this lugubrious, gruesome comedy."
Remember, though, I was introduced to her writings at a Christian school. One of Billy Graham's daughters expressed an admiration for Ayn Rand. She's not exactly an unwelcome presence in the libraries of many Christian homes and universities.
When today's 'Christian heros' are put on trial for child molestation, and as the recent case of Matt Baker demonstrates, murder, it shouldn't come as a surprise they have defenders who regard their trials as either 'a bump in the road' or as persecution for a higher ideal.
Ayn Rand might not have been a Christian, but, when it comes to defending that which is indefensible, she has probably influenced American Christianity probably more than most American Christians would care to admit.
Ah, the ironies of life!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
First, the head of California's largest mental institution was arrested for molesting a Long Beach foster child for more than a decade. Plus, four other cases stemming from the 1970's:
Article: Official charged in molestation.
Ronald Alcala, a freelance photographer, who served time for attacking an 8 year old girl with a pipe, was also convicted and sentenced for killing 12 year old Robin Samsoe back in 1979. He has other victims who died violent deaths but somehow Alcala kept getting his convictions overturned.
What's up with that?
He was convicted again today. Think he'll get his conviction overturned again?
A really weird moment in the trial was when a mother testified that two gold earrings, owned by her daughter, were found in his pouch.
His defense? A clip of himself on 'The Dating Game' where he is wearing similar ear rings.
Article: Photographer convicted of killing 5 women 30 years ago.
A sex offender apartment house in Long Beach has just been gutted and undergoing renovation.
Here's an article about the people who lived in this house:
Interview with a Rapist.
Here's a brief mention of the uproar after it was discovered 12 sex offenders were living in the house:
Sex offender apartment rehabilitated.
Interestingly, the house isn't that far from where Paula Jones, who sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment, used to live.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Jorge Puello, Adviser To U.S. Missionaries, On The Run From Authorities.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I'm getting some new readers from Lancaster, CA, who aren't familiar with the Fighting Fundamentalist Forum, perhaps the only place you can go to get an uncensored opinion of what's happening in the world of independent fundamentalist Baptists.
To save the newbies some time, I'm going to highlight some of the more disturbing threads regarding Lancaster and the world of Lancaster Baptist Church. My statcounter tells me Lancaster Baptist is also monitoring my page. So, if you're upset with me, take it up with the webmaster behind the FFF.
Thread: Important Information about Sex Offenders.
This thread begins with a series of e-mail exchanges between (name omitted) and LBC's Associate Pastor Tim Christoson concerning a West Coast Bible College student who was registered as a sex offender in Indiana. California law apparently did not require him to register as a sex offender because he was 13 years old when the offense happened. This exchange happened in 2008.
From the associate pastor:
Just for the record, regarding XXXX (name omitted by Christian School Confidential), he had an offense as a 13 year-old, and due to his age and the nature of the offense, he has not been required to register in CA (based on our state's criteria). He is required to register in IN until he's 25, then he'll roll off their list. I consulted with deputies in both Lancaster and Indiana, who indicated he is well within his rights to live here on the campus and attend school here, and also consulted with Christian Law Association, and they agreed. Just as an extra step of care, we have not assigned him to serve in children's ministry (as you know, many students serve in children's ministry).
Name omitted responds:
You got me disturbed with your answer that he is required to register in IN but not in CA. So I did some research for my personal edifcation. I checked the CA website and he is not registered. That bothered me to know that if someone commits that type of crime in another state, they wouldn't be required to register in CA. However, this is what I found on the CA website:
Registration of Sex Offenders Who Come to School or Work in California. Students and employees who reside out of state but go to school or work in California must register as sex offenders here if they are required to register in their state of residence. Penal Code 290, subd. (a)(1)(G). An employee is defined as a person who is employed in California on a full or part-time basis, with or without compensation, for more than 14 days, or for an aggregate period exceeding 30 days in a calendar year. A student is defined as a person who is registered in an educational institution, as defined in Education Code section 22129, on a full or part-time basis. The student/employee must register in the jurisdiction where he or she attends school or is
The person in question eventually moved back to Indiana.
The associate pastor responded:
The young man is now back in Indiana, a few of the college administration who were not aware of the situation are now going to review it.
Did they take care of the problem by sending him back to Indiana? Or, was it just another case of a student returning home because the semester ended?
Name omitted posts:
The deputy in charge of sex offender registration there told me XXXXX plans to return to WCBC in the fall. In my humble opinion, this move to Illinois was to get him off the radar before his return to WCBC and LBC in the fall. I ask you this - if XXXXX left WCBC in May, at the end of the semester, what purpose would WCBC have to be still talking to the Indiana Sheriff's Department about him? Expecially in light of the fact that the Illinois Sheriff's Department has information that says he plans to return to WCBC in the fall?
If LBC has not properly dealt with this problem, and there are more sex offenders on campus, it might just be a reflection of the city of Lancaster which has been used by Los Angeles as a dumping ground for pedophiles. Of course, my new readers probably know this already.
Thread: High Rate of Sexual Offenders.
"There are a disproportionate number of sexual offenders being located in our community and our children are too important to us to allow them to be the next victims. " - Sharon Runner
"The Antelope Valley had more parolees and ex-sex offenders than any other area in California, Ledford told ABC7. " "The fact of the matter is we are a dumping ground," Ledford said.
Ledford is a former mayor of Lancaster, CA.
