Via ABC/WRIC, Richmond, Virginia.
In West Virginia,
A local pastor is behind bars for allegedly sexually abusing a young female family member over a period of several years.
Jonnie Franklin Winnell, 59, of Gypsum Lane in Elkview, is being held at South Central Regional Jail on a $20,000 property bond, according to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office.
Winnell was charged Friday with three counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian and/or a custodian.
Winnell is a pastor at United Gospel Mission on Charleston’s West Side.
[image via Charleston Daily Mail]
A former Texas youth minister, 29, is accused of molesting a teenage girl; and his brother, 24, who was once a volunteer at the same church, is facing similar charges — for getting jiggy and exchanging sex pictures with two other underage victims.
They procured their prey via the church.
All three alleged victims were 16-year-old girls whom the brothers met through Arapaho Road Baptist Church in Garland, TX. In one case, a girl told police she performed oral sex on one of the brothers in a church Sunday school room. Another of the incidents is alleged to have occurred during an off-site Bible study session with the other brother.
I wonder what part of the Bible they studied. Maybe it was Genesis 19:8, in which the holy Lot offers his virgin daughters to a crowd of lecherous rapists.
Joshua Earls, 29 [photo, right], who worked his way up from intern to youth minister at Arapaho Road Baptist, was arrested more than two weeks ago on a Garland charge of indecency with a child.
Jordan Earls, 24, a student pastor at his father’s church in South Carolina and former volunteer at the Garland church, was arrested in South Carolina and transferred to the Collin County Jail. He is charged with online solicitation of a minor in Collin County and indecency with a child and two counts of sexual assault of a child in Garland.
Investigators say there could be additional charges.
The Earls’ father, Bobby Earls, did not return phone calls seeking comment. He is the pastor at Northgate Baptist Church in Florence, S.C., where Jordan Earls was recently student minister. All references to Bobby Earls’ children have been eliminated from the Northgate Baptist website.
Of course, church members are shocked, shocked; the brothers are Christians.
“Both of them, as far as I know, wouldn’t do anything like that,” said one church employee. “They’re both solid Christian guys. It’s out of character.”
Yeah, it’s a headscratcher all right; we all know that it’s incredibly rare for Christians to do anything illegal or immoral.
[images via Dallas Morning News]
James ‘the Giant’ Croft stands 3’10” tall. He’s a Southern Baptist evangelist preacher, and also a freshly-minted Baker County Commissioner in Florida.
It’s when Croft can’t keep those jobs separate that he appears to invite major trouble. The Florida Times-Union headlines its article about the reverend “James ‘The Giant’ Croft preaches from two pulpits,“ and right there the scope of this little preacher’s big arrogance becomes apparent.
While he saves most of his preaching for the pulpit, Croft believes in applying Christian principles to government and occasionally quotes scripture during meetings.
“We need to be placed where we have influence on folks in a positive way,” Croft said. “If we don’t, everywhere we leave a vacancy, Satan will fill it.”
If Mr. Croft really wants to serve the people of Baker County, he’d do well to keep his beliefs out of the local government’s business. I’d sure hate to see his constituents — believers and nonbelievers alike — have to foot the legal bill when the ACLU or the Freedom From Religion Foundation remind the commissioners of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
The Christian pastor who ministers Catherine and Herbert Schaible gives the couple a big theological thumbs-up for letting two of their children die through medical negligence.
The Schaibles lost one child in 2009, and another this year. In both cases, they declined to call a doctor for their ill offspring, choosing to rely on prayer instead.
The Rev. Nelson Clark, of Philadelphia’s First Century Gospel Church, told the local newspaper that the Schaibles are going to have to pray harder and truer next time, as the couple suffers from a “spiritual lack” that can only be remedied with more faith.
Clark [photo] was the spiritual adviser when the Schaibles’ 2-year-old, Kent, died from bacterial pneumonia in 2009, which led to a manslaughter conviction and probation for the couple. And he ministered to them last week when 8-month-old Brandon died, a case now being investigated by police.
In an interview with The Inquirer, Clark said God did not want the Schaible children to die. Instead, he said, the children died because of some “spiritual lack” in the Schaibles’ lives — a flaw they need to correct to prevent future deaths.
“They realize they must get back to God, to seek wisdom from him, to find where the spiritual lack is in their heart and life . . . so this won’t happen again.”
There is no question Herbert Schaible would turn to prayer again if any of his six other children, whose ages range from about 8 to 17, fell ill, Clark said. Just as any First Century member would. “He would confess his sins and repent to God and ask for a healing touch,” Clark said.
The Schaibles would not call a doctor, even now, Clark said. “Oh, no,” he said. “That thought would never enter his mind.”
Other highlights from the Philadelphia Inquirer article:
• The church has 525 members, including many large, young families.
• First Century Gospel Church authorities counsel against college, because it is “fraught with drinking and immorality.” A “basic high school education” is OK.
