The Last Fundamentalist

 

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Christian School Confidential to cease blogging.

My input at Christian School Confidential has been diminishing.  I will no longer blog about issues with independent fundamentalism at this blog.  Anything I have to say about this subject in the future will be made at the blog devoted to the movie, Bible Madness.

I have not yet decided if I’m going to keep, hide, or delete the articles currently at Christian School Confidential.  Screen shot if you like since all this could vanish overnight depending on my whim.

No new comments will be added. Any new comments made on any article in this blog will be ignored.

For more info regarding my decision, please read this article: Challenging the toxic orthodoxy taking root in clergy abuse activism.

GRACE becomes BJU’s Ombudsman?

G.R.A.C.E., which stands for Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment, has been hired by Bob Jones University to investigate abuses that have occurred on or off campus throughout the years.  While G.R.A.C.E. does have a respectable reputation in addressing abuse issues, it’s difficult for me to treat this as historic.  If anything, it’s typical.  Typical of BJU to wait over a year in silence only to spring this upon the public at a convention concerning sex abuse and the church being held on their campus.

Fans of fundamental history might also take into account that G.R.A.C.E. is founded by Basyl ‘Boz’ Tchividjian, the grandson of Billy Graham.  Although Boz, a graduate of Stetson University, the Southern Baptist college which also graduated Bob Gray,  has a wealth of experience dealing with child abuse cases, I have to wonder how long a relationship between an inquisitive organization with SBC leanings and ‘currently’ fundamental BJU will continue?  Students have been expelled for having the mildest associations with Graham’s organization.  So, we’re going to have to assume that in wake of abuse scandals BJU has ‘grown up’?  They’ve realized the error of their past bigoted ways and are ready to bury the hatchet with those related to Graham in the best interest of the children?

Financial crises does make for strange bedfellows. It would not be unheard of.  BJU once had a table at Oral Roberts University, so anything’s possible.

Anybody remember that other historical moment when BJ3 announced they removed the restriction against inter-racial dating?  Actually,  the rule was simply modified to require students to get written parental permission for inter-racial dating.  That never made Larry King!

I expect some two steps and compromise.  The question is, who will be compromised the most? Bob Jones University?  Or the mission of G.R.A.C.E.?  Will the public receive their reports?  Or, since BJU commissioned the investigation (as I’m to assume), will the reports be hidden from public view?

Petition for the resignation of Mark Chappell

A petition is circulating regarding pastor Mark Chappell of Freeway Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona.  What intrigues me is this is the brother of Paul Chappell, current pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church in Lancaster, CA.  LBC is a dominant influence in the political realm of Lancaster.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/resign-mark-chappell/

 

Gore Vidal called it the sweetest phrase in the English language.

“I told you so!”

Here is a blog from the DORIGHTCHRISTIANS!  Sounds to me like a fundamentalist response to the DoRight boards.  The blogger states his belief in a conspiracy against IFB churches by sinister dark forces but, lest ye be quick to dismiss his arguments, you realize some of it is interwoven with truth.  Inconvenient truths that have been the subject of Christian School Confidential, both the novel and the blog you are now reading.

The mixture of a strong lie with truth is always the mark of a great lie!  I have nothing much to add to the assertions of DORIGHT except, to those who have been reading Christian School Confidential, you understand the problems we have in advocacy.

Rather than be upset at this blogger, I find myself taking my hat off to him.  At least, I’m assuming it’s a ‘him’.  I’d be mildly surprised if a woman was behind this blog.

“What took you so long?”

I’m surprised this conspiracy theory wasn’t floated during the non-trial of Bob Gray.  There was even a brief respect, on my part, for fundamentalists not giving in to this theory.

Times are tough for IFBs!  Extreme scandals demand extreme conspiracies! It was inevitable.  And now after all these years, finally, a fundamental conspiracy theory worthy of a Jack Chick tract!

http://dorightchristians.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/jack-schaap-set-up/

AN EXCERPT FROM MY NOVEL, CHRISTIAN SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL:

“Cutswipe warned the congregation there were women laying in wait to trap preachers and young preacher boys into admitting they had committed the vilest sins ever.  The aim would be to destroy fundamentalism and cripple its influence throughout the world!