A citizen writes:
The sheer number of homes housing sex offenders and the number of ladies who go soulwinning every week means that ladies/teens/college ladies are knocking on at least one sex offender's door EVERY WEEK. I mean, if one out of 408 people are registered sex offenders, and we assume there are two people living in each house (a very conservative guess), that mean there is a sex offender living in every 204th house. If we assume four people live in each house, that number drops to one sex offender for every 102 homes.
At the very least, LBC should be using the megan's law site to come up with modified maps for the ladies/teens/college ladies to use - keeping them away from these criminals. Not that walking down the street in broad daylight in Lancaster is safe anymore. Let the men knock on these doors. Or it should be gently suggested that ladies only go door knocking in the company of their husbands if they wish to be safer.
For the safety of the ladies/teens at LBC, I hope some protections are in place.
In spite of this, it seems the emphasis of both the mayor and the pastors is NOT SEX OFFENDERS, but instead gangs.
Thread: Pastor Chappell Named Citizen of the Year.
“No one is more responsible for the success of the Antelope Valley War on Gangs than Pastor Chappell. He got the resources together; captured everyone’s attention; and, recruited the involvement needed to help the Antelope Valley turn the corner in making our community safe again,” remarked Mayor Parris.
Another factor in the selection of Dr. Chappell as Citizen of the Year is the economic impact Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College have on the community. Dr. Chappell’s church and its affiliated educational institutions go beyond improving the spiritual, charitable, and educational well-being of this community. The “something extra” they provide has turned out to be invaluable to the area.
Well, if LBC provides the primary financial boom in Lancaster, it's obviously not coming from the real estate market.
Thread: Does this story describe the Antelope Valley today?
I do not know what the local forclosure rate is, but houses are not selling...even with price drops.
And I know of real estate agents who suggest their clients completely avoid the east side of Lancaster due to the high crime rate (the bad side of town where LBC/WCBC is located).
Another poster sarcastically replies:
For those who are stuck there, I am SO SORRY!
But on the bright side, look at all those new prospects for the bus ministry!
NOTE: I realize these posts are a couple years old and there's been a change in mayors, but I doubt the recent comments, and facebook postings, by Councilwoman Sherry Marquez are likely to make people pack up their bags and move to Lancaster.
I enjoy the desert and think Lancaster has potential, but not with the current administration.
All this reminds me of the book In His Steps where an entire city is changed when everybody asks the question, "What would Jesus do?"
In the case of Lancaster, it looks like those currently in power asked the question, then decided to do the opposite. And those are His biggest fans! Most already know my Atheistic leanings. That said, why do I get the feeling Jesus would prefer Atheists who actually embody his teachings as opposed to those acting in his name who are obviously his biggest embarrassment?
It seems the more people insist on literally accepting him as God in the flesh, the less they tend to emphasize actually following his teachings. Whereas those who look upon him as a good teacher, but not necessarily divine, are the ones who seem to practice loving their neighbor, turning the other cheek, feeding the poor, and all the other things most have come to associate with Christianity.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
In the meantime, while I'm digesting the material and figuring out how best to approach it, here's an article from the local blog which seems to be the antithesis of the Antelope Valley Press in that they're actually reporting on what's going on concerning the dark side of Lancaster, CA.
I was also surprised to see this blog (Christian School Confidential) quoted. My blog's not credited, but it's obvious that's where it came from. You can see the exact quotes elsewhere on Christian School Confidential. Just keep scrolling and reading.
That's fine with me!
Facts are facts so let's get them out there.
Hat is off to the brave people of Lancaster standing up to the local tyranny of fundamentalists.
I must say, not even the fundamentalists from my part of the South are this bad! You have to go back to the days of J. Frank Norris shooting D.E. Chipps in Fort Worth, Texas, to find this kind of drama.
from: Human Relations Task Force Condemns City Officials Actions while City Emails appear on local blog.
Along with Task Force members meeting and discussing the events in questions, emails surfaced that appear to have come directly from the Lancaster Mayor’s office and the Lancaster City Managers office.
The emails were posted to a local blog website and appeared to be placed onto the website by a blogger proclaiming to be a Parris supporter. The blog was called, “Christianity is now a Hate Crime”. The emails appeared to have been written by Mayor Parris and City Manager Mark Bozigian and addressed directly to Mr. Darren Parker, President of the Antelope Valley Human Relations Task Force. The emails detailed Mayor Parris challenging the authority of the Task Force as well as it’s president Mr. Parker.
One email, appeared to have been written by Mark Bozigian in which he stated he was writing the email from his home, also questioned the credibility of the Task Force and it’s authority to investigate the remarks by the Mayor and city Councilwoman. The email also called into question Mr. Parker’s alleged statement that Lancaster was a “Hate Capitol” and at one point states, “your response will in large part shape my recommendation to the City Council as to the City’s future relationship with AVHRTF.”
The AVNEWS interviewed Mr. Parker Tuesday who stood behind the decision of the Task Force saying that 40 members went to the task force meeting and voted unanimously to “censure” Mayor Parris and Councilwoman Marquez. In reference to the unanimous decision, Mr. Parker stated “it was not an individual effort….it was the communities collective effort”.
When asked about the emails being posted to a local blog site, Mr. Parker stated that he had nothing to do with the emails and said "subsequently, for me to see that (the emails) on the blogs. I was blown away, No officer of the Task Force sent those out.”
