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More Paranoia About Pastors Being Arrested

A group of anti-gay leaders held a press conference in Texas the other day to deliver the usual decrees about the horrors of the dreaded gay agenda. Pastor Steve Washburn of First Baptist Pflugerville gave the typical “they’re going to start arresting pastors for preaching the word of God” bullshit.

Citing absolutely zero evidence, Washburn said that gay rights activists are trying to enact hate speech laws and throw pastors in jail.

“If it becomes illegal for us to stand in our pulpit and preach pro-family issues, if that biblical language becomes hate speech, if we are facing imprisonment by speaking our religion which is defended by the First Amendment, we are going to see thousands and thousands of Bible-preaching pastors going to jail,” he said. “And I don’t think anyone wants to see that.”

He’s right, no one wants to see that — including gay rights activists. No one other than a few fringe authoritarians would even suggest such a thing and even if they had some influence over policy, no such law could ever be passed or would survive a legal challenge if it did. This is pure delusional paranoia.

Comments

  1. dhall says

    They won’t be arrested, but they’ll probably continue to drive down church attendance as more people grow sick and tired of hearing them spout their hate and choose not to sit through it anymore. If these preachers want to know why attendance is dropping, particularly with the under-30 crowd, this would be one reason.

  2. raven says

    Pastor Steve Washburn of First Baptist Pflugerville gave the typical “they’re going to start arresting pastors for preaching the word of God”

    1. This translates from Fundiespeak to English as, “send us more money”.

    Much of what they say translates that way.

    2. Do the fundies ever notice that much of what they and their leaders say, never happens!!! Or makes any sense.

    Never seen that they do.

  3. John Pieret says

    we are going to see thousands and thousands of Bible-preaching pastors going to jail,” he said. “And I don’t think anyone wants to see that

    … and if you don’t, SEND MONEY!

  4. says

    If these preachers want to know why attendance is dropping, particularly with the under-30 crowd,

    Not so for Calvinist churches:

    From the NY Times:

    Attendance at Calvin-influenced worship conferences and churches is up, particularly among worshipers in their 20s and 30s.

  5. raven says

    It’s my impression that the fundies are becoming more extreme, more ugly, and more vicious.

    1. This might be because US xianity is declining rapidly and they know it.

    2. Sociologists say that isolated cults become more extreme. This is partly due to lack of dissent as groupthink takes over and they drift off into Jonestown/Heaven’s Gate territory.

    3. Probably a nice tailwind for the atheists. Hopefully, the uglier they get, they less of them there are. Jonestown isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, after all.

  6. raven says

    “If it becomes illegal for us to stand in our pulpit and preach pro-family issues, if that biblical language becomes hate speech,…

    Some biblical language, whatever that means, isn’t becoming hate speech. It is hate speech.

    Hate is the basis of fundie xianity. This was known a century ago, pointed out by Mencken, and many every since.

    Hate speech is completely legal though. Hate away xians, no one can stop you. Just don’t be surprised as your numbers keep going down. Many humans have better things to do with their lives than hate.

  7. Michael Heath says

    heddle,

    Does your own church still abuse gay children congregants by not treating them equal to heterosexual children but instead as fundamentally flawed because they’re gay rather than heterosexual?

    How ya doing on the women-front? Does your church still deny rights to women equal to those of males? Does your church still justify its discrimination against females because of the mythical Eve’s mythical act?

    Are you glad that Calvinist churches are supposedly increasing their share of younger members in spite of the fact Calvinists abuse gay children and discriminate against females? Is it good that Calvinists are grooming a new generation of people bigoted towards gay people and females?

  8. Chiroptera says

    I’ve said this before, but you’d think that if the Religious Right really felt they were being persecuted, they’d put more effort into protecting the First Amendment freedoms instead of putting into place mechanisms by which the state can interfere with the First Amendment liberties.

  9. Synfandel says

    @4 heddle wrote:

    From the NY Times:
    Attendance at Calvin-influenced worship conferences and churches is up, particularly among worshipers in their 20s and 30s.

