Dirty Money

This is the Jack DeCoster gym at Hyles Anderson College

These are the eggs sold by Jack to build things like that gym

This is Jack.

Meet Jack DeCoster. Chicken Farmer. Egg Recaller. Fundamentalist.

Oh, and financial supporter of Hyles Anderson College with no less than two buildings there named after him. One can only hope that the DeCoster dining hall cares more about food safety than Jack apparently seems to.

According to ABC News:

He’s been involved in legal cases that have forced him to settle with the federal government for hiring illegal immigrants, for tolerating sexual harassment at his company, and has faced a litany of animal cruelty charges. DeCoster has also paid millions of dollars in fines and settlements over the years stemming from complaints about the health violations at his farms.

One can only assume that his fundamentalist friends simply labeled these incidents as “persecution” and kept taking his money anyway.

Now half a billion eggs have been recalled in a salmonella scare, a large part of them coming from Jack’s company.

In fundamentalism money not only talks, it preaches. It preaches loudly.

Thanks to Matthew at JesusNeedsNewPR.net for drawing the lines and sharing his personal experience with this story.

79 thoughts on “Dirty Money”

  1. @Darrell who would’ve thought that a manly manly man like Steve Anderson would let his wife buy his eggs from a namby pamby liberal weinie place like a local run free range organic chicken/egg farm? Nice find!

  2. Wow. Turner’s post on it is powerful. Like his dad, I don’t get worked up about animals, but the conditions described on DeCoster’s farm are just wrong. And the post from Mrs. Steven Anderson gives this all a surreal twist.

    So, just to be clear, Eggland’s Best is DeCoster’s company? Because that’s what I buy…

  3. Actually, a lot of fundies I’ve known are very health conscious in their eating including buying and growing organic.

    It doesn’t really strike me as odd at all.

  4. @Darrell that surprises & pleases me. Most fundies I knew were in the anti-animal rights, do whatever you feel like outside of sex w/ them, and no big deal. I don’t think they would appreciate seeing the actual conditions like the DeCoster “farms”, but prefer to keep the realities out of their minds. Hope they are the exception, rather than the rule.

  5. Wow Mrs. Anderson is quite the investigative reporter.

    I think what is odd to me about a Fundy eating organic stems more about the association with organic. Normally you think urban liberal hippy not straight laced rural Fundy. But if you are buying straight from a farm or farmers market and that happens to provide organic than I understand that completely.

  6. “Actually, a lot of fundies I’ve known are very [paranoid about “chemicals” and the like and easily led along by marketing] in their eating including buying [at exorbitant prices that don’t justify the supposed, but unproven, benefits] and growing organic.”


  7. @Bob

    Watch “Food Inc” please!

    Everyone else: Watch “Food Inc” please.

    This is not just a problem with one farm. The problem is very wide spread and everywhere. Again I urge you to watch Food Inc if you really want to know where your food comes from.

    I am not anti-meat but I am pro-organic. There is too much information to share but that’s why I am saying watch “food inc”

  8. @John, no hadn’t heard of that at all. Does seem new to me. I’ll have to see if I can get around to reading that.

    Anyone else ever seen the HBO documentary “Dealing Dogs”? It’s avail on Netflix (and I assume can be bought). The d-bag that ran those kennels seemed like exactly this kind of deal. Was def a deacon, and I assume was big contributor, to get people to ignore his abuses of dogs.

  9. This story just proves Jesus’ 2000 year old truth (not that it needed proving)

    You cannot serve God and money.

    Your heart cannot have two masters.

    You either go to bed at night thinking about Christ…or you go to bed thinking about work, your business, money, power, greed…

    A great resource for expounding on this truth is a book called “Counterfeit Gods” by Tim Keller

    And obviously this as well:

  10. @RobM: That makes sense. I don’t know much of anything about food distribution but I should have guessed that much.