When asked about the legitimacy of the Task Force Mr. Parker stated "“I actually have an email statement from the Executive Director and the President of the Human Relations Commission that clearly defines the Task Force and their involvement in its creation and the special relationship we have with the Human Relations Commission.” Mr. Parker went on to say that the Task Force was formed in 1996 at the direction of The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
“The leadership of Lancaster was not around when this Task Force was formed and I think that they contested it because it was uncomfortable. Now they should fully understand by the paper (Valley Press) this morning and letter subsequently sent by the commission that in fact we are an independent entity that they can’t control…the only ones who can control it are the members of the body"
So, we have emails from the City of Lancaster challenging the legitimacy of the Task Force which was established under the direction of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Those familiar with the tactics of fundamentalist preachers like Jack Hyles, Peter Ruckman, and institutions like Bob Jones University, and others recognize the 'my way or the highway' approach they take with congregation members. Now, imagine a small city, controlled by fundamentalists, employing the exact same tactics with Los Angeles County!
Mayor Parris wants names:
When asked about one email that seemed to ask for the personal information on Task Force members by Mayor Parris, Parker stated, “Its been a longstanding policy of the Task Force that the officers information is available, but for the members the information can only be obtained from each individual member… We would not compromise any organization without their consent.”
Responding to comments as to Parker labeling Lancaster as a “hate capitol” Parker claimed he was misquoted by Mayor Parris saying, "that was misquoted from the New Yorker almost ten years ago…my comments toward that were that someone asked me when the (Marquez) incident first broke if I thought Lancaster was going back to becoming the ‘Hate Crime Capital’ and I said absolutely not.”
“He (Parris) took it out of context. He only took the part he wanted to question me on", Parker added
Parker went on to say that this is the first time such questions about the credibility and authority of the Task Force have been raised by the city of Lancaster.
Taking quotes out of context. Another fundamentalist tactic. Kinda like Frank Garlock did when he quoted John Lennon writing about Jesus the foreign mechanic in A Spaniard In The Works without clarifying that Jesus was actually meant to be pronounced as 'Hey-zeus'. Pardons, I can't figure out how to put the proper dashes over the letters.
Jesus is a common Spanish name, but that didn't stop Garlock and fundamentalists from misquoting Lennon, then adding, "This is what John Lennon thinks about Jesus!"
Here's a tactic familiar to anyone who grew up in fundamentalism. Refusing to discuss an issue unless you speak DIRECTLY to the person involved. Yet, when you DO try to speak to the person involved, they refuse to speak with you:
Prior to the meeting of the Task Force, Parker stated that he attempted to contact Mayor Parris and even spoke with City Manager Mark Bozigian in attempts to have Mayor Parris and Councilwoman Marquez speak to him in reference to the statements in question and that he never heard from “anyone”. “I asked him (Bozigian) to leave a message to the Mayor to let him know I wanted to talk with him before any of this (Task Force Meeting) would happen", Parker said.
However, in the email allegedly written by City Manager Mark Bozigian it states, “my questions are: Did you attempt to have a discussion with either Sherry or Rex regarding your concerns prior to your public comments or prior to convening a AVHRTF “emergency meeting?” and have you reported your concerns and knowledge of “harmful threats” to the Lancaster or Palmdale Sheriff’s stations?”
This would indicate that the writer was attempting to find out if Mr. Parker had made attempts to speak to Parris or Marquez, prior to the meeting.
The comments begin.
from 'Lancaster', but obviously originating with Christian School Confidential:
02/10/10 - 05:39 PM
Paul Chappell received an honorary degree from Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida. That’s the college founded by Bob Gray, who was arrested on multiple charges of child molestation. Gray died just a few days before his trial was set to begin. Chappell, the man who wants to protect the children of Lancaster, to my knowledge, has not commented in public about the situation concerning his late friend.
02/10/10 - 05:51 PM
lancaster: “Paul Chappell received an honorary degree from Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida.”
So, in other words, he didn’t earn that degree, it was bestowed upon him — probably for a “small” donation, no doubt.
Actually, I'm clueless as to the mysterious world of honorary degrees within fundamentalism. However, that is how it works in other universities. Steven Spielberg, for instance, received an honorary degree from USC, but he also donated a lot of money to the college. Then again, no one disputes that Spielberg's achievements were well earned.
On the other hand, I'm not aware of a 'Paul Chappell Center for Bible Study' on the campus of Trinity Baptist College! lol.
More to come. . .
The Haitian missionaries will be released. I'm sure there will be books written, a Larry King appearance, a promotional tour, and maybe, just maybe, Laura Silsby will be able to pay off her debts. Hallelujah!
Okay, discuss amongst yourself the meaning of sarcasm.
Haiti Judge to free US Missionaries.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Lancaster mayor is anything but politically correct.
Parris is the guy who tried to ban dogs known to be favored by gangs, proposed restrictions on landlords who want to rent to tenants with Section 8 federal housing vouchers, helped fund a program to bus homeless people out of town and shut down a local motel to prevent the notorious Mongols motorcycle club from meeting in Lancaster.
Supporters cheer him for ratcheting up public safety, coming to the aid of local merchants and kicking aside roadblocks for developers wanting to do business in town.
"He doesn't pussyfoot around," said Bishop Henry Hearns, who served 18 years on the City Council, including two terms as Lancaster's first African American mayor.
