Spinning Scandals

(I wrote this in the comments for the last post but I figured it really deserved its own post)

There is a proven four-step method to spinning any scandal that arises in fundamentalism. Observe these well and no scandal is too large, no outrage to unbearable, no offense is too great to be withstood.

1. Admit the problem in terms that make it seem trivial.  Concede that “everything wasn’t perfect” or that “yes, we have a few problems.” That problem may be anything from grand larceny to a double homicide but hey nobody’s perfect, right? We all have our little mistakes. AND YOU’RE NOT PERFECT EITHER!

2. Defend the man involved.  He’s a good man. He’s God’s man. He’s a great man. He’s our man. Quote his years in the ministry and the personal impact he’s had on your life as you’ve spent your whole life knowing him. (If the man in question happens to be a woman you won’t be defending her anyway so the point is moot.)

3. Claim that there is more hidden information yet to be learned that will cast this situation in a totally different light. “There are facts about this that have yet to be made know, and once they are that child porn found on our pastor’s computer will have a perfectly reasonable explanation.” Do this even if the rock solid evidence so far is completely damning. Even if this alleged information never surfaces assure everyone that you know someone who knows someone who knows there’s more to the story.

4. Circle the wagons. Invoke a defense of the faith, God, Liberty, and the American way. Make defending your man an issue of defending against liberalism, Communism, and everything evil. Insinuate that everyone who doesn’t defend him is 1)bitter  2)jealous or 3)a member of the Illuminati.

Note these steps well. These arguments happen the same way every single time.

75 thoughts on “Spinning Scandals”

  1. But Darrell, you are absolutely correct in your assessment, my friend. It is a sick cycle, and it is even sicker that members of fundy congregations have been so brainwashed to buy into it.

  2. In Hebrew there is a term for this: Chillul Hashem (Hebrew: חילול השם‎, “Desecration the Name [of G~d]”; see Lev. 22:32) This type of spin does more to damage His name and reputation than all the Bill Mahers or Richard Dawkinses combined. It generally does more than the first

    On the other hand, there is an alternative approach in Fundy circles, which is the public flagellation. This happens when someone is suddenly declared to be untouchable and irredeemable. “Paster Soandso of T’other Indepennant Funnamental Church O’Crosstown has been caught in SIN! Now let us all cast him out of our midst and revel in the naughtiest details of his fall! (There may be slides…)”

    The danger is when someone tips out of balance, either way, be it “Defending our own” or “Casting out the evildoer”. But, if you believe there is a middle ground to anything, you are probably not a Fundamentalist

  3. As an aside, I read this post and commented before reading the previous. I don’t want anyone to think I condone in any way telling a 15-year-old rape victim she bears “1% guilt” and needs to go up for church discipline.

    In fact, I believe this case illustrates both sides of my point, forcing the little girl to “confess” and “apologize” for being raped, circling ’round the rapist, and defending a pastor who abused his position and now washes his hands of guilt.

  4. Imagine calling 9-11 and having someone like this on the other line.

    Dispatcher: “9-11, What’s your emergency?”

    Caller: “I think the neighbor is beating his wife.”

    Dispatcher: “Well, have you ever yelled at your wife before?”

    Caller: “Excuse me?”

    Dispatcher: “I’m sure you’re not perfect, so I don’t think you should be calling.”

    Caller: “It sounds really bad. She could get killed.”

    Dispatcher: “Your neighbor has lived at that address for 27 years and we’ve never had a 9-11 call to that address before. By all accounts he’s a model citizen.”

    Caller: “Well I’m calling you now because I hear cries for help and pleas for mercy.”

    Dispatcher: “Well my wife’s cousin went to school with your neighbors wife and there are things you should know about her.”

    Caller: “What does that have to do with anything? Hurry up! They’re in the yard now and he’s choking her!”

    Dispatcher: “What’s wrong with you? Do you have something against your neighbor? Did he park on your lawn or something? You really need to let go of the bitterness.”

  5. First again Darrell thanks for this post. The wagons are circled and a big pot of kool-aid is in the middle of the ring of folks singing Kumbyah.
    Below is a post from the Facebook group by an anonymous poster attacking three people. (99.9% sure this person is a current Trinity member.)