    And regarding fundies and organic food, in my experience some of the wilder fundies I know prefer organic because of something else Fundies Like: alternative medicine. A girl I dated for a while had never eaten shrimp or catfish and only rarely eaten a porkchop because her mother ruled the kitchen with the book of Leviticus. She also subscribed to the theory that all sins are caused by a strange tag-team of 1) sin and 2) carcinogens. I’m sure fluoridated water figured in somewhere, too.

  11. @mpt thank you for doing the legwork. I had never heard of this man before I read your piece.

    There are so many stories yet to be told from those not-so-hallowed halls.

  12. I knew of Jack DeCoster and his egg farm in Turner, Maine 20 years ago. He was a leader nd chief financier of a local IFB and a strong supporter of that other Jack (Hyles). His farms were known for filth and immigrant workers living in trailers with no plumbing. The whole scenario spoke volumes.

  13. @Darrell: Correct. It wasn’t None of These Diseases, but said mother did lend us a book one time, asking us to give it to the parents to a elementary school-age girl who was dying of cancer. This book was supposed to show the parents that their daughter was dying because they let her watch the Disney Channel or listen to bad music or something. Can’t remember the exact reason, but I’m dead serious. The book never made it there.

    Ditto in Darrell’s kudos to mpt. This piece was eye-opening.

  14. Those are the fundies who will have a much thumbed copy of None of These Diseases sitting on their bookshelf.

    That actually was a textbook for my “nutrition” class in Bible college. (“Nutrition” is in quotes because the professor had no training in the subject and knew far less about the topic than I did. Yea for the high educational standards at Fundy U.)

    Those of you who like to read and are interested in where your food comes from might like Twinkie, Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger. Ettlinger takes the ingredient list from a Twinkie and writes about how all the ingredients are made. Informative stuff.

  15. Jordan said: “And regarding fundies and organic food, in my experience some of the wilder fundies I know prefer organic because of something else Fundies Like: alternative medicine. ”

    I have to wonder if my late SIL read None of These Diseases. She was definitely a Fundy, and was kinda “crunchy” in her view of homemaking. When she discovered she had advanced breast cancer (during her 5th pregnancy), she definitely went the alternative medicine route, even going to Germany for an experimental, alternative treatment.

    They were lucky to get her back to the States before she died.

  16. Wow, this just makes me ill…seriously. We are very selective in our eating and only eat locally farmed eggs, but having grown up fundy baptist I recognize everything in this article (and Matthew’s). And what would be the church’s response if an unsaved person lost their life to salmonella? Does that make his giving any less saintly?

  17. In my experience, the crunchy fundies tend to homechurch, homebirth, wear long dresses, have very large families, and be more of the “we’re pioneers in an evil world” mindset rather than the “let’s go green” mindset.

    Personally, I think crunchy people are awesome–I hang out on the fringe of crunchiness myself, but I’ll tell you, if I ever ran a family farm (as crunchy fundies tend to do)–I’d do it wearing britches!

  18. Religion is big business, I mean BIG business.
    Follow the money, always follow the money.
    Look at this egg-straordinary story on the links between eggs and fundyland.
    How were the Jones’ able to afford all that “art” work?
    Look at Liberty’s campus and how much Tim LeHaye bought and put his name on.
    PCC has it’s own in house publishing company that is a sacred cash cow!

    It is big business, period. Even down on the local level it is big business. I finished watching the expose’/documentary “Marjoe.” ( youcan find it on youtube or I put up all ten segments at: http://persifler.wordpress.com/) He documented the whole messy business of religion on film. He was a big part of it growing up and he gives first hand accounts. Granted he went with the Pentecostals because they paid better for his style of preaching but he does a good job of exposing the Business of Religion… personal holdings of some of these “preachers” and ministries is just…
    Mind boggling… simply mind boggling and then the fundies wonder why the religious crowd has lost its effectiveness in general society and the culture at large…. that is why they had to create their own sub-culture. Religion became big business and the only way to sell it to the locals was to create islands and bunkers and develop their own sub-culture.

  19. I had to read None of These Diseases for a class at my Christian high school. I had enormous amounts of guilt about everything after reading that book.

