He seemed like the perfect preacher -- until his flock discovered his murder conviction

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Registered: 03-09-2001
He seemed like the perfect preacher -- until his flock discovered his murder conviction
8
Sun, 12-19-2010 - 3:40pm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/10/AR2010121005108.html?tid=wp_featuredstories

'We let a wolf in': He seemed like the perfect preacher -- until his flock discovered his murder conviction.

By Neely Tucker
Sunday, December 19, 2010

"HARRISONBURG, Va. --

The Harrisonburg Church of Christ is an unlikely setting for a bedtime horror story, the kind of Southern Gothic tale involving murder and mendacity and money and treachery and, by many accounts, the handiwork of Satan himself.

(article continues...)

YIKES! :O A story worthy of a movie about corrupt preachers and church politics... :| Makes me quite happy to be a member of a very small Circle/Coven with no money or property belonging to a "church/temple." I've lived through conflicts and political battles and cliques and so forth in churches in the past, and always left in disgust. Not a place to focus on the spiritual at all. A place to battle who has the truth, who's going to maintain the property, who owns the property, and so on. :| I feel very sorry for these people, and how they were victimized. Yet, some of the responsibility lies within themselves as well, I think. And when groups of people get together like this, even if originally "on the same page," things can change drastically. And people do a lot of things in the name of power and money, sex, even mental aberration.


Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



iVillage Member
Registered: 11-11-1999

Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.---Buddha

dablacksox


Cynic: a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.---Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001

Smart man! ;)


Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2002

The manner of death of that child, he should never have been released. My heartches for the mother of the boy.

But I never really understood the way other churchs operate like that because my church

Cl for Religion Debate
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001

Well, there are a lot of churches out there who are independents. Not under a "Diocese" or outside hierarchy or authority at all. So, the property belongs to the church community, in however they legally set it up, I guess. I know with the conflicts within the American Episcopal church, there have been lawsuits over property, between the local Diocese and the parishioners, who were able to take the property with them when "seceding" from the Diocese. :| Depending on how the original paperwork was written, in some cases, the court decided the Diocese maintains ownership. In others, the parishioners. There are a lot of independent little churches out there all calling themselves Christian, led by some self-appointed leader the members recognize as their spiritual head, but who are entities unto themselves, like this little church, apparently. And I guess they can structure things politically to control the property, policies, and hire/fire their religious leader, even decide how their group interprets their Bible, etc. There's no higher authority like a Bishop to go to, to sort things out. They have to fight it out amongst themselves. Unless some actual secular laws have been broken, I guess, and then the police can be involved, and/or lawsuits. Tragedies happen when access to the purse strings is uncontrolled and in the hands of someone who turns out to be untrustworthy scum.


Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2005

WOW! It's stories like this that make you hope that more people do background checks before any thing like this can happen again.

My first thought when I read this thread was what about forgiveness? What about letting God pass judgment and not us? Where does that fine line fall?


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001

Hi, Wendy. Thanks for carrying on the "conversation." :)

Well, I think that in this "mundane" world, we have secular laws set up to protect people from harm and being victimized. And unfortunately there are a lot of people who use religion as well as anything else, to scam others for power, money, etc. I think being the head of a church, being chosen to be, should be a discerning process, and references should be checked. But sometimes we want to believe something so hard, we stick our heads in the sand, and think it couldn't happen to us. I think these people did that. And I think it's easy to leave it up to our God/s. But I don't believe that's fair to the God/s, you know? :P After all, we're given intellect and reasoning power and hopefully, we develop common sense and problem solving skills, and ability to do some research before making big decisions (like who is in charge at this church).

I think church organizations, dioceses, and so forth, try to set up some kind of checks and balances. But look what happened even with the Catholic Church, which has all kinds of hierarchy, right? Child molestation and abuse went on for decades, and no one blew the whistle on these pedophiles, but kept them within the structure, just moving them from one parish to another. Horrifying, protect the structure, first, and not the children. :O But SECULAR law finally forced the Church as a whole to face what was going on, stop protecting itself, and weed these criminals out and have them face justice and consequences. So, "leaving it all up to God" didn't help these children much, did it? :|

Forgiveness, to me, never ever means, forgetting or letting someone off without full consequences of their actions. And that means facing up to secular law, and so on. And if a person habitually harms others, as this "perfect preacher" had done, we need to make sure his record follows him wherever he goes. And people know upfront what he has done, so he can't "smokescreen" them with fancy words, clothes, behavior. KWIM? Forgiving someone for doing harm does not mean you are foolish enough to allow yourself to be harmed again. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." IOW, that's why we have laws, records on felons, pedophiles, etc. To warn people who are often too trusting to look deeper than appearances and the "show" someone puts on. Or who are too caught up in the "love the sinner" and compassionate forgiveness syndromes, so they blind themselves and end up victimizing themselves and others, but putting their trust in the untrustworthy. Should people get a second chance if they've paid their debt to society? My answer: Maybe. Depends on what they did and if they can show themselves having changed for the better. It's their burden to prove themselves trustworthy. Not mine. They should have to earn respect again, but being honest about what they've done, and then working hard to change for the better. When it comes to sexual predators and pedophiles, or sociopaths or serial killers or rapists? Keep them locked up. There's no amount of jail time or psychiatric treatment that's enough. There is no cure for these criminals; they cannot ever be released back into society. Like Charles Manson. He should never get out. So, I say, it depends. "Forgiveness" does not mean looking the other way and allowing harm to come to other people in the name of "forgiveness" for the criminal. Not without safeguards and strong supervision and help for those who have done wrong. And if they can't come back into society without doing someone harm, and keep doing harm after they get out, having supposedly "paid their debt to society?" Then they need locked up. Permanently.



Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2005

Oh, I agree that the 'flock' really dropped the ball in not investigating this man in the first place. I was just wondering, if they had known his history, should they have forgiven him as the court system did and still hired him? I mean, hasn't he paid his bill if he's out of jail?

I also agree that the church had dropped the ball in letting all those pedifiles keep on preaching.

It also makes you question how people can look at somebody and say, oh, you seem like you're repentant, we'll let you go. How did he get out and stay out of jail with that history??? Who gets to decide that Charles Manson or William M. Drumheller III get to get out of jail? Should that system be more in check?


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001

Well, forgiving and trusting are not the same thing. And with that preacher's history, giving him the keys and financial access? Um, no. Not even if he "paid his debt" and served his prison term. Start him out in a minor role, don't give him the "purse strings" and don't give him full power. Let him prove himself first. Earn the position by showing he has indeed "reformed." Forgiveness, but then comes proving himself trustworthy again. That's part of *his* burden, IMO. And if they had had full knowledge of his past, and still had decided to take him on in their church, there should have been stipulations, so he had to prove himself trustworthy before being given the "keys to the kingdom" there. That he in fact hid his past and lied, means he had not accepted full responsibility for his previous actions, nor sought to do better in the future. Instead he fully intended to continued doing what he'd done before. By presenting himself as he did, he demonstrated he was, like a lot of released criminals, unfortunately, planning to go right on doing what he'd done before. Until caught. And convicted. Yet again. And again. :(

Sometimes people are just too naive. :| They refuse to see what's really in front of them. As for evil psychos like Manson, every time he comes up for parole, there are psychiatrists and the victims families to speak up. He hasn't been able to "snow" the prison doctors or wardens, that he's worthy of receiving parole. He continues to be considered too dangerous. I think parole boards in some cases, need to get a reality check with some of these "ring around the rosey" criminals who keep getting convicted of crimes again and again. And some of the prison psychologists and psychiatrists, too, for that matter. There's so much pressure because jails are so crowded, but it doesn't serve society or the criminals who just intend to keep doing what they do, again & again. So, they'll ask for forgiveness for murdering or torturing, or raping or molesting or assaulting, etc., get forgiven, be let go. FOR HOW MANY TIMES?! Forgiveness should not be mixed up with misplaced compassion or religiosity of forgiveness, in dealing with monsters like Manson, et al.


Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(