    “What happened to Tina was a horrible crime. But why the hate to the current church?
    “Let’s start with Matt B, who has an ax to grind with the current pastor because he feels his son was embarrassed because he wasn’t allowed back into youth group. Matt you seem pretty petty. “current despot”. Please. Matt you’re a hypocrite–why didn’t you say anything at the time? Scared? If that had been me and I was attending at the time I would have been the first to say this isn’t right and I’m not going to take it. What did you do? Oh that’s right.. NOTHING. Until you felt like you were wronged and now you’re desperate to get revenge in any way possible even if it means smearing someone who wasn’t even around. You seem like a coward to me. You do nothing when Tina was harmed 13 years ago and now all of a sudden you’re up in arms about it. Why didn’t you care back then??? I know why– because you were a coward then and you’re a coward now. It’s easy to care on Facebook isn’t it?”

    I only put the attack against myself here as the other two people disparaged were women. The anonymous poster then felt obligated to message one of the women what they had written then they deleted the Facebook account they used to post these comments. The attack included some heartbreaking digs at her children.
    The anonymous poster has a son on Facebook pontificating the following: “the ways of satan are disgusting. how bitterness can take one as far down a road to attempt to dismantle an embassy of the gospel I do not know. I only know that the Lord is in control and will protect my church as a whole during this time.” Taking this into our own hands is just trying to usurp God’s authority. We need to trust him. Justice will be served: not by man but by GOD.” He refers to the “alleged” victim.
    I am so torn when I read these personal attacks– I think at times I was wrong for simply telling the police what I knew of what seemed to be a felon walking the streets of my city. I am glad he will soon be off those streets and my 9 yr old daughter will have one less pervert to fear. Fundy thinking is hard to shake, it is so true that you find out who your real friends are at times like this.

  6. Actually, Christopher, I think your point is a good one.

    In churches like that there is no way for a person who needs help to get it. If they admit they have a problem then they’re asking to be fed to a starving pack of coyotes. So they hide it as much as possible. If their friends find out they will usually help hide it. If it happens to blow open into public view then after a brief stand everyone around them will suddenly turn on them and run as far as possible.

    Under such conditions it is the rare person who will admit they have a problem. They know what will happen.

  7. Posted by Mountain29th May, 2010 at 10:59 pm
    Imagine calling 9-11 and having someone like this on the other line.
    Dispatcher: “9-11, What’s your emergency?”
    Caller: “I think the neighbor is beating his wife.”
    Dispatcher: “Well, have you ever yelled at your wife before?”
    Caller: “Excuse me?”
    Dispatcher: “I’m sure you’re not perfect, so I don’t think you should be calling.”
    [Caller: “It sounds really bad. She could get killed.”
    Dispatcher: “Your neighbor has lived at that address for 27 years and we’ve never had a 9-11 call to that address before. By all accounts he’s a model citizen.”
    Caller: “Well I’m calling you now because I hear cries for help and pleas for mercy.”
    Dispatcher: “Well my wife’s cousin went to school with your neighbors wife and there are things you should know about her.”
    Caller: “What does that have to do with anything? Hurry up! They’re in the yard now and he’s choking her!”
    Dispatcher: “What’s wrong with you? Do you have something against your neighbor? Did he park on your lawn or something? You really need to let go of the bitterness.”]

    I can not believe it. That is almost word for word what I have heard from 3 differnet pastors of fbc churches. Unreal. I thought that I was the only one that got that story. Now that I read it on the screen I can’t believe how stupid it all sounds.

  8. Darrell, once again you have nailed and detailed a fundy reality.
    Several years ago the pastor of the church I was attending used this very template to build his own legend as a cover for his felony.

    Of course somewhere in the “spin” there will be reference to the enemy. The group that is attacking him and his ministry (or as Rob has pointed out, “business would be more accurate than ministry.”) is taken from the Official list of IFB Usual Suspects… Liberals, media, athiests, homosexuals, or any other “worldly” agency or 1 John 2:19 bitter used-to-be’s. This will enable him to detail his suffering and we all know a good “Suffering tale” is worth its weight in gold in Fundy circles.