But critics say Parris, who was elected last year, is an arrogant bully and an unstoppable control freak. "King Rex" they call him, or "T. Rex." Scott Pelka, 52, a self-described archenemy of Parris and long-time Lancaster resident, said the mayor has created a "dictatorship" in which challenges to his authority are simply not tolerated.
If this sounds like Bob Jones University on steroids, check this out:
"He's arrogant. He's self-serving. He doesn't really care what people think," said Arnie Rodeo, 55, a local businessman who ran for mayor against Parris last year and lost by 351 votes. "He surrounds himself with 'yes' people."
Johnathon Ervin, 30, believes his refusal to be a Parris "yes man" got him fired in August from his position on Lancaster's seven-person Planning Commission -- a post to which Parris had appointed him a year earlier.
Ervin, an Air Force reservist, was alone in voting against allowing a Wal-Mart super center on the Lancaster-Quartz Hill border -- a project supported by Parris but fiercely challenged by many area residents.
Here's an article published by Pray Lancaster which is actually in favor of Mayor Parris.
Article: Faithful flock to mayors' breakfasts
New Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris amplified those sentiments. He recalled a trip to the Great Wall of China with his clergyman, Pastor Paul Chappell of Lancaster Baptist Church. Parris said he wondered aloud how Chappell had built a Christian university within a decade, and staffed missions in China with graduates of that school. The answer, Chappell supplied with a grin, was, "It's what happens when you pray."
Yeah, it's probably what happens when you bully your congregation and don't pay your teachers a lot. Teachers, in this country, don't really get paid what they're worth. Fundamentalist high schools, though, are notorious not only for low wages, but for practically demanding that their teachers like it!
The sentiment in a lot of fundamentalist schools seems to be:
"If you're teaching it's because you're CALLED! Not because you want to make money."
What have we learned? The mayor is a member of LBC. We've already established Sherry Marquez works at LBC. Ultimately, the real power in Lancaster IS Lancaster Baptist Church's Pastor Paul Chappell.
Think Darth Vader bowing to the emporer.
Actually, I shouldn't say that. I think Parris and Chappell might enjoy that imagery.
If being a Christian means simply being a 'good neighbor', why did the mayor, according to the AV Press article want the community's electorate to 'validate a Christian stance in the April municipal election, in which a ballot measure endorses prayers at city meetings, specifically with permission to invoke a specific deity, including Jesus'?
If you want to read the full article from the AV Press, you have to pay $. Ergo , this might not be prominent news on the web. Thank you 'free' press!
Visit the 'underground believer blog' Welcome to Christian Lancaster for the complete story.
I do have this on record: Councilwoman Sherry Marquez is employed by Lancaster Baptist Church. She apparently works in administration.
For more info: Remove Councilwoman Sherry Marquez From Office facebook page.
Here's a really quirky story from that stalwart of sites the Fighting Fundamentalist Forums.
I'm not allowed to post there, but I have to give them credit for allowing this thread to stand. It concerns allegations that a student from the Christian school operated by Lancaster Baptist Church was spanked by a teacher, then other students were made to join in and spank him. When it was over, they were allegedly told not to tell anybody about the incident.
from: Lancaster Baptist School Alleged Abuse and Cover Up.
4 independent sources... a junior high student was behaving poorly and being disobedient. Instead of following the typical methods of discipline, the teacher allegedly had the other boys in the class line up and hit this child - one by one. Then the teacher himself allegedly struck the child.
I was told this child was bruised from the assault and that the parents were counseled not to report it to the authorities or take him in for treatment/evaluation with a doctor. During a school chapel, the students were allegedly ordered not to discuss the situation. The teacher was reassigned to a maintenance position for the balance of the school year.
The City of Lancaster is also home to the Challenger Memorial Youth Center. The ACLU is suing the Challenger Memorial Youth Center for abuse charges and graduating a student who did not know how to read and write.
Article: Juvenile school sued.
To my knowledge, that school is not related to Lancaster Baptist Church.
The ACLU is rather busy in Lancaster since, according to the Underground Believer article I just linked to, they are suing the City of Lancaster for sectarian prayers that are held before each city council meeting.
I must admit, Lancaster is becoming my new favorite city! Don't know why, but whenever I think of Lancaster, I have this song going through my head:
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Well, the folks at Lancaster Baptist Church in Lancaster, CA, just a hoot and holler from Hollywood, USA, have not only dominated their town but are currently 'out-Trinity'ing' Trinity. Whereas Trinity might be a Great White in a bigger gulf, Lancaster Baptist is a giant fish in a very small pond. But they have been very successful in dominating that town.
Here's their most recent bit of notoriety.
Mayor Parris, a good buddy of Pastor Paul Chappell, recently made the statement:
“We’re growing a Christian community, and don’t let anybody shy away from that,” he told an audience of 160 people, mainly pastors and their spouses, during his State of the City address Tuesday at the John P. Eliopulos Hellenic Center.
Sherry Marquez, also an employee of Lancaster Baptist Church, and not to be out done, took a few moments to trash Muslims:
Did ya' catch what she said about crimes against young girls? Yeah, I'm glad she opposes horrific crimes against young girls when it's the Muslims doing it. Now, if only she'd take a few moments and address the crimes against young girls in her own world of independent fundamentalism.
I know, molesting young girls isn't the same as killing young girls.
Wow! I bet that makes victims of abuse feel better, doesn't it?
