The Virginia Values Act is currently on the desk of Governor Ralph Northam. This landmark bill would say once and for all that discrimination against LGBTQ Virginians is wrong.Take a Stand Against Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination in Virginia! — American Atheists
Catholic Church spent $10 million on lobbyists in fight to stymie priest sex abuse suits
The money was spent in eight northeastern states where bills to aid victims of clerical sex abuse were in the works.
By Corky Siemaszko
The U.S. Catholic Church spent $10.6 million on lobbyists to prevent victims of clerical sex abuse from suing for damages.
According to a new report, the money was doled out from 2011 through 2018 in eight northeastern states where bills to reform statute of limitations laws were either in the works or being considered.
“This report lays out what we have known all along — that the Catholic Church refuses to take responsibility for the decades of abuse that took place knowingly under its watch,” said attorney Stephen Weiss, who works for one of the law firms that commissioned the study.
“Statute of limitations reforms give survivors more time to obtain some measure of closure on the atrocities committed against them,” attorney Gerald Williams added. “The church has yet to implement meaningful reforms, and by working to prevent these laws from passing, the church is clearly demonstrating that it does not stand with survivors.”
In Pennsylvania, where currently victims of child sex abuse can come forward with criminal allegations until the age of 50 and can file civil claims until age 30, the church spent $5,322,979 to keep those limitations in place, according to the report, “Church Influencing State: How the Catholic Church Spent Millions Against Survivors of Clergy Abuse.”
The report was commissioned by Seeger Weiss LLP, Williams Cedar LLC, Abraham Watkins and the Simpson Tuegel Law Firm, which collectively represent 300 survivors of clergy sex abuse nationwide. The data in the report was obtained from public filings in the individual states.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro, whose blockbuster grand jury report last year identified 301 “predator priests” in six dioceses who were alleged to have abused more than 1,000 children, has been leading the charge to lift those statutes of limitations.
“The extensive lobbying by the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania against the reforms recommended by the Grand Jury proves what I have said all along: the Church cannot be trusted to police itself,” Shapiro said. “It’s reprehensible that the Church continues to spend significant sums of money fighting these reforms, instead of protecting and supporting the victims of clergy sexual abuse.”
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops did not return an NBC News request for comment.
In New York, the church spent $2,912,772 in what ultimately was a failed bid to prevent the passage of the Child Victims Act, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law on Feb. 14. It allows child sexual abuse victims to sue their abuser or institutions until age 55. Previously the cutoff was age 23.
Of that money, 80 percent went to the Catholic Conference Policy Group Inc., which was tasked with lobbying on “statute of limitations, legislative issues and liability issues,” the report found.
“I think it’s incredibly troubling that parishioners who on Sundays contributed to the church collections may have been inadvertently funding lobbying efforts against victims of sex abuse seeking legal redress,” New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman, who championed the Child Victims Act, said. “Three million dollars that went for lobbying could have done a lot of good elsewhere, including soup kitchens, after-school programs for children, support for seniors. In my district, a Catholic school that is closing might perhaps have stayed open if that money had been used for better causes.”
Shortly before the New York state Legislature took up the Child Victims Act, Cardinal Timothy Dolan called in an op-ed published in The New York Daily News for measures that would avoid “breaking” the Roman Catholic Church.
In an email to NBC News, Dennis Poust, a spokesman for the New York State Catholic Conference, said: “All of our lobbying activity is reported as required by law to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and has always been publicly available.”
“As far as the Child Victims Act, while we did raise concerns about the one-year look back, ultimately when sponsors amended the bill at our request to provide an opportunity for recourse to survivors in public institutions, the Catholic Conference dropped its opposition this year,” he wrote.
When asked for comment, New York Diocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling referred NBC News to Poust.
In Connecticut, where advocates for victims of priest sex abuse are presently pushing for the elimination of statutes of limitations for major sex crimes, the church spent $875,261, according to the report.
The report also said the church spent $633,458 in New Jersey where Gov. Phil Murphy last month signed legislation that allows child victims to sue up until they turn 55 or “within seven years of their first realization that the abuse caused them harm,” according to The Associated Press.
During that time period, the church spent $537,551 in Massachusetts, $124,260 in Maine, and $61,961 in Rhode Island.
“That is completely inaccurate,” said James Driscoll, executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference. “I have no idea where the writer of this report came up with this figure. They never checked with me for any input before they wrote this report.”
And in New Hampshire, where legislation to lift or amend the statute of limitations has yet to be introduced, the church has spent $134,345, according to the report.