    A well told tale of personal suffering could create a legend on which to build one’s kingdom. $uch a tale will create ton$ of meeting$ and may eventually lead to one becoming their very own $ermon illustration, leading to book deal$ and tape/cd/dvd $ales. From Revival to revival, from Campmeeting to Campmeeting the legend grows and his stature and esteem grows along with the size of the “Love Offerings.” (Especially coveted are the brown bag “cash” offerings.) Yes, adversity is $$$ in the bank if it is marketed just right…. Let no crisis go to waste!

    Now there is one pitfall to watch-out for… don’t screw-up, get arrested and put in jail. But even this can be turned to an advantage in the fundy world. Like a Phoenix from the ashes, one can rise from the ignominy of jailbird status with a miraculous “Jail-house” conversion/restoration tale. Fundy’s like nothing better than a good soul stirring tale of how “Gawd, brought me low, and to the end of myself and then when I couldn’t get no further down… Gawd raised me up again! Hallelujah! Amen!” Oh yeah that’ll get ‘em running the aisles and jumping in the Baptistry! In fact if properly employed it will get a huge turnout of loudly praying fundy pastors and the faithful prayer warriors filling the corridors of the courthouse on the days of your trial. (An active/passive intimidation ploy against an unjust criminal justice system… it works too.)

  9. @ Matt…It is amazing how Darrell’s post explains exactly what happened to you on FB. I have followed Stuff Fundies Like for quite some time and have found it to be so helpful. To find humor amidst one of the most heartbreaking, confusing times of my life…that would be coming out of fundamentalism…has made me smile through tears many times.

    This post and the previous post about Destroying the Innocent have been so enlightening…so practical and sadly, so true.

    Darrell…thank you a million times over.

    Matt…you have done what you could. Continue to and know many support you. God bless.

  10. A step that I didn’t include but is often found in the spin will be an appeal to some obscure and irrelevant information either legal,historical, or technical.

    “A court ruling in rural Mississippi in 1923…”

    “A proper reading of Leviticus…”

    “The word here was being used as a pluperfect subjunctive…”

    If you can’t win an argument on the merits, then simply wear them out with a barrage of inanity that is irrelevant to the fact that the person in question is undeniably guilty.

    1. The ‘lawyer’ will most likely make it sound like the whole church will be legally accountable and they should all be quiet to protect themselves. This is how they silence anyone from coming forward. Fear mongering. If someone offered a financial reward, you’d have a lot of people speaking up.

  11. Darrell,

    You are doing a good work. Keep it up!

    You will be criticized for exposing this because you doing damage to “the cause of Christ.” Did anyone ever stop to think that maybe the wrong you are exposing has already done damage to the “cause of Christ.” I have heard that excuse for going public used a million times.

    And yes, as someone has said, this exposure will be attributed to the “Devil’s attack.” The devil is attacking fundamentalism and its probably a conspiracy hatched by homosexuals, communists, new evangelicals or all of the above.

    Some will probably say that this corruption is due to the fact that the FBF, and affiliated schools and churches have forsaken the King James Version.

  12. As I’ve repeated ad nauseum the worst thing you can do in fundyland is point out that there are problems. As soon as you do that, you are accused of being the problem.

    “Everything was fine in here until you turned the lights on!!”

    The simple fact is that the atheists and nonbelievers of this world already have plenty of ammunition to fire at Christianity. Total, brutal, and unyielding honesty is the greatest weapon that Christians can wield against their detractors — even if it means that some of “our own” have to be exposed for what they are in the process.

  13. I cannot for the life of me understand the supporters of Fundamentalism saying this is an attack of Satan!!! Are they insane. I could not begin to count the times stories were told by Phelps, Fuller, and visiting evangelists to TBC about God’s judgement on sin. You know…the horror stories about how sin destroys you…I believe Darrell did a post on this. Phelps himself in his April 21, 2010 message to his new flock at Colonial Hills gives the example of the man who had a massive heart attack after being disciplined from the church for an affair. Phelps said it was God’s judgment on this man. Okaaaay…Is this not God’s judgment on these men? They are being exposed…their sin is finding them out. Might I add that they always pounded the pulpit harder when it came to UNREPENTANT sin. Hmmm…read their statements. I would venture to say that just maybe they are a tad unrepentant for their sin.