All this ridiculousness aside, I'm glad to see someone in Lancaster is about to stand up to the nonsense perpetrated on that community by Mr. Chappell and company.
The local Atheist group was afraid to show my movie Don't Go In The Church. That's the movie I screened when I did this:
To refresh your memory, here's what the 'loyal opposition' wrote me when I attempted to screen both Bible Madness and Don't Go In The Church in Lancaster, CA:
from: The Movie They're Afraid To Show In Lancaster.
Hello, Mr. Walker,
I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I've actually been giving your offer a lot of thought, but I don't think we're ready for a screening, at least at the moment. Mr. Chapell is very politically powerful in our town, having played a large part in getting our currect mayor and at least one council member elected. Confronting him publicly with your film could have very serious consequences for our relatively small group.
I hope you understand our situation, and I wish you all the best.
The Atheists might be shivering in their boots, afraid to confront Mr. Chappell. In fact, when I showcased my movie, Wrestling Then and Now, at the Antelope Valley College, the gallery owner kept trying to get me to STOP mentioning my Atheist connections. That's how scared they are, rightly or wrongly, of Chappell in this town.
No one wanted to screen Don't Go In The Church or Bible Madness, but they did want to screen wrestling. Since I'm fed up with taking stands for people who won't take a stand for their own interests, I thought, "If they want wrestling, I'll give 'em wrestling!"
I got wind of Mayor Perris's comments, and the warm, loving thoughts of councilwoman Marquez, through the recent Atheists United newsletter.
All my e-mails and articles about abuse in that fundamental community went unheeded. The 'loyal opposition' was fearful and silent, and Lancaster Baptist Church was lulled into a false sense of security. Because the loyal opposition was silent, the good city council member from LBC now attacked the Islamic community.
They are not going to take it!
I'd like to take this moment and thank Paul Chappell and Sherry Marquez for waking me out of my apathy. You make me feel like a prophet!
Ah, Lancaster! Right up there with South Park. You make life interesting, that's for sure! A wonderful desert town next to a military base with a shadow government of fundamentalists. You're like Roswell, New Mexico without the charm of space aliens. lol!
Facebook page: Remove Councilwoman Sherry Marquez from Office.
NOTE: One thing I neglected to write in all my articles about Lancaster is that Paul Chappell received an honorary degree from Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida. That's the college founded by Bob Gray, who was arrested on multiple charges of child molestation. Gray died just a few days before his trial was set to begin. Chappell, the man who wants to protect the children of Lancaster, to my knowledge, has not commented in public about the situation concerning his late friend.
Here are links to all the posts I've written about Lancaster Baptist Church:
The movie they're afraid to show in Lancaster.
More citizen of the year.
Antelope Valley Press article.
Lancaster is like Transylvania in the desert.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Article: A different bomb.
It concerns a friend of his who committed suicide. She revealed to him that she was molested by her father. Repeatedly.
One day, in an open counselling session at which adult men and women of all ages were present, she suddenly revealed her central issue. From as early as she could remember, as an infant girl she had been sexually abused on a regular basis by her father, and in his presence by several of his friends. At first, she referred to her father as a 'priest'. Later she revealed that these were members of some kind of religious cult. A charity with which I am involved paid for her to go for treatment for depression at The Priory last year. She was greatly improved when she came out. Partly I think because her story was believed.
Everything seemed fine, but then she started to slip:
For all of us who helped her, including several women who themselves experienced similar sexual abuse as children, her suicide was both a tragedy and an act of brutal insanity. What pushed this woman to the brink was not self-obsession - though God knows she enjoyed her share, like any individual ensnared in alcohol or drug addiction - it was the fact that she discovered her father was in a new relationship and had access to some young children.
He addresses the abuses portrayed inTommy:
In my writing in the past - especially Tommy - I have created unusually unmerciful worlds for any infant characters. I am often disturbed by what I see on the page when I write - never more so than when I draw on my own childhood. Some people who were abused in their childhood have written to me to say how much they identify with the character of Tommy. But what is powerful in my own writing, and sometimes most difficult to control and model, is the subconscious material I draw on. It is what is subconscious in me that makes me scream for vengeance against my friend's abusers, rather than an adult understanding of what went wrong.
He admits to being abused as a child:
I remember no specific sexual abuse, though when I was young I was treated in an extremely controlling and aggressive way by my maternal grandmother. This is not unusual. It might be described by some as insignificant. Almost everyone I know experienced similar stuff at some time or other - many friends experienced more extreme 'abuses' and have no obvious adult vices as a result.
The article takes an interesting turn. He explains how porn sites use software triggers so that if you visit a porn site, even more pop-ups will appear that showcase something worse. In this case, he experienced a pop up that actually showed an infant being raped. The caption read: sex with children is 'not illegal in Russia'.
This image drives him to infuriation. He is smart about this and consults with his lawyer:
The awful reality hit me of the self-propelling, self-spawning mechanism of the internet. I reached for the phone, I intended to call the police and take them through the process I had stumbled upon - and bring the pornographers involved to book.
Then I thought twice about it. I knew I must NOT download anything I saw. That would be illegal. I spoke off-the-record to a lawyer. He advised me that I most certainly should not download the image as 'evidence'. So I did nothing. I mentioned this shocking internet experience to a few people close to me. It became clear very quickly that some people I spoke to thought that if I had searched using the right words, my exposure to that terrible image would not have occurred.
