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Honor Roll of Christo-Fascist Perverts.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:36 am    Post subject: Nielsen, Christian Conserv. and GOP Star molested boy. Reply with quote

Now this is just one of those scandals that I can't decide which thread to post. Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, the 36-year-old Christian conservative activist is a leading Republican star. Should this article be posted under "Republican Family Values Politicians" or "Honor Roll of Christo-fascist Perverts?" It is really difficult keeping the two groups straight--I mean orgainized.
'Our Thing'
New molestation allegation dogs arrested conservative activist
Thursday, September 28, 2006 - 3:00 pm

Nielsen: It's raining boys. Photo by Jack Gould

Things have been looking up for accused child molester Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, the 36-year-old Christian conservative activist and lawyer with close ties to Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Scott Baugh, head of the Orange County Republican Party. Police say Nielsen took a 14-year-old Westminster boy as his sex partner in 2003 and maintained a huge cache of man-boy pornography.

But prosecutors have allowed their case against Nielsen, once an intern in the district attorney’s office, to stall for 40 months.

Ironically, those delays have provoked new sex-crime allegations. Saying he fears a subversion of justice, a northern Virginia man claims that Nielsen repeatedly molested him when he was an adolescent.

“For two years, when I was 13 and 14 years old, Jeff sexually abused me while he worked in Washington for Rohrabacher as a legislative aide,” the 25-year-old married man told the Weekly in a recent interview. “There was never any penetration, but other than that? Everything. He wrapped it all up as normal, as love.”

Paul S. Meyer, Nielsen’s Costa Mesa-based defense attorney, did not respond to requests for comment.

The Virginia man, who asked to remain anonymous, said Nielsen worked in his church’s youth ministry and that his parents rented Nielsen a basement room in their home sometime in 1994 or 1995.

“Jeff took an immediate liking to me,” he said. “When he moved into our house, [the sex] started right away. I know this might sound weird, but at the time he was a mentor and he assured me the messing around was normal. I believed him. I was in the seventh grade at the time. It was brainwashing.”

He says Nielsen orchestrated a “boyfriend-girlfriend type” relationship that included occasional public kissing, hand holding and sex.

“Jeff called it ‘our thing,’ and one time we were near Tyson’s Corner [Virginia], he stopped at a gas station so we could have sex in the bathroom,” the man said. “A guy walked in and caught me with my pants down and Jeff on his knees. We made some excuse about an injured knee or something. The guy said, ‘Oh!’ and quickly left.”

There was also jealousy when the boy expressed an interest in girls, according to the victim.

“[Nielsen] was very controlling and emotional,” he said. “After sex, he’d sometimes say, ‘You know you are gay, right?’ But I wasn’t. I’ve been married now for three years and have a great relationship with my wife. I am very much heterosexual.”

The abuse stopped, according to the man, when Nielsen moved back to California to attend USC law school after receiving a personal recommendation from Congressman Rohrabacher.

“When he was leaving, he asked me why I wasn’t crying,” the man said. “I was so relieved that he would finally be gone.”

In the unresolved 2003 Orange County case, police say Nielsen, then 33 years old, in the closet and a lawyer at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, started dating a high school freshman at Westminster High School. Based in part on confiscated correspondence, police allege that Nielsen romanced the boy. He took him to dinner and gave him flowers, cops say. They also claim Nielsen repeatedly used the minor for oral and anal sex at his Ladera Ranch townhome and at the boy’s Westminster residence while his mother was at work.

During years of preliminary hearings after his arrest, Nielsen has shown little outward anxiety about the case. He’s routinely smiled and giggled in court with his father, Ben Nielsen, the former Republican mayor of Fountain Valley. To friends, Nielsen blamed the boy for seducing him after they met in an online gay chat room. He’s also told friends that the charges would be reduced or dismissed if the Weekly, which has attended dozens of hearings, would follow the lead of The Orange County Register and ignore the case. (In fact, the Reg favorably mentioned Nielsen in September 2005 without telling readers that he’s an accused child molester.) In an April 2005 e-mail to his friends, Nielsen encouraged them not to cooperate with the Weekly’s investigation into the charges. Nielsen’s well-connected friends have strenuously lobbied this paper not to profile their pal.

This newest allegation won’t surprise law enforcement. After Nielsen’s arrest, two other East Coast men told authorities that as young teens they’d also witnessed Nielsen’s conduct with boys. Their observations led authorities to the Virginia man. Two years ago, a DA’s investigator called to ask if he’d been abused.

“I denied it,” he said. “I was scared. I didn’t want my parents to know. It happened right under their noses. They’d blame themselves for letting Jeff in our house, and I didn’t want that.”

So why is he stepping forward now?

“It’s hard to believe nothing has happened to Jeff after what he’s done,” he said. “He’s free and he still has his [law] license.”

A trial is now scheduled for Oct. 16, though the date could be meaningless. The case has been postponed dozens of times, a fact that must delight Nielsen and Meyer, one of the county’s savviest defense lawyers. A jury won’t see a 14-year-old victim testify; they’ll see someone who is older than 17.

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas says he was unaware of the delays, and finds them frustrating.

“Frankly, 40 months [without a trial] is outrageous,” said Rackauckas, who said he has asked his staff for an explanation. “It’s valid for people on the outside to question what’s happened here. There’s no excuse for delaying this anymore.”
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 4:29 am    Post subject: CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALIST CHARLES CARL ROBERTS Reply with quote

Ok, this is what I am talking about. Charles Carl Roberts IV, the killer of the five Amish School girls in Nickel Mines, Pa., was right out of the CHRISTIAN FUNDATMENTALIST SUBCULTURE--HOME SCHOOLED, FROM MULTIPLE GENERATIONS OF VERY RELIGIOUS FAMILIES, SON OF A POLICE SERGEANT, AND HETEROSEXUAL. See my link on Sexual Roots of the Christian Fundamentalist Psyche.
The riddle of Charles Carl Roberts IV
Family, police don't know how 'excellent family man' became suicidal killer
By Brett Lovelace
Intelligencer Journal
Published: Oct 03, 2006 5:40 PM EST

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - Charles Carl Roberts IV was married with three children and drove a milk truck.

The son of a police officer, he didn’t attend public schools, instead earning a diploma through a home-school association.

The employee of Northwest Food Products Transportation in East Earl Township shared a vinyl-sided mobile home at 1084 Georgetown Road, Bart Township, with his wife of nine years and three children.

Roberts married Marie Lynn Welk Nov. 9, 1996, at Highview Church of God in Ronks. The couple lived in Lititz before moving to Bart Township in 1999.

Marie gave birth to a daughter about a year after the wedding. The infant, Elise Victoria, died shortly after birth.

The couple later had two sons and a daughter. The children range in age from 1½ to 7.

Monday morning, Roberts left suicide notes for each of the children before driving to West Nickel Mines School, where he executed several students before killing himself, police said.


After the shooting, Marie went to the home of her father, Kenneth L. Welk, on Furnace Road. Her children played in the backyard while she stayed inside.

She said in a statement Monday her husband was not an evil man.

“The man who did this today was not the Charles I’ve been married to for almost 10 years,” she said. “My husband was loving, supportive, thoughtful — all the things you’d always want, and more.”

He was an exceptional father, she said. He took the children to soccer practices and games, played ball in their backyard and took their 7-year-old daughter shopping.

“He never said ‘no’ when I asked him to change a diaper,” she said.

“Our hearts are broken, our lives are shattered and we grieve for the innocence and the lives that were lost today.

“Above all, please pray. Pray for the families who lost children. And please pray, too, for our family and children.”

Roberts’ mother, Teresa Roberts of Strasburg Township, said Monday her son was devoted to his wife and children.

“He was an excellent family man,” she said, sobbing in the front yard of her Sawmill Road home. “I had no idea anything like this was going to happen.”

Roberts’ father, Charles C. Roberts III, retired as a sergeant from Manor Township Police Department. He later applied for a state license to be a taxi driver for the Amish community.

Teresa Roberts consoled her mother and father, Harry and Teresa Neustadter of Strasburg. The couple drove to the Sawmill Road home to confirm it was their grandson identified as the suicide gunman.

“He was a good son and a good father,” Teresa Neustadter said. “I just don’t understand why he did it, why he killed those kids.”

Neustadter said his grandson was a gentle person.

“He was a family man,” he said. “I just don’t understand.”


Normally outgoing and friendly, Roberts became introverted and tense in recent weeks, co-workers told police.

The dark mood changed late last week as Roberts turned jovial, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said Monday.

“It seems to us that he may have made a decision to do this within the last few days and seemed to be relieved of some of the pressures that he was exhibiting to some of his co-workers,” Miller said.

On Monday morning, Roberts took his children to school.

He returned home and wrote the notes to his family before driving about a mile to the school at 4876 White Oak Road.

Roberts’ milk truck was found outside Nickel Mine Auction, 1904 Mine Road. His pickup truck was found in front of the school shortly before 10 a.m., Miller said.

Roberts carried into the school a 9 mm handgun, 12-gauge shotgun, .30-06 bolt-action rifle, about 600 rounds of ammunition, cans of black powder, a stun gun, two knives, a change of clothes and a box containing a hammer, hacksaw, pliers, wire, screws, bolts and tape. He used 2-by-6 and 2-by-4 boards with eye bolts and flex ties to barricade the school doors, Miller said.

Roberts fired three rounds from the 12-gauge shotgun and 13 rounds from the semiautomatic handgun.

“It is clear to us that he did a great deal of planning, just from the list of materials I just laid out,” Miller said. “It appears as though he intended to prepare for a lengthy siege.

“He came here prepared. It wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing. It appears he did a lot of time in planning and intended to harm these kids and intended to harm himself.”

Brian Rohrbough, father of one of the students killed in the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, proceeded to blame the Amish school in Paradise, Pennsylvania shootings on evolutionary theory being taught in public schools and on abortion. But, Roberts was home schooled in a Christian family. They see these violent events as OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS and that they have the answer by following their religious cult. It is not righteousness but SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS!

So here we go again, the solution is to be fundamentalist theocrats. Robrbough said,

“This country is in a moral freefall. For over two generations, the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum, expelling God from the school and from the government, replacing him with evolution, where the strong kill the weak without moral consequences. And life has no inherent value. We teach there are no absolutes, no right or wrong, and I assure you the murder of innocent children is always wrong, including by abortion. Abortion has diminished the value of children. Suicide has become an acceptable action and has further emboldened these criminals. We're seeing an epidemic increase in murder/suicide attacks on our children.
Sadly, our schools are not safe. In fact, we now witness that within our schools, our children have become a target of terrorists from within the United States. “
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Don Smith

PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our children are being conditioned to continuous dependancy and ignorance. Our children are being turned into infants, always hungry, always wanting"more " of whatever crap the corporate monsters tell them is "in".
Not all of them, I know a number of young people that see things with far greater clarity than their parents.
The use of children by this consumer society must rank alongside the Hitler Youth in terms of the evil waste of potential that results.
A state policy of child abuse, from drugs to emotional damage.
Some legacy.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 3:49 am    Post subject: Mariana Islands, The Republican Theocracy. Reply with quote

The Mariana Islands are US territory and is touted as a "Christian Nation" and "Capitalism in a petri dish." But look at what the Christian Republicans did to insure sexual slavery and FORCED ABORTION!