• Herbert Schaible teaches in the church-run school — “all subjects except faith.” Only Pastor Clark teaches faith.
• The parents are not behind bars even now. They come to church faithfully, and the congregation has rallied around the Schaibles, Clark said. “They would do anything for Herb.”
• Pastor Clark seems less distraught by the likelihood of other congregants’ children dying for lack of medical care, than he is about the Schaibles’ remaining six children possibly getting placed in foster care with “nonbelievers.”
Because clearly, what those kids need most is more Christianity in their lives.
Previous Christian-faith-healing posts here, here, and here.
[image via Joy 105]
Heaven may take some getting used to if you’re expecting angels to look like this.
Or like this.
Because in fact, the Bible and its most learned promoters say, the divine realm of god is populated by angels that may look something like this (but, glory be, with six wings each):
I learned this today from Dr. Tom Lovorn, pastor of God’s Storehouse Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia. The reverend doesn’t publish his Biblical insights in a photocopied church bulletin or on a dinky religious website, but instead kindly enlightens folks through an honest-to-god weekly column in the mostly fact-based Progress-Index newspaper in Petersburg, VA.
Today, Lovorn shines his light on Revelation 4:6-8, which reads:
“Round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast was like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within.”
Lovorn believes the creatures in Revelation are a special kind of angels called Cherubim. Surprise:
A cherub is not a baby angel with a bow, rather it is a fierce beast created to guard the holy things of God. …
The Cherubim seem to represent the pinnacle of all creation serving God. Maybe they were the prototypes of the individual creatures (bovine, lion, eagle, man) that God would make later since angels were created before God made the world and its inhabitants (Job 38:7). … They are a part of the mystery of God and the beings who serve him. In Biblical symbolism many eyes represent wisdom. These creatures, being full of eyes, are not dangerous to us; but they have all the wisdom they need to counter Satan’s wicked schemes.
Speaking of wisdom, the scholarly columnist is not your average
professional horseshit peddler pastor. He has the highest academic degree, a doctorate (in theology). Between that and the Bible apparently being literally true, lesser-educated inferiors like myself clearly shouldn’t bet against Lovorn’s angel-related revelations.
“Unless you’re a physician or a dentist, calling yourself Dr. is generally a sign of low status and insecurity. It’s like using Comic Sans; to those in the know, it is a bad signal.” —Virginia Postrel
[topmost angel images via editingmyspace]
Another paragon of virtue:
An associate pastor of a Fort Smith [Arkansas] church has agreed to pay back money that he received from a church member to invest but allegedly pocketed and used for himself.
At a hearing Wednesday in Pulaski County Circuit Court, an attorney for Thomas James of Fayetteville, associate pastor at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Smith, said James will pay $66,500 to church member Renee Lee.
The Arkansas Securities Department accused James of taking money from Lee to invest in securities but instead depositing it into an account that he drew on for shopping sprees for jewelry, clothes and electronics and trips to various cities across the country, as well as an ocean cruise. [emphasis added]
The Securities Department also said in the complaint that James presented himself as a certified financial planner, certified investment management analyst and chartered retirement planning counselor, although no evidence could be found that he holds any of those designations.
James is thought to have taken other congregants’ money in similar fashion, and may yet face criminal charges.
This sort of fraud by clergy members is not uncommon. For previous cases covered on Moral Compass, see
• Snake Oil Charmers, and
• Pastor Crime Ring Involved in Petro Stock Fraud.
I just found this video via Hemant Mehta. It’s footage from a Jack Schaap sermon called (I kid you not) “Polishing the Shaft.”
And if you think that title sounds kinky, wait’ll you see the reverend Schaap’s performance.
Would you let your children near this man?
Many did. Indiana-based Jack Schaap, 54, got some lovin’ on this blog last month, when it emerged that he’d sent hundreds of horny text messages to a 16-year-old girl who’d been referred to him for counseling. He eventually had sex with her many times, after telling the girl that that’s what Jesus wanted.
Keep in mind that Schaap — now behind bars for a dozen years — didn’t just lead some tiny backwater congregation. First Baptist, barely half an hour outside of Chicago, was called a “superchurch” in Time magazine decades ago, and can still draw upwards of 20,000 worshipers on a good Sunday. It is the 14th-largest megachurch in the country, and the biggest Independent Baptist house of worship you’ll find anywhere in North America.
Can you think of a simpler and truer indictment of organized religion than the fact that pastor Schaap’s flock remained not just obediently pliant, but in awe of him, while Schaap polished the shaft in front of thousands of children?
It’s worse than you think. The pattern’s been there for dozens of years, going back to Jack Hyles, Schaap’s father-in-law and predecessor. Read the astonishing exposé about First Baptist in the January 2013 issue of Chicago Magazine.
If you’re pressed for time, read just page four of that article. It’s a sickening compendium of sexual nastiness and violence associated with First Baptist: from adultery and physical abuse to child rape, from stalking and alleged torture to baby murder (yes, really).
These are the people who represent God?
In Yuma, Arizona,
A youth pastor has pleaded guilty to a sex offense in connection to buying sex toys for a teenage girl. Robert Eric Warren, a former youth pastor, faces a maximum sentence of up to one year in prison plus three years probation.
The youth pastor is accused of buying sex toys for a 14-year old girl and taking them to her house when her parents weren’t at home. It’s unknown if the items he purchased were religiously inspired.
Warren is no longer with his erstwhile employer, Valley Baptist Church, and will not be allowed to be a youth minister again.
It’s possibly the best pastor-related sex-toy story we’ve come across since an Alabama preacher died with a dildo up his ass.
But we also really appreciated the one about the reverend from North Carolina who broke into a woman’s home and committed Grand Theft Dildo.
[image via Wikipedia]
Pastor Michael Cornerstone works at the Voice of Jesus Salvation and Prayer Ministry in Ghana. He’ll need all the prayer and salvation he can get if he’s going to beat the rap on this one: The reverend was dragged into court yesterday for raping his 13-year-old stepdaughter.
A prosecutor told the court that the pastor married the victim’s mother in 2010, and alleged that in 2011, while the victim’s mother was in the Republic of Togo on a business trip, the preacher
lured the victim into a room one afternoon and defiled her. … After the act, pastor Cornerstone warned the victim not to reveal her ordeal to anyone or else she would die.
Then, in February of this year, while his wife was fast asleep, the clergyman snuck over to the room where the 13-year-old was, and had his way with her again.
Two weeks later, the girl complained of stomach pain and discomfort. She admitted to her mother that she’d been raped but initially refused to disclose by whom, saying she might die if she did.
Her stepfather fled the house when his wife announced she had something important to discuss with him, and wasn’t seen again until he was apprehended in another town two weeks later.
Pastor Cornerstone maintains his innocence.
[image via Telling Secrets]
It’s not a new case, but this one just came to my attention in the wake of the news about Herbert and Catherine Schaible. The Schaibles, if you’ll recall, are the fundamentalist Christians from Philly whose kids keep dying because mommy and daddy believe in prayer, not doctors.
They would get along fabulously with Susan Grady, a mother from Oklahoma. Last year, Grady was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for refusing to call a doctor for her son Aaron. Instead, she prayed and prayed, but God didn’t listen. Aaron, who had complications from diabetes, died, two months shy of his 10th birthday.
Susan Grady [photo] told detectives that she did not consider taking Aaron to the doctor. She told them that “I was trying to live by faith and I felt like God would heal him,” according to the affidavit.
Two and a half years isn’t much for knowingly causing your child’s death, but it’s better than what the Schaibles got after their first kid died — nothing but probation. Their youngest, still a baby, paid the price for the court’s soft-hearted verdict: he’ll join his older brother six feet under when the autopsy is done.
I hope the parents will buy him a pretty headstone. Maybe an engraved Bible verse from Genesis 22 would be nice.
Dale Richardson will soon be out on bail. After he raises and pays the $25,000 bond, the South Carolina pastor will move back in with his wife, after spending about 22 months behind bars awaiting trial for multiple rapes and abduction. The reverend will be under house arrest, though the judge granted him an exemption for visiting church.
Which is a bit ironic, perhaps, as that’s exactly where Richardson frequently got all rapey.
Until the summer of 2011, Richardson, who graduated from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia (the college founded by evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell), served as pastor at Freedom Free Will Baptist Church in Ladson, South Carolina.
He preached love and kindness — but apparently didn’t practice those things too much.
Richardson’s crimes came to light shortly after he gave a lift to a young woman, in July 2011.
When the 20-year-old tried to get out of the car, he allegedly pulled a gun, bound her hands, covered her head and took her to the grey-blue trailer home behind the church.
The [police] report said he later dropped the woman in a wooded area, threatening to shoot her if she turned around.
Police said the woman was able to identify Richardson from his picture on the church website, which also displays a short biography detailing how he became a Christian and then a pastor.
Richardson has since been charged with two other similar sexual assaults.
He is accused of bringing one of those women to the church trailer. The third woman claims she was raped in a wooded area outside nearby Summerville, which is about 20 miles north west of Charleston.
He is also charged with kidnapping a fourth woman.
The mother of the kidnapping victim went on the local TV news in August 2011 to say her daughter wasn’t raped thanks to the power of prayer:
“When she put her head down in her knees and started praying, ‘Oh, God, please, please, Oh God’ — it shook him up and he let her go,” [she said]. “God moved in a supernatural way from having to go through what the other girls went through.”
So apparently, the other girls just didn’t pray hard enough.
[photo: AP, via the Daily Mail]