It might be strange to hear that I was glad I found it. Until then, like my ostrich-like friends, I imagined that only those who communicated on the internet using secret codes, private chat-rooms and encrypted files would ever be exposed to this kind of image. But I learned through this accident that such images are 'freely' available through the machinery of common search engines and User-Groups, and are openly available for sale through subscription via credit card. I was then concerned that there would be those 'providers' of paedophilic porn who felt the need to regularly 'refresh' their supply of images, as is the pornographic 'norm'. It is a chilling thought isn't it?
Indeed it is! Why did he write this article?
Why am I suddenly writing this today? My friend who committed suicide was the victim of an active but secret ring of paedophiles. They are still at large today. Only those who knew my friend, and believed her story, feel any urge to speak up against her abusers. But we have no proof. It is frustrating, but for her, at least, the pain is over. It has all gone public now. On the internet, vigilante groups and individuals work obsessively both to trace and block certain porn sites and to offer - through 12 Step programmes for sex-addiction - probably the only way out for some ensnared by addiction to what the internet has to offer.
His research leads him to a conclusion that I have not read---EVER! It almost flies in the face of what articles have presented in America:
It is not statistically true that all abusers of children were once themselves abused. That can happen, but often
- as in the case of my suicide friend - abuse is part of a reward system of power conferred from one adult person to another. But among paedophilic pornographers I believe validation matters more than cash.
In the end, he does not recommend any activist take matters into their own hands:
The subconscious mind is deeply damaged and indelibly scarred by the sight of such images. I can assure everyone reading this that if they go off in pursuit of images of paedophilic rape they will find them. I urge them not to try. I pray too that they don't happen upon such images as did I, by accident. If they do they may like me become so enraged and disturbed that their dreams are forever haunted.
He went to group meetings for abuse victims and obviously knows whereof he speaks.
Okay, enough of this! Visit the article yourself to read the full story. I am speechless but grateful he had the courage to write this. British police, btw, believe Townshend's motives and 'cautioned' him. He agreed to this and admitted that was a mistake. There's no doubt he considered himself an 'internet vigilante'. He also revealed that John Entwhistle wrote 'Fiddling About' in Tommy because the subject matter was just too painful for Townshend.
I also feel validated, in a way. I've always felt that Tommy was the first major cinematic/rock effort to address child abuse. Whatever went through director Ken Russell's mind is something else! However, the man who originated Tommy freely admits:
Sometimes this all feels so bloody futile. But I am determined to do my bit. I made a lot of money out of that poor little sap in Tommy. Now I understand how easily he could be recreated as a real child in our present society. I feel driven to try to change things.
From: Pete's diary.
This excerpt of 'Fiddle About' from the play is more chilling than the movie:
You know what I think I'm going to do? Go into the next room and put on my DVD of Tommy!
At least, in America, we don't kill victims of sexual abuse. We just ignore them.
Does that make us slightly better? Hmmmm. . .
Article: Male Monsters -- Girl Buried Alive for Being a Girl and the World Shrugs
Sometimes I feel like we were all born into an alternate universe, a psychotic, twisted, perverted version of what life should be. Our existence is marked by unimaginable violence, hideous acts of evil against the most innocent among us. It's like living in a perpetual horror movie.
Article: Pete Townshend Defends Himself Against Sex Offender Criticism.
I remember when Pete Townshend was arrested for child pornography. He was later cleared of those charges, but that has not stopped child advocacy groups from condemning his performance at the upcoming Super Bowl.
One thing I have always told people since beginning this blog is I never trusted men who advocated for children. This puts me in a weird position. The reason I started this blog is because NO ONE, get that? NO ONE was saying or writing anything about Bob Gray and the other people who might have known about his victimization of children. He was given a free pass.
That would not just be Tom Messer, the current pastor of Trinity. That would also be, in my constitutionally protected opinion, Jerry Falwell who just went nuts with a piece of sleaze called The Clinton Chronicles. Falwell promoted this video while Bob Gray was serving in Germany.
Why was Gray in Germany? Because a victim, and her family, confronted Gray about molesting her as a child.
That was around 1992. I found out through a phone call.
As the years went by, I saw the most ridiculous theater of errors played out in the media.
First: Jerry Falwell recommends First Baptist Church over Trinity Baptist Church as a place for Tanya Flynt Vega. She is the daughter of Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler, who accused Flynt of molesting her as a child.
I called her up! I was surprised by how easy it was to get in touch with her. She lives in Jacksonville. I told her what I knew about Bob Gray and how surprised I was that Falwell would recommend a Southern Baptist church over an independent Baptist church. At the time, Falwell was independent Baptist.
Could it be that he knew better than to send someone claiming to be a victim of child molestation to a church that was pastored by a man who was also accused (then privately) of the same thing?
It wasn't long after that Falwell joined the Southern Baptists. Please don't try to argue semantics with me on this.
I've heard it all: "He didn't really join the Southern Baptist Convention, he just donated money to them."
Say what? I do have an article I could scan and post from a Christian paper documenting Falwell's entry into the SBC.
My opinion is he knew how corrupt the independents were and, for professional and personal reasons, tried to wash his hands of them. That opinion would be challenged after I learned the SBC, when it comes to protecting abusive pastors, is just as corrupt as the independents. View Stop Baptist Predators for more information.