Doolittle did a lot to support forced abortion and sexual slavery.
Doolittle lies about Sex, Abortion and Human Trafficking
by dengre
Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 10:52:14 AM PDT

On Saturday the Sacramento Bee ran a major story by David Whitney about Rep. John Doolittle (CA-4) and his deep connections to Jack Abramoff, especially his role in protecting the system of sweatshops, human trafficking, force prostitution and forced abortion on the Commonwealth of North Mariana Islands (CNMI) for fun, power and profit.

It is damning stuff and a must read.

The commonwealth is a U.S. territory east of the Philippines whose garment industry has been widely criticized as a collection of sweatshops employing Chinese, Filipino and other immigrant workers at subminimum wages. Clothing from these plants is sold tariff-free in the United States under a "Made in the USA" label.

Workers there have complained of living in prison-like conditions. Women have said they were shunted into the bustling sex industry. Chinese women told U.S. investigators that they were forced to have abortions after becoming pregnant.


At the time Doolittle was a member of the House Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over the commonwealth.

Abramoff lobbied to stop reforms from passing in the U.S. Congress that would impose U.S. immigration and wage laws. Efforts to enact those laws have been bipartisan and continue today.

Doolittle has been a leading opponent of the reforms, saying the reported abuses could be halted with aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws already on the books. He stood in lock step on the issue with his mentor, Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, then the Republican whip and later the House majority leader, who called the Mariana Islands a "Petri dish for capitalism."

The day before (Friday) Paul Kiel at TPMmuckraker ran a similar story about Doolittle, Abramoff and the Marianas Island.

Together the stories not only lay out the connections, they also point to direct evidence of Doolittle's hand in criminal activity that mark the "Gentleman" from California as a pay-for-play Congressman.

The stories should get the attention of the DOJ and other reporters.

If that wasn't enough, Big John also lied about Sex, Abortion and Human Trafficking.

His immorality really is shameless. If you're ready to journey into the Heart of Republican Darkness, join me on the jump...
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 7:43 am    Post subject: Haggard resigns national role, takes leave from church. Reply with quote

Haggard resigns national role, takes leave from church amid allegations.
November 02, 2006



The Rev. Ted Haggard, senior pastor at New Life Church,resigned Thursday as president of the 30-million-member National Association of Evangelicals, following allegations he paid a Denver man for sex over the last three years.

He denied the allegations and placed himself on administrative leave from New Life Church, pending an investigation of his accuser’s claims, a move church officials said is standard after allegations of impropriety.

He said in a statement that he could “not continue to minister under the cloud created by the accusations made on Denver talk radio this morning.”

Late Thursday, KKTV reported that Haggard's
interim replacement, the Rev. Ross Parsley, said Haggard had admitted to some of the allegations. The church did not specify what Haggard admitted, the station said. Parsley did not immediately return a telephone message from The Gazette.

At Haggard’s gated Briargate home, the lights were on Thursday evening, but the occupants draped blankets across the windows when it grew dark. No one answered repeated calls to the callbox at the gate.

One woman driving by stopped and said to the media gathered outside, “I hope you all aren’t giving our pastor a hard time. He’s a good man.”

At the church — within view of the Haggard home — church members expressed optimism that the allegations were false, but said that even if they were not, the church would go on.

“We’d be shocked if it were true. But our faith is based on God not one minister,” said Megan Oaster, 26.

Others were angry. “This upsets me because they besmirched his name for an election,” said new member Seth Otterstad. “I’m going to pray about it.”

Several religious leaders quickly rallied behind Haggard.

“Ted Haggard is a friend of mine, and it appears someone is trying to damage his reputation as a way of influencing the outcome of Tuesday’s election,” Focus on the Family founder and chairman James Dobson said in a news release issued before Haggard resigned his national post Thursday.

Dobson called the media “unconscionable” for reporting “a rumor like this based on nothing but one man’s accusation.”

Haggard has not returned phone calls today from The Gazette, but he did tell 9News Wednesday that “I did not have a homosexual relationship with a man in Denver. I am steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife.”

A man who identified himself as Mike Jones, 49, of Denver told The Gazette that he has voicemails from Haggard as well as an envelope he said Haggard used to mail him cash.

KUSA, 9News TV in Denver, hired a voice identification expert to analyze the voice-mail messages and compare them to recordings of Haggard's voice. KUSA reported that nine of 12 words were "perfect matches" and the expert planned to issue a report Friday.

Jones told The Gazette that he and Haggard had a three-year relationship and that Haggard paid him to have sex nearly every month.

Jones advertised himself as an escort on the Internet. He said a man who called himself Art contacted him. Jones said he later saw the man on television identified as Haggard. Haggard's middle name is Arthur.

The Haggard story dealt the evangelical world its most serious shock since the 1980s scandals of televangelists Jim Bakker of the PTL Club and Jimmy Swaggart of the Assemblies of God.

Parsley, associate senior pastor, will serve as acting senior pastor for 14,000-member New Life Church while the investigation into the allegations proceeds.

The process involves an investigation by pastors outside the New Life system. The overseers could recommend Haggard be dismissed, reinstated but disciplined or reinstated without discipline. The experts that may look at this incident are Larry Stockstill of Bethany World Prayer Center in New Orleans, Mark Cowart, of the local Church for All Nations, and Mike Ware, pastor at Victory Church in Denver.

“This is really routine when any sort of situation like this arises, so we’re prepared,” said Carolyn Haggard, a church spokeswoman and Haggard’s niece. “The church is going to continue to serve and be welcoming to our community. That’s a priority.”

Steve Holt, senior pastor at the 3,500-member Mountain Springs Church, said of the allegations, “It’s fishy. I think people should take note that this is five days before election, and that Ted is proponent of yes on Amendment 43 and No on Referendum I.”

He feels that the so-called religious and cultural wars “are out of control” on both sides. And this is a good example of it.”

He says he has been good friend of Haggard for 11 years, and they sometimes pray together. “He’s a “man of integrity and good works, and there is no reason to believe the accusations. I don’t want to see him impugned with spurious accusations with no relevant information to back it up.”

The Rev. Rob Brendle, associate pastor for New Life Church, also says the allegations are unfounded.

“I know Ted to be a man of unwavering integrity," Brendle said. "There's nothing in this man's charges that is true."

Don Armstrong, rector for Grace Episcopal and St. Stephen's Church in Colorado Springs, says he doubts Jones’ accusations are true.

“I’ve known Pastor Haggard for a long time, and he’s a decent man,” he said. “That’s the last thing he’d succumb to.”

Gay spiritual leaders in Colorado Springs said the allegations probably won’t impact statewide elections. There are two major issues on the ballot related to sexuality: Amendment 43, which would define marriage as between a man and woman, and Referendum I, which would give same-sex couples more legal rights.

“The time is interesting,” said Nori Rost, who runs an organization called Just Spirit, a gay and lesbian activist agency and religious-right watchdog. “I would say that probably the male escort and Ted Haggard are the only ones who know the truth of what happened.”

At Charlie’s, a gay bar in Denver, customer John Locke said he disapproved of how Haggard and other evangelicals have characterized gays.

“I just have a real struggle with people that call themselves Christian that can be so hate-filled in their rhetoric,” he said.

The National Association of Evangelicals said the chairman of the NAE’s board, Roy Taylor, will serve as the acting leader. The executive committee will issue a statement after a meeting Friday.

Richard Cizik, vice president for government affairs for the association, expressed shock. “Is this something I can imagine of Ted Haggard? No,” he told the Associated Press.

State Republican Party Communications Director Bryant Adams declined to comment but said, “That’s Ted Haggard’s business. That’s between Ted Haggard and his accuser. I’m not going to slam somebody.”

Asked if he would go to bat for Haggard, he said, “I don’t know enough about the situation. Some gay prostitute goes on the radio and says he’s had some type of relationship with Ted Haggard. I think you call into question where the source is coming from. I’m just not commenting on this. We don’t have anything to do with Ted Haggard. We don’t talk with his group. There’s no need for us to.”

Mikey Weinstein, who sued the Air Force over forced proselytizing at the Air Force Academy and had his case thrown out last week, said Haggard told him in late September in an e-mail he planned to resign from the NAE to spend more time with his family and church but did not elaborate.

On Peter Boyles’ show Thursday, Boyles announced Jones would take a polygraph test Friday morning.

Jones told Boyles his evidence consisted of “various voice mails that he has left me. Even if the voicemails didn’t even mention sex, let’s just say that, why would he be contacting me period?”

Jones said Haggard’s fantasy was for Jones to arrange for a group of “young college guys ...around 18-22. He would love to have an orgy,” he said.

Jones said the two got together at least once a month. At first, he said, Haggard claimed he was from Kansas City. “As time went on, the calls started coming from Colorado Springs,” he said.

Jones said he didn’t realize who Haggard was until about two years ago when he saw a History Channel program for which Haggard was interviewed.

Jones said he decided to expose what he called Haggard’s hypocrisy.

“After sitting back and contemplating this issue, the biggest reason is, being a gay man all my life, I have experienced with my friends some sadness. I had two friends that were together 50 years, when one of them would get in a hopsital for an accident or something, their partner could not get in to see them. I saw a lot of sadness. I felt it was my responsibility to my fellow brothers and sisters that I had to take a stand.”

He said he was tired of Haggard’s anti-gay messages and acknowledged he hopes the news affects Amendment 43.

“I don’t know if it’s going to change any votes or not. What I want people to think about when they step in the voting booth, is, `If I were a gay person, what would I want out of life? And you would want the same things everybody else wants.’”

Greg Montoya, editor of a newspaper that focuses on Denver’s gay, lesbian and transgender community, Out Front Colorado, said Jones is a well known figure who was voted by the paper’s readers three times as the best massage artist and personal trainer in the area.

“He definitely knows what he’s doing, he’s very aware of his appearance,” Montoya said of Jones. “And from what I know he’s a very good personal trainer as well.”

The stocky Jones is known for getting results with his weightlifting students, Montoya said.

Montoya said rumors about Haggard’s love life have circulated through Denver’s gay community for the past year. A Web site that includes Jones’ contact information advertises “Massage by Mike.”