    1. “I cannot for the life of me understand the supporters of Fundamentalism saying this is an attack of Satan!!!” here’s how it works in the IFB… the ‘good man of gawd’ made a simple human mistake, those who spoke up about it are ‘of the devil’. This is how they protect their elite. But they don’t use that same philosophy when they stand in the pulpit and rail on divorced people, gays, or democrats.

      1. “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.” (James 2:1) How they can attack others and yet demand mercy for themselves is mind-boggling.

  14. @Jess: The Greeks had two words for this process, hubris and nemesis, and I think a comparison to Greek tragedy is entirely appropriate. Not that the fundies would understand, though.

    “Everything was fine in here until you turned the lights on!!”

    Reminds me of a joke I heard once. A man died and went to heaven. When St. Peter met him at the gate, he had to give his name and denomination. “Bob Smith,” he said, “and I’m Methodist.” St. Peter checked his records and looked up, smiling. “Right this way, Bob.”

    St. Peter led him into heaven and to a pair of enormous golden doors. He opened them and, when Bob followed him through, saw a huge room filled with ecstatic people–laughing, singing, dancing, eating from enormous banquet tables. “What is this place, St. Peter?” Bob asked. “Oh, this is the Pentecostal room,” St. Peter said. “This way, please.”

    They came to another set of doors. Behind these was another room filled with people, these obviously happy to be there but much more subdued–talking, laughing, and embracing old acquaintances. “What is this place, St. Peter?” Bob asked. “Oh, this is the Catholic room,” St. Peter said. “This way, please.”

    They came to a third set of doors. Inside were more people, quietly enjoying themselves. St. Peter identified them as Presbyterians and the tour continued through more enormous rooms of happy people–Anglicans, Lutherans, and on an on. At last they came to another set of doors. St. Peter placed his hand on them and stopped, whispering, “I’ll explain later, but do please move quietly through this room.” With that, he opened the door.

    The room inside was pitch black and Bob found himself following St. Peter purely by instinct. He could feel that the room around him was enormous, and furthermore, there was something living in the darkness. But he kept silent and, when St. Peter led him through the doors on the other side of the room, followed. “This way, please,” St. Peter whispered when he’d closed the doors.

    Bob followed, and after a moment of further silence asked, “St. Peter, what was that place? Why did we have to keep silent?”

    “Oh, I’m sorry,” St. Peter said. “That was the Baptist room. They think they’re the only ones here.”

  15. “I thought that I was the only one that got that story.” This is one of the saddest facts of life. Most people who are hurting think they are all alone, so they do nothing and continue to suffer.

    One of the greatest cures or preventatives for abuse is exposure. Unfortunately, exposure frequently brings its own pain.

    One of the greatest cures for the pain, though, is laughter. This is why SFL is important. What Darrell is doing is pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. As he says, this is one of the worst thing you can do in Fundy circles, or, indeed, in any cult environment. But, by adding a dose of laughter (and some good writing), he goes a long way to making certain that the Fundies are forced to put on some pants, at least in public.

    By the by, Darrell will probably have no impact on the hard-core-nut-case Fundies. They are too immured. However, there are a lot of Christians who think the Fundies are simply as benign fringe who are re-thinking because of this.

    One influential one I know reads this site but never comments. I know he reads it though, because I sent him a link to “Never singing the third verse” and got him hooked. He probably won’t impact the IFB types, either, but he can convince others that perhaps they need to publicly distance themselves from the semblance of evil Funditude.

    Matt, you’re taking the heat, right now, because you took a stand. I hope you know the stand was worth it.

  16. Another coverup/controversy going on in fundyland is the Ergun Caner debacle. Caner is the current president of the seminary at Liberty University. He has been exposed as lying about his past experiences – claiming to have grown up as a jihadist Muslim when he actually grew up in Ohio! All to pad his resume after 9/11 and make himself look like an expert in Islam. Dr. White at aomin.org has a lot of blog posts about Caner and his hiding from the truth.

    Caner is going through the fundy coverup playbook but I can’t see how he can survive the truth.

  17. @ Matt – All those who have been at fundamental Baptist churches know you are a confused or malicious person. What they do best in these churches as children and adults is humiliate – so don’t tell others you know what they are thinking, i.e. someone is trying to get revenge. I read these posts and just because they speak to the terrible character of the IFB leaders does not mean we are the vindictive ones. Sorry you are so confused.