Second: After Gray was arrested, I thought for sure The Florida Times Union would publish articles about how widespread the cover-up went, but that never happened. Not even after Falwell visited Trinity, in what I believe was pure PR, to tell them all this would be a 'bump in the road'.
I was still quite nervous about this subject, though. I already knew of one male child advocate who was later found dead. His body in the desert. The police saying he had child pornography on his computer.
In 2003, I heard about Pete Townshend's arrest. He also claimed to be a child advocate but police accused him of having child pornography on his computer.
You don't hear a lot about female child advocates being arrested for this, but you do hear about males being arrested. Whether this is a police frame up or not, I knew I wanted to write about this (the Bob Gray scandal) from the vantage point of being a former student of Trinity Christian Academy, the school founded by Gray. Not as a child advocate.
If there's something internally corrupt about the world of child advocacy that causes male predators to infiltrate their ranks, or people to look suspiciously at male child advocates (as I did), I wanted nothing to do with it.
The thing about Pete Townshend is he has consistently written about child abuse. Both in his art and in his interviews.
Tommy was about child abuse! Tommy Walker is made deaf, dumb, and blind after seeing his stepfather kill his father. His stepfather then finds a prostitute for Tommy which further keeps him deaf, dumb, and blind.
That movie, and the rock opera, made such an impression on me when I saw it.
It was 1975. I was 13 years old. I watched the scenes where Tommy is abused by his cousin Kevin, then molested by his Uncle Ernie, and thought, "Man! This must go on everywhere!"
Remember, in those days there was not a lot of talk concerning child abuse. So, Townshend was a pioneer in addressing the issue in his art.
Townshend claims he was doing research on a project about abuse when he stumbled upon the wrong webpage. This is why you must be VERY CAREFUL when you take up advocacy. If you're going to troll the web to find predators on your own, unless you're connected with the police don't be surprised if people think YOU are the predator.
Geoffrey Hill, the advocate who was found dead in the desert, told me he believed police intentionally made child pornography in order to plant it on people's computers. Reason? Land grabs in the San Bernardino area. The thing is, that story persists to this day! Others have also made the same accusations against the police departments in that area. It doesn't help their case that key police leaders are active in evangelical churches that have also been accused of hushing up child abuse amongst their faculty.
Hill, by coincidence, used to be a pastor at Calvary Chapel.
Let's get back to Townshend:
I think Townshend was careless and should not have attempted his own investigation.
We must also consider this: no one has stepped up and accused him of abusing them as a child. He's certainly rich enough, an easy target, and has enough enemies in the child advocacy movement to back them up, but not one person has done so.
The child advocacy movement has to reform itself.
It needs to be more careful about picking its battles.
It needs to take into account how loose our sex offender laws are.
It is true that urinating in public is bad manners. It can also get you classified as a 'sex offender'.
If child advocacy is to be taken seriously, we need a set of standards and practices. And we should not be too quick about alienating people who might have something valuable to contribute to the discussion.
For more info about Tommy, click here.
That said, no matter how much I might want to help the people of Haiti, if I had this much debt and collection agents after me, I think I'd just stay home:
Missionary Stumbles on Road to Haiti.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Hey, check it out! Ministry of Greed by Larry Mertz is on sale at amazon for .01!
This book is notable for Bob Gray making an appearance after Jerry Falwell screwed Jim Bakker out of the PTL Club. Gray preaches a message criticizing Falwell's actions. Falwell gets in touch with Gray. Reporters then ask Gray for clarification, to which he answers, "I stand corrected."
Interesting. . .
Doesn't that sound like something Martin Luther would say if he were a 21st Century slacker?
"Here I stand. . .corrected."
I've always wondered what Jerry Falwell said to Bob Gray that caused him to change his mind. It's not every day that an absolutist fundamentalist minister backtracks on a sermon.
Click here and get your copy before it's sold out!
The 700 Club is critical that they did not seek the proper paperwork. I don't see Pat Robertson exactly standing strong with these missionaries.
For the record, outside of the pastors who supported Laura Silsby, I'm not exactly seeing the Southern Baptists, or any major Christian group, taking a strong stand in favor of her efforts.
This article takes a more tougher stance. It does show how those not affiliated with the Baptist, or evangelical, subcultures view their efforts to 'dominate' the world because it's commanded in the bible. Actually, the great commission doesn't exactly say 'dominate', but that never stopped 'em from trying!
Yes, they were wrong, but to condemn their actions absent the criticism of the arrogance embedded in most Christian (not just fundamentalists, mind you) organizations, is hypocritical.
Article: Did U.S. Baptists Cross the Line Between "Good Intentions" and Child Kidnapping In Haiti? by Michael Rowe.
> It appears that a significant number of American evangelical Christians believe that the world outside the borders of the United States is little more than their personal Biblical coloring book, with God on one page and the Devil on the opposite page, and bright colors for everything.
> The children in question were not orphans and the Baptists had no right to take them anywhere. One of the children, 9-year old Benatine Poulimé was weeping hysterically and insisting she wasn't an orphan, and that she wanted her mother.
> "I said I wanted to get off the bus," Poulimé said, describing how the missionaries told her that she had to remain. The little girl told CNN that the Baptists loaded her onto the bus just yards from her home. "I was crying. I said I wanted to go to my mother."