He describes himself as standing five feet eight inches and weighing 190 pounds. His arms, he claims, are 18 inches; his chest 47 inches; his waist 32 inches; and his thighs 24.

“I offer a deep tissue and swedish style massage with the pleasure of the man in mind,” he writes. “If you like a strong muscle man to bring pleasure to you, then please call me.”

He listed his rates as $70 per hour and $90 for an hour and a half.

Staff members Pam Zubeck, Tom Roeder, Dave Philipps, Carol McGraw and Annie Mullin contributed to this article.

Soldiers of Christ
Inside America's most powerful megachurch with Pastor Ted Haggard
Originally from May 2005.
By Jeff Sharlet.

They are drawn as if by magnetic forces; they speak of Colorado Springs, home to the greatest concentration of fundamentalist Christian activist groups in American history, both as a last stand and as a kind of utopia in the making. They say it is new and unique and precious, embattled by enemies, and also that it is “traditional,” a blueprint for what everybody wants, and envied by enemies. The city itself is unspectacular, a grid of wide western avenues lined with squat, gray and beige box buildings, only a handful of them taller than a dozen stories. Local cynics point out that if you put Colorado Springs on a truck and carted it to Nebraska, it would make Omaha look lovely. But the architecture is not what draws Christians looking for clean living. The mountains help, but there are other mountain towns. What Colorado Springs offers, ultimately, is a story.

Lori Rose is from Minnesota and heard rumors about this holy city when she lived on an Air Force base near Washington, D.C. Her husband isn't a Christian, refuses Jesus, looks at things he shouldn't; but she has found a church to attend without him and joined a marriage study group there. Ron Poelstra came from Los Angeles. Now he volunteers at his church, selling his pastor's books on “free-market theology” after services. His two teenage boys stand behind him, display models for the benefits of faith. L.A., Ron says, would have eaten them up: the gangs. Adam Taylor, now a pastor, grew up in Westchester County, an heir to the Bergdorf Goodman fortune, the son of artists and writers. In Colorado Springs he learned the Bible the hard way, each word a nail pounded into sin.

The story they found in Colorado is about newness: new houses, new roads, new stores. And about oldness, imagined: what is thought to be the traditional way of life, families as they were before the culture wars, after the World Wars, which is to say, during the brief, Cold War moment when America was a nation of single-breadwinner nuclear families.

Crime, of course, looms over this story. Not the actual facts of it—the burglary rate in and around Colorado Springs exceeds that in New York City and Los Angeles—but the idea of crime: a faith in the absence of it. And of politics, too: Colorado Springs' evangelicals believe they live without it, in a carved-out space for civility and for like-minded dedication to common-sense principles. Even pollution plays a part: Christian conservatives there believe that they breathe cleaner air, live on ground untainted by the satanic fires of nineteenth-century industry—despite the smog that collects against the foothills of the Rockies and the cyanide, from a century of mining, that is leaching into the aquifers and mountain streams.

But those are facts, and Colorado Springs is a city of faith. A shining city at the foot of a hill. No one there believes it is perfect. And no one is so self-centered as to claim the perfection of Colorado Springs as his or her ambition. The shared vision is more modest, and more grandiose. It is a city of people who have fled the cities, people who have fought a spiritual war for the ground they are on, for an interior frontier on which they have built new temples to the Lord. From these temples they will retake their forsaken promised lands, remake them in the likeness of a dream. They call the dream “Christian,” but in its particulars it is “American.” Not literally but as in a story, one populated by cowboys and Indians, monsters and prayer warriors to slay them, and ladies to reward the warriors with chaste kisses. Colorado Springs is a city of moral fabulousness. It is a city of fables.

* * *

The city's mightiest megachurch crests silver and blue atop a gentle slope of pale yellow prairie grass on the outskirts of town. Silver and blue, as it happens, are Air Force colors. New Life Church was built far north of town in part so it would be visible from the Air Force Academy. New Life wanted that kind of character in its congregation.

“Church” is insufficient to describe the complex. There is a permanent structure called the Tent, which regularly fills with hundreds or thousands of teens and twentysomethings for New Life's various youth gatherings. Next to the Tent stands the old sanctuary, a gray box capable of seating 1,500; this juts out into the new sanctuary, capacity 7,500, already too small. At the complex's western edge is the World Prayer Center, which looks like a great iron wedge driven into the plains. The true architectural wonder of New Life, however, is the pyramid of authority into which it orders its 11,000 members. At the base are 1,300 cell groups, whose leaders answer to section leaders, who answer to zone, who answer to district, who answer to Pastor Ted Haggard, New Life's founder.

Pastor Ted, who talks to President George W. Bush or his advisers every Monday, is a handsome forty-eight-year-old Indianan, most comfortable in denim. He likes to say that his only disagreement with the President is automotive; Bush drives a Ford pickup, whereas Pastor Ted loves his Chevy. In addition to New Life, Pastor Ted presides over the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), whose 45,000 churches and 30 million believers make up the nation's most powerful religious lobbying group, and also over a smaller network of his own creation, the Association of Life-Giving Churches, 300 or so congregations modeled on New Life's “free market” approach to the divine.

Pastor Ted will serve as NAE president for as long as the movement is pleased with him, and as long as Pastor Ted is its president the NAE will make its headquarters in Colorado Springs. Some believers call the city the Wheaton of the West, in honor of Wheaton, Illinois, once the headquarters of a more genteel Christian conservatism; others call Colorado Springs the “evangelical Vatican,” a phrase that says much both about the city and about the easeful orthodoxy with which the movement now views itself. Certainly the gathering there has no parallel in history, not in Lynchburg, Virginia, nor Tulsa, nor Pasadena, nor Orlando, nor any other city that has aspired to be the capital of evangelical America. Evangelical activist groups (“parachurch” ministries, in the parlance) in Colorado Springs number in the hundreds, though a precise count is hard to specify. Groups migrate there and multiply. They produce missionary guides, “family resources,” school curricula, financial advice, athletic training programs, Bibles for every occasion. The city is home to Young Life, to the Navigators, to Compassion International; to Every Home for Christ and Global Ethnic Missions (Youth Ablaze). Most prominent among the ministries is Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family, whose radio programs (the most extensive in the world, religious or secular), magazines, videos, and books reach more than 200 million people worldwide.

The press tends to regard Dobson as the most powerful evangelical Christian in America, but Pastor Ted is at least his equal. Whereas Dobson plays the part of national scold, promising to destroy politicians who defy the Bible, Pastor Ted quietly guides those politicians through the ritual of acquiescence required to save face. He doesn't strut, like Dobson; he gushes. When Bush invited him to the Oval Office to discuss policy with seven other chieftains of the Christian right in late 2003, Pastor Ted regaled his whole congregation with the story via email. “Well, on Monday I was in the World Prayer Center”—New Life's high-tech, twenty-four-hour-a-day prayer chapel —“and my cell phone rang.” It was a presidential aide; “the President,” says Pastor Ted, wanted him on hand for the signing of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Pastor Ted was on a plane the next morning and in the President's office the following afternoon. “It was incredible,” wrote Pastor Ted. He left it to the press to note that Dobson wasn't there.

No pastor in America holds more sway over the political direction of evangelicalism than does Pastor Ted, and no church more than New Life. It is by no means the largest megachurch, nor is Ted the best-known man of God: Saddleback Church, in southern California, counts 80,000 on its rolls, and its pastor, Rick Warren, has sold 20 million copies of his book The Purpose-Driven Life. But Warren's success has come at the price of passion; his doctrine, though conservative, is bland and his politics too obscured by his self-help message to be potent. Although other churches boast more eminent memberships than Pastor Ted's—near D.C., for example, McLean Bible Church and The Falls Church (an Episcopal church that is, like many “mainline” churches today, now evangelical in all but name) minister to the powerful—such churches are not, like New Life, crucibles for the ideas that inspire the movement, ideas that are forged in the middle of the country and make their way to Washington only over time. Evangelicalism is as much an intellectual as an emotional movement; and what Pastor Ted has built in Colorado Springs is not just a battalion of spiritual warriors but a factory for ideas to arm them.

New Life began with a prophecy. In November 1984 a missionary friend of Pastor Ted's, respected for his gifts of discernment, made him pull over on a bend of Highway 83 as they were driving, somewhat aimlessly, in the open spaces north of the city. Pastor Ted—then twenty-eight, given to fasting and oddly pragmatic visions (he believes he foresaw Internet prayer networks before the Internet existed)—had been wondering why God had called him from near Baton Rouge, where he had been associate pastor of a megachurch, to this bleak city, then known as a “pastor's graveyard.” The missionary got out of the car and squinted. He crouched down as if sniffing the ground. “This,” said the missionary, “this will be your church. Build here.”

So Pastor Ted did. First, he started a church in his basement. The pulpit was three five-gallon buckets stacked one atop the other, and the pews were lawn chairs. A man who lived in a trailer came round if he remembered it was Sunday and played guitar. Another man got the Spirit and filled a five-gallon garden sprayer with cooking oil and began anointing nearby intersections, then streets and buildings all over town. Pastor Ted told his flock to focus their prayers on houses with FOR SALE signs so that more Christians would come and join him. Once Pastor Ted and another missionary accidentally set off an alarm and hid together in a field while the police investigated. It was for a good cause, Pastor Ted would say; they were praying for the building to be taken off the market so it could someday be purchased for a future ministry. (It was.)

He was always on the lookout for spies. At the time, Colorado Springs was a small city split between the Air Force and the New Age, and the latter, Pastor Ted believed, worked for the devil. Pastor Ted soon began upsetting the devil's plans. He staked out gay bars, inviting men to come to his church; his whole congregation pitched itself into invisible battles with demonic forces, sometimes in front of public buildings. One day, while he was working in his garage, a woman who said she'd been sent by a witches' coven tried to stab Pastor Ted with a five-inch knife she pulled from a leg sheath; Pastor Ted wrestled the blade out of her hand. He let that story get around. He called the evil forces that dominated Colorado Springs—and every other metropolitan area in the country—“Control.”

Sometimes, he says, Control would call him late on Saturday night, threatening to kill him. “Any more impertinence out of you, Ted Haggard,” he claims Control once told him, “and there will be unrelenting pandemonium in this city.” No kidding! Pastor Ted hadn't come to Colorado Springs for his health; he had come to wage “spiritual war.”

He moved the church to a strip mall. There was a bar, a liquor store, New Life Church, a massage parlor. His congregation spilled out and blocked the other businesses. He set up chairs in the alley. He strung up a banner: SIEGE THIS CITY FOR ME, signed JESUS. He assigned everyone in the church names from the phone book they were to pray for. He sent teams to pray in front of the homes of supposed witches—in one month, ten out of fifteen of his targets put their houses on the market. His congregation “prayer-walked” nearly every street of the city.