  18. Here’s what John Matzko, on BJU faculty, wrote openly on my Facebook wall:

    MATZKO: “Subtract the questionable public confessions before the church,
    and to me it looks mostly like a case of sloppy police work thirteen years ago.
    Raped twice? So the girl’s raped and then goes back to see the same guy again
    in private. The prosecutor better have a convincing personality to get a
    conviction on that sort of testimony. ”

    I used to walk past that man every day and never knew he lacked a conscience and empathy.

  19. Subtract the questionable public confessions before the church

    Why on earth would you subtract that?

    He seems to think it’s a minor sensational detail instead of being exactly the thing we should be focusing on. What kind of person does that? What kind of people sit in the pew and permit this to happen? In short, the kind of person and the kind of people about whom all manner of other accusations are suddenly very believable.

  20. This week I have broken into sobs more times than I can count.

    Thanks for “documenting” that, Bass, here for all of us. And thanks to you and Darrell for responding in a clear-headed fashion . . . for all of us too. Really.

  21. I can explain Dr. Matzko’s mindsest:

    When your institution of higher learning discounts secular advances in the field of psychiatry/psychology/counseling, you are suddenly under no obligation to understand the mindset of a victim. It’s all about sin. Period.

  22. It’s just so hard to believe I ate with this people, and talked with these people, and sang hymns with these people, and prayed with these people, and thought they were believers, too.

  23. “Here’s what John Matzko, on BJU faculty, wrote openly on my Facebook wall:

    MATZKO: “Subtract the questionable public confessions before the church,
    and to me it looks mostly like a case of sloppy police work thirteen years ago.
    Raped twice? So the girl’s raped and then goes back to see the same guy again
    in private. The prosecutor better have a convincing personality to get a
    conviction on that sort of testimony. ”

    I used to walk past that man every day and never knew he lacked a conscience and empathy.”

    @Bass: I’m not trying to stand up for the “blame the victim” mindset (you can read my comments on the other thread to verify that) but according to his BJU profile, Dr. Matzko’s area of interest seems to be History and Law (http://www.bju.edu/academics/faculty/facultymember.php?id=jmatzko) and the way I read it: “Subtract the questionable public confessions before the church” is just a way of indicating that he doesn’t feel qualified to comment on that part of the case. Is it possible he’s just weighing in on how the legal system will likely handle this situation?

    Later on your post, he says, “Now, as to what a pastor’s ethical responsibility is in a nasty situation like this, I’m uncertain.”

    Again, I’m not trying to be picky here, but my reading of his comments came out way differently than yours did. He sounds more like an academic trying to detotatively weigh out the legal issues, and how things will play out in trial, excluding the moral issues not because they’re not important, but because they’re outside his area of expertise and are already being dealt with by others.

    And when he says “I’m pretty sure that in the Old Testament economy, either the girl would have become a polygamous wife or BOTH the guy and the girl would have met their ends surrounded by a lot of hefty rocks.” (emphasis mine) wasn’t he refuting Phelps’ nasty comment to Tina about old testament law? It sounds like he’s saying that to be accurate, Phelps would have to consider that either the girl would have become a second wife -which I think we’re all pretty sure Phelps wouldn’t be too keen on 🙂 – or that the rapist would also have been stoned without any investigation or trial.

    @Mountain: Your 911 parallel is so disturbingly accurate.

  24. I think he’s playing “Look at me, I’m so logical because maybe there is some point other than the real point.” It’s a common fundy workaround. Let him justify it to the world, because I intend to post it to the world.

  25. @Bass: You may be right. I don’t know the extent of your conversation with him. And maybe I’m just taking a left-brained interpretation. Sorry, it just sounded like you were attacking someone who was essentially on your side when there are SO many pastors and spiritual leaders defending the indefensible all over the web. I don’t get the point of burning some history professor at the stake because he kept casual facebook comments within his area of study. Was there more to the conversation that you didn’t post publicly?

  26. Dr. Matzko’s area of interest seems to be History and Law . . . Is it possible he’s just weighing in on how the legal system will likely handle this situation?

    I think he’s playing “Look at me, I’m so logical because maybe there is some point other than the real point.”