> While the desire to "save" the children is admirable, and easy for anyone with a shred of human empathy to relate to, the execution of that impulse, in this particular case and fashion, plays into the most grotesque stereotypes of American arrogance abroad--the notion, however specious, that Americans go where they want, do what they like, and take what they please, be it land, culture, or even, as in this case, children.
> If indeed there are further, harsher clampdown on legitimate foreign adoptions because of this case, the New Life Children's Refuge and the pastors of their respective churches can take some of the blame for the needy, legally adoptable children who may never find loving homes outside their broken country.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Anita Bryant was the first celebrity I didn't encounter at Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida.
Let me explain:
You know the motto 'a day late and a dollar short'? When I first visited Trinity back in the 70's, everyone was talking about Anita's visit. It was a week prior to my first service at Trinity.
Missed her by one week!
Everybody seemed excited about this Christian celebrity in their midst.
This actually confused me. You have to remember, this was back during the days when fundamental Baptists were a little more pronounced against going to movies or having anything to do with the world of entertainment. Even Ron Reilly, our youth pastor at the time, said quite clearly: "It's a sin for any young person to go to a movie theater. I don't care if it's Bambi!"
Today, if you ask anyone at Trinity, or most fundamental institutions, about movie going, they won't even admit there was a time they opposed it. You'll probably get, "Are you still living in the 70s?"
Of course, that confirms that I'm right. It's their way of acknowledging, "Yes, we did preach that it was wrong, but today we've changed our minds."
You have to wonder, if they can change minds about something they regarded as evil less than twenty years ago, what will they change their minds about in the future? Hmmm. . .how about whether or not gays are going to Hell? Wouldn't surprise me. I have a very clear memory of Trinity leaders saying gays cannot be saved. No way. No how. Of course, that has gone a subtle revisionism over the past decade.
Back to Anita:
When I first came to Trinity, everybody was so 'ga-ga' over Anita. I was confused because she did compete in Miss America, which meant a bathing suit competition. Remember, we're talking about people who have split families over 'mixed swimming'. That is: men and women swimming together no matter how modest the bathing suits.
Why did Anita get a pass on issues of 'biblical separation', whereas the rank and file member of Trinity would be dragged through the coals for either going to movies, or the beach? Well, like Carrie Prejean, the bikini clad Christian with the boob job, all is forgiven in Christian America as long as you're a card carrying homophobe with a conspiracy theory to match.
The fellow who drove me to church, a week after Anita, spoke of entering a 7-11. Somebody was saying bad things about Anita Bryant, so he intentionally bought Florida Orange Juice (which Anita pitched back then), made a fist like he was about to punch someone out, and said, "Give me one Florida Orange Juice for Anita!"
He never smacked anyone, but it was not unusual to see certain fundamentalist leaders, while preaching against homosexuality, make a fist with their hands and act like they wanted to beat them up. At one point, I did have a teacher who bragged about beating up gays in downtown Jacksonville. When I mentioned this to other leaders, they looked upon me like I was the one with the problem.
Why? Because I don't think we need to physically assault people to prove our point?
It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, is made from HBO's intention to make this biography. However, judging from another article, violence linked to Anita Bryant isn't anything new.
Article: Anita's New Hate.
On June 21, 1977 32-year-old Robert Hillsborough lay feet away from the doorstep of his San Francisco home bleeding to death from fifteen stab wounds inflicted by a young man that stood over him screaming “FAGGOT! FAGGOT! FAGGOT!” According to an eyewitness account, one of Robert’s four assailants looked at him and said, “This is for Anita Bryant.”
Monday, February 1, 2010
Not for this group of Southern Baptists! They apparently didn't think anything of crossing the borders with undocumented children. After all, they have it on the good word of a church pastor those kids are legitimate orphans.
It would eventually be discovered that some of those children had parents who were still alive.
Innocent mistake? Naivete concerning international law?
American superiority by thinking the government of Haiti is so far gone they wouldn't care if we took a few across the border?
A slap dash rescue effort without research into legal niceties?
Child trafficking? By Southern Baptists?
Excepting for all the accusations against Southern Baptist ministers for pedophilia and child abuse, could child trafficking be possible?
It could very well be naivete. However, sometimes naivete can also be an excellent cover for evil deeds.
A very confusing situation. Haiti has agreed to let the ten missionaries be tried on American soil.
Guilty or innocent, I believe they'll probably be found 'not guilty' and go on to write best selling books.
10 Americans Arrested In Haiti, Accused Of Child Trafficking.
Idaho church prays for Americans held in Haiti.
This proposal is actively OPPOSED by the Florida Catholic Conference.
Check out the Q&A regarding answers to critics. I was not aware that if you were molested BELOW the age of 11, the statutes of limitations do not apply. Where you aware of that?
My favorite is this:
Statutes of limitation are necessary to protect defendants against long delays in the filing of criminal charges and lawsuits. Delays promote false claims and “frivolous” lawsuits.
DELAYS? Excuse me, but people who want to stop the flood of child abuse cases are worried about DELAYS? That's all they campaign for when THEIR PEOPLE ARE THE ONES ON TRIAL!!!!
Critics of child abuse cases WANT DELAYS! Remember how the Bob Gray case was delayed for over one year? And then it didn't even make trial because Gray died of a fall within a few days of his trial. Delays are the critics friends.
I don't doubt critics make that argument, but it's like a gluttonous cigarette smoker complaining that the gym closes early.
for more info:
Response to our critics.
Protect Our Kids First.