“Jules Cutswipe’s final sermon was a warning about women who will destroy fundamentalist preachers, their churches and the male dominance of America!  I thought, ‘No one would ever do anything like that!’.  It was while sending condolences to his very rich and influential friends in Washington I realized, we might be able to do just that!”

RIP, Chip Wilson

Chip Wilson, both a principal and coach at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida, passed away on September 18, 2012.  He was one of the few staffers at TCA whom victims came to and shared their accounts of abuse by Bob Gray. He  took a notable public stand in favor of victims during the era before Bob Gray’s non-trial.  He was also the owner of ADA Consultants which advised businesses on making their facilities compliant with the ADA (American Disabilities Act).

A memorial service is planned on September 29, 2012.

http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/stories/2006/03/27/smallb1.html?page=all  

NOTE: Here is one of his earliest posts on the Bob Gray scandal.

http://www.fundamentalforums.com/trinity-baptist-college/6231-i-am-one-bob-grays-victims-want-truth-9.html#post99881

 

Is Truth Stranger than Fiction: Who is Bob Crawford and why is he speaking at BJU’s Conference on Sexual Abuse?

“Now that the trial is over, my brother has indicated plans to host a convention of abuse victims.  Will you be going to that?”

“I haven’t heard anything about this convention.”

Neither Brother Jerry, nor Gloria, ever called me.

“Do you know if this convention is happening?” I asked Larry.

“No, and that’s why I’m calling you.” he said, “I would like you to write an article about this convention, if it happens.  I have a feeling nothing is going to come of it.  I don’t think anyone is going to be convinced to call the Sheriff.  Or help with recovery. Or anything.  I think it’s all P.R. . .”

from Christian School Confidential

                                                                                                  

A convention is held on the premises of a bible college/christian school where the administrators  have been accused of covering up the molestations committed by their former pastor.  It is organized by the daughter of America’s favorite televangelist, Brother Jerry, in order to deflect attention from their sphere of the IFB.  The idea that someone working within the ranks of the IFB to gather information to use against victims and deflect attention is difficult to prove in real life, but great material for a novel.

Is truth stranger than fiction?  Bob Jones University, a college that has been accused of giving intellectual ammunition and cover for abusive pastors and church workers, is hosting a conference about sexual abuse.  None of the speakers are familiar to me, although one of them has suddenly become a person of interest for those of us following such matters.

Rev. Bob Crawford, according to the website, ‘served as an assistant and investigator for Chace Campbell (P.A.) Law Firm since 2008, a position in which he regularly advocates for physically and sexually abused children. He has also volunteered as a Guardian ad Litem in Greenville County, S.C., since 1997. In his 37 years as a pastor, he has ministered to many individuals and families affected by sexual abuse and has developed a heart to love and help those who are hurting.

What is not mentioned on the website is Bob Crawford also served as the pastor for Bensalem Baptist Church in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.  If you read Jeri Massi’s Schizophrenic Christianity, you will remember that is this is the church which introduced Massi to fundamentalism.  A bus drove through her complex and her older sister called them up.  Next thing you know, two men on visitation showed up at their door and Massi would soon be knocking on doors like the rest of them!

Massi has much praise for Bob Crawford as being well educated with a Masters of Divinity  and doing graduate work at the Westminster Theological Seminary.  She writes: “For the first year or two at Bensalem Baptist, my Christianity was idyllic.”

So what does she think now of her former pastor, Bob Crawford?  Is Bob Jones University’s conference in good hands?  A brief google search of “Jeri Massi” +”Bob Crawford” isn’t yielding much.  Nor is a casual glance at her web page.

I can tell you that sources who brought this to my attention were counseled by Crawford regarding sexual abuse.  They don’t speak too highly of him.  Because he did work as Guardian ad Litem  his word was often respected over a social worker because he was ‘independent’.  My sources also reveal that he was responsible for sending some unfortunate children to Hephzibah House, the abusive home profiled on Anderson Cooper.