    There was a granola married couple at the school who told us all doctors and antibiotics were bad. She was the one who wanted to breastfeed in public without covering herself at all and thought everyone else had the hangups because that was “what breasts were for.”

    They were our senior class advisors and they brought their infant on our senior trip — she decided to feed the baby in the US House of Rep; there was a boys school there who got an eyeful.

    But they do seem to always be the homeschooling, nonvaccinnating, alternative medicine bunch.

  20. Some fundie “friends” of mine are urging me to take collodial sliver and eat organically to fight my cancer. Apparently my doctor knows of all these cures but is deliberately keeping them from me in order to keep the drug company profits high.

  21. @Darrell

    On the son and daughter-in-law giving to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, maybe it had something to do with Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation: CHAOS”.

  22. @Morgan Collodial Silver i have heard about that cure too, one big draw back. It slowly turns your skin a bluiesh gray color. You take it too long you end up looking like a smurf. The blue skin thing is not reverseable.

  23. I think the fundy/green athiest overlap is VERY interesting stuff and I have been observing it for a few years now, taking mental notes. I have green friends who approach organic veganism as a religion, nothing short – although they like to *think* its all science. They cannot articulate the science, just a lot of paranoid wide conspiracies etc. Sound familiar? Yeah. People are full of sh*t.

  24. “@Don I believe you are aware of my policy of referring to those HAC/IFB type churches has having executives, not pastors.”
    – RobM

    That is true. I refer to my old church’s leadership as “management” and the pastor as the “CEO”. He actually compared himself to a CEO when justifying why he should be paid over a quarter million dollars a year….plus bennies….lots of bennies.

    And the “mini-mes” he is producing at his kawledge are trained with the same mindset.

  25. @Kari

    “In my experience, the crunchy fundies tend to homechurch, homebirth, wear long dresses, have very large families, and be more of the “we’re pioneers in an evil world” mindset rather than the “let’s go green” mindset. ”

    My late SIL to a “T”.

  26. @usedtobefundy. Lots of names I’ll use for nutjobs. I try to be careful not to use pastor, brother, or father to describe the greedy, self promoting, etc that don’t belong in ministry.

    BTW, I’m sure the pastor makes waaaaay too much there, but $250,000 is still a very large almost incomprehensible salary, and phrases like “quarter million” or half-million is like a backdoor way of using the world million to not exactly exaggerate, but it makes you feel even more resentful as a reader, I think. I’ve always hated when people say A-Rod has a “quarter of a billion” contract. $250,000,000 is plenty offensive for a baseball player, don’t have to “sneak” the b word in. Sneaks is probably the wrong word, but I think you get what I mean, no?

  27. @pvr

    I watched Food, Inc. a few months ago… quite eye-opening, if maybe just a bit slanted. But even if the presenter were biased, I think I would be too, in that situation! Needless to say, it’s made me a little more conscious about what I let enter my digestive system…

    Re: alternative medicine

    If I ever get cancer, I’d do the radiation thing all the way, if that’s what my doctor prescribed. Knowing a bit about radiation through my job, and knowing people with connections to proton therapy centers, I’d much rather get hit with that stuff than trust unproven juice of some unknown tropical fruit or dissolved silver or any other “alternative” BS.

  28. (just for the record, I’m a fringe crunchy-ite myself. If I could afford to feed my family organic I would. My family doesn’t go to doctors unless we can’t fix ourselves at home, we homebirth, and all that. I think there’s a place for everything. I think people in the mainstream take doctors and medicine and mcdonalds and name-brand clothes too far. I think people in the crunchy world can take veganism, hemp clothes, refusal of all modern medicine for all things too far, too. Gotta strike a balance. Which, as we all know, fundies–of all makes and models, from all walks of life–are SO good at!)

  29. Hmm. All the fundies I know/knew were the opposite with food: always couponing, eating cheap, canned/packaged, high-sodium-low-nutrition processed food, plus lots of fast food.

    On another note, similar to what Kari said, I think there should be a healthy skepticism of the medical field, considering that there’s a lot of money to be made in that industry. We live in a fallen world. Use common sense and research things for yourself.

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