I Love the 80s: Pat Robertson Edition — In Which the Wrong Kind of Gameplay Leads to Satan

Having lived through the 80s the first time, I can tell you that the nostalgia for that decade started circa ’91. Still in high school, we were fondly recalling our near-past via Duran Duran’s Decade and the Miami Vice soundtrack. That these were played primarily on cassette in various K-cars probably goes without saying.

Since then 80s nostalgia has been recycled ad nauseam, and most of us are past it. But not Pat Robertson, no sir.

Harking back to the imagined perils of his own heyday — and sounding very much like he’s in a permanent fugue state — the good reverend has recently decided to restart one of that benighted time’s silliest crusades: combating the satanic roots of teen malfeasance, particularly suicide. Bonus: Dungeons & Dragons gets a mention (boy that takes me back).

chick tract - d+d

Here’s Robertson having at it during a recent 700 Club (yup, still on the air) segment on mental health and suicide in young people:

“Ladies and gentlemen, our children are at risk. […] There’s all kinds of demonic games they play. It used to be ‘Dungeons & Dragons.’ They’ve got some new ones now. The pressure on them is just incredible.”

The spirit of the PMRC lives!

This issue has been studied more than most questions in sociology. And the evidence favors the view that games, regardless of their violent or fantastical elements, do not make young people into self-murdering sociopaths. I won’t pretend the issue isn’t divisive amongst thoughtful and well-intentioned researchers, though I will offer that if one wants to think clearly about it, Pat Robertson in high dudgeon might not be the most fruitful source of data.

Pictured: Two teens taking a break from their video gaming.

Pictured: Two teens taking a break from their video gaming.

And it’s too easy to forget what can happen when this kind of unfounded hysteria breaks through the fences of Crazytown and infects the general population. Backed by our most primitive fears of the devil and his minions, families like the Amiraults in Massachusetts had their lives ripped apart by some who ignored data and still others who abused it. The road to that particular hell is paved not with good intentions but with the stolen liberties of railroaded innocents.

But surely we’re wiser now as a culture, right? Let’s hope. At any rate, with all the ills in the world to lament it’s good to know that people can still get worked up about the classics. If only Zappa were still around to spar with them (and with our feeble congress).

Today, Robertson is a relatively minor figure in his own movement. CBN long ago started taking the brand past him with initiatives like 700 Club Interactive and international editions.

That said — and even with the likes of Westboro Baptist Church around hogging all the bad press — ol’ Pat’s still a reliable source of pitch-black lulz: check out his recent rants on the Boy Scouts, Tim Tebow, how tornado victims don’t pray enough, and why it’s your fault your husband cheated on you.

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P.S.: This high school kid from the mid-90s had the data — and sensible conclusion — that eludes Robertson et al even today.

Married Pastor Molests Men Referred to Him for Counseling, Calls the Encounters ‘Blessings’

The Lord’s blessings poured forth from pastor Muehlhauser’s closeted gay cock.

Pastor Ryan Jay Muehlhauser, 55, of Cambridge [Minnesota], had been an Isanti County pastor serving the community for more than 20 years when he was charged in November 2012 with eight counts of felony, fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with two [young] adult males seeking spiritual counsel.

NW-Muehlhauser

Muehlhauser pleaded guilty to two of those counts Feb. 28. Under the plea agreement, Muehlhauser will serve 160 days in Isanti County Jail, remain on supervised probation for 10 years and register as a predatory offender. The other six counts were dismissed. …

He admitted to feeling the victim’s genital area and calling the sexual encounters “blessings.”

Quote of the Day (Yep, It’s a Tie)

“Being an atheist is awful because you’re damning your soul to hell, which is just like suicide. It’s a very selfish thing to put your family through. But it’s also worse than suicide because you are forcing your loved ones to watch you walk around knowing that you’re dead inside and damned.” [source]

Quote of the Day

From David Hayward, a.k.a. the Naked Pastor:

“I know some nice atheists. I know some not so nice atheists. I know some nice Christians. I know some not so nice Christians. But, in my opinion and experience, the worst not so nice people are the Christian ones because they use their religion to veil and even justify their not so niceness. There’s nothing uglier than that.”