Instead of constantly bumping up her post ‘I answer my accuser#2: Camille Lewis’, which never seems to get updated with new info, why not address this question?  Tell us a bit about Rev. Bob Crawford.  Did he ever recommend Hephzibah House to parents or state authorities?  Has he changed  his tune as to what he regards as abusive behavior? Or, does he back up the discipline practices currently endorsed by people like Michael Pearl?

How ironic that Jeri Massi brags of her association with survivors of Hephzibah House!  Don’t you think they might deserve some answers?

Are fundamentalist Christians capable of counseling victims of child abuse?

The Cycle of Abuse is a social theory developed by Lenore Walker to explain the origins of abuse. It basically says that abuse is a learned behavior characterized by certain repetitive actions with abuse (whether it be physical or emotional) usually being preceded by another act of abuse. This theory was developed in the 1970s and, like most revolutionary ideas that go under the name ‘theory’, are quickly trashed by fundamentalists as being not true.

The reality is very few professional psychologists, therapists, and even evangelical Christians, question the reality of the Cycle of Abuse. Those who have questioned it are generally coming from the angle that just because you came from an abusive background does not mean you will become an abusive personality.

Even Lenore Walker admitted that the women used for her studies were not ‘randomly selected’. Her original terms like ‘battered women’s syndrome’ have been replaced by the ‘cycle of abuse’ because abuse is not limited strictly to men abusing women. Both men and women have perpetuated the cycle of abuse.

The reason for contemplating the Cycle of Abuse is because a minority of fundamentalist Christians, who sincerely want to stop abuse, are not only questioning the logic of the Cycle of Abuse but are calling it ’emphatically false’. Just take a look at the thread from Stuff Fundies Like (link below) to read what I’m talking about.

Jeri Massi, the author of Schizophrenic Christianity, participates in the Stuff Fundies Like discussion with, “Definitely, emphatically, not all abusers start out as abused. That’s a myth propagated by criminals who plead victimhood to get leniency in their court trials and sentencing.”

She goes on to say that even children from good homes become abusers. She neglects to give examples or explore whether such abusive children were abused outside the family. If such a child was abused outside the family, and the family knew about the abuse but elected to remain quiet, does that family still qualify as a ‘good family’?

In my critique of Schizophrenic Christianity, I was struck by this passage, “If the stupid child is going to behave as a temptress, he will treat her as a temptress. If she is going to wear those frilly petticoat dresses to church, he will act on the lure she has provided.”



This struck me as a ‘blame the victim’ passage. I’ve posted the review which contains this quote on an earlier blog of Christian School Confidential in 2008 and she has not yet addressed this issue. Was it a misprint? Or, does she really believe that, in some cases, a child can (and should be?) blamed for the abuse ‘the stupid child’ has inflicted upon herself because of her behavior?

I am brought to the conclusion that this might not be a misprint. If she believes that the Cycle of Abuse is a theory seized upon by criminals in order to get leniency, then couldn’t her argument against the Cycle of Abuse also be used by abusive families to cover up their lack of action? After all, if no one from the immediate family abused the child, they must be a ‘good family’?

One of the posters on Stuff Fundies Like pointed out, “Aren’t we forgetting about original sin?”

Yes, original sin! That is the same motivation that drives fundamentalists into beating their children when they are mere infants and toddlers! Michael Pearl, the fundamentalist author of To Train Up A Child, believes that when an infant cries it is a sign of rebellion. It’s time for the parent to step in and show who is boss with some strikes at the crying child!

It makes me wonder if fundamentalist Christians really are capable of counseling those who have been abused. Can someone who believes in the doctrine of original sin be relied on by victims to advocate for them? Especially, if deep down, that Christian really believes the child was acting on innate sinful urges beyond his control? Who is arguing for leniency now? That sounds like an argument an accused molester, who recently found Jesus, could make!