Population boomed, crime dipped; Pastor Ted believes to this day that New Life helped chase the bad out of town. He thinks like that, a piston: less bad means more good. Church is good, and his church grew, so fast there were times when no one knew how many members to claim. So they stopped talking about “members.” There was just New Life. “Are you New Life?” a person might ask. New Life moved into some corporate office space. Soon they bought the land that had been prophesied, thirty-five acres, and began to build what Pastor Ted promised would be a new Jerusalem.

Passion play audience, 1871

* * *

JERUSALEM, 2005—To the east is sky, empty land, Kansas. To the west, Pike's Peak, 14,110 feet above sea level. The old city core of Colorado Springs withers into irrelevance thirteen miles south; New Life leads the charge north, toward fusion with Denver and Boulder and a future of one giant front-range suburb, a muddy wave of big-box stores and beige tract houses eddying along roads so new they had yet to be added to the gas-station map I bought. Some Sundays traffic backs up from the church half a mile in all four directions. The congregation creeps up the highways. When parents finally pull into a space amidst the thousands of cars packed into a gray ocean of lot, their kids tumble out and dash toward the five silver pillars of the entrance to New Life, eager to slide across the expanse of tiled floor, to run circles around “The Defender,” a massive bronze of a glowering angel, its muscular wings in full flex, arms at the zenith of what will undoubtedly be a smiting blow of his broad sword; to run laps around the new sanctuary, built in the round; and to bound up the stairs to “Fort Victory,” whose rooms are designed to look like an Old West cavalry outpost, the kind they used to fight real live Indians, back when Colorado still had Indians to conquer and convert.

There were no kids in Fort Victory on my first Sunday at New Life, the first Sunday in 2005, it being a special day: “Dedication,” the spiritual anointing of the church's new sanctuary. Metallic and modern, laced with steel girders and catwalks, the sanctuary is built like two great satellite dishes clapped belly to belly. It was designed, I was told, to “beam” prayer across the land. (New Lifers always turn to metaphors to describe their church and their city, between which they make little distinction. It is like a “training camp” in that its young men and women go forth on “missions.” It is like a “bomb” in that it “explodes,” “gifting” the rest of us with its fallout: revival, which is to say, “values,” which is to say, “the Word,” which is to say, as so many there do, “a better way of life.”)

At the heart of the sanctuary rises a four-sided stage, and above the stage a great assemblage of machinery hovers, wrapped in six massive video screens. A woman near me compared it to Ezekiel's vision of a metallic angel, circular and “full of eyes all around.” When the lights went down and the screens buzzed to life, the sanctuary turned a soft, silvery blue. Then the six screens filled with faces of tribute, paying homage to New Life and Pastor Ted: a senator, a congressman, Colorado's lieutenant governor, the city's mayor, and Tony Perkins, Dobson's enforcer on Capitol Hill; denominational chieftains, such as Thomas E. Trask, “general superintendent” of the 51 million worldwide members of the Assemblies of God; and a succession of minor nobles from the nation's megachurches. These I know now by numbers: Church of the Highlands, in Alabama, pastored by a New Life alumnus from 34 to 2,500 souls in the last four years; a New Life look-alike in Biddeford, Maine, that has multiplied to 5,000; Rocky Mountain Calvary, the New Life neighbor that has swelled in a decade from a handful to 6,000.

Kyle Fisk, executive administrator of the National Association of Evangelicals, had guided me to a seat in the front row, which meant I had to crane my neck back ninety degrees to follow the video screen above me. The worship band, dressed in black, goateed or soul-patched or shag-headed, lay flat on their backs, staring straight up. To my right sat a middle-aged woman in a floor-length flower-print dress with shades of orange and brown. Her hair was thick, chestnut, wavy, her face big-boned in a raw, middle-aged party-girl way. She tilted her head back to watch the tributes roll past. Her mouth hung open.

The band stood. A skinny, chinless man with a big, tenor voice, Ross Parsley, directed the musicians and the crowd, leading us and them and the choir as the guitarists kicked on the fuzz and the drummer pounded the music toward arena-rock frenzy. Two fog machines on each side of the stage filled the sanctuary with white clouds. Pod-shaped projectors cast a light show across the ceiling, giant spinning white snowflakes and cartwheeling yellow flowers and a shimmering blue water-effect. “Prepare the way!” shouted Worship Pastor Ross. “Prepare the way! The King is coming!” Across the stage teens began leaping straight up, a dance that swept across the arena: kids hopped, old men hopped, middle-aged women hopped. Spinners wheeled out from the ranks and danced like dervishes around the stage. The light pods dilated and blasted the sanctuary with red. Worship Pastor Ross roared: “Let the King of Glory enter in!” Ushers rushed through the crowds throwing out rainbow glow strings.

Watching the screens, we moved in slow motion through prairie grass. A voiceover announced, “The heart of God, beating in our hearts.” Then the music and video quickened as the camera rose to meet the new sanctuary. Images spliced and jumped over one another: thousands of New Lifers holding candles, and dozens skydiving, and Pastor Ted, Bible in hand, blond head thrust forward above the Good Book, smiling, finger-shaking, singing, more smiling. (His nose is snubby and his brow overhung, lending him an impishness crucial to the smile's success; without that edge he would look not happy but stoned.) Now Pastor Ted, wearing a puffy ski jacket in red, white, and blue, took us to the suburban ranch house where he stayed on his fateful visit to Colorado Springs; then on to another suburban ranch house, nearly indistinguishable, where Pastor Ted made plans for the church. Then to a long succession of one-story corporate office spaces and strip-mall storefronts, the “sanctuaries” Pastor Ted rented as his congregation grew, each identical to the last but for the greater floor space.

The lights came up. Pastor Ted, now before us in the flesh, introduced a guest speaker, one of his mentors, Jack Hayford, founding pastor of the 10,000-strong Church On The Way, in Van Nuys, California. Hayford is a legend among evangelicals, one of the men responsible for the revival that made “Bible-believing” churches—what the rest of the world refers to as “fundamentalist”—safe for suburbia. He is a white-haired, balding, eagle-beaked man, a preacher of the old school, which is to say that he delivers his sermons with an actual Bible in hand (Pastor Ted uses a PalmPilot). Pastor Hayford wants to “wedge” an idea in our minds. The idea is “Order.” The illustration is the Book of Revelation's description of four creatures surrounding Christ's throne. “The first . . . was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying angel.” Look! said Pastor Hayford, his voice sonorous and dignified. “All wonderful, all angels.” The angels were merely different from one another. Just, he said, as we have different “ethnicities.” And just as we have, in politics, a “hierarchy.” And just as we have, in business, “different responsibilities,” employer and employees. Angels, ethnicities, hierarchy, employers and employees—each category must follow a natural order.

Next came Pastor Larry Stockstill, presenting yet another variation of preacher. He took the stage with his wife, Melanie, who wore a pink pantsuit. Pastor Larry wore a brown pinstripe suit over a striped brown shirt and a golden tie. His voice was Louisiana, with “pulpit” pronounced “pull-peet.”

“There's a world,” he preached, pacing across the stage. “I call it the Underworld.” The Underworld, he explained, is similar to what he sees when he goes skin diving; only instead of strange fishes, there's strange people. Too many churches, he said, focus on the Overworld. “That's where the nice people are. The successful people. But the Lord said, ‘I'm not sending you to the Overworld, I'm sending you to the Underworld.’ Where the creatures are. The critters! The people who are out of it. People you see in Colorado Springs, even. You got an underworld of people. The tattoo crowd, the people into drugs, the people into sex. You find 'em . . . in the Underworld.”[1]

One last item on the agenda: Pastor Ted got a new Bible. A very big Bible: it took two sturdy men to lift it onto the stage. The members of New Life—as well as evangelical celebrities, such as Dr. Dobson and Oral Roberts—had secretly handwritten the entire Good Book. Later, Pastor Ted will show me this marvel in his office. “Neat, huh?” he'll say.

* * *

After church, I walked across the parking lot to the World Prayer Center, where I watched prayers scroll over two giant flat-screen televisions while a young man played piano. The Prayer Center—a joint effort of several fundamentalist organizations but located at and presided over by New Life—houses a bookstore that when I visited was called the Arsenal (its name has since been changed to Solomon's Porch), as well as “corporate” prayer rooms, personal “prayer closets,” hotel rooms, and the headquarters of Global Harvest, a ministry dedicated to “spiritual warfare.” (The Prayer Center's nickname in the fundamentalist world is “spiritual NORAD.”) The atrium is a soaring foyer adorned with the flags of the nations and guarded by another bronze warrior angel, a scowling, bearded type with massive biceps and, again, a sword. The angel's pedestal stands at the center of a great, eight-pointed compass laid out in muted red, white, and blue-black stone. Each point directs the eye to a contemporary painting, most depicting gorgeous, muscular men—one is a blacksmith, another is bound, fetish-style, in chains—in various states of undress. My favorite is The Vessel, by Thomas Blackshear, a major figure in the evangelical-art world.[2] Here in the World Prayer Center is a print of The Vessel, a tall, vertical panel of two nude, ample-breasted, white female angels team-pouring an urn of honey onto the shaved head of a naked, olive-skinned man below. The honey drips down over his slab-like pecs and his six-pack abs into the eponymous vessel, which he holds in front of his crotch. But the vessel can't handle that much honey, so the sweetness oozes over the edges and spills down yet another level, presumably onto our heads, drenching us in golden, godly love. Part of what makes Blackshear's work so compelling is precisely its unabashed eroticism; it aims to turn you on, and then to turn that passion toward Jesus.

In the chapel are several computer terminals, where one can sign on to the World Prayer Team and enter a prayer. Eventually one's words will scroll across the large flat screens, as well as across the screens around the world, which as many as 70,000 other Prayer Team members are watching at any point in time. Prayers range from the mundane (real-estate deals and job situations demand frequent attention) to the urgent, such as this prayer request from “Rachel” of Colorado: Danielle. 15 months old. Temperature just shy of 105 degrees. Lethargic. Won't eat.

Or this one from “Lauralee” of Vermont: If you never pray for anyone else, please choose this one! I'm in such pain I think I'm going to die; pray a healing MIRACLE for me for kidney problems (disease? failure?); I'm so alone; no insurance!

One might be tempted to see an implicit class politics in that last point, but to join the Prayer Team one must promise to refrain from explicitly political prayer. That is reserved for the professionals. The Prayer Team screen, whether viewed at the center or on a monitor at home, is split between “Individual Focus Requests,” such as the above, and “Worldwide Focus” requests, which are composed by the staff of the World Prayer Center. Sometimes these are domestic—USA: Pray for the Arlington Group, pastors working with Whitehouse to renew Marriage Amendm. Pray for appts. of new justices. Pray for Pastor meetings with Amb. of Israel, and President Bush. Lord, let them speak only your words, represent YOU! Bless! But more often they are international— N. KOREA: Pray God will crush demonic stronghold and communist regime of Kim Jung Il.

The Iraqis come up often, particularly with regard to their conversion: Despite the efforts of the news media, believing soldiers and others testify to the effective preaching of the Gospel, and the openness of so many to hear of Jesus. Pray for continued success!

Another prayer request puts numbers to that news—900,000 Bibles in the Arabic language distributed by Christians in Iraq . . . And one explicitly aligns the quest for democracy in Iraq with the quest for more Christians in Iraq: May the people stand for their rights, and open to the idea of making choices, such as studying the Bible . . .

The most common Iraq-related prayer requests, however, are strategic in the most worldly sense, such as this one: Baghdad—God, press back the enemy . . .

Behind the piano player, the front range of the Rocky Mountains stretched across a floor-to-ceiling, semicircular window with a 270-degree view. Above him, a globe fifteen feet in diameter rotated on a metal spindle. When he took a break, I sat with him in the front row. His name was Jayson Tice, he was twenty-five, and he worked at Red Lobster. He'd grown up in San Diego and once, he said, he'd been good enough to play Division I college basketball. But he broke his ankle, and because the Marines promised him court time, he joined. There didn't turn out to be much basketball for him in the Marines, just what he described as “making bombs and missiles,” so he didn't recommit, and decided to start over in a new city. His mother had moved to Colorado Springs, so Jayson and his girlfriend did, too; his mother left after three months, but Jayson had already decided that God, not his mother, had called him to the mountains. He discovered that a lot of the people he knew, working as waiters or store clerks or at one of the Air Force bases, felt the same way.

“Colorado Springs,” Jayson told me, “this particular city, this one city, is a battleground”—he paused—“between good and evil. This is spiritual Gettysburg.” Why here? I asked. He thought about it and rephrased his answer. “This place is just a watering hole for Christians. For God's people. Something extra powerful's about to pour out of this city. I hope not to stay in Colorado Springs, because I want to spread what's going on here. I'm a warrior, dude. I'm a warrior for God. Colorado Springs is my training ground.”

Pontius Pilate, 1871

* * *

“There was,” Pastor Ted said one afternoon in his office, “a significant influence exerted on the last election by Colorado Springs.” He was meeting with me and another reporter, an Australian from a financial paper.

“You mean,” the Australian asked, “almost like a force going out from Colorado Springs?”

A force—Pastor Ted liked that. He smiled and offered other examples. His favorite was the Ukraine, where, he claimed, a sister church to New Life had led the protests that helped sweep the pro-Western candidate into power. Kiev is, in fact, home to Europe's largest evangelical church, and over the last dozen years the Ukrainian evangelical population has grown more than tenfold, from 250,000 to 3 million. According to Ted, it was this army of Christian capitalists that took to the streets. “They're pro-free markets, they're pro-private property,” he said. “That's what evangelical stands for.”

In Pastor Ted's book Dog Training, Fly Fishing, & Sharing Christ in the 21st Century, he describes the church he thinks good Christians want. “I want my finances in order, my kids trained, and my wife to love life. I want good friends who are a delight and who provide protection for my family and me should life become difficult someday . . . I don't want surprises, scandals, or secrets . . . I want stability and, at the same time, steady, forward movement. I want the church to help me live life well, not exhaust me with endless ‘worthwhile’ projects.” By “worthwhile projects” Ted means building funds and soup kitchens alike. It's not that he opposes these; it's just that he is sick of hearing about them and believes that other Christians are, too. He knows that for Christianity to prosper in the free market, it needs more than “moral values”—it needs customer value.

New Lifers, Pastor Ted writes with evident pride, “like the benefits, risks, and maybe above all, the excitement of a free-market society.” They like the stimulation of a new brand. “Have you ever switched your toothpaste brand, just for the fun of it?” Pastor Ted asks. Admit it, he insists. All the way home, you felt a “secret little thrill,” as excited questions ran through your mind: “Will it make my teeth whiter? My breath fresher?” This is the sensation Ted wants pastors to bring to the Christian experience. He believes it is time “to harness the forces of free-market capitalism in our ministry.” Once a pastor does that, his flock can start organizing itself according to each member's abilities and tastes.

Which brings us back to “Order.” Key to the growth of evangelicalism during the last twenty years has been a social structure of “cell groups” that allows churches to grow endlessly while maintaining orthodoxy in their ranks. New Life, for instance, has 1,300 cell groups, or “small groups,” as Pastor Ted prefers to call them. Such a structure is not native to Colorado Springs; in fact, most evangelicals attribute it to Pastor Paul Cho, of South Korea, who has built a congregation of 750,000 using the cell-group structure. American megachurches that have adopted the cell model unaltered have had only partial success.

Pastor Ted's insight was in adapting this system for the affluence of the United States. South Korea, he notes, is on the “front lines” in the war against communism, “so they needed a strong chain-of-command system.” But not so Americans. “Free-market globalization” has made us so free, he realized, that an American cell-group system could be mature enough to function just like a market. One of Pastor Ted's favorite books is Thomas Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree, which is now required reading for the hundreds of pastors under Ted's spiritual authority across the country. From Friedman, Pastor Ted says he learned that everything, including spirituality, can be understood as a commodity. And unregulated trade, he concluded, was the key to achieving worldly freedom.

Free-market economics is a “truth” Ted says he learned in his first job in professional Christendom, as a Bible smuggler in Eastern Europe. Globalization, he believes, is merely a vehicle for the spread of Christianity. He means Protestantism in particular; Catholics, he said, “constantly look back.” He went on: “And the nations dominated by Catholicism look back. They don't tend to create our greatest entrepreneurs, inventors, research and development. Typically, Catholic nations aren't shooting people into space. Protestantism, though, always looks to the future. A typical kid raised in Protestantism dreams about the future. A typical kid raised in Catholicism values and relishes the past, the saints, the history. That is one of the changes that is happening in America. In America the descendants of the Protestants, the Puritan descendants, we want to create a better future, and our speakers say that sort of thing. But with the influx of people from Mexico, they don't tend to be the ones that go to universities and become our research-and-development people. And so in that way I see a little clash of civilizations.”

So the Catholics are out, and the battle boils down to evangelicals versus Islam. “My fear,” he says, “is that my children will grow up in an Islamic state.”

And that is why he believes spiritual war requires a virile, worldly counterpart. “I teach a strong ideology of the use of power,” he says, “of military might, as a public service.” He is for preemptive war, because he believes the Bible's exhortations against sin set for us a preemptive paradigm, and he is for ferocious war, because “the Bible's bloody. There's a lot about blood.”

* * *

Linda Burton was “specifically called by God” to Colorado Springs seventeen years ago, though at the time she thought that she was only running from a crack-addicted man who beat her. Linda was not a Christian at the time. She had married young and moved west; after her divorce, there had been many men, an abortion. With the man who beat her she fathered a son, whom she named Aaron Michael, the “strong right hand of God.” Linda took the baby and fled to Colorado Springs, which she remembered as pure and clean from a vacation she and the ex had once taken. She worked two jobs, one waiting tables at the best hotel in town, the other at Red Lobster. A friend at the hotel invited her to New Life, where she learned how her troubles were the result of demons and how to cast them out. Now Linda is an insurance agent, and she and Aaron Michael live in a suburban home. She hears voices, but they do not disturb her. “The Holy Spirit is a gentleman,” she told me one morning over a basket of cinnamon muffins still warm from the oven.

Sitting across from me in her kitchen, she closed her big brown eyes and shushed herself. “I'm listening,” she said quietly.

“To the TV?” I asked. In the next room, Aaron Michael was watching an action movie; the house was filled with the sound of explosions.

“No,” said Linda. “To my Spirit.” She opened her eyes and explained the process she had undergone to reach her refined state. She called it “spiritual restoration.” Anyone can do it, she promised, “even a gay activist.” Linda had seen with her own eyes the sex demons that make homosexuals rebel against God, and she said they are gruesome; but she did not name them, for she would not “give demons glory.” They are all the same, she said.[3] “It's radicalism.”

She reached across the table and touched my hand. “I have to tell you, the spiritual battle is very real.” We are surrounded by demons, she explained, reciting the lessons she had learned in her small-group studies at New Life. The demons are cold, they need bodies, they long to come inside. People let them in in two different ways. One is to be sinned against. “Molested,” suggested Linda. The other is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. You could walk by sin—a murder, a homosexual act—and a demon will leap onto your bones. Cities, therefore, are especially dangerous.

It is not so much the large populations, with their uneasy mix of sinner and saved, that make Christian conservatives leery of urban areas. Even downtown Colorado Springs, presumably as godly as any big town in America, struck the New Lifers I met as unclean. Whenever I asked where to eat, they would warn me away from downtown's neat little grid of cafés and ethnic joints. Stick to Academy, they'd tell me, referring to the vein of superstores and prepackaged eateries—P. F. Chang's, California Pizza Kitchen, et al.—that bypasses the city. Downtown, they said, is “confusing.”

Part of their antipathy is literally biblical: the Hebrew Bible is the scripture of a provincial desert people, suspicious of the cosmopolitan powers that threatened to destroy them, and fundamentalists read the New Testament as a catalogue of urban ills—sophistication, cynicism, lust—so deadly that one would be better off putting out one's own eye than partaking in their alleged pleasures. But the anti-urban sentiments of modern fundamentalists are also more specific to the moment in which they find themselves.

Three years ago, in the 2002 elections, Christian conservatives swept Georgia, the last Democratic bastion in the South. They toppled an incumbent Democratic governor, a war-hero Democratic senator, the state House speaker, the Democratic leader of the state Senate, and his son, the Democratic candidate for Congress in a majority black district that state Democrats had drawn up especially for him. The new Republican senator, Saxby Chambliss, and the new governor, Sonny Perdue, both conservatives and Christian, won not on “moral values” but on an exurban platform. The mastermind behind the coup was Ralph Reed, once of the Christian Coalition, who had been reborn as Georgia's Republican chairman. Reed remains a fundamentalist, the same man who once tested employees' commitment to “Christian values” by asking them if they supported the death penalty for adultery, but he was too canny to talk like that in public. The term “Christian,” he'd learned, is a “divider,” not a “unifier,” so he had left overt faith behind. He backed candidates who ran under the mantra of the exurbs: “Shorter commutes. More time with family. Lower mortgages.”