    Dr. Matzko, at least during my time at BJ, was the adviser for Pre-Law majors. I liked him a lot and took most of his courses, and in this discussion it seemed to me that he was doing something I’ve heard him do a lot in lectures–distance himself from a problem in order to look at it dispassionately. He tends to do so with a lot of wry humor (cf. the “hefty rocks” comment). Some of my classmates found this style over-intellectual and off-putting, and in this situation that tack does seem, at best, too flippant for the subject. But in the end it looks like he’s just talking about the legal problems and/or ramifications inherent in the case (cf. his remarks on the statute of limitations, prosecution, argument before juries, police work, etc.) rather than the moral or religious aspects of it.

    I don’t know the extent of your conversation with him.

    And neither do I, but my admittedly limited impression of him was of a good, intelligent man and I’d rather not see him pilloried for offhand remarks on points of law.

    Just my two cents. And please don’t pillory me. 😀

  27. I think some of you are being too generous to Matzko. The issue is not what a jury will decide but what the Pastor did and what he should have done. Let’s not forget the age of the victim. She is incapable of giving consent at that age. The true nature of the rapists crime was not told to the congregation. The rapist was allowed to continue in the church. If he truly was repentant, he would have turned himself in and confessed. Since he didn’t, the Pastor had an obligation to put him out of the church. That is so obvious, one doesn’t need to a divinity degree or a law degree to see.

  28. I won’t pillory you. 😉 But I will disagree. I think that he launched right into the law aspect with such vigor (and I know him as an academic too) does belie the problem. He thinks there’s no legal case whatsoever, and obviously the DA disagrees with him (or the guy wouldn’t have been arrested). . . . He was showing off. It’s not attractive.

    I do understand the irresistibility of an academic argument. And there’s a time for that. And there’s a time to weep. This is the latter.

  29. “The issue is not what a jury will decide but what the Pastor did and what he should have done. Let’s not forget the age of the victim. She is incapable of giving consent at that age. The true nature of the rapists crime was not told to the congregation. The rapist was allowed to continue in the church. If he truly was repentant, he would have turned himself in and confessed. Since he didn’t, the Pastor had an obligation to put him out of the church. That is so obvious, one doesn’t need to a divinity degree or a law degree to see.”

    I agree in passionate tears with everything you say above. But publicly shooting some guy down because he was thinking legal issues through in a conversation with friends (and didn’t emphasize the same issues you are emphasizing) just smells so Animal Farm.

    There are surgeons who spend years studying so that when a man’s life is in the balance they are equipped to dispassionately open the man’s body and figure out what’s going on. You don’t kick a surgeon in the balls and say “You should be in the waiting room praying, you insensitive pig!” They need the “stepping back” skill that they have in order to help.

    To those (mainly Camille and Bass) who are bravely standing up for the rights of abused innocents – please please please… People are trusting in you, and we NEED you to keep doing what you’re doing. I sincerely mean that. But we need you to fight fair, in large part because so many others in our lives have not. We need you to be RIGHT against the might. This poorly thought out smear campaign is not.

  30. You saw the entirety of the conversation. He asked to friend me on Facebook. I did. Less than a day later he assaults my post with his first sociopathic volley, and I rebuked him. There is no sidestepping what that church did. So then he followed up with a second volley, and I posted that to my blog and then thought better of it. I returned to my Facebook page, and there he was getting worse and worse, so I rewrote the preface, copied the conversation, and posted it. He can go explain himself to the world, but I’ve had enough of letting these sociopaths get off the hook. If he’s that callous about the life and well being of a 15 year old girl, let him answer for it or learn to keep quiet.

  31. Bass, I pleaded and you didn’t hear at all what I’m saying. Those of us (in my case it was my entire family) who have been treated badly by power-mongering fundy preachers don’t want to see the same tactics used on our side. We want to be the good guys. After all the guilting we’ve been through we really NEED to be the good guys.

    This bothers me so much, because it’s almost exactly the kind of thing that was done to my family years ago by one of those megalomaniacs. It actually makes me feel ill to think of the similarities.

    THEY rip casual conversations out of context, interpret them as uncharitably as possible and use them to smear people in public. WE don’t.