“It’s a huge, complex problem with no easy answers.” wrote one Stuff Fundies Like poster.

It only becomes a mystery when the most obvious and logical explanation is ignored.

For information about:

Stuff Fundies Like discussion: http://www.stufffundieslike.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=5571

Review of Schizophrenic Christianity: http://christianschoolconfidential.blogspot.com/2008/12/fact-fiction-and-blatant-exaggeration.html

Cycle of Abuse: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycle_of_abuse

Michael Pearl: http://religiouschildmaltreatment.com/2011/11/the-real-michael-pearl/

Sophie Hopkey and William Williamson: the first survivors strike back!

Sophia Christinana Hopkey came to America in 1735 and met a preacher named John Wesley. She was already engaged to Thomas Mellichamp who counterfeited money and threatened to kill Sophie if she married anybody else. Sensing her vulnerability, Wesley began grooming his prey and eventually proposed to her.

John Wesley and Sophia began a courtship which Wesley himself ended. He withdrew his marriage proposal because he felt it would interfere with his new ministry in Savannah, Georgia. This basket case of an evangelist thought Sophie should remain celibate only to him.

The girl came to her senses and she decided to marry someone a little more stable: a man named William Williamson. This incensed the minister. He began a campaign of humiliating his victim. He questioned the legality of her marriage and denied her communion. This was normally done to someone who committed a deep sin, and, in this case, the sin was not submitting to the twisted expectations of John Wesley.

What did the victim of this abusive pastor do? William Williamson and his wife, Sophia, sued the pipsqueak and presented their case to no less than 35 jurors! They got him for defaming her character because he wouldn’t administer the Lord’s Supper.

From the warrant served to John Wesley: “To the great disgrace and hurt of her character; from which proceeding we conceive that the said John Wesley did assume an authority contrary to the laws established, and to the peace of our Lord the King, his crown and dignity.”

He fled the states and went to England where he was able to inflict his private and twisted interpretations upon that country. He married Mary Vazeille but it was known as an unhappy marriage. Big surprise? Wesley was even rumored to have gone on long crusades just to stay away from his wife. Perhaps his absence was a vacation for her, too?

His cult became quite successful and today we call them Methodists. The cult exists to this day. One of their biggest cult members, Robert Reynolds Jones, Sr, eventually pulled away from this sect to create his own cult known as ‘Bob Jones University’. BJU is now known as a bastion for obsessive young preacher boys who, like Wesley, use bullying tactics to settle personal scores and excessive scripture quoting in order to get a date.

There is another side to this story, of course. Robert Wearmouth, a biographer of Wesley, wrote: “If, perchance the High Church missionary to Georgia had succumbed to the attractions of Sophia Hopkey, married her as his natural impulses prompted, made a home of her uncle’s estate in accordance with that gentleman’s wish, there can be no doubt that Methodism, an acorn planted at Oxford, would never have grown into a tree of marvelous statue.”

Nice words!

Still, what would the outcome have been if the internet existed in those days? Would Sophia alert the people in England about an evangelist, with a tendency to ‘groom his victims’, who became vindictive and used his official capacity as a minister to settle personal scores? Would the Methodist religion now be referred to as the cult of John Wesley?

The time period between 1730-1791 was the same era that witnessed the Enlightenment and Age of Reason. Unfortunately, cult leaders like Wesley flourished during that period which has the name,’The Great Awakening’. Perhaps we might now refer to that period as the ‘first Great Cult Explosion’?

Prophecy conferences would eventually be held up and down the east coast and one of these cults began calling their views ‘fundamentalist’. The first Cult Explosion justified owning slaves, making women subsurvient to their husbands and encouraged beating their children. The great, great, great grandchildren of the First Cult Explosion are still with us and, more or less, still subscribe to the views of their forefathers. Minus the justifying slavery part, unless you want to count Wal Mart apologists in that category.

Sophie and her husband survived the immaturity and attacks of John Wesley by taking him to court. The community embraced them and Wesley left with his tale between his legs. Let’s honor them as the first survivors who struck back!