Tom Bebbington, a spokesman for the Diocese of Manchester, said it “advocates before the state legislature on issues of importance for the good of all citizens including abortion, assisted suicide, education, preventing human trafficking, and repeal of the death penalty.”
“The services of lobbying professionals were used during the time period of this report for advocacy on all of these issues and more, but no lobbyist was engaged to advocate on behalf of the Diocese on statute of limitations legislation,” he insisted.
David Clohessy, the former director of the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said church funds should never be used to fight clerical abuse victims.
“It’s appalling that parishioners’ donations are used to keep child sex crimes — and those who committed and concealed them — covered up,” said Clohessy. “There’s no better indication of how bishops think and act than where they put their flocks’ funds. And there are few more egregious and reckless ways to spend churchgoers’ contributions than to put their kids at risk by fighting secular reforms that help expose predators.”
Asked if he believes the church was willing to spend that kind of money on lobbyists because it feared payouts for victims would cost 10 times more, Weiss said that appears to be the case.
“The church made the soulless decision to spend 10 million of its dollars to evade its responsibility to those harmed by clergy abuse, rather that use those funds toward the healing process,” he said. “Clearly these expenditures were aimed at protecting the church’s financial interests, not at doing the right thing.”
First, I hate to read accusations against God that aren’t true. Of course, any accusation against God isn’t true because God is holy and blameless and righteous and just and good. There simply are no grounds for accusing God of anything.
In reality, Satan has to be behind accusations against God since he is a liar and the father of lies. Hard to believe that Job, in the midst of his suffering, joined in with the accuser to say that God was wronging him.
This is a sort of share of this really idiotic posting by Rebecca and seeing she hates the truths I post to her? Well I figure I will share this idiocy and speak my mind on it here. Christians hate when I do that lol
She hates to read accusations against her god that is not true? Really? She really has not read her Old Testament god huh? Of course? Like all good brain-washed and brain-dead Christians like Rebecca? She fits the typical qualifications for Stockholm Syndrome for God Believers. Let me explain.
Stockholm syndrome is commonly linked to high profile kidnappings and hostage situations. Aside from famous crime cases, regular people may also develop this psychological condition in response to various types of trauma.
Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response. It occurs when hostages or abuse victims bond with their captors or abusers. This psychological connection develops over the course of the days, weeks, months, or even years of captivity or abuse.
With this syndrome, hostages or abuse victims may come to sympathize with their captives. This is the opposite of the fear, terror, and disdain that might be expected from the victims in these situations.
Over the course of time, some victims do come to develop positive feelings toward their captors. They may even begin to feel as if they share common goals and causes. The victim may begin to develop negative feelings toward the police or authorities. They may resent anyone who may be trying to help them escape from the dangerous situation they’re in.
Christian Stockholm Syndrome
Now here is how we can prove that Christians? Have Stockholm Syndrome for their god. We could actually do an experiment to prove this and this is how I am going to do this posting so to prove my theory that Christians have Stockholm Syndrome for their god.
We take a group of people and without telling them where the stories are from? We give them the stories of the bible taken directly from the OT. Most people, including Christians? Pretty much have no clue as to what is really in the OT anyway. Sure they know about Moses, and about Noah and Adam and Eve but how many actually have read ALL the stories of the OT? Not many really. How many really know how the Tribe of Benjamin got their wives for example? Bet not many.
So, we will have stories of the god of the bible? Ordering his followers to rip the fetuses out of the wombs of pregnant Tipurah and Summerian women.
We have the stories of where the god of the bible? Ordered his followers to smash the bodies of infants and children against rocks.
We have the stories of where the god of the bible? Forced parents to cannibalize their children.
We have the story of where in response to the Prophet Elisha’s cries because some kids were picking on him making a joke about his bald head? The god of the bible sent two she bears and had all 42 kids killed by the bears.
Or the story of where the god of the bible ordered the Tribe of Benjamin to go invade Jabesh-Gilead, slaughter all living things except the virgins, rape them, force them into marrying the men of Benjamin and when they did not get enough virgins to do so? They did the same to the virgin dancing girls of Shiloh.
We have the levitical laws where a raped virgin is married off to her rapist for life.
Where a raped woman who does not scream loud enough to be heard and is found out is stoned to death for adultery.
Where a mouthy child is given a death penalty punishment.
If you were to sit a group of people down and tell them all of this? Without telling them these stories came from the bible or they had no knowledge that these stories came from the OT? More than likely when they were asked if this was a good being? A kind and loving being? A being worthy of worship and love? They would more than likely SAY NO. They would actually call this being? A demonic child abuser, murderer, butcher and pure evil.