    THEY demonize anyone who doesn’t emphasize the exact particulars that they would like emphasized. WE don’t.

    THEY spin our words a way we didn’t intend, blast it for the world to hear without so much as warning us, and then leave us to pick up the pieces after the explosion they caused. WE don’t.

    We want to stop the cycle, not just change the players. If we can’t do that, who will?

  32. What Matzko posted was not casual conversation. Look, I respect your point of view, but he’s in a position of authority, and he came onto my facebook page to spout off. Fundamentalists have been driving bully pulpits for decades. And that time is at an end. The moment he threw such contempt at a Lamb was the moment I called him to account for it. Better me, here, then Christ at the Judgment. He ought to apologize and then be quiet.

  33. And by the way, I posted Matzko’s exact words and my exact words. I’ve been entirely honest with him, not like the conspiracy of deceit in Fundamentalism that continues to protect rapists, pedophiles, and child molesters.

  34. @ Janet Thompson. You may want to reread my post. What you stated didn’t seem to follow any of my points.

    @ Pita -Matzko says “So the girl’s raped and then goes back to see the same guy again
    in private.” Even the fundies should know from a thorough reading of the news accounts that this isn’t what happened. He is smearing a rape victim and you say that “he was thinking legal issues through in a conversation with friends “. I am looking at my daughter as I type this – somehow your line of reasoning falls short and seems infected fundy thinking through and through. Do you think Matzko was wrong to make the above statement?

  35. If Matzko is only looking at the legal aspects, then he ought to come back to Facebook and say so. He can clarify his position but in three different comments he did not. It came across as very insensitive to the harm done to a young child.

  36. Matzko hasn’t approached me either in private or public to clarify what he said or explain that he wasn’t discounting the ethics of the church’s behavior. His third statement, in fact, seems like a combative statement of standing his ground. Nobody provoked him to write on my wall. He picked up a fight, and he can fight it. He’s not a 15 year old girl.

  37. Ok, I’ve had a Mike’s Hard Mango Punch (recommend) and read the comments a few more times and I’m still getting the nerd playing an academic exercise vibe. And I still think the whole point of his Old Testament reference is to refute Phelps.

    One reason I think it’s casual conversation is that it sounds like he’s unsure of all the facts when he refers to her seeing him again in private (as we all were depending on which news reports we read on which news site – different ones outlined different information -for instance, when I first commented on the case here, I hadn’t read yet that the church had actually voted Willis back into membership – vomit) Or maybe Matzko’s referring to the second time Willis came to her house, after she’d called him to tell her she was pregnant and he brought over the pregnancy test? In either case, his statement doesn’t say that she’s to blame. There’s no contempt. He’s saying that these facts are going to make the case more sticky in a court of law.

    “I’m not buying it” sounds harsh, but it’s true. Not to be a pessimist, but I don’t think the public confession issue is going to get into the courtroom during the rape case. I wish it would.

    Yes, I think immediately after the rape would’ve been a bad time to weigh in on this stuff, but the fact that a law guy wants to join the conversation and bring up these legal issues 13 years after the event when the facts are coming out and the case is about to go to trial just seems normal, not sociopathic and amoral. Thinking through all the angles is one way to fix things.

    “He picked up a fight, and he can fight it.” That’s fair. And maybe we’ll find out I’m completely wrong about my interpretation. But from the outside, it just looked like a guy came in for a verbal chess game and got thrown into an angry lynch mob.

  38. Sorry Matt. I realized I forgot to reply to you.

    “Even the fundies should know from a thorough reading of the news accounts that this isn’t what happened.” I know. He obviously hadn’t done thorough research.

    “He is smearing a rape victim.” He’s talking about how this is going to play out in court. I think this case gives those who care a good opportunity to parse out how things go under the current system and then maybe figure out what can be done about them. Removing the statute of limitations? Making sure that juries are educated about the psychological issues that affect the decisions victims make when they’re going through this kind of pain? These are things I want to see done, so talking about what’s going happen in court is important.

    “I am looking at my daughter as I type this.” I know. I keep remembering what it was like to be a 15 year old girl and it makes me want to throw up when people try to claim that she had any part in what this 39 year old predator did to her. I’m just saying I didn’t read these particular comments as saying that. Badly worded? Yes. Poorly timed while we’re all still puffy eyed over this? I think so. But the whole idea of grabbing a roughly-sketched discussion off of facebook without warning someone first and turning it into a viral personal attack just sets off my alarm bells. It’s probably the method that’s getting to me on this one.

    “– somehow your line of reasoning falls short and seems infected fundy thinking through and through.” No, but here are some big things that are playing into my thinking:

    – Facebook privacy issues are starting to frighten me.
    – I want to see Jeri’s message get taken seriously.
    – I have a superstitious belief that if we use fundy methods to get that message out, it will come back to bite us somehow.
    – As soon as we start resembling “The Man” I get antsy.

    Irrational? Probably. But I think they come more from my Mom’s old hippie ideas of karma. I didn’t grow up fundy, but I did pass through. Am I contaminated? 🙂

  39. Pita go back up and re-read Darrell’s posting. Then compare Matzko’s response to what Darrell wrote about. This is not the first time most of us have seen these tactics used to defend one of their own and cover-up something they want to make go away. When we see someone employing the spin tactics we get real defensive real quick because we can hear it coming. I’ll be the first to admit I do not trust or have one shred of faith in any so called Pastor that is the sole ruler over a congregation. (See Lord Acton’s Quote in my previous reply) I’ll admit my first response to “any” pastorate where one man is in charge is that it is a cult, because in those situtations the body is subject to a caste/class dichotomy that is not biblical. Who is responsible for ministry in the assembly of believers? (Ephesian 4) But I digress.
    As to Matzko’s legal musings… that is not the point, but his statements sound a lot like #1 on the spin: “Trivialize”. (Legally the rape can be determined by a simple paternity/dna test of the child Tina gave birth to. If the results come back to Willis then it is a slam dunk Rape case for the jury to decide. Was he 39 yrs old? Was she 15? Better get some soap-on-a-rope Willis.)
    See that is one of the things that ticks us off at Phelps, he created a way out for Willis 13 years ago, whether by design or sheer ignorance, he allowed someone that he had been told had raped a 15 year old to save face before the church and then proceeded to remove the main evidence against Willis out of state. Pretty darn convenient hmmm. Wonder how much $$$ Willis was “tithing” at the time. Always follow the Money.

  40. @PITA

    “Fundy methods.” That’s where I’m stuck. I don’t see “fundy methods” here. I mean, I can talk your ear off (or type my fingers off) about methods. Heck — I’ve got a published dissertation about “fundy methods.” And in fact, Jeri and I have talked about methods at length a few years back. She knows her approach/theory. I know mine. They are different, but after the same goal.

    Are we really talking about methods? Or are we talking about comfort? Remember that in my previous life — and I think I can even say I taught this — Christian grace is redefined as gracious living a la the Southern plantation. So being “unfair” might mean holding your fan upside down while your husband was abusing a female slave in the barn which is completely “fair.”

    But the fan doesn’t matter. It doesn’t. And sure, it’s unsettling and uncomfortable — even “unfair” — to have some harpy barge in and say, “PUT YOUR LOUSY FAN DOWN AND GO HELP THAT GIRL!!”

    If it seems “unfair,” I’ll take it. I will. I’ll “sin boldly” for that cause. Because I know my rhetorical narratives backwards and forewards. I know what I’m after.

  41. @Pita, My method is honest and straightforward confrontation of a proven, defiant error. Their method is backroom deals and a righteous facade in public, as they re-tell an event and leave out the core of the truth of the matter. The two are not the same. You might just as well say that Peter’s judaizing and Paul’s public rebuke of him for judaizing were the same method. Clearly, they were not.

  42. The girl was 15 and it was her church. He church was her world. The rapist went to the same church and she had “forgiven” him because her pastor ordered her to do so. What was she supposed to do? Run away? She was a child. She didn’t know any better.

    I don’t know Matzko and don’t care to judge him. However, I will say that his words betray a serious ignorance (perhaps even a studied ignorance) of how dysfunctional families and sexual predators operate. They pressure their victims to remain victims with whatever tools they have: shame, family loyalty, religious persuasion, etc.

    I’d say that rather than the prosecutor needing a persuasive personality, these men better have a Johnny Cochran defending them. My guess is a jury and judge will roast them.

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