References:

The Writer and the Preacher: http://edge.net/~dphillip/Savannah.html

John Wesley wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wesley

Survivor Wars III – Foxes in Charge of Henhouse?

My article which explored the concept of ‘professional victim’ has definitely set off a shockwave at ‘Stuff Fundies Like’. I will address some of the points brought up on this blog, but I will not journey to that forum to participate in the dialogue with Miss Massi. If she wants to dialogue with me, she can either come here or unblock me from her website and/or Facebook profile and continue the dialogue in the presence of her fans. Also, no private messages either. If Jeri Massi is speaking, I want witnesses!

It’s interesting how she keeps bumping up two articles where she answers charges leveled against her by Jocelyn Zichterman and allegedly by Camille Lewis. The ones by JZ are rather ridiculous but the main charge by Camille Lewis that Massi has (or at one time had) a bias in favor of Bob Jones University can be backed up. There was a time when it was difficult to find accusations against faculty or staff of BJU on her webpage.

The idea of Massi’s BJU bias was further fanned when she wrote this on page 68 of her book Schizophrenic Christianity:

“The dynasty structure in Fundamentalism is nothing new. It dates back to the Joneses of Bob Jones University, the somewhat feudal Fundamentalist university which, despite its weaknesses, has remained free of the rampant, flaming allegations of sexual deviancy found in the high places of some other fundamentalist schools and churches.”

Schizophrenic Christianity was published in 2008. In her current answer to Camille, Massi does make a list of cases regarding those who attended or affiliated with BJU. Notice the years of those articles are post 2008. Perhaps that’s when her ‘state of grace’ regarding BJU came to an end?

The questions I would like to see her address are the ones I leveled at her on the FFF and occasionally in my blog that have gone without an answer. It concerns a post by someone who may, or may not, be her sock-puppet: spiffenwheeze.

You can read his comments here: http://spiffinwheeze.blogspot.com/2008/05/snit.html

Underneath his blog, I left a comment about a few matters I would like Jeri to address.

1) Is spiffenwheeze telling the truth? Does she know him? Is he, or was he at one time, her sockpuppet?

2) Where is this synopsis I allegedly wrote about her life? Can I read it?

3) Where did I ever say she met Voyle Glover at Hyles Anderson?

4) If she doesn’t know spiffenwheeze and has no relation to his page, will she repudiate his lies and allegations in public?

If spiffenwheeze ever gets deleted, I have screen shots! Those are some questions I would like to have answered!

Regarding the other points brought up at SFL. The idea that ‘even good homes can produce a rapist’ argument can also be used to cover up parent’s neglect. There are probably some very ‘good families’, at least that’s their perception, who act shocked when their children wind up being abusive.
These ‘good families’ may only be good when it comes to cover ups. Was there neglect going on where we can’t see it? The kind of neglect that can be covered up when the police, or researchers, come asking questions?

Remember, at one time cigarettes were deemed healthy and homosexuality was considered a mental illness. Let’s not forget the advertisements which once stated sugar is good for kids! Many times, the reality is right in front of our eyes in spite of studies that merely act to give us so-called evidence we need to justify our denial and ignorance.

This is a topic I will explore in greater context as I begin the series. Nothing is ever totally resolved and studies do have a way of reflecting a bias of the organizations which sponsored it.

One thing most abusive people, and organizations, have in common is a reluctance to answer questions and a bullying approach whenever questions are asked. When I broached the subject of ‘professional victims’ one of the posters at SFL said the very idea will ‘shut down any conversation’.

Maybe over there, but not over here. When all is said and done, only a ‘professional victim’ will get upset over the term ‘professional victim’.

Stay tuned. . .

Related links:

Fact, Fiction, and Blatant Exaggeration: http://christianschoolconfidential.blogspot.com/2008/12/fact-fiction-and-blatant-exaggeration.html

Spiffenwheeze blog: http://spiffinwheeze.blogspot.com/2008/05/snit.html

Stuff Fundies Like: http://www.stufffundieslike.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=5571