Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pre-Christmas Sunday Sacrilegiousness: Come All and Learn How to Polish the Shaft at First Baptist Church



I hope you are all having a nice weekend and have finished all of your shopping and miscellaneous arrangements for the holidays. Given that there is a "war on Christmas," I wanted to do my part by sharing this story about the "religiously minded" and devout "Christians" doing wrong.

Many churches are shows and spectacles. How else could they pass that donation bowl around if there was not some entertainment value to be had?

Folks are there to see each other, profile, and to gossip. Religious communities are also just another conglomeration of people with all of the good, bad, ugly, and the like thrown in. As the joke goes in the black community, and for certain evangelicals in particular, the preacher (and other religious leaders too) is the same cultural figure as the pimp--both drive nice cars, are flashy, wear lots of jewelry, make their money by exploiting others, and are cults of personality who exploit the weak and vulnerable.

Apparently, that rule is especially true for First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana.

Let me be clear. I would certainly enjoy a sermon about masturbation and polished shafts. I am practical that way:
In July 2010, an hour into the “Polished Shaft” sermon—in a church packed with thousands of teenagers there for a youth conference—Schaap went further. He lifted a stick in his left hand and a silver cloth in his right. He moved the bottom of the stick near his groin and angled it away from himself. Head thrown back, eyes squeezed shut, mouth gaping, he began rubbing the shaft rapidly with the cloth, up and down, up and down…. What he was doing was unmistakable: simulating masturbation, in front of thousands of children, in the middle of a church service. A row of white-coated high-ranking churchmen seated behind Schaap watched in silence.
I would also be a regular church goer if there were sermons like this one within walking distance. The after party and "fellowship" must be particularly joyous:
The true believers of the ultrafundamentalist Independent Baptist movement were accustomed to Schaap’s style. If he wasn’t scolding his flock for not living up to God’s demands (tithing, volunteering, “soul winning”), he was delivering R-rated sermons that, for example, likened the Lord’s Supper to having sex with Jesus Christ. “He would just repeatedly talk about sex and repeatedly talk about women, how they were dressed and body parts . . . in graphic detail,” recalls Tom Brennan, who attended the church for six years and is now an Independent Baptist pastor at Maplewood Bible Baptist Church in Chicago.
I am suspicious of authority figures. I am especially suspicious of those who have power in a community where magical thinking, i.e "faith" are used to legitimate it. Once any person starts channeling "the word of god" my default judgement is that they 1) need counseling and 2) are egomaniacs who are not to be trusted for they can rationalize their own deeds through appeals to a "higher authority." In all, bad people can use the religiously minded and group think as covers for, and a means to, further their own wickedness.

That is not God's fault; it human nature. Even while writing said sentence I must default to the puzzle of theodicy in order to resolve the two statements.

The outcome at the First Baptist church would seem to validate said observation:

Unfortunately, it went well beyond talk. Last September, Schaap, 54, a married father of two, pleaded guilty to taking a 16-year-old girl he was counseling at First Baptist across state lines to have sex. Denied bond, he awaits sentencing in the Porter County Jail; the minimum term is ten years.
But Schaap is not simply one of those rogue evangelists who thunders against the evils of forbidden sex while indulging in it himself. According to dozens of current and former church members, religion experts, and historians interviewed by Chicago—plus a review of thousands of pages of court documents—he is part of what some call a deeply embedded culture of misogyny and sexual and physical abuse at one of the nation’s largest churches. 
Multiple websites tracking the First Baptist Church of Hammond have identified more than a dozen men with ties to the church—many of whom graduated from its college, Hyles-Anderson, or its annual Pastors’ Schools—who fanned out around the country, preaching at their own churches and racking up a string of arrests and civil lawsuits, including physical abuse of minors, sexual molestation, and rape.
The whole piece in Chicago Magazine is well worth reading. It is not at all surprising given how the "moral majority" projects their own insecurities and deviant predilections onto others.