    Of course it is. Hopeless predeterminationism is such so sexy!

  10. coragyps says

    “we are going to see thousands and thousands of Bible-preaching pastors going to jail,” he said. “And I don’t think anyone wants to see that.”

    Aren’t the poor possessors of a rock of cocaine being punished enough just by being confined together? Now they want to put Bible-preaching pastors in there with them??

  11. says

    Michael Heath,

    I’m sorry but your questions are of the fallacious question-begging/loaded-question variety. Literally of the “have you stopped beating your wife” pattern. In addition to being stupid in their own right, your questions (as usual) display ignorance. For example, this question:

    Does your own church still abuse gay children congregants by not treating them equal to heterosexual children but instead as fundamentally flawed because they’re gay rather than heterosexual?

    is awful/stupid beyond simply being fallacious.

    From an academic/theological viewpoint it displays ignorance, because Calvinist theology does not treat anyone, as you worded it, “instead as fundamentally flawed” (italics mine) but rather treats everyone as equally fundamentally flawed. I suggest you read up on the T in TULIP.

    It is also a stupid question in that it suggests that you know something about how we treat gay people in our church. But you don’t know jack about that, do you?

    Finally it is a stupid question in that is derailing. I made a factual rejoinder to a comment. You came back with unrelated value judgment/attack. How very Raging-Bee of you.

    So I won’t answer your questions. I might, if I have time, answer any put to me by an adult. But I won’t answer your stupidity.

  12. says

    We have marriage equality AND hate speech laws in Canada, yet the prisons aren’t overflowing with pastors and priests. Weird. I’m going to have to write to my MP.

  13. dharleyman says

    I have a question for Heddle. To what do your, or your church’s leadership, attribute the growth? I read the article you linked to and it alludes to some reasons, but it doesn’t focus on the reasons.

    Just wondering.

  14. says

    Chiroptera @8:

    I’ve said this before, but you’d think that if the Religious Right really felt they were being persecuted, they’d put more effort into protecting the First Amendment freedoms instead of putting into place mechanisms by which the state can interfere with the First Amendment liberties.

    But the fact that they can’t use the government to interfere with the First Amendment liberties is interference in their First Amendment liberties.

    As for heddle’s news, given who an abhorent theology Calvinism is, I find that very distressing.

  15. Sastra says

    This is pure delusional paranoia.

    I disagree. I suspect it’s adulterated with some psychological projection.

    I think I may also detect a faint taint of confusion. You know, the one where they conflate liberal gay Americans with Islamic fundamentalist theocrats.

  16. says

    dharleyman,

    I have a question for Heddle. To what do your, or your church’s leadership, attribute the growth? I read the article you linked to and it alludes to some reasons, but it doesn’t focus on the reasons.

    The answer will likely not satisfy you– we attribute it to God of course.

    If forced to put it into human terms I can only speak anecdotally. Our church is growing and most of the growth is (just like the article indicated) comes in the form of young people in their 20s and 30s. They all are different of course, but some common attributes:

    1) A zeal for serious study. These are Christians who like to dig into doctrine and like to question the status quo. Most of them know the bible cover to cover and have read a lot of theology. I’m not sure about cause and effect here, but the explosion of modern and accessible Calvinistic theology books either met a pent-up demand or created a generation of young Christians who are more into serious analysis than the previous generations–who take their faith more seriously as it were.

    1b) It then stands to reason that these young people are more religious than their parents. Many, in fact, do not come from Christian backgrounds or grew up in the mainline Protestant or RCC traditions.

    2) A passion for the poor. The younger people in our church continue to push us to serve our local community more.

    3) A disdain for theonomy. This is more for the middle-aged new arrivals. They might come from a Presbyterian (not PCUSA) background and are recoiling from Gary North type ideas. (Our church, by contrast, has “Separation of Church and State” in its articles of faith.)

    4) A disdain for the religious right. In general there is a view of the Robertson types as brothers, but embarrassing brothers that you’d like to lock away in the attic.

    5) A view that science and faith are not enemies.