Time Changes Everything

Lulz via Holy Shit.

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Russia To Outlaw Religious Jokes, Mockery

Next, Siberian gulags for sharp-tongued atheists?

Russia’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday approved a bill that would make insulting religious believers’ feelings a criminal offense, punishable by up to three years behind bars.

The controversial bill, submitted to the State Duma in late September, was backed by 308 lawmakers and opposed by just two.

Orthodox Priest Has Unorthodox Sexual Tastes

In Winnipeg, Canada,

A second man testified Tuesday that he was sexually abused as an altar boy three decades ago by a priest who would become the top Canadian cleric in the Orthodox Church in America.

“I listened to everything he said,” the 39-year-old man testified at Seraphim Storheim’s trial. “My mother clearly mentioned ‘Listen to everything he says.'”

Storheim has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the man and the man’s brother. Neither complainant can be identified under a publication ban.

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Both men have told the trial they were sent by their single mother at different times in 1985 to live and work with Storheim at a church in Winnipeg. They were both pre-teens at the time.

The man who testified Tuesday said Storheim would routinely walk naked around the small house attached to the church and would sometimes lie on the floor naked and touch himself.

“While I was in the kitchen having breakfast … he was lying down naked and his hand was on his penis.”

The trial continues.

Va. Church Member on Married Father of Five and Alleged Child Rapist Pastor G.: ‘My Mother, My Aunt and I Have All Had Sex With Him.’

For sexual gratification and variety, pastor Geronimo Aguilar, a.k.a. Pastor G., found no better hunting ground than the megachurch he founded in Richmond, Virginia, a decade ago.

And that’s saying something: the good reverend apparently got plenty of extramarital nookie in his previous state, Texas, too. It emerged last month that his “conquests” in Texas included prepubescent girls.

Since he was extradited from Virginia to the Lone Star State in May — felony charges against him include the aggravated sexual assault of two sisters under age 14 — other bedmates have come forward. Voluntary sex partners of the man of god and father of five include Richmond-area church member Amber Baker, whose extended family appears especially adept at, let’s say, snake handling.

Pastor G and his beloved wife

Pastor G and his beloved wife

Baker told 8News that she had sex with the founding pastor when she was a teenager. Baker, who started attending the church when she was five, claims that one night when Pastor G’s wife was out of town, he took her, two other young women and her 16-year-old sister to a timeshare.

“He brought us alcohol, we got drunk and the rest is history,” said Baker. “I had just turned 18. We had sex.” Although there was no earthly crime involved here, Baker insists that, “It was wrong. Just because it is not illegal doesn’t mean it is not wrong and he was my pastor … I moved to Richmond to serve God.”

She claims Pastor G also had sex with other members of her family. “My mother, my aunt and myself have all been involved with him sexually.”

Because Pastor G., if he’s found guilty in Texas, might spend the rest of his life behind bars, the church will have several positions to fill, especially as three of the four remaining spiritual shepherds at Aguilar’s Richmond Outreach Center (ROC) were forced out this week.

In addition to Aguilar,

Executive pastor Jason Helmlinger, a former police officer, was also arrested and charged with a misdemeanor last month for allegedly threatening former ROC church pastor, Allen Caldwell, who was assisting with their investigation of the ROC church’s founding pastor.

Helmlinger reportedly made a “threatening and obscene” phone call to Caldwell after he told 8News that he witnessed allegedly “inappropriate behavior between Pastor G and some church wives.”

“Helmlinger called him and yelled profanities and threatened to do bodily harm to Caldwell, who called police to report the incident,” notes 8News.

4 Pastors at Virginia_s ROC Megachurch Resign Amid Swirling Sexual Assault Allegations - Crossmap Christian News | U.S.

It’s unclear why the other pastors had to resign, but keep an eye on this space, as more heart-tugging examples of godliness and exemplary behavior are sure to follow.

Meanwhile, swaths of the pastor’s loving Virginia flock continue to support the self-confessed serial adulterer and alleged child rapist, on the assumption that whatever their beloved Pastor G did wrong, the devil made him do it.

Wrote one fan on the church’s Facebook page:

“Thanks Pastor G for all the love u shared to all of us on Saturday evenings & always keeping it real. The devil can fight all he wants but he can’t take away all the good u brought to The ROC for the past 12 years!!!”

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It’s beginning to look as if American megachurches attract a certain kind of pastor — megalomaniac risktakers looking for thrills. Maybe, after a while, these people consider themselves “too big to fail.”

Geronimo Aguilar might be an example, and so is Moral Compass’ patron saint Ted Haggard.

And let’s not forget Jack Schaap, who was recently put away for 12 years for a series of sexual improprieties with a teenager, which didn’t even include his astonishing act of habitually polishing the shaft in front of thousand of churchgoers, kids included.

Schaap’s superchurch, First Baptist, was a magnet for scandal even before he began climbing the pulpit. His predecessor father-in-law, Jack Hyles, was just as bad. Read this exposé in Chicago Magazine. It’s an amazing story of sexual nastiness and violence associated with First Baptist: from adultery and physical abuse to child rape, from stalking and alleged torture to child murder (yes, really).

God has some strange reps.

[images via Christian Post]

Maine Pastor Defrauds Healthcare System

Three and a half years ago, pastor Ron Petersen was ready to provide “recovery services.” He knew it was the right move, because he’d prayed to the Lord, and received a response. An article at the time quoted a godly shepherd/entrepreneur who said he felt blessed:

“One day, I was praying,” said Petersen, as he sat in a back office at the Faith Christian Center on Washington Street in Limerick, where he serves as associate pastor. “Lord, why did you not bless my [previous] efforts? I gave 125 percent. And the Lord said to me, ‘I did bless your efforts,’ and he laid it out in my heart to start my own recovery center.”

That center, the faith-based HOPE Recovery Center, opened at the start of this year in a home next door to the Faith Christian Center to help men facing addiction. HOPE stands for House Of Prayer Eternal.

Limerick center seeks to help men with addiction - Keep Me Current_ News

We can only guess that the Lord subsequently told Petersen to start skimmin’ and stealin’.

From the Portland Press Herald today:

A pastor of a Limerick church has been indicted on a charge of defrauding MaineCare of more than $10,000 for substance abuse treatment services at the Hope Recovery Center, located on the same property as the church.

Ronald Petersen, the associate pastor at Faith Christian Center on Washington Street in Limerick, was indicted by a York County grand jury this week on a single count of theft by deception, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Petersen, 56, is accused of falsely creating the impression that Hope Recovery Center provided substance abuse treatment services to specific individuals between Sept. 1, 2010, and Jan. 30, 2012, according to the indictment.

[photo via keepmecurrent]

Pastor, a Felon, Arrested for Drugs, Illegal Gun

A Texas pastor, Clyde Downs, was arrested after police said they’d found drugs in his car. Officers also said they confiscated a gun, and charged him with unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Yep, the Reverend Downs, 48, has a criminal record. In the ’90s, he served time for burglary and theft.

For the past six years, Down was the senior pastor of the New Harvest Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Worth.

Pastor Helps Bilk Home Seller For $150K

Who would Jesus rob?

The head of a South St. Petersburg charity and the pastor of a St. Petersburg church are accused of stealing nearly $150,000 in a real estate deal from a Palm Harbor woman who could no longer afford to live in her house, according to documents released Wednesday.

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The head of the charity, Eric Leroy Green, 55, who runs Everyone’s Youth United, was arrested Tuesday on charges of grand theft and money laundering. He was being held at the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday on $200,000 bail.

Green told a detective with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office his accomplice is a pastor in a local St. Petersburg church. That person’s name was redacted from the affidavit because he has not yet been arrested, but he faces the same two charges as Green does, court records show.

The full news article is here.

[image via CBC]

Catholic Religious-Education Teacher Who Was Fired For Child Porn Is Allowed to Return

Would you place your child in this man‘s care? Thought not.

A religious education teacher sacked for possessing indecent images of children should be allowed to return to work in schools, a panel has ruled.

Geoffrey Bettley, 36, was suspended from a West Yorkshire school [St. Mary’s Catholic Comprehensive School] in December 2010 after police found nearly 200 child-abuse images on his computer.

He accepted a police caution and was dismissed by the school. A professional conduct panel has now ruled the teacher does not “represent a risk to children or young people”.