8 comments:

CNu said...

thanks bruv...,

Merry Christmas to you and your'n - and give your moms a hug for me.

Q: I should like to ask a question. I should like to know....I remember myself many times a day, but I believe that my remembering is not voluntary. It is only the result of an association which leads me to work. How can I make a remembering that results from my wishing and not from y associations?

A: There exists a very good way. Is your father or your mother alive?

Both of them.

A: With or without them. You do it interiorly. For example, "I am". When they are there, you look at them. When they are not there, you represent them to yourself. You say to yourself, for each one of them, "I am thou, thou art I". You are the result of your parents. You are the same blood, remember that bruv.

Later, I will explain this to you. Meanwhile, do this. Accustom yourself interiorly to be very quiet and to see sincerely and with affection your mother. Objectively, she is more than God. God himself said, "as long as your father and mother live, I do not exist for you".

Q: Why must one thus represent to oneself one's father and mother?

A: You owe your life to them. But that is another question and we shall see it later. It is a law. In the meantime, take it objectively. Your father and mother are more than God. If you pray to God, God himself can send you to the devil, "after their death, you will come to me"

I give you this because it will help you. It is difficult to remember yourself. Associations will not help you, in order to remember yourself, you must make an effort of will. Your associations are not you, they are mechanical and accidental. After you have worked for a while, your associations will remain automatic, however, if you do what I recommend above, your work will have a relation to something ideal, too real. Your mother and father are not merely associations, they are the ground of you.

Parental investment.

Everything else, is merely conversation.

chaunceydevega said...

@Cnu. How many of us have that to be thankful for? How many of us don't tell our parents when they are here and alive?

I totally dropped the ball by not thanking the kind donors to my fund raising effort. Didn't get enough to go home, but did get enough to send mom some money and to get a ticket for febuary/january. I also, thanks to folks' kindness, will be getting a proper mic.

What are you up to with you and yours for the holiday?

Thrasher said...

Yawn ..,

CNu said...

lol, this niggah..., AW LAWD!!!!!

CNu said...

What are you up to with you and yours for the holiday?

Baby girl home for the holiday. She got a boyfriend from NYC of whom I wholly approve. 6'4", Ivy league football player, looks like me and my son, acts right, thinks right, treats my baby right.

One of my paternal uncles died last thursday at the ripe old age of 96. Thinking about making that homeward move west, halfway to Colorado, might as well go all the way and ski, since I think most of the slopes are open now after last week's little snow.

You know, skiing is the number one attraction now - as always - in the great state of Colorado. Lot to think about on that point with regard to these chirrens and staying on the straight and narrow.

Nah'meen?

chaunceydevega said...

@Thrasher. It is the holidays. I will let your silliness stand. Plus, I will assume your yawning is from all the Cold Duck you drink at the holidays after the rubdowns you get from your plane ideas basement dwellers.

@Cnu. Sorry for your loss. Long lived your Uncle was, where did he come from in the South or was he from Texas or the like?

CNu said...

Colorado free territory negroes..., the first black graduate of the Wichita State University, and, with a major in mathematics.

Never got a job beyond the meat packing house, and drank many a deep water fish under the table. I still find it damn-near impossible to believe that this bruvva made it to the extremely ripe old age of 96 given that his liver alone had to be 196 years old by itself...,

I did love his wife, my aint Babe who was purple black with the finest shape and features on gawd's green earth, a husky tenor voice, and just the sweetest, kindest, and most understanding temperament on the face of the earth.

Uncle Sonny was a tall, good-looking, upright, handsome, and exceptionally intelligent man who had to suppress his natural proclivities for longer than most people get to live.

Belee me bruv, I understand the drinking....,

chaunceydevega said...

@Cnu. The bottle can be comfort or poison...sometimes both.

I can only imagine what men of his generation had to go through. Today, men with that steel aren't here anymore. The remainder boohoo about the NBA and other related silliness.

The Elder Gods are still watching us all though.