No moral human being I know of, even good Christians who never knew these stories came from their bible? Would ever proclaim any human who did these things a kind, loving, just, moral human being now would they? Nor would they ever justify the actions of any being who did these actions or ordered these actions.
So let’s take this in another direction that proves? Christians have Stockholm Syndrome when it comes time to their god.
A Christian sure would never say that what Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao and all the other brutal dictators have done in our history were holy people, they would not say they were loving or just. They certainly would not call them merciful either would Christians? No they would not. (Well those lovely Christian groups the Nazis, the Proud Boys, the Aryian Nation, etc would).
Yet? If Christians? Were to read these stories of their god and all he did and ordered in the OT to be done to whole groups of people? Or children? Or infants? Or fetuses? Or women? They would actually call someone like this? A Hitler, a Pol Pot, a Stalin, A Mao. But when it comes to their god doing all this? They literally put a blinder on when it comes to the purely evil actions their god did in the OT and proclaim him holy, loving, just, merciful. They excuse the very same things he ordered to be done, or even did in the bible while they condemn humans who do these same things. They even JUSTIFY what their god does in the bible.
And this? Is what really shows how Christians are trapped in their Stockholm Syndrome with their god. They actually state? They cannot judge their god for doing all these things. Funny how they got no problem being judged by him, but they feel? They cannot even judge their own judge to see if he is even worthy? Of judging them.
Cause if you apply the same morals that Christians speak of in what being a True Christian is? Love, non-judgment, forgiving your enemies and turning the other cheek, and even praying for your enemy? To hate no one? To do no murder? To not harm a single hair on the head of a a child or by your actions drive that child from loving god? Or against rape, pedophilia, etc? Or harming fetuses in their stance against abortion when their own god not only ordered abortions but apparently when he did his flood, committed abortions himself when he drowned pregnant women, killing their fetuses? Then their god? FAILS on all counts of what Christians describe as having good morals and being a good Christian even.
BUT? They again? Either ignore their gods actions, they justify their gods actions or they say? YOU cannot judge our gods actions. But of course? Their god can judge us and our actions though lmfao.
So Christians? Fit the exact definition of someone having Stockholm Syndrome when it comes time to their god. Again, as the very definition of Stockholm Syndrome shows with my editing it a little?
Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response. It occurs when a person who is a hostage to the theology of Christianity and the god of Christians, with their captors or abusers. This psychological connection develops over the course of the days, weeks, months, or even years of captivity or abuse of being brainwashed that you cannot question ANY judgement of gods actions, that you would even consider immoral and evil, if a human being was doing them, or if they had absolutely no knowledge the stories were about their god from the OT. They are brainwashed that to question this? Would be to doubt and question god and that is evil. So they are reinforced again and again? To literally ignore all the evil that their god did in the OT as TRUE EVIL, and proclaim it as good and loving when it comes time to their god, when again? Any other human or god doing these same things? They would declare pure evil.
If Christians were actually logical and honest with themselves? They would see this with their own eyes.
After a few discussions with some Christians? I have come to realize something. Atheists, LGBTS, Pagans, Native Americans and all others that Christians have either historically persecuted? Or still persecute to this day? Are actually? More Christian than those who DARE proclaim themselves Christians are.
The Basic Rules of being a follower of Jesus Christ and calling yourself a Christian
Generally? The basic rules of Christianity, even from those whom I debate and they say the Fake Christians are not the True Christians and a True Follower of Jesus acts this way, describe a True Christian this way.
Love above all else is the rule. If you do not love your neighbors which is all your fellow human being? Even those whom YOU consider your enemy? Then you cannot call yourself a True Christian. If Jesus loved all of us? And we say we are a True Christian? Then we must love everyone else no matter what, just as Jesus did for you.
You cannot spread hate, violence, anger in the name of Jesus. Jesus could have killed all the Romans and his enemies if he wanted to. He did not preach hate, but love. He did not preach war but peace. He did not practice punching his enemy in the face but he turned the other cheek. Even when he was dying on that cross for you? He forgave those who put him up on that cross. He got mad at the false teachers and even stated? Any true follower of his? Should do the same. There is nothing wrong with going after the money changers, the false prophets, the preachers and teachers of hate. If he went after them and even turned over their tables in the very Temple? Then so should all True Christians do this to all those they declare Fake Christians.
