Saturday, June 19, 2010

Baptist Scandal in New Hampshire, Girl Forced to Apologize before Entire Congregation for Being Raped and Impregnated by a Deacon

     I just learned of a horrendous child rape scandal at Trinity Baptist Church in New Hampshire, while listening to my FFRF podcasts.  The congregation is part of the Independent Fundalmental Baptists (IFB).  Anyone who has been abused in the IFB can find support and help through Freedom from Abuse Network.

     The Concord Monitor reports (quotes in italics):
     After being raped and impregnated by a fellow churchgoer more than twice her age, a 15-year-old Concord girl [Tina Anderson] was forced by Trinity Baptist Church leaders to stand before the congregation to apologize before they helped whisk her out of state, according to the police...The victim said she was sent to another church member's home in Colorado, where she was home-schooled and not allowed to have contact with others her age. It wasn't until this past February that the victim, who is now 28, decided to come forward after reading about other similar cases, realizing for the first time it wasn't her fault that she had been raped, she told the police.
     Last month, police arrested the former Trinity Baptist deacon, Ernest Willis, now 51, and charged him with two counts of rape and two counts of having sex with a minor.

     Much like the cases in the Catholic Church, at Trinity Baptist, it was the victim who was blamed, punished, and blacklisted, while the perpetrator remained in the congregation. 

     ABC News reports the details of the rapes, which also included Anderson's stepfather, a registered sex offender, sexually abusing her:
     Anderson's traumatic journey began at the age of 11 when for two years she says she was sexually abused by her stepfather, who with her mother is still an active member of Trinity Church. A registered sex offender, he served time in jail for a crime against another girl. When she later confided with church members they allegedly told her not to report the case.
     At the age of 14, Anderson was hired as a babysitter for the Willis family. She says the first assault occurred at her home when her parents were away.  "He said he wanted to talk to me about something so I let him in the house," she told police. "He locked the door behind him and pushed me over to the couch. I had a dress on and he pulled it off. I pushed my hands against his shoulders and said 'No,' but he didn't stop."  A year later, Willis allegedly assaulted her during a driving lesson behind a local business when he asked Anderson to "switch seats," according to her statement. He pulled her into the back and "raped" her, she said.
     "I was completely in shock, but too scared to go and tell anyone because I thought I would get blamed for what happened," she said.  Over the next few months, the girl became suspicious she was pregnant. She called Willis, who brought over a pregnancy test that came up positive, she told the police. "He asked me if I wanted him to take me to a neighboring state where underage abortions were legal . . . and he would pay for an abortion," she told the police. "He then asked me if I wanted him to punch me in the stomach as hard as he could because that might cause a miscarriage."
     Abused by her stepfather and raped by the church deacon, told not to report it by churchgoers, and a mother who did whatever the pastor said, Tina Anderson didn't stand a chance, and the actions of the congregation's pastor were as equally revolting as her perpetrators.  The Monitor continues:
     [Anderson] said [Trinity Baptist Pastor] Phelps told her she would be put up for "church discipline," where parishioners go before the congregation to apologize for their sins.  She asked why. "Pastor Phelps then said that (Willis) may have been 99 percent responsible, but I needed to confess my 1 percent guilt in the situation," the victim told the police.  "He told me that I should be happy that I didn't live in Old Testament times because I would have been stoned."
     Baptist Pastor Phelps forced the perpetrator to apologize to the congregation as well, for being unfaithful to his wife.  The pastor reported to the police that the sexual relationship between the rapist and girl was consensual and advised the family not to press charges.  The girl was sent away to live with strangers, who were IFB members, in a life of controlled solitude in Colorado.

     Once again, the Gospel According to Hate, preached in the name of a supposedly loving god, was used to destroy the life of a child.

Republicans Filibustering Senate Unemployment and Jobs Bill

     Millions of people in our country are unemployed.  In fact, we're facing the highest rate of longterm unemployment since the Great Depression.  We've been in a recession since George W. Bush was in office.  There are very few jobs available.  I know this, personally because I spent the entire 2008 calendar year unemployed, because I have a friend with a masters degree who's been unemployed for nearly two years, and another friend with a doctorate who's been unemployed nearly a year.

     At the end of this month, unemployment benefits will end for millions.  There is a Senate bill that will extend these benefits, but Republicans, along with Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut (Jewish) and Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska (Methodist), are filibustering the bill.  

     How's that for Judeo-Christian prophetic concern for the poor?

     Here what their prophet Zechariah had to say about treatment of the poor:
     Thus says the LORD of hosts: Render true judgment, and show kindness and compassion toward each other.  Do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the alien or the poor; do not plot evil against one another in your hearts. But they refused to listen; they stubbornly turned their backs and stopped their ears so as not to hear. And they made their hearts diamondhard so as not to hear the teaching and the message that the LORD of hosts had sent by his spirit through the former prophets.  (Zech 7: 9-14)

     Here is Rachel Maddow interviewing Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow (Democrat and Methodist). Stabenow's most telling line: "They're up to 234 objections and filibusters, which is unheard of in our country." The goal of the Republicans is stall the Senate from passing a jobs bill, but they are toying with the lives of unemployed Americans and their families.

Mark Kirk, Addicted to Lying

     The hypocricy of Congressman Mark Kirk, a Republican running for President Obama's vacant Senate seat in Illinois, continues to be exposed, because Kirk just can't quit lying. This time it's not his military credentials, but his teaching credentials that are in question, including some idiotic statements he made about three-year-old "munchkins packing heat" at diaper school.

Here's Rachel Maddow's report: