I spoke at length today with an old friend from the private Christian school we both attended. I haven't had contact with him in twenty years.
About two weeks before my graduation day in the early eighties, a sex scandal broke the church which hosted the school. The pastor was caught in the church building “in the act” with a young man whom he'd groomed from the time that man had been a minor. We talked about the awkwardness we still encounter when we talk with people from the school or the church. Some made a grand exodus out of the place when the church was informed about the incident at a membership meeting. Others denied the allegations and testimonies and continued to support the pastor. We never know what which person will take which side, as decades later, many continue to defend the pedophile as the virtuous victim of false allegations. Those involved never filed charges against the the child predator, and I don't know that anyone speaks publicly about what happened (besides me).
My mother attended a private prayer meeting when I was a four year old, and one of the pastor's then lovers, a married, young assistant pastor, showed up to confess that he was committing adultery with the pastor, also sinning against his wife. My mother was advised to say nothing, and “touch not mine anointed” was quoted to her, cast as though it was God's command to keep silent about any sin in a “Man of Gawd.” She had been an evangelical Christian for only a year at that point, and she did what the more mature Christians at the prayer meeting advised (per the imperatives of the Shepherding Discipleship Movement). That's when we retreated to the Assemblies of God, leaving that church behind like some kind of “Paradise Lost” in the way my mother lamented about it.
I stated to my friend today that I often wonder that if the people who were at the prayer meeting that day had come forward in 1970 to tell the congregation what they'd learned, would it have prevented these other young men from being molested by that pastor? The pastor apparently switched soon after that prayer meeting confession of his lover from bringing in short term assistant pastor interns for gratification and started to use local boys to satisfy his appetites instead. I cannot help but think about how ironic it is that this media event to support the survivors of abuse at the hands of a Calvary Chapel pastor occurs today, and for obvious reasons, I'm proud to participate in it.
The Case of the Calvary Chapel Pastor
|Get the T-shirt.|
The previous post notes the spiritually abusive culture of Shepherding followed within the network of the Calvary Chapel churches associated with Chuck Smith. An old Christianity Today article notes the problems in the church system, and you can get a “reader's digest” version of things in a great article at the Daily Beast.
Today, a former member of one of the affiliate churches and the son of the pastor at the church have asked for support with a “media blitz” to expose the hypocrisy within the group. Bob Grenier who pastors a Calvary Chapel church in Visalia, CA filed a defamation suit against his stepson and the former member of the church to silence their allegations online that he was sexually and physically abusive.
In July, 2010, The Fresno Bee reported that two of the three sons, Paul and Alex Grenier, filed criminal complaints earlier that year, alleging their father physically abused them as boys — savagely and routinely beating them.
Back then both sons said their father, pastor Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia — volunteer chaplain at the Visalia Police Department — “has so much clout that police won’t properly investigate — and won’t even give them copies of their own complaint.”
In a breaking news summary statement today at www.CalvaryChapelAbuse.com, the site provides a link to Paul Grenier's statement to the Tulare County Superior Court in California on February 19, 2013. The document can be downloaded HERE. Paul Grenier is the biological son of Bob Grenier, the Calvary Chapel pastor in question. Paul came forward to corroborate the testimony of his half-brother, Alex.
From the testimony of Paul, the brother of the defendant:
- “Bob began sexually molesting me at the age of five years old.”
- “These abuses started with me being forced to shower with him naked against my will.”
- “The showers started with Bob washing me with soap and touching...”
- “I recall at least six occasions where Bob would insert his.... 'to make sure I was clean.'”
- “On two occasions I was forced to perform oral sex on Bob. Typical to the combination of the physical and sexual abuse I endured at Bob's hands, these showers would involve scalding hot water and I remember being in pain because of the heat of the water and also scared because of what he was doing to me...”
- “Once Bob would have me undress to nudity, he would then have me stand in front of him and had a paddle in his hand. He would...”
- “These are the beatings of a grown man standing behind a small child and hitting him with as much force as he possibly could. I was repeatedly told by Bob to relax. As humiliating as this is to share, and I am trembling as I write this, I remember Bob would become more angry if he could sense that my buttocks were not in a relaxed state. He would tell me to spread my buttocks apart. . .”
- “I never knew what to expect or when they were coming and it to this day is one of the most terrifying experiences of my life...”
Oppose the Tyranny
If you speak out against spiritual abuse online and elsewhere, if you gain benefit from those who do, and if you appreciate the freedom to be able to do so, please participate in the February 21 protest against those who oppose this liberty. Stand with those people who speak openly about the abuse that they endured at the hands of miserable religious groups – and stand beside them as they defend themselves against their own pastors and churches who use the civil court system to silence them. Help to shout from the rooftops that which is done in secret.
Please pop on over to Who Would Jesus Sue to find out more about how you can take action tomorrow today to stand along side Tim Taylor and Alex Grenier.
- Special thanks to Vyckie at No Longer Quivering at Patheos.com for blogging about this today. This issue is an important one for me.