You cannot judge anyone. Jesus commanded that you were never to judge others, unless YOU were completely without sin and could cast the first stone. That you were to go correct your brothers and sisters in love when they were wrong, but you were never to judge them worthy of heaven or hell, because only your God and Jesus can judge you worthy of either heaven or hell. And even the bible says to never judge another, for as you judge another the same judgement shall be given to you. And the same measure you use to judge another? Shall be the same measure used to judge you. So take the massive mote out of your own eye Christians, before you attempt to take the tiny mote out of my eyes.
You must always TURN the other cheek and forgive your enemies or those who slap you in the face even. And not once, but as many times as you need to. Not only must you turn the other cheek? You must also pray for those who slap that cheek or those whom you consider your enemy. You must NEVER allow the sun to set with anger or hate in your heart against anyone. This is how all True Christians are always supposed to act for it is just like your own Lord and Savior acted. Even before you go to a church? If you are mad at any of your brothers and sisters? You must first go make your peace with them before you even go before the altar of the church.
How are Atheists, LGBTS, Native Americans, Pagans and others more Christian than most who DARE call themselves Christians?
Pagans have been turning the other cheek to Christians really since 335 AD when Christians made it a death penalty punishment to be a Pagan and started their Christian forced conversion persecution of Pagans.
I’ve met and known many Pagans of all different types through my years and I have read a whole lot of books from Pagan authors and at no time? Have I ever read in any Pagan literature where Pagans demand that Christians be put to death as witches and heretics lmfao.
Matter of fact? The biggest rule for most Pagans/Wiccans is? And it harm none? Do what thou will. That means harming not only other people? But even causing harm to yourself. And Christians can doubt this but? Even their “archenemy and scapegoat” the Satanists? Their rules are actually more moral and civil than the Christians. Their biggest rule above all else is also? Do what thou will but harm none.
Face it, some of the biggest persecutors of LGBTS are from the Abrahamic religions. In the areas where Christianity rules the roost? Their biggest persecutors are Christians. In Islamic regions? Guess what? It is the Muslims. Yes, it is a death penalty punishment in 14 Muslim countries to be an lgbt and they do put to brutal deaths lgbts. But guess what CHRISTIANS…YOU ARE ACTUALLY? NO BETTER.
There are many of those who call themselves Christians? Sitting in our prisons for brutally murdering lgbts all in the name of their Christianity. Many others who call themselves in prison calling themselves Christians who have beaten, tortured, raped, etc lgbts. Many for committing acts of arson and terrorism against lgbt establishments. And?
You got many Christian Pastors of Hate screaming like rabid dogs foaming at the mouth demanding brutal death penalty punishments against lgbts in the US and? Around the world. Hell, at least three of them? Are responsible for the persecutions of lgbts in Uganda, Nigeria, Russia and their satelite countries and many other places. In Uganda and Nigeria? Lgbts are put to brutal deaths by murder by those who are Christians who are riled up by the lies and evil they are told, all manufactured by these US Pastors of Hate.
We barely hear any Christians cry about these lgbts deaths or persecutions. But? We will hear a whole lot from Christians how lgbts should just shut the fuck up, go back in their closets and fucking die. Or how they are persecuting Christians by simply asking a baker to make them a wedding cake. These same hypocrite freaking bakers who have no problem making cakes for any adulterer who is equally and even more condemned in the bible? Than homosexuals are. Oh the fucking irony and hypocrisy huh?
But again? LGBTS keep turning their other cheek, as Christians try to rip that side off and demand that LGBTS keep turning their cheeks while Christians will cry if an LGBT tells them to just simply go fuck themselves. And what REALLY proves how LGBTS are more Christian than Christians are?
THEY DO NOT DEMAND THAT ANY CHRISTIAN BE PUT TO BRUTAL DEATHS, NOR HAVE ALL YOUR DAMN RIGHTS TAKEN AWAY AND PUT INTO NAZI STYLE CONCENTRATION CAMPS, OR DEMAND THE GOVERNMENT PUT YOU ALL TO DEATH NOW DO THEY?
But I hear Christian Pastors of Hate? Demanding this be done to them and all their psychotic, foaming at the mouth pew polishers shouting hearty amens and praise the lawds over this shit. And hey, you cannot tell them to stop their shit cause then? YOU ARE PERSECUTING CHRISTIANS!!!
And even funnier? LGBTS would just love? To be around you guys in your damn churches and gatherings not in hate? But in love.
And many of you? When you even find out your kid might be gay or lesbian? will throw those kids out onto the street and disown them. How the fuck do you call yourself a Christian over that when you do that to your own kid and hate them? Fuck you. Sure that might seems to be changing? But any fucking person who does this to a child? Has no fucking right to call themselves a parent in the first place, let alone be calling themselves a fucking human being.
But NOPE LGBTS are again? Proving by their turning the other cheek to Christians again and again? And even loving you guys? Whom they should in fact? Consider their enemies cause many of you really want to do them all manner of harm? And even wanting to join your damn churches? Well hey.
Again, Native Americans? Are more Christian than Christians. Christians did all they could to wipe us Native Americans off the face of the earth. They literally tried to commit what is known as extermination which is hugely different than just genocide. The Christians committed all kinds of warfare, from brutal slaughters to germ and other warfare. I could spend thousands of words describing all the things that Christians did to us Native Americans in North, Central and South America. But the plain and simple fact and truth is? Christians did in fact? Try to wipe us off the face of the earth.
And again? Do you see or hear Natives stating a complete and total rise up of ALL Red Nations and take it all back from you guys? Trust me, if we truly wanted to take it all back? WE COULD. One Native American Warrior? Is worth one hundred Christian warriors. And some? Are worth a thousand of them. But? WE just again? Want to be left in peace really. To be allowed to go back to our ways, to have you assholes leave what is left to us alone and stop trying to finish off polluting it, and destroying it, or destroying OUR Native cemetaries for your fucking golf courses, your fucking homes and your fucking football stadiums. I mean how the fuck would you guys like if if we Natives demanded all the graves at Arlington National Cemetary or the cemetaries where YOUR loved ones are buried and ripped up and a casino built upon them?
But nope, we Natives really wish you fucking Christians would actually leave us the hell alone. Yes, thank you to those Christians who are finally waking the fuck up and realizing what your Christians did to us, and thanks for the love. We do if you believe it? LOVE you all too.
Actually? I know MANY Red brothers and sisters? Who hold pow-wows and prayer sessions for you whites and Christians. Pretty freaking damn cool huh? So again? Native Americans? Turning the other cheek again, attempting to the best of our ability to love you Christians who consider us your enemies and want to continue to do us harm or insult, denigrate and defame us tell outrageous bullshit talking out of their asshole lies about us, or blame us for all the shit that was brought upon us by the “love, peace, non-judgment” of Christians on their fucking death camps Christians called reservations after their death marches to them
And here we go. Atheists. Yeah you Christians been forcing us to live in the fucking shadows for a very long time. You assholes been persecuting Atheists for so long? Well. But again? When I do say I want to see Christians reap what they have sown and see whole towns or whole churches of Christians brutally murdered or wiped out? NO, THAT IS IN FACT? MY PISSED OFF SATIRICAL SIDE THROWING THIS SHIT I HEAR FROM THESE SICK AND TWISTED OUTRAGEOUS CHRISTIAN PASTORS OF HATE AND DEATH BACK INTO ALL CHRISTIANS FACES CAUSE I AM FUCKING SICK AND TIRED OF HEARING IT FROM THOSE WHO CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIANS, AND THEN WHEN I BITCH ABOUT IT? THOSE TRUE CHRISTIANS PLAY THEIR FUCKING GAMES OF NO TRUE SCOTSMAN LINE OF APOLOGETIC BULLSHIT AND OTHER BULLSHIT WHY THEY DO NOT HAVE THE FUCKING BALLS TO PUT A STOP TO THESE “FAKE CHRISTIANS” THEY KEEP CALLING THESE ASSHOLES THEMSELVES.
SO HOW THE FUCK IT IS AN ATHEIST IS PERSECUTING A CHRISTIAN? WHEN THEY THEMSELVES? DO NOT EVEN CALL THE PERSON A FUCKING CHRISTIAN THEMSELVES? OH THE HYPOCRISY AND IDIOCY OF CHRISTIANS LET ME FUCKING TELL YA LMFAO.
But honestly? This atheist? Would rather sit down with ya, smoke a big old bong, and either play cribbage or backgammon with ya, or watch some music videos or a movie, or go out and have some other fun. Not fucking fight with ya, not hate on ya, etc.
But honestly? We atheists? Could in fact? Be standing up to you guys in ways you would not believe. We are again? Turning the other cheek, trying to just live with you guys who actually? Do not even like us atheists in most polls and think we are lower than muslim terrorists and fucking pedophiles. I mean WTF.
So that makes us Atheists? Even more Christians than 99% of you who DARE call yourselves Christians. Just like Pagans, LGBTS, Native Americans and many others Christians love to persecute or have persecuted in their 1700 years of Christianity.
These disgusting trodlogytes for the Pedophiles of Bob Jones University love to unmercifully attack the victims of the disgusting pedophiles of the Bob Jones University. They love attacking anyone who DARES help defend and support the victims of their Bob Jones University Pedophiles.
Psycho Sally and her BJU Rapist and Pedophile Defending Crew says none of any of this happened. They attack the victims as liars and go after them in unmerciful and vile and evil ways. They think their gang of creeps can bully the victims of Bob Jones University’s rapists and pedophiles into silence or anyone who dares to help them. I got news for Psycho Sally and her crew. She met someone who has absolutely no fear of punk assed bullies like her or her crew. Or any pedophile or rapist or defenders of pedophiles and rapists cause all they are? Are the lowest form of sub-human shitstain trodogytes on the face of the planet and deserve to be eliminated off the face of the planet so they harm no one ever again.
NO MERCY should be given to ANY rapist or pedophiles, especially religions ones. They never give mercy to their victims or survivors do they? Well then they deserve what they sow back and shown and given absolutely no mercy. A death penalty punishment should be automatic for pedophiles and rapists. They are vermin who deserve to be wiped off the face of the earth and if we put dogs to death for biting children? How much more should we put these rabid religious dogs who rape children or others to death?
So here is another edition exposing the vile evil den of rapists and pedophiles at Bob Jones University.
Rape victims say Bob Jones University told them to repent
Former students at ‘the fortress of faith’ who reported sexual abuse say they were told they had sinned
By Claire Gordon
Raised in a conservative Mennonite home in rural Ohio, Katie Landry was a sheltered kid. She hadn’t even held hands with a boy when, at age 19, she says her supervisor at her summer job raped her. Two years later, and desperate for help, she reported the abuse to the dean of students at her college.
“He goes, ‘Well, there’s always a sin under other sin. There’s a root sin,’” Landry remembers. “And he said, ‘We have to find the sin in your life that caused your rape.’ And I just ran.“
Landry ended up dropping out of college, and didn’t tell anyone else for five years.
Her college was Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., the flagship campus of American fundamentalism, which teaches a literal interpretation of the Bible and separation from the world. Last year, BJU hired a watchdog group to investigate how it may have failed victims of sexual abuse. The so-called “fortress of faith,” one of the most closed-off Christian colleges in America, was finally opening itself up.
In an America Tonight investigation, five former students detailed similar and scarring treatment at the hands of BJU faculty. They spoke of a larger culture that heaped on shame and pushed them to silence — one focused on purity and reputation, and insistent on unquestioning obedience. But most damaging was how, through the language of Scripture, victims say they were told that their sins had brought on their rapes, that their trauma meant they were fighting God and that healing came from forgiving their rapists.
The women interviewed for this article attended BJU during the course of three different decades – from the early 1990s to the 2010s – and none of them have fully recovered.
I. Root sin
In 2004, Landry worked over the summer for an ambulance company in Columbus, Ohio. One night, she was counting supplies in the back of an ambulance, when she says she felt the prick of a needle.
“I just couldn’t move and he came over and he took my clothes off,” she remembered. “I could still speak, so I was telling him, ‘No.’ And he raped me and my eyes filled with tears, but I couldn’t brush the tears away.”
Told that he “would do worse” to her 9-year-old sister if she didn’t come back, Landry said she had five more shifts, and was raped three more times, before she left for her freshman year at BJU.
Landry didn’t know the word rape; she only knew adultery, and liked the man’s wife, she said. Afraid of her attacker and deeply ashamed, she said she failed most her classes first semester, and kept her assaults a secret until her junior year.
“I just needed help,” she said. “I needed help really bad.”
Landry said she was referred to Jim Berg, then the dean of students. After she shared her story, she said Berg asked whether she’d been drinking or smoking pot and if she’d been “impure.” When he brought up her “root sin,” she said she raced out of the building.
“He just confirmed my worst nightmare,” Landry said. “It was something I had done. It was something about me. It was my fault.”
A page from the book, “Becoming an Effective Christian Counselor,” in the section on incest.BJU Press
BJU practices, preaches and instructs a version of Christian counseling that rejects “secular psychology.” In the school’s worldview, almost all mental problems – beyond the medical – are the result of sin. As explained in the 1996 book, “Becoming an Effective Christian Counselor,” “most people in mental hospitals are not sick; they are sinful.”
Written by Walter Fremont, who was the dean of education at BJU for 37 years, and his wife Trudy Fremont, a former BJU professor, the book specifically addresses incest and rape, advising counselors to emphasize that blame lies with the abuser. But the authors also make clear that being sexually assaulted is no excuse for the sinful feelings of discontentment, hate, fear, and especially, bitterness – unresolved anger that “in reality is rebellion and bitterness against God.”
In a 2009 BJU chapel service, former adjunct professor Rand Hummel recounts how he instructed a young woman to ask her abuser – her stepdad – for forgiveness for her bitterness, and that afterwards, he received a letter from her saying, “Finally, for the first time in my teenage life, I can smile.”
[Editor’s note: The below video is edited, because the original could only be found in clips, courtesy of Darrell Dow. The two cuts are clearly marked, and you can listen to the full audio of the sermon here.]
“I didn’t even know what sex was at that point,” she said. “All I knew was that it hurt and that I didn’t like it.”
When she started at BJU in the late 2000s, Sarah said she was haunted by flashbacks, nightmares and a deep fear of men, and was excited to finally get help. She was referred to Pat Berg, a professor of counseling at BJU and the wife of Jim Berg.
“I would say that the impact of the two years of counseling I had with her is that I felt like I had been raped all over again,” she said.
In their many sessions, Sarah said Berg fixated on her “sin,” and then blamed her when she failed to “get better.” She said Berg told her that she needed to repent of any pleasure she experienced during her abuse. Since BJU doesn’t recognize psychiatric concepts like post-traumatic stress disorder, she said she was also told that she was choosing her trauma symptoms.
“I remember her looking at me and saying, ‘You know that the nightmares are your own fault, because you’re choosing to replay pornographic thoughts in your mind,’” she said.
According to emails, Berg also advised Sarah to call her rapist and ask for forgiveness. Sarah said Berg told her that if she didn’t forgive, God wouldn’t be able to “use her.”
But talking to her rapist didn’t make Sarah feel better.
“Picking up that phone that day and calling him was one of the most gut-wrenchingly hard things that I ever had to do,” she said. “It didn’t bring me closure. Instead, it was like sticking a knife inside me and twisting it harder.”
Suicidal and overwhelmed by flashbacks and nightmares, Sarah said she kept going to counseling because “she was so desperate for some ray of light.” But instead, she said Berg told her that if she’d asked God’s forgiveness, she should be fine, and Sarah “walked out of her office for the last time with no hope.”
Through a BJU spokesman, Pat Berg said Sarah’s allegations were “patently false.” BJU wouldn’t respond to any of the other claims until the results of the independent investigation are released. Jim Berg has yet to respond to requests for an interview.
Writing through the university Facebook’s account, a school representative said, “We certainly encourage victims to report any illegal activity to applicable law enforcement agencies as these types of criminals may strike again.” None of the former students interviewed said that they were ever told their abuse was a crime.
This response to rape reports isn’t unique to BJU, according to Peter Janci of the Portland law firm O’Donnell Clark & Crew. In the dozens of sex abuse cases he’s brought against religious organizations, Janci says he’s found this type of victim-blaming reaction to be “all too common.”
“We’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg of the issue of sexual exploitation in Protestant churches,” said Janci, who grew up in an evangelical home. “They haven’t been held accountable.”
The method of counseling at BJU ends up punishing victims far more than their abusers, according to Julia , a former BJU student, who was also counseled by Jim Berg.
“[The offenders] are able to quickly move on. They say they’re sorry, they’re repentant, so they go right back,” she said. “As the victims continue to struggle in the aftermath, we are the ones seen to be in sin. Struggling with fear, confusion, anger, talking about what happened, or any other reaction to trauma is seen as sin. We are expected to repent of those sins and live as though nothing happened.”
Twenty years ago, Julia received counseling from Jim Berg for an eating disorder. Growing up in a ministry, she was familiar with fundamentalist views on sexual abuse, and so never brought up the abuse she says she experienced as a child.
“You’re worthless if you’ve been abused,” she said. “I knew enough to never, ever, ever, ever mention what had happened.”
Berg said her eating disorder was “a lifestyle of sin,” and Julia graduated believing “God has spit me out,” she said. Seven months later, she says a co-worker and Bob Jones ministry student raped her. She thought of him as “the tool that God used to punish me.”
Within a week, she said Berg found the man responsible and expelled him, but three semesters later, he was allowed to come back. When she expressed her fear to an administrator, Julia said she was asked whether she would really want to prevent a “Godly man” from getting an education that would allow him to “serve the Lord.”
A couple years ago, Julia found out that her alleged rapist was in Christian ministry in another country, and was wracked with guilt that she never reported him.
“He’s a sex offender and he’s in ministry,” she said, “and what if he hurts somebody else?”
At the request of BJU, the nonprofit Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) is currently investigating the university for how it’s handled sexual abuse. More than 100 people have come forward to GRACE investigators, and the report is due out in the next few months. Boz Tchividjian, the head of GRACE, believes Christian organizations across the country have failed victims in similar ways, and that the Protestant world could in fact be “worse” than the Catholic Church.
When GRACE investigates an organization – usually churches and ministries – Tchividjian said the goal is the same: Get the institution to demonstrate “authentic repentance.”
After graduating BJU, Sarah took matters into her own hands and reported her rapist to the police. He was recently convicted of sexual battery of a minor under the age of 12.
“If you would have told me that dark day when I walked out of [Pat Berg’s] office with no hope, that one day my rapist would be convicted and sentenced to prison, that I would be living a stable, successful life and that I would be healing from my abuse, I would never have been able to believe you,” she said. “But those are the miracles that I have seen my God do.”
Last year, Landry, now 31, moved to New Orleans, and started a tour business of the city’s historic madams and brothels. She still has dark days, but says she has no anger toward BJU, or regrets about going there. She remembers in particular her Bible teacher telling the class about the Greek word “metanoia”: It’s translated as “repentance,” which suggests anguish; but more accurately, it means to completely change the way you think about something.
“I’m going to use the language that Bob Jones University should definitely understand here, when I say, I want you to repent, I want you to metanoia of your leadership,” she said. “I want you to repent, I want you to metanoia of covering up and protecting men who have sexually abused young women and children – and many. I want you to repent, I want you to metanoia this rape culture mentality that you have bought into and tried to sprinkle God over.”
1. Sarah asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation.
2. Julia asked to remain anonymous out of concern that she might negatively impact the GRACE investigation.
Top Ten Signs You’re a Fundamentalist Christian
Taken from Top Ten List
10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9 – You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!
6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”
3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.
2 – You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.
Alabama Pastor Raped 9-Year-Old Girl On Father’s Grave
By Michael Stone
“My pastor was my rapist.” An Alabama pastor is accused of raping, torturing, and sexually abusing multiple children, including the rape of a 9-year-old girl on her father’s grave.
AL.com reports Mack Charles Andrews, a pastor at the conservative United Pentecostal Church, First United Pentecostal Church in Thomasville, Alabama, is accused of sexually torturing, abusing, and raping multiple underage victims.
One of Andrews’ victims spoke about the abuse using the pseudonym “Jane” to conceal her identity. Jane reports Andrews allegedly started “grooming” her for sexual abuse when she was only 7.
Jane says she lost her virginity to her pastor on her father’s grave when she was just 9 years old, and explains how Andrews used religious superstition to terrorize her:
He told me if I didn’t say anything, he would come back and put flowers on the grave. If I did, he said demons would come and get me from my bed.
AL.com reports Jane was subjected to sexual torture prior to the rape, noting Andrews allegedly violated her with drumsticks, pens, letter openers, a figurine and even a flashlight, “grooming” her for future sexual abuse.
Jane reports the heinous abuse began when she was only 7 years old and was part of the “grooming process” to prepare her for the rape she would endure two years later. Jane said Andrews “started grooming these girls early,” before stating:
A 7-year-old girl isn’t ready to take a full grown man.
Raw Story reports the abuse allegedly went on for years. Jane told authorities her abuse at the hands of Andrews lasted 5 years (from age 7-12) until she left the church.
Jane said she doesn’t know how many victims exist but believes it was a great many. Describing the conservative United Pentecostal Church, a church that forbids girls from wearing make-up or pants and requires females to wear floor length dresses, Jane said:
It was like a cult. He was the leader, and we were the sacrifices. I think there were a lot of people who were ashamed to come forward.
Pastor Andrews was originally arrested on Oct. 3, 2013 on multiple counts of rape, sexual abuse, attempted rape, sodomy and sexual torture, according to court records.
AL.com reports that warrants filed in 2013 tell of four victims:
In January 1990, Andrews allegedly raped another girl, then 13, another warrant states. Andrews allegedly attempted to rape another 13-year-old girl in March 1990, yet another record states. In summer of 1994, Andrews allegedly sexually abused a 16-year-old girl.
Andrews, who has been in jail for the last two years, was in court yesterday, Sept. 22, for a settlement docket, but he did not enter into a plea settlement.
However, at the request of Andrews’ attorney, Clarke County Judge Robert Montgomery issued a gag order on the case. Andrews attorney requested a gag order on all involved in the case including alleged victims, and also requested the order cover social media outlets such as Facebook.
Trial is set for the week of Nov. 16. If convicted, Andrews faces life in prison.
UPDATE: Andrews pleaded guilty to raping, sexually abusing and sodomizing multiple young girls beginning in the 1980s and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.