    These are the traits I see in the young people I encounter.

  17. whheydt says

    Re: raven @ #5…

    :s/ cup of tea//cup of Koolaid/

    (Only mildly sorry for using vi syntax.)

  18. whheydt says

    Re: heddle @ #16…

    So…your observations rather strongly point to your church growing specifically at the expense of *other* Christian churches, and not any “organic” growth at all.

    If religion in general and Christianity in particular continue to show declining numbers, eventually there won’t be other churches around for yours to “feed” on.

  19. says

    @whheydt #18 ,

    I’m not sure what your point is. Plus it seems to have completely ignored my observation:

    Many, in fact, do not come from Christian backgrounds

    (I myself am such an example)

    So my observations in #16 do not, as you assert, “strongly point to [my] church growing specifically at the expense of *other* Christian churches.” Rather they indicate that some of our growth comes from “sheep stealing.”

    Growth for the sake of growth is not something we are looking for. At any rate, given that young people from no religious background are a sizable fraction of our new members–I’m not really concerned about a dry well. Even ignoring that, we could grow semi-indefinitely by “feeding” (as you say) off other churches. Whether or not this is “organic”–*shrug*. I don’t care.

  20. freehand says

    So movement to Heddle’s church and others like it – if the observations are accurate – indicate that Christianity is moving more toward cerebral activities, including science, and also more toward charity, rather than authoritarian bullying. If my reckless extrapolation is true, this is a Good Thing®.

  21. Michael Heath says

    heddle writes:

    I’m sorry but your questions are of the fallacious question-begging/loaded-question variety. Literally of the “have you stopped beating your wife” pattern.

    It’s not question begging, that’s self-evident. Are you really that dense? Your church abuses gay children if doesn’t treat them equal to heterosexual children. It abuses them by indoctrinating them to believe their gayness is a defect relative to heterosexuality and abuses them by not treating them the same as heterosexual children.

    There’s a reason gay teens are more prone to suicide, and you’re part of the group that legitimizes this hatred, and practices it by denying gay children the same treatment as heterosexual children.

    heddle misquotes me to move the goalposts:

    From an academic/theological viewpoint it displays ignorance, because Calvinist theology does not treat anyone, as you worded it, “instead as fundamentally flawed” (italics mine) but rather treats everyone as equally fundamentally flawed. I suggest you read up on the T in TULIP.

    I’m perfectly cognizant of fundie beliefs regarding each of us mere mortals; I never framed my point accordingly. Are you purposefully misrepresenting what I wrote? Instead I pointed out that fundies abuse gay children in their congregation in a way they don’t abuse heterosexual children because they’re gay.

    I do realize why you moved the goal posts. Because you have no response on your participating in both the abuse of gay children and discriminating against females.

    I’m also confident fundie youth groups are not allowing gay children to develop social relationships equivalent to those heterosexual children are allowed when these children are under the control of church authorities. This isn’t about the supposedly sinful nature of all humans, it instead is about treating gay children as flawed, with more restrictions on their behavior because they’re gay.

    You demonstrate some combination of deep denial or disingenuousness on this point – repeatedly; deep denial.

    heddle writes:

    So I won’t answer your questions. I might, if I have time, answer any put to me by an adult. But I won’t answer your stupidity.

    Because you can’t, not because I’m childish. There is no credible, defensible, moral response to abusing gay children in your respective congregations and discriminating against females as your religion, and you, practice. If you could answer my questions you would, but there is no credible response. What you practice is both wrong and it’s evil, especially the abuse against gay children Be a hero and work to end this atrocity in your church.

  22. says

    Michael Heath,

    If you could answer my questions you would, but there is no credible response.

    It would be like trying to answer one of Raven’s mantras. Or, to repeat myself, like trying to answer “have you stopped beating your wife?” There is no point addressing someone with a closed mind. Someone whose question contains the presupposed answer. You’re a bigot–and bigots are worthless when it comes to attempting a discussion.

    You, by the way, didn’t address my criticism that you don’t know jack about how we treat gays.

  23. 'