Destroying The Innocent

Many posts on this site are intended to be humorous and light-hearted. This is not one of those. I will freely admit that I’m am writing this post while angry — not something I typically do. But at this moment there is a white-hot righteous indignation that has kindled in my bones and I either have to write this down or spontaneously combust. You have been warned.

Imagine for a moment that you’re a fundamentalist pastor who has just learned that a 15 year old girl in your congregation has been raped and is pregnant by a 39 year old member of your church. Now try to imagine what kind of thought process might lead you to decide that the proper way to proceed is to bring that teenager before the entire church to apologize for her part in being so thoughtless as to get raped and end up pregnant. Then imagine forcing her to write a letter to the wife of the rapist apologizing for your part in his crime.  Of course you then send her away to another state and make sure that the baby is adopted off to another fundamentalist family.

What kind of person would do this? Surely this must be some pastor from the darkest fringes of fundamentalism, someone so far outside the “mainstream” that they are almost unrecognizable as an Independent Baptist. Or perhaps not.

For the pastor in question is none other than Chuck Phelps, who left the scene of this outrage at Trinity Baptist Church  to become President of Maranatha Baptist Bible College. To be fair to MBBC, they quickly realized that they were dealing with someone a little too far out for their taste and gave him the boot in the nicest way possible. He also is the chairman of the board of Central African Baptist College and sits as vice-chairman of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship. Last but not least, as of 2008 he was listed as an adjunct professor at Bob Jones University’s school of religion and a member of their cooperating board(PDF).

Oh, but the story and connections don’t end there. For this paragon of fundy virtue now pastors on a church staff with none other than Bob Taylor, former pastor of the Campus Church at Pensacola Christian College. The ‘crazy fringe’ of fundyland is never as far from the center as it would seem.

Now let’s play another game of let’s pretend. Let’s imagine that you’re the current pastor of a church where all this happened.  Let’s further imagine that like your predecessor you’re also a favored son of Bob Jones University and that you were actually there at the church while this travesty was being executed on this victim. What do you do now? Apologize? Issue a statement condemning what was done to the 15 year old girl? Or do you do damage control and cover for your old pastor even going so far as to send e-mail to your church members instructing them not to speak to anybody about the situation?

And then lastly imagine you’re a fundamentalist type who is observing this situation from the outside? Does your heart break over the injustice and your anger rise to think of the victim in the case? Or do you flee to your favorite fundamentalist message board and question whether the 15 year old girl may have seduced the 39 year old man and is to blame for the whole situation?

I can only assume that these people involved in the humiliation and condemnation of this girl cannot really believe in a righteous God Who’s justice is terrible toward those who hurt the innocent.  If I had a scrap of mercy to spare for these miserably failed hirelings, I would be very, very afraid on their behalf. But I don’t. All I have is a small voice to expose their evil to as many as have ears to hear.

Destroyer of Innocents thy name is Fundamentalism.

(updated 29 May at 4:07 pm.)

169 thoughts on “Destroying The Innocent”

  1. “even Chuck Phelps’ wife, when we came forward, asked me if I enjoyed it when it happened.”
    “What on earth does that have to do with anything??
    Good grief.”

    Oh don’t you know? at BJU girls at told that if their body responded during a rape, they need to repent. I know this first hand and was told this by none other than Jim Berg himself. I wanted to kick him in his nut nuts when he said that to me! Even Mrs. Berg has been known to tell girls to repent for “enjoying” rape!

  2. I’m pretty much at a loss for words at this point.

    That doesn’t happen often.

  3. This young lady has suffered trauma in so many ways that will impact her for a lifetime. I work with victims of rape and child abuse. There is no excuse for a perpetrator’s actions. Period.

    Shifting of blame and deflecting responsibility is encouraged in the church when its covered up and handled without engaging the appropriate external authorities in an appropriate manner. The fact that the pastor reported the incident (and exactly what did he report?) allegedly on a number of occasions pales in comparison to his duty to support and provide care for this young lady and her family. And that does include ostracizing her, blaming her, and shipping her our of state. These actions have only compounded the trauma. And clearly the perpetrator whose actions were 100% to blame was treated in a much more dignified manner.

    What I don’t understand, is how the pastor knew that the rape had occurred and has appeared to take no action to notify the remainder of the church that a rapist was in their midst! This thought process is astounding! He could have perpetrated on any other number of children and/or women and the damage would have been immense. And the liability? How is any of this representative of a responsible, caring shepherd? Not to mention the life-long irreversible damage of the perpetrator and pastor’s actions on this young lady. It boggles my mind. But this happens in churches all of the time. What will be done to stop it?

    Bravo to the young lady for having the courage to step forward and face all of the cover-up and unacceptable actions of adults in her past.

  4. All of this “did you enjoy it” stuff is disgusting. Had they read any Church history at all, they would remember St. Augustine’s lengthy passages in City of God comforting and reassuring victims of rape–all of it unequivocal, unconditional, and fair.

  5. Blame the victim and cover your a** 101 -A Fundamentalist course on compassion and minintry crisis control.
    This is the problem with the Clergy/laity style of Church administration… there is too much control in the hands of too few people. It is easier to control people when there is a tyrant in place. God never meant for one person to have control over a local church… “but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them…” that is the problem with today’s Church template. Preaching/Teaching is a gift one has to edify and build up the body of believers to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4) not some office to be filled with which to control and manipulate the assembly of believers for one’s own purposes, all in the name of God. (I know a separate [but parallel] rabbit trail.)
    I applaud Tina for taking the stand she has… and the media for following through with the story. (And thank you Darrell for this post.)

  6. Hey folks! Do this brave lady a favor and go on and comment on the CBS site! Those of you with know how the dots come together, NOW is the time to speak out. Make up an alias if you want, but SPEAK UP! Tina is so brave, let’s support her and speak up! Those who don’t know how all the dots come together, please speak up as well in support of Tina Anderson. There is little this group fears more than the sunlight! (which in this case is media exposure!)

  7. I think you have some confessing to do. When I was beating you with an aluminum baseball bat, you definitely got an adrenaline high. You’d better repent for allowing your central nervous system to activate your adrenal gland during extreme physical stress.

  8. Darrell,

    Far be it from me to defend Phelps (I don’t care for Phelps and have nothing to do with Phelps in any way whatsoever; I am not knowingly a member of any organization that he is and don’t intend to be), but in a post about “destroying the innocent,” how ironic is it that you are linking to groups (some of them several steps away) that have no connection whatsoever to this event. They are completely innocent in this case (though they may have other problems). You are playing the worst fundamentalist trick, which is guilt by association: So and so is connected to So-and-so and therefore they are complicit in this. It’s nonsense, Darrell. And the ex-fundamentalists should know that better than anyone.

    It is typical of the “ex-fundamentalist” crowd who managed to leave fundamentalism behind but didn’t manage to leave their bad thinking and their tendency to cast blame behind. Fundamentalists often demonstrate inabilities to make accurate judgments about people and events. Ex-fundamentalists demonstrate that the problem is not with fundamentalism but with people–because the ex-fundamentalists play the judgmentalism game as well as the fundamentalists do. The irony is the hypocrisy of complaining that the fundamentalists are so judgmental (and they are) and someone can’t stand to be a part of that, so they stop being a fundamentalist, but don’t stop being the same judgmental person that they were, and that they hate being.

    This is a great example of the kinds of problems sparked by hyper fundamentalism–that anyone or anything remotely connected some problem is implicated in the problem. Many people left fundamentalism because of this craziness that connects people through various degrees of separation. So why do it now? Do you really like being like the crazy whacko fundamentalists you despise so much?

    Everything that has been said about destroying the innocent with respect to a rape victim is fine. But destroying the innocent who happen to at some time have had some connection with Phelps, who may know nothing about this story at all, is destroying the innocent. And it’s not okay because they are a big institution or a man rather than a 15 year young lady.

    What apparently happened to her is inexcusable. But so it trying to tie it to groups or people who have nothing to do with it.

  9. Larry,

    Read the article.

    My point with the chart is to demonstrate where Phelps fits in the realm of fundamentalism. It’s a demonstration of how someone so depraved as this man is not on the fringes of fundyland but rather right in the rotten heart of it.

    The assumption that I am laying guilt by drawing lines is evidently the product of your own fundamentalist-style thinking.

    But all that aside, I’ll put the question to you — how many of these organizations do you think will come out and publicly condemn what Phelps did? How many of them will remove him from being on their board or deny him access to their pulpit?

    My guess? Don’t hold your breath.

  10. “Dr. Phelps is especially burdened in developing the next generation of Baptist pastors.”
    From his bio on the 2008 Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International Annual Fellowship found @
    Yeah, we want more just like this one! He is especially good at Crisis Management, Specializing in tactics to keep up the offerings in times of crisis… hmmmm, wonder what percentage of the budget came from Ernie Willis???

  11. @Mercedes Well if defending BJU is Larry’s game then perhaps he can show me where BJU is launching its own investigation of Phelps to see if they need to remove their associations with him as a professor and board member.

    If they’re as clean as the driven snow then it would be the only ethical thing to do.

  12. Oh Please Larry! Phelps is on Bob Jones University’s board! Phelps was the president of Marantha. Phelps is the current, Vice Chairman of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship and in July their yearly meeting is going to be held at Les Heinz’s church Tri-City which had it’s own scandal recently which it covered up. I am a friend of this girl and know ALL of the story and how it is linked together. Hold on to your knickers (and your comments) because this is just the tip of the iceberg, so you don’t embarrass yourself in the end. This did involve Matt Olsen, Bob Woods and Phelps and others high up in the movement. Those who live in glass houses should be careful not to throw stones. Just wait, soon this will be out. By the way, before anyone blames Tina or her friends for notifying the media, no, the police talked to the media and then Tina came forward and gave permission for the News media to use her real name instead of an alias. I have seen her criticized on FFF for this, just want to set the record straight!

  13. When was this guy Bob Taylor pastor of the Campus Church? The two most rescent was Shetler and Jackson right?

  14. Bob Taylor was pastor of the CC back when the college started. I’ll freely admit that’s the loosest of the associations listed. Again, the point is merely to demonstrate the 7-degrees of Chuck Phelps so to speak in where he fits amongst the fundamentalists organizations.

  15. OK . I think I see what your saying . You can’t say he just a fringe nut case of fundamentalism with those kind of associations.
    Did Phelps actually preach a message- ok scrath that , use time that is supposed to be used for preaching to answer the allegations against him?

  16. You can’t say he just a fringe nut case of fundamentalism with those kind of associations.


  17. As the victims brother I will tell you that she was forced away to Colorado to have the baby. Gloria woetzel is totally wrong in what she said about how many people were supportive of her I never once heard anyone in that church tell me or my mom that they were giving us their support. It was as if after she was sent away that the heinous crime never took place there were no calls from police to my house and Phelps and the rest of the church just went on like nothing happened. I am praying that with my help and support both of these so called pastors get their due as well as anyone who was involved that may not have been mentioned.
    I am only revealing who I am now because I can see that without my story about this situation that nothing will get done if I don’t. They did some horrible things to my sister and for that they will pay. As for the people at tbc they will finally know about the truth of the situation instead of just going on thinking that Phelps was a great man.

  18. Yes, Darrell’s point is that these aren’t fringe views in fundamentalism. They’re very common in the core of fundamentalism, both the independent kind and the Southern Baptist kind. They can decry the actual behaviors all day long, but then turn and say things that throw the door wide open to those behaviors.

    Bad marriage ‘not an excuse for sin,’ speaker tells seminary women

    Earlier Lambert advised women in bad marriages to take responsibility for their own sin before putting the blame solely on their husband.

    “Now, we’ve got to be very careful here,” Lambert said. “It’s possible that in a relationship crisis — in fact it’s more than possible, it’s probable — that your sin has something to do with the crisis.”

    Lambert said a woman is not responsible for her husband’s sin against her, “but we do live in a world where sinful people influence sinful people.”

    “My sin is never responsible for your sin, but my sin can create a context for your sin,” he said. “My sin can tempt, can woo and can entice you to sin, and I may need to take responsibility for that, and you might need to take responsibility for that.”

    He said that while it is possible in a “worst-case scenario” for a wife to do nothing to contribute to her husband’s sin, “I can tell you this: I have never in my life — whether as a pastor, as a counselor or just as a human being that knows people — I have never met a victimized spouse who responded perfectly to their spouse’s sin against them, who’s always been righteous in their response, who’s never sinned in their response to the sin of the spouse. I’ve never met that person.”

  19. Here is another interesting twist. From what I can gather, Anderson was a faculty member at International Baptist Collegein Tempe, AZ (see link). According to the Fox News Report, resigned from the Baptist college the day before Willis was arrested. “I do not, anymore, unquestioningly obey authority, which is what they would teach.” So now we have a third independent Baptist college connection in all of this. Interestingly enough, the President of IBC is David Brock the brother of Daniel Brock, the principal of Silver State Christian School in Denver (Les Heinze pastor) who was recently acquitted of molesting a boy at his school. The boy has since committed suicide. The jury that acquitted Brock was not told that he had gay pornography on his computer. Both Brocks are the sons of Walt Brock who founded and operates Ironwood Christian camp.

    Why did Anderson resign from IBC? I can only speculate.

  20. Carl, let me caution you: there will be people at Trinity who will continue to support what the church did. They’ll blame your innocent sister, and they will call the backlash of an outraged public persecution. Please don’t get your heart set on the grassroots of the church being all that different from the leadership. I’ve been documenting church abuse in Christian Fundamentalism for almost 9 years now, and I am sorry to say that few, not many, will do the right thing in supporting the suffering victim of church abuse. God bless you and your sister.

  21. This is the height of fundie douche-bagery. If you read both of the news reports it is absolutely disgusting and unbiblical how the whole situation was handled. It is like the love of Jesus absolutely no longer exists in those churches.

    My only hope is that justice is served and everyone involved in the perpetration of this gets their just desserts.

  22. “Earlier Lambert advised women in bad marriages to take responsibility for their own sin before putting the blame solely on their husband.”

    And the blame the victim abuse cycle goes on and on.

    As a past victim of this kind of abuse – the kind that says “You made me hit you!” – I can say that excusing the abuser by blaming the victim – as if she had some responsibility – is merely perpetrating abuse. When we tell our future pastors that their wives bear some responsibility for their (the pastor’s) sin, what kind of message does that send to the pastor who will then pass that along to the congregation? It makes me shudder.

  23. If that was my daughter, I’d personally perform a castration on both the perpetrator & the pastor! Having her going before the church & asking for forgiveness?? Hang your head in shame Phelps, Trinity Baptist, and those associated with them. Take off the freakin’ rose-colored glasses of fundamentalism and see it for what it really is – a sham! Stop pointing your wicked little fingers at the Catholic priests and justifying yourselves. This just sickens me…

  24. Follow the Money… that is the real heart and soul of Modern American Ministry… just follow the money.

  25. I read this story a few days ago and I am appalled. I am appalled that the church members didn’t do more to bring justice to the situation years ago, but I’m glad that FINALLY justice is being served. I hope Tina will be able to continue to live a normal life, be able to have joy in the Lord despite her awful childhood. My prayers are with her.

  26. I’m going to quote this comment from “Cindy” over at Sharper Iron verbatim because it so perfectly sums up the fundy method of dealing with blatant evil in their own ranks:

    I doubt everything was done perfectly, but I’m sure that Pastor Phelps did what he thought the Lord wanted him to do. He’s a godly man with many years of ministry behind him. Let’s not throw stones until we know the entire story. And whatever it is, we need to support our fellow Christians.

    Here’s the formula:

    1. admit the problem in terms that make it seem trivial. “everything wasn’t perfect” or “yes, there were some slight problems”

    2. Defend the man. He’s a good man. He’s God’s man. He’s a great man. He’s our man.

    3. Claim that there is more hidden information yet to be learned that will cast this situation in a totally different light. Do this even if the rock solid evidence so far is completely damning. Even if this information never surfaces assure everyone that you know someone who knows someone who knows it’s true.

    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.

    It happens the same way every single time.

  27. I’m glad at least they’re willing to show what they really are. And it’s a sickening display.

    I was a member at SharperIron for about two minutes before I graduated from BJ. I decided to forget about it because 1) I didn’t want to be involved in internet fora ever again, and 2) I looked at what the other members posted. I wouldn’t have fit in and I’m glad I didn’t try, especially looking at all the ridiculous posts on that thread.

  28. I’m sure that Pastor Phelps did what he thought the Lord wanted him to do. He’s a godly man with many years of ministry behind him.

    As if Judas hadn’t spent years hanging around Christ himself.

    Defend the man. He’s a good man. He’s God’s man. He’s a great man. He’s our man.

    I’ve heard that used to defend everything from objectively incorrect facts used to underpin a sermon to, well, this. I’ve had it.

  29. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of that. My thoughts as I was reading:

    –This is incredibly measured and tactful.
    –But then again, isn’t it always?
    –I’d like to see corroboration from outside records.
    –I like the implication in all the cited scripture that those being “cursed,” etc. were wholly blameless. (And that those doing the cursing were “unreasonable and wicked men” who “have not faith.” So much for tact.)
    –And not a word about the victim being forced to apologize.

  30. @Darrell I just wanna rip that guys throat out reading that effing FILTH! How dare he act like all his responsibility as “PASTOR” was to report and wait for the police to contact his lawyer. I’ve said it before, will say it again. I hope God (and our criminal justice system) withholds his (our) mercy from Phelps as Phelps withheld his from the victim. Sorry for the language.

  31. One of the most infuriating things is to realize the the Pittsburgh Steelers for God’s sake handle sexual assault & rape more directly than Phelp’s & these kool-aid drinking fundy types.

  32. Wow,

    I go away for a few hours after making what I thought was a rather obvious point, and look what happens. This reminds me of why not to get in discussions with fundamentalists. Let me try to summarize my response:

    First, someone calling herself (I assume she’s a she since “Mercedes” is either a car or a girl usually; please forgive me if I am wrong) Mercedes claims to know who I am. Not sure how she/he would know that, and not sure why it is relevant. I am also 6 feet tall, weigh about 185 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes, facts which are all equally relevant to where I allegedly grew up. I don’t recall knowing anyone named Mercedes, so I am supposed that someone is posting without benefit of their actual name. If I know you, feel free to identify yourself.

    I would simply note that no relevance of that fact was suggested. It appears to be the old fundamentalist standby argument of guilt by association: “Forget what he said; just look where he’s from.” To kind of quote Kevin Bacon in A Few Good Men, Mercedes apparently brings that up in the hopes that the mere appearance of impropriety will win points with the court. But should we trust her to know? Perhaps. But shouldn’t we at least expect her to show relevance? I think so. So how is it relevant to my argument if I grew up at BJU? My argument actually had nothing to do with BJU. It had to do with argumentation. By the way, she also failed to mention that I have two degrees from elsewhere, and am currently a student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit. Relevant? At least as much as the point she made.

    Also note that nothing is stated of my current relationship with BJU. Further, note that I did not defend any of the institutions mentioned. In fact, I plainly said that they all have problems. Darrell, contrary to your post to Mercedes, I am not defending BJU (and in fairness to Mercedes, she didn’t say that, though perhaps that was the implication). I have no interest in defending BJU. In this case, there is nothing to defend them about that I know of. A man on their board is under fire for the way he handled something. If it were me at BJU, I would ask Phelps to step aside. I would recommend they ask him to step aside. In fact, I wouldn’t have asked him to be on the board for a lot of reasons. But it’s not me, and the idea that I am defending BJU is ludicrous. If they knew about this problem, and invited him on the board, they are culpable. Did they know?

    Second, I read the article, Darrell. That’s the basis of my point. The article shows no connection between this situation and the institutions. If your point is only that Phelps is a mainstream fundamentalist, then fine. I am not sure anyone ever claimed otherwise. If they did, they don’t know what they are talking about. You are the only one that I have seen even bring that up. But I haven’t read much on this, so perhaps I missed it.

    But in impugning these institutions, you need to make a material argument that these institutions are somehow guilty of impropriety because of what Chuck Phelps did in a church discipline situation 13 years ago. I don’t see that argument being made. It seems you are arguing guilt by association that all these ties means everyone is guilty of wrongdoing. The fact that these institutions have other problems means that they have other problems. They don’t need Phelp’s situation; they have plenty of their own. They have destroyed the innocent on many occasions. But you weren’t writing about those. This is about this situation. The fact that Phelps handled this matter in this way has no connection to the other issues at these institutions. I am not sure how that is even questionable.

    But why mention these institutions if you are not trying to implicate them in this issue? Phelps may in fact be completely in the wrong. He is apparently at least partially in the wrong. He did notify the police, and apparently documented follow up calls to the police. He claims they never contacted him back and never followed through. So I don’t know what all is there. We will see what else comes out. But is guilt by association really the answer? I don’t think so. I reject that kind of fundamentalism. It is not good when fundamentalists do it to conservative evangelicals and it’s not good when people do it to fundamentalists. It’s wrong.

    You even include Bob Taylor, who left PCC about 20 years ago, if memory serves me correctly (and not on good terms, I think). And I think he is the pastor emeritus at Colonial, is he not? Why in the world bring that up? At least you admit that’s the weakest. Wow, is all I can say. But why in the world bring it up to begin with. You admit you were writing out of rage, and perhaps that influenced you to say some things you would not otherwise say. I just think it unwise at best to present it as you have done here.

    Third, you ask who will condemn what Phelps did? I don’t know. I have no connection with any of these schools or the FBFI. I am not going to hold my breath waiting for it either. But that is not my life or my world. I have no influence or interest there.

    Fourth, to “Meow” (what’s with the fake names?), I am not sure what “Oh please Larry” means. If you will clarify, I will try to respond. I don’t know what will come out of this. I have no connection at all with anything you mentioned in your post, so I am not sure why you directed that at me. I haven’t defended Phelps in any way. I have no influence, no membership, and no connection with any of these organizations or institutions. In fact, my post was not even about the issue with Phelps but about the faulty argument that is trying to impugn these other organizations for the way in which Phelps handled this. If these other organizations knew about this and overlooked it, they are culpable. But Darrell didn’t suggest that they did, and he certainly didn’t show any evidence of it. So, to quote you, I would hold short before risking embarrassment. I have not said anything directly about this case aside from this: Rape is a heinous crime against God and man, as is child molestation or abuse. It should never be covered up by the church, by the pastor, by the deacons, by anyone in authority. No one in authority should ever encourage a victim to cover it up for any reason, or to hide from testifying or being interviewed by legal authorities. So please don’t mistake my comments for any sort of defense of anything that happened in this particular case. I don’t know what happened.

    I know who Matt Olson is, and if he made her write an apology letter to the wife, then he was dead wrong. If he assisted in preventing the police from contacting her, he was dead wrong. I don’t know any one named Bob Woods. So I am not sure how he is relevant. You say this goes all the way to the highest reaches, but how? Where is the evidence that “the highest reaches” at any of these institutions had any influence in this matter 13 years ago? Or are condoning what was done? Is there any evidence for that?

    Lastly, I am not blaming the victim in anyway. I am not defending Phelps, TBC, or any of the organizations listed. I have nothing to do with any of them. I have been clear that this is a heinous crime that should not be covered up, excused, hidden, or anything else in anyway.

    My point is about the kind of argument that was made. I think Darrell meant well by this. I understand the rage, and what I have read is very troubling and upsetting to me. But I think he made a bad argument on this point. It’s fine to show Phelps is connected in this type of fundamentalism. I don’t think anyone would dispute that, but it never hurts to restate the obvious, I suppose. But I don’t think we should pretend that these institutions are somehow complicit in this rape case. That’s my point. And that’s all my point is. The rest of these responses to me were totally off base.

    I think it was pretty easy to understand. But whatever you do, do not connect me to Phelps. I have nothing to do with him, with the FBFI, with BJU, MBBC, NBBC, IBC, TBC, or anything having to do with this situation.

  33. After reading that all I can say is it was all about “him” and covering his own a**. I’ll say it again, it’s all about the $$$. He may have done “all” that was required by law but in the end it was all about his ministry… not justice, not ethical or moral rightness, not about compassion for the victim… it was about the ministry. People are just expendable commodities in the ministry game. All this letter lacked was the whole reference to Shimei over in 2 Samuel 19:12, “Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD’s anointed?” Oh yes it might as well have said touch me and you attack gawd himself.

  34. Larry,

    I have a hard time understanding how you can possibly miss the point. Darrell never said, “this goes all the way to the highest reaches.” You have put words in his mouth that he didn’t say nor has anyone else said.

    The point, as has been plainly stated several times, is that when these things happen it’s very common for IFB persons to say it’s a fringe group, and that Young Fundamentalists and ex-Fundamentalists don’t know what Fundamentalism really is. Darrell said, “The ‘crazy fringe’ of fundyland is never as far from the center as it would seem.”

    Again the only point is that Phelps is not on the fringe. Nobody has yet claimed that BJU, PCC, Maranatha, or Northland had knowledge of Phelps’ actions. Another woman on this thread mentioned that Jim Berg said that if a woman is raped and her body responds to it then they need to repent. If that happened, and I have no reason to doubt that it did, then it shows the mentality is present at a high level at BJU but it doesn’t imply they would condone what Phelps allegedly did. Nor has anyone claimed that they would.

  35. This is such a heartbreaking story, but so typical of the fringe, scandal-plagued fundies.
    1. Pastor X does something atrocious (usually sexual) to member of congregation/ attendee of fundy Christian school.
    2. Such action is swept under the rug for so many years, usually 15-25.
    3. Such action comes into the light eventually.
    5. Original Pastor X has retired/ moved on, and New Pastor Y asks members to still forget/ disregard what happened.
    6. Some of the congregation will follow Pastor Y (because he is the Man of Gawd!); some will leave the fundy church to go to another fundy church; some will re-examine their faith/ what they have been taught to either leave the Church completely or set out on a journey that will hopefully lead them to discover what grace really is.
    7. Original Pastor X is still heralded as a “Hero of the Faith” complete with pointless statistics on how many buses were run when X was pastor, how many in Sunday School, how many professions of faith, etc. (Philippians 3: 2-11, anyone?)

    What is disgusting to me is that when it comes down to it, the church completely ignored the fact that Mr. 39-year-old-rapist-bastard broke the law. He committed a federal crime that is punishable by jail time. Period. It is such a double standard that fundy pastors gloat about their patriotism but at the same time keep the worst offenders out of jail and portray the victim as the perpetrator! Absolute inanity.

    I’m glad to see that here in Florida, our state Congress passed a law that would delete any sort of statute of limitations for a victim of a sexual crime. That way, if a victim is so traumatized by the event/ pressured by fundy church to sweep it under the rug, he or she can bring charges at any point in the future, as long as the perpetrator is still alive.

  36. Darrell,

    I am not trying to be antagonistic or darn big. That was an honest statement that I get your rage and I think you were well-intended in addressing it. I don’t think you meant to target people unfairly. My point was pretty simple: I think you made a bad argument, or perhaps a good argument in an unclear way. A lot of the comments made to me had nothing to do with what I said. I read your blog fairly regularly. I think you have some good stuff here. I think this was not one of them. IMO, it just wasn’t your best effort.


    Darrell’s previous post about literacy comes to mind. 🙂

    Go back and read my post. That comment was in my fourth point addressed, not to Darrell, but to Meow, who at 3:31 this afternoon said, “This did involve Matt Olsen, Bob Woods and Phelps and others high up in the movement.” My comment was a reference to that comment, not to anything Darrell said.

    As for the point, no one that I know of claimed that Phelps was fringe. So Darrell is addressing a point that, so far as I know, is a complete straw man. But my only point is that he did it in a way that is argumentatively unsound.

    Consider his last paragraph where he talks about “these people involved in the humiliation and condemnation of this girl,” having just offered this laundry list of fundamentalists groups. Clarity would, I think, require a more precise statement of who exactly “these people” are. And his very last line says, “Destroyer of Innocents thy name is Fundamentalism,” having just listed all these institutions connected together as destroyer of innocents. At best, I think it is unclear writing. It seems to me to be weak argumentation. So, no, I don’t think his point is clear in the article. And that is what I responded to.

    The truth is that fundamentalism is not a destroyer of innocents. The vast majority of fundamentalists have never had these problems. So while these problems are real and utterly unacceptable, they are still relatively infrequent. That is not to minimize the real cases. But let’s be careful throwing around these charges.

  37. Your voice is not small brother. It is being heard. A cry for justice is rising up over our spiritually ravished land. God will hear. Evil will be exposed. Justice will prevail. It always does.

    Thank you for being serious on this one. And for your post. Well said.

  38. quote from Sharper Iron:

    “Do you think a person who may face legal issues should be required to incriminate themselves before the church prior to their legal proceedings? How much specificity should be required?

    To get it off of this case, let’s say for instance that a man has been caught with child p0rnography. He is caught and confesses it to the pastor. There is an impending legal case. Should he be required to confess specifically that he was involved in child p0rnography to the church, knowing that he would be incriminating himself in the legal proceedings? ”

    Only if he’s repentant. Otherwise he should totally bluff his way through it, hide behind the church, and hope he can get away with it.

  39. Mercedes,

    Would you mind identifying yourself to me somehow? You can do it privately if you wish. You seem to think you know me, and I would be curious to know who I am talking to. I won’t reveal it.

    To the point, how much specificity is required for biblical repentance? Does it require telling everything we know? A complete catalog of sin?

    You are completely misreading me if you think I am suggesting anyone should bluff repentance or hide behind the church. Far from it. I never promise confidentiality, even in privileged counseling situations. Unlike many (perhaps most), I have actually dealt with this kind of situation. So I have some views on it, but I am always looking to learn from people who will teach me, preferably using some type of argument aside from sarcasm.

  40. As for the point, no one that I know of claimed that Phelps was fringe. So Darrell is addressing a point that, so far as I know, is a complete straw man.

    Darrell never claimed that anyone claimed Phelps is fringe. Darrell is just pointing out this time y’all can’t use the “that only happens on the fringe” excuse.

    We’ll have to disagree about these problems being relatively infrequent. Trinity (Jax), FBC Hammond, the list goes on and on. In my own little world I’m personally aware of several scandals in local churches and Christian schools. I think most of the people on this blog also have their own stories to tell. So telling us it’s infrequent is going to be a really tough sell.

    Darrell never claimed those institutions had knowledge or took part of Phelps’ specific offense. By “destroyer of innocents” I think he means the attitude that blames the victim. Others have shared their stories on this thread and I expanded it to Southern Baptists with a link to a professor at Southern Seminary saying wives “influence” and “create a context” for their husband’s abuse.

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