This troika of exurban ambition worked on multiple levels. Just as Nixon used marijuana and heroin in the 1960s as code for hippies and blacks, Reed devised a platform that conflated ordinary personal goals with fundamentalist values. “Shorter commutes” is a ploy that any old-time ward heeler would recognize. It means: let's move the good jobs out of the city. Atlanta, like Colorado Springs, has an urban core that Christian conservatives would just as soon see wither. “More time with family,” of course, extends that promise of exurban jobs but also speaks in code to the fundamentalist preoccupation with “family”—that is, with defining it, with excluding not just gay couples but any combination not organized around “biblical” principles of “male headship.”

As for “lower mortgages,” they are lower in exurbs because cities subsidize them. The city pays the taxes that build the sewers and the roads for the exurbs. The city provides the organization that makes it possible. Exurbs are parasites. And what else does “lower mortgages” mean? More land. More space between you and your neighbors. And this, too, is necessary for Christian conservatism, which depends on the absence of conflict as one of its main selling points. For all its talk of community, it is wary of community's main asset: the conflict, and the resulting cultural innovation, born of proximity. But such cultural innovation is death to today's Christian conservatism, which tosses a gauzy veil of tradition over the big-box consumerism of its megachurches.

As contemporary fundamentalism has become an exurban movement, it has reframed the question of theodicy—if God is good, then why does He allow suffering?—as a matter of geography. Some places are simply more blessed than others. Cities equal more fallen souls equal more demons equal more temptation, which, of course, leads to more fallen souls. The threats that suffuse urban centers have forced Christian conservatives to flee—to Cobb County, Georgia, to Colorado Springs. Hounded by the sins they see as rampant in the cities (homosexuality, atheistic schoolteaching, ungodly imagery), they imagine themselves to be outcasts in their own land. They are the “persecuted church”—just as Jesus promised, and just as their cell-group leaders teach them.

This exurban exile is not an escape to easy living, to barbecue and lawn care. “We [Christians] have lost every major city in North America,” Pastor Ted writes in his 1995 book Primary Purpose, but he believes they can be reclaimed through prayer—“violent, confrontive prayer.”[4] He encourages believers to obtain maps of cities and to identify “power points” that “strengthen the demonic activities.” He suggests especially popular bars, as well as “cult-type” churches. “Sometimes,” he writes, “particular government buildings . . . are power points.” The exurban position is one of strategic retreat, where believers are to “plant” their churches as strategic outposts encircling the enemy.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 2:51 am    Post subject: Absolutely Priceless Reply with quote

Here's an excerpt from a really telling article on Ted Haggard:

One day, Haggard rented a hotel room to pray and fast. Worship music was playing. He felt as if his hands were dirty. He wrung them, but they wouldn't come clean.

Somethin' tells me he wasn't just "praying and fasting" in that hotel room!
Mr. Green

Full article, demonstrating just how twisted these so-called "Christians" are at:
"It really is madness. And this is why I stay pissed off all the time." -- Mike on the insanity of predatory capitalism
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 4:59 am    Post subject: Who's to blame for Pastor Haggard's fall from grace? Reply with quote

Who's to blame for Pastor Haggard's fall from grace? His fat, lazy wife

Colorado Springs' New Life Church just announced that it has fired Pastor Ted Haggard for his "sexually immoral conduct." The much publicized meth and gay hooker scandal has elicited a little bit of soul searching and a lot hemming and hawing from Haggard's fellow Evangelical leaders, but perhaps the most ridiculous response came yesterday from Pastor Mark Driscoll of Seattle's Mars Hills mega-church-wannabe.
Writing in his personal blog, Driscoll offers his fellow pastors "some practical suggestions" on how to avoid the type of temptation that consumed Pastor Haggard. And near the top of his list?

"Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors' wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband's sin, but she may not be helping him either."

Uh-huh. Leave it to a fundamentalist Evangelical preacher to have such a profound understanding of human sexuality. Or as the inimitable sex columnist Dan Savage so aptly put it:

"I'm sure Ted Haggard is saying something along these lines to his wife right now: 'Oh, honey... I wouldn't have been having those meth-fueled ass-banging sessions with that gay hooker if you hadn't have let yourself go like that!' "

Of course, using Pastor Driscoll's line of reasoning one would suppose about two-thirds of married, middle-aged Americans -- men and women alike -- to be meth-addicted homosexuals. Hmm. I haven't looked at the statistics recently, but that figure strikes me as just a tad high... at least, outside of Colorado Springs.

But scroll further down Pastor Driscoll's list and you'll find some more useful suggestions on how to avoid temptation. Like a pastor should never travel alone, or freely give out his cell phone number, or hang out at places where he might come in contact with "lonely people"... you know... like at his own church. Pastor Driscoll also advises against keeping "a secondary email account from which to build a secret identity." Personally, it never occurred to me to create a secret identity, but I suppose the prospect must have some appeal to joyless, rigidly moral, puritanical hypocrites like Pastor Driscoll and his colleagues.

But mostly what I've learned from Pastor Driscoll's sage advice is that becoming a pastor is a great way to meet women. (And men, I guess.) Apparently, the ladies think pastors are hot:

"I have, however, seen some very overt opportunities for sin. On one occasion I actually had a young woman put a note into my shirt pocket while I was serving communion with my wife, asking me to have dinner, a massage, and sex with her. On another occasion a young woman emailed me a photo of herself topless and wanted to know if I liked her body. Thankfully, that email was intercepted by an assistant and never got to me."

Pastor Driscoll has been "blessed with a trustworthy heterosexual male assistant," and I'm sure he was equally thankful to intercept that scandalous email. Praise the Lord.

Wow. Mega-church preachers are like rock stars -- there's sexual temptation lying behind every pew. With office perks like that, even a secular Jew like myself might consider becoming an Evangelical preacher, except, unlike Pastor Driscoll, I'm not into all that kinky stuff:

"How can we proclaim that we are new creations in Christ if we continually return to lap up the vomit of our old way of life?"


If I ever find myself alone in a room with Pastor Driscoll, remind me to stay off the meth.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:29 am    Post subject: Snake bites, kills woman in London church. Reply with quote

Snake bites, kills woman in London church

A woman who was bitten by a snake at a church that neighbors say practices serpent handling died of her wounds hours later, a newspaper reported. Linda Long, 48, was bitten on Sunday at East London Holiness Church, where neighbors said the reptiles are handled as part of religious services, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Tuesday.

Long died at University of Kentucky Medical Center about four hours after being bitten, authorities told the newspaper. “She said she was bitten by a snake at her church,” said Lt. Ed Sizemore of the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office.

Handling reptiles as part of religious services is illegal in Kentucky. Snake handling is a misdemeanor and punishable by a $50 to $100 fine. Police said they had not received any reports of snake handling at the church.

Snake handling is based on a passage in the Bible that says a sign of a true believer is the power to “take up serpents” without being harmed. Church officials could not be reached for comment.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:45 pm    Post subject: Usefulness of religion Reply with quote

Personally, I have found that religion can sometimes form an integral part
of the often unspoken, yet very uplifting communication between members of society.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 5:55 am    Post subject: He died for your hot apple pie. Reply with quote

“Modern Christendom produces new Christians by the millions--and all of the same quality.”
Soren Kierkegaard

He died for your hot apple pie.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:20 am    Post subject: Those Who Preach in Glass Cathedrals ... Reply with quote

Those Who Preach in Glass Cathedrals ...
Rev. Ted Haggard and the Eclipse of Evangelical Fury

November 15, 2006

"Pastor Ted was a symbolically important figure and a very public figure, so I think the ramifications could be enormous," opined Randall Balmer, a Barnard professor of religious history. By ramifications he meant, of course, the consequences of the drug and sex scandal enveloping Ted Haggard, the Evangelical pastor. Balmer was most worried about how this latest revelation of sexual hypocrisy would impact on the 2006 election.

One can only wonder if the ramifications might go much further than the good professor anticipated, further than the sad pastor, his family, parishioners and fellow leaders within the evangelical movement could have ever imagined. Perhaps, this act marks the eclipse of the current fourth wave of American evangelical fury.

A week or so before the election, Haggard, a devoutly married father of five children, was caught with his proverbial pants down in a homosexual scandal. Mike Jones, a former male prostitute from Denver, claimed that he had many drug-fueled trysts with Haggard during the previous three years. Haggard, initially adhering to the oldest defense, denied ever having met Jones, taking illegal drugs or having a homosexual liaison. He insisted, he "[n]ever had a gay relationship with anybody, and I'm steady with my wife, I'm faithful to my wife. So, I don't know if this is election year politics or if this has to do with the [gay] marriage amendment or what it is."

Over the following few days, his story unraveled. First, he acknowledged meeting Jones, but only as a masseuse. As for the drugs, "I was tempted, but I never used it," he admitted, insisting that he had bought methamphetamine only to flush it down the drain. Finally, the ugly truth came out: "There is part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life." In a letter to his congregation, Haggard confessed that he was "a deceiver and a liar" and begged for forgiveness.

Haggard was a leading light of the evangelical movement and, ironically, was considered a moderate. He was the founder and head of 14,000-member New Life Church, based in Colorado Springs, CO, and president of the National Association of Evangelicals, a group that claims thirty million members. He advocated against global warming, poverty and the genocide in Darfur. He enjoyed considerable influence on Capitol Hill and was a regular participant in the Monday-morning White House conference call to religious leaders. He condemned both gay marriage and homosexuality, insisting, on a scary YouTube video, "We don't have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity, it's written in the Bible."

In disgrace, Haggard joins a growing list of conservatives who exemplify the moral hypocrisy that distinguishes the Bush era. Much has been made of the sex scandals involving Mark Foley (R-FL) and Don Sherwood (R-PA). Foley, following an allegation that he sent improper messages to adolescent pages (if not engaging in worse behavior), had been safely secluded in an alcohol recovery program to keep him out of sight until after the election; his House seat went to a Democrat. Don Sherwood (R-PA), swept up in a five-year long adulterous relation with a woman half his age, and who he allegedly tried to strangle, lost his seat to Democratic challenger Chris Carney, a Navy Reserve officer.

These moral lapses join the financial misdeeds pioneered by Jack Abramoff and his K Street lobbying cronies. So far, this scandal has led to the defeat and/or resignations of Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), who received $137,000 from Abramoff, and former Congressmen Tom DeLay (R-TX), Robert Ney (R-OH) and Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA); John Doolittle (R-CA), whose wife received payments from Abramoff, held on to his seat. Many post-election surveys found that one of the important reasons voters went to the polls was outrage over such scandalous, if not criminal, behavior.

Finally, we have the example of William Bennett, the self-serving, self-righteous hypocrite who turned "virtue" into a dirty word. This devout Catholic, former drug czar under Bush 1st and outspoken critic of drinking, gay marriage and wife swapping, was one of Bill Clinton's most unrelenting detractors during his impeachment hearings. However, as reported in The Washington Monthly and other sources, over the last decade Bennett made dozens of trips to casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas where, as a "preferred customer," his total losses topped $8 million. He is also reported to have maintained a clandestine liaison with a buff Las Vegas dominatrix, Mistress Lee, his "beautiful domme muse mistress." In his best seller, The Book of Virtues, Bennett wrote: "We should know that too much of anything, even a good thing, may prove to be our undoing... [We] need ... to set definite boundaries on our appetites." In the face of such self-serving hypocrisy, one should never forget Mae West's memorable words: "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." (While an on-screen election commentator, no one mentioned Bennett's past sins.)

Sin came to North America with the first colonists four centuries ago. In the words of the prominent Puritan minister Samuel Willard, " in nothing doth the raging power of original sin more discover itself than in the ungoverned exorbitancy of fleshly lust." This terror of "ungoverned fleshly lust" continues till today, finding its most fervent expression in the waves of evangelical revivalism that have repeatedly swept the nation.

The Haggard scandal is more significant than the end-of-century unravelings of Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart. Those individual scandals were just that ­ failings of particular individuals. Today's scandals resonate far more deeply because they are enmeshed into a tapestry of social and political crisis, a nation being restructured by globalization, empire and growing economic inequality. Today, all scandals, all ethical corruptions, all media manipulations, all political opportunism, all illegal payoffs, all displays of ill-gotten gain, all moral hypocrisy are increasingly seen as part of a culture of greed and selfish acquisitiveness not seen since the Robber Barons.

Today, America may be witnessing the end of the fourth religious "Awakening." Over the last two-and-a-half centuries, it has been overwhelmed by waves of revivalist fury. Each wave has preceded or accompanied a momentous phase of national development. The initial Great Awakening galvanized the rural citizenry and contributed to the American revolution; the second, the Great Revival, anticipated the Civil War and fueled the abolitionist movement; the third, while not a formal awakening, took the form of the Social Gospel movement that reached its zenith in the wake of the Great War and the rise of the temperance movement; the fourth arose with Cold War anti-communist McCarthyism and the development of the consumer society and took shape with Billy Graham's crusades that launched the modern evangelical movement ­ it culminated with the inclusion of "In God We Trust" in the national anthem and on our currency.

Today's awakening, a continuation of the Graham's evangelicalism and Republican realignment of the national political landscape, floundered during the '60s and '70s but gained momentum following the AIDS panic of the '80s. At its core is the desire not simply for its adherents to live a religiously-inspired "moral" life, but a life that they insist must be embraced by all other people, whether children, neighbors, fellow Americans -- even distant Iraqis. And it's a moral "life" covering all aspects of one's life, particularly the most intimate aspects of sexual intimacy, reproduction, child rearing and death. Within the matrix of capital's push for globalization and the neocon's quest for empire, today's evangelical movement has come to be defined as much by its conformist religiosity as by its support for patriarchy (e.g., anti-abortion, opposition to sex education), social regression (e.g., anti-evolution, anti-gay marriage), political control (e.g., Patriot Act), economic oppression (e.g., cuts of entitlements) and imperialist (mis)adventure (e.g., Iraq, Afghanistan). After nearly two hundred years of incubation, evangelicals finally seized state power.

President Bush is a strong believer in evangelical revivalism. A few weeks before the election, as reported in The Washington Post, he stated: "A lot of people in America see this as a confrontation between good and evil, including me. There was a stark change between the culture of the '50s and the '60s -- boom -- and I think there's change happening here," and added, "It seems to me that there's a Third Awakening." (For a review of just how much of the Bush Administration is under the control of evangelical Christians, see "A Country Ruled by Faith" by Garry Wills in The New York Review of Books.)

Bush, however, failed to acknowledge that as powerful as the current wave of evangelical fury might seem, it is following a pattern common to previous awakenings. The Great Awakening, in part a popular movement against the privileges of the wealthy and powerful, including the clergy (and the colonies had state-sponsored churches), dissipated following the Revolution. The Great Revival, inspired by a belief that everyone could achieve grace and that slavery was immorally, was overwhelmed by the Civil War and the growing social diversity that remade the nation. The Social Gospel movement, which culminated in the enactment of the 19th Amendment to restrict alcohol consumption, collapsed under the corruption of Prohibition, interracial "slumming" and the women's suffrage movement. And today's wave might just be cresting.

Does the moral hypocrisy symbolized by Ted Haggard's sex and drugs scandal indicate the "enormous ramifications" that Professor Balmer worried about? Does it represent an eclipse of the overbearing movement of fundamentalist self-rigorousness? When the Haggard scandal is put in context with the other equally hypocritical conduct represented by Foley, Sherwood, the Abramoff gang and Bennett, it might well indicate that the fourth wave of evangelical fury might be petering out.

In a secular world, each of these conservative "sinners" has the right to maintain their very private secret, be it homosexuality, ephebophilia (i.e., adoration of adolescent youth), extramarital relations, or gambling and masochism. As such, as long as their "sin" neither violates the law (which the Abramoff gang failed to do) nor the ethical basis of interpersonal relations (especially with a wife and children), such sin could well remain a secret. As long as one's private fantasy doesn't harm another, we are all entitled to our personal privacy. However, when a private secret contradicts a public declaration, especially when this declaration is offered as a moralistic proscription that all must adhere to and upon which public policy is legislated, one crosses an ethical line. And when this violation of trust is done by a "public" figure, be he or she a preacher, politician or pundit, the public figure, like Haggard, Foley and Bennett, engages in moral hypocrisy.

A revealing indicator of the growing popular revulsion with such moral hypocrisy is suggested by the evangelical vote in recent election. In 2004, white evangelical or born-again Christians made up a quarter of the electorate and 78 percent of them voted Republican; however, according to initial 2006 exit polls, these voters accounted for only 57 percent of the Republican vote. Equally revealing, a quarter of the evangelicals are reported to have supported Democratic candidates.

Now that the election is over and the Democrats have secured both the House and Senate, we can, hopefully, expect a relaxation in the cultural wars. A more tolerant cultural climate might provide a window to examine perhaps the gravest moral hypocrisy that shadows the nation: The great lie that Bush and his co-conspirators perpetrated on the American people to get the nation into the Iraq war. We must open the window further through exhaustive Congressional hearings into the war and, if the truth of the conspiracy finally comes out, impeachment might be the most important of the "enormous ramifications" resulting from the Haggard scandal.

David Rosen is completing the manuscript for "Perversions: America's Secret Passion for Deviant Sexual Pleasures." He is author of, most recently, "130 Parties in 30 Days: Matt Gonzales & Indie Culture," The Political Edge, a collection on the 2004 San Francisco mayoral election (ed., Chris Carlsson, City Lights, 2005).

He can be reached at drosen@ix.netcom.com
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 5:20 am    Post subject: New Life is in the Limbaugh again! Reply with quote

No crimes against church members here except hypocrasy. Just to follow up on the Haggard story.
New Life is in the Limbaugh again!

This just in about one of the gettin'-rich-on-bigotry gay-facers out at New Life (note the fake assault weapons incident below in bold):

From the Denver Post:

An executive staff member at New Life Church in Colorado Springs has resigned after admitting to sexual misconduct and other mistakes - the result of an examination of the staff's moral makeup after the ouster of senior pastor Ted Haggard, a church official said Sunday. Christopher Beard, who headed a ministry that trained young adults in leadership skills, stepped down Friday after admitting to "a series of decisions displaying poor judgment, including one incident of sexual misconduct several years ago," said Rob Brendle, an associate pastor at the 14,000- member church.

Citing confidentiality over personnel issues, Brendle would not discuss the nature of the sexual misconduct except to say it did not involve Haggard or a minor.

Beard, a New Life employee for nine years, was not married at the time of the incident but is now, Brendle said. Beard could not be reached for comment Sunday. After Haggard's fall in a drugs-and-gay- sex scandal last month, the senior leadership of New Life asked its outside board of overseers to take a closer look at the "spiritual character" of its 200-member staff as a precaution. Brendle said Beard's disclosures came during a meeting with the board, which is made up of four pastors from other congregations.
Brendle said Beard's resignation was voluntary and is another step toward making sure the "disordered moral life" demonstrated in Haggard's fall is "excised from the church."

"We recognize there will be increased scrutiny of our church in the wake of the scandal," Brendle said. "We welcome that process in order to reinforce the high standard of personal integrity and morality that has characterized New Life's employees for 22 years."

Before his resignation, Beard oversaw a church ministry called twentyfourseven, a nine-month training program for young adults in missionary work and leadership. He has led mission trips to 53 countries and had a role in this year's church Easter drama.

In 2002, Beard was reprimanded by church officials after he staged a missionary training drill using fake assault weapons. A SWAT team was put on alert after a passing motorist thought the guns were real.

Brendle said that incident played a role in Beard's departure. Beard's church biography states he has a business degree from Oral Roberts University - Haggard's alma mater - and a master's degree in Christian counseling. He previously worked as a psychotherapist at a leading mental institution, the biography states. Haggard, 50, resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and was fired from his pulpit after a Denver male prostitute alleged a three-year relationship with the minister and claimed Haggard used methamphetamine. Haggard confessed to undisclosed "sexual immorality" and admitted buying meth but said he never used the drug. Haggard and his wife, Gayle, are undergoing three weeks of counseling at an undisclosed outpatient treatment center in Arizona.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 5:22 am    Post subject: Huge Southern Baptist Church rocked by sexual abuse charges Reply with quote

Here we go again!
Huge Southern Baptist Church rocked by sexual abuse charges
by PageOneQ

A church whose former pastor was president of the Southern Baptist Convention has been rocked by allegations of child abuse, PageOneQ has learned.

Pastor Paul Williams, who directs prayer programs and special projects at the Bellevue Baptist Church outside of Memphis, has been forced to take a leave while a church committee investigates charges that Williams sexually molested a family member 17 years ago. Williams has been at Bellevue for 34 years, reports Agape Press, a news service run by the American Family Association.

In a statement issued by the church and obtained by PageOneQ, the church's personnel committee says that Williams has taken a paid leave of absence in the wake of "a past, but highly concerning moral failure."

Dr. Steven Gaines (pictured), pastor of the church, has been attacked for not taking action earlier. Gaines acknowledged learning of the allegations in June of this year. While explaining that he thought the issue had been resolved, Gaines said he kept the information private because ""the event occurred many years ago."

This past week, Gaines told his congregation that it was necessary to address the church's lack of policies in such situations, so they may "have some guidance in these areas should they occur in the future."

The move to have Williams placed on leave was not enough to satisfy the president of the Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Michael Spradlin said if Gaines was aware of the allegations and took no action, he should leave the church. Spradlin told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that:

"If Steve Gaines found out that a child had been sexually molested by one of his ministers and if he did nothing to address it, then he needs to step down immediately,"

"We cannot take chances with other people's children. If he knew about this and kept quiet, then he's put Bellevue in a very dangerous position and possibly put children and the emotionally vulnerable at risk."

The same paper reports that while Williams has not been charged, the church has placed him in a counseling program.

The Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary is located across the street from Bellevue on land donated by the church.

Excerpts from the Memphis Commercial Appeal article follow.

Scott Hutcheson of Reality Cubed contributed to this report

Alarmed by what he described as a crisis of the faithful at Bellevue Baptist Church, the president of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary said Tuesday the senior pastor of the Cordova congregation should resign.

Dr. Michael Spradlin, head of the seminary that moved across the street from Bellevue this summer, said Dr. Steve Gaines should step down because of his initial decision to remain silent amid allegations of sexual abuse involving a Bellevue minister.

Church leaders announced Monday that Paul Williams, a Bellevue staffer for 34 years, had been placed on paid leave pending an investigation regarding a "moral failure."

The alleged incident occurred 17 years ago. Details have not been made public by the church and Williams has not been formally charged with any wrongdoing, but claims of sexual abuse have been posted on the Internet. Huge Southern Baptist Church rocked by sexual abuse charges
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 5:48 am    Post subject: Rev. Don Armstrong Under Investigation. Reply with quote

Not a pedophile---just a thief.
Bahahahahaha: Rev. Don Armstrong Under Investigation

Just when I was starting to get bored with all the Bijou Bridge demolition news, the Gazette reports this morning that Rev. Don Armstrong (you may recall him from THIS POST), another Colorado Springs loudmouth pastor against gay and lesbian ordination and marriage, is now under investigation for "possible misuse of church money." Let your imagination run wild.

From the G:

Armstrong is the third Colorado Springs pastor during the past two months to resign or be dismissed because of improprieties or allegations of wrongdoing ...

Grace has 2,500 members, ODonnell said a megachurch by most standards and one of the largest Episcopal parishes in the state. Its sometimes referred to as a cardinal parish a nod to its size and importance.

Armstrong, who has led Grace for 19 years, has been a vocal critic of the broader Episcopal denomination at times, speaking out against the decision to install an openly gay man as a diocesan bishop.

The suspension came after a nine-month investigation into Grace churchs finances by the diocese, Grace officials said.

The diocese cautioned the investigation is ongoing. Armstrong has been cooperative, ONeill said, and he is presumed to be innocent.

This is clearly a very difficult time for all who are affected by this investigation, ONeill said.

Beacons of moral integrity, these gay-hating pastors! Oh, and, in case you'd forgotten, Grace Episcopal was the first church the old Toilet Paper ever kicked for precisely this reason. Witness:

Toilet Paper Kicking Grace Episcopal Church.
If you know a church that needs kicking, please send a high resolution digital photo along with your reason for kicking it to churchkicker@toiletpaperonline.com.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 5:20 am    Post subject: There's nothing a good three-week rebuking can't cure. Reply with quote

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

There's nothing a good three-week rebuking can't cure.

Rev. Tim Ralph
New Covenant Fellowship

Dear Rev. Ralph,

As happy as I was to hear that Pastor Haggard is no longer a homosexual, I'm very disappointed with the way you announced his cure. You made it sound as if he underwent three weeks of some kind of psychological counseling, thus blowing an opportunity to bring God's word to a wider audience.

We both know that Pastor Haggard was possessed by the homosexuality demons he's been battling very publicly for most of his adult life. Obviously, these demons had grown tired of the rebuking they received when Pastor Haggard and his spiritual warriors laid siege to homosexual bars and federal buildings or used a garden sprayer to anoint an especially sinful intersection.

You can't rid a man of a homosexual demon infestation with three weeks, or even a lifetime, of counseling. It takes an exorcism. Pastor Haggard knew that. He preached it at his church. I find it hard to believe that he would choose counseling over exorcism for his own cure. Certainly, he underwent the latter, subjecting his demon-ridden body to a thorough three-week rebuking.

So why didn't you just tell the media the truth? Were you afraid of being mocked by those who might not understand the exorcism process? It's bound to happen. After all, the "Anointing of the Wesson Oil," the "Donning of the Bottomless Chaps," the "Squealing, Even As A Pig Squealeth," and "The Application of The Spatula of the Terrible Rebuking," probably seem very strange to someone who hasn't hear the Word. But that's no excuse for hiding the truth away like it's something of which you are ashamed. Such fears shouldn't prevent us from sharing the gospel.

I'm very disappointed in you. I pray that you'll make amends by contacting the press and telling the whole story very soon.

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot
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british harmony

PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

maybe its all true but youshould change the name of this post -it offends christians

im sure there are also muslim and jewish perverts as well

its stuuupid you single out christians -just disgusting Mad
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Last edited by antifascist on Fri Aug 03, 2007 6:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 11:38 pm    Post subject: Baptist Group's Leaders Convicted. Reply with quote

"The BFA case is one of the largest affinity fraud cases in US history," said state Attorney General Janet Napolitano.
You would think this scandal would hit the main stream media.
Baptist Group's Leaders Convicted
Investors Lost $585 Million

By Terry Greene Sterling
Special to The Washington Post
July 25, 2006

Former Baptist Foundation of Arizona president William P. Crotts

PHOENIX, July 24 -- Two former executives of a failed Southern Baptist foundation were convicted here Monday in what prosecutors said was the nation's largest fraud ever targeting members of a religious group.

William Pierre Crotts, who was president of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, and Thomas Dale Grabinski, the group's former chief legal counsel, were each convicted of three counts of fraud and one count of conducting an illegal enterprise in a scheme that lasted decades and cheated 11,000 investors across the country of about $585 million.

In a trial that lasted 10 months, prosecutors claimed that the executives were driven by shame to hide the foundation's mounting investment losses, bilking investors who were recruited in Southern Baptist churches and by Bible-quoting salesmen who visited their homes. Investors were told their money would help Southern Baptist causes, such as building new churches, and were promised above-market returns.

Instead, prosecutors said Crotts and Grabinski had designed a Ponzi scheme in which new investors were needed to pay off the secret mounting debt. Donald Conrad, an Arizona assistant attorney general, characterized Crotts and Grabinski during closing arguments as business failures who defrauded investors in part to "feed their financial fantasies" that they were savvy businessmen.

The pair were handcuffed and led from Maricopa County Superior Court after the verdict.

Prosecutors failed to show that Crotts and Grabinski profited personally from the fraud, which involved hiding millions of dollars of losses in shell companies they created to conceal the losses. The two men were acquitted of 23 theft counts.

Defense attorneys had argued that the foundation could have been able to pay off investors if state regulators had not forced it to stop selling securities in 1999. Grabinski's attorney, Daryl Williams, said Arizona officials simply did not understand the foundation's complicated finances.

The two former executives will be sentenced Sept. 29. Each faces a maximum sentence of more than 46 years, according to the attorney general's office. James D. Porter, a foundation investor and Crotts family friend, said he believes that Crotts is innocent despite the verdict.

"The truth is not determined by what this court said," Porter said. "Righteous people have spent time in jail before."

Since the foundation's 1999 bankruptcy, five other employees or associates have pleaded guilty in connection with the fraud.

The foundation was an official agency of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, which is affiliated with the national Southern Baptist Convention. The foundation's accounting firm was Arthur Andersen LLP, which collapsed after allegations that it had helped Enron Corp. conceal its mounting business problems. In 2002, Arthur Andersen agreed to pay the state of Arizona $217 million to settle a lawsuit over its work for the Baptist foundation.

Foundation investor Bob Shaw, 59, a car salesman, said he recovered about 68 percent of the $250,000 he invested with the foundation. But he said Monday's verdicts were more satisfying than getting his money back.

"When they walked out of there in handcuffs," Shaw said, "that was justice for me."

Special correspondent Steve Elliot contributed to this report.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:12 am    Post subject: Chaplain pleads guilty to adultery, threats. Reply with quote

Chaplain pleads guilty to adultery, threats.
Army judge sentences Southern Baptist minister to 5 months in wild case


FORT DRUM, N.Y. - A 10th Mountain Division chaplain was stripped of his rank and sentenced to five months in military prison after pleading guilty to adultery and threatening to kill his mistress when she wanted to end their relationship, Fort Drum officials said Friday.

Capt. John Lau a Southern Baptist minister described by the mistress as a manipulative sadist was tried by a military judge who also ordered him dismissed from the Army with all pay and allowances forfeited.

Lau, 50, admitted he threatened to hunt down and kill Amanda Tyler, a 34-year-old British woman he met in 2004 while stationed in England, brought to the United States and "married" during a mock ceremony last year at Niagara Falls.

Lau was so cavalier about his extramarital relationship that he routinely brought both women to official Fort Drum functions and introduced Tyler as his "wife's friend," he testified during a general court-martial Thursday.

"My wife and I were in a lull in our relationship and looking for something to spice up our sexual relations," the ordained Southern Baptist minister said during the proceeding.

Tyler lived at his home as his "second wife," Lau said, and took vacations with the family to Cyprus, the Caribbean and the Florida Keys. He said Tyler wanted to live with the couple indefinitely in an "exclusive relationship."

Tyler, however, told The Watertown Daily Times that Lau was a sexual sadist and expert manipulator who lured her into a relationship with promises of emotional stability and a life in the United States.

"It wasn't like I just fell in love with them and decided to be 'the second wife,'" Tyler said. "What I thought they were doing was putting me on the straight and narrow, restoring my confidence."

Lau said the three had sexual relations, which he described as consensual but which Tyler described as occurring "under duress."

"The price for objections is severe. If you object, you pay because he's 'The Master,'" she told the newspaper.

At one point, Tyler said, Lau said she should become a prostitute to help pay her tuition.

Asked why she didn't report her situation to military or civilian authorities, Tyler said she was "petrified."

In September, while Lau was deployed in Iraq, Tyler informed the family that she planned to move out.

Lau responded by sending three e-mails threatening to kill Tyler.

Lau was sentenced to 14 months in military prison. But under the terms of his plea agreement he will serve only five months.
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 6:02 am    Post subject: See ya later folks. Reply with quote

The Mike Malloy discussion board moderators will not allow be to bump my posts to prevent deletion. They locked my posts which was a rather rude way to let me know. So I have stopped posting since my index on fascism and all other posts will also be deleted. I completed backing up my posts so as not to lose my research. I made the false assumption that a liberal discussion board would be more friendly to my interests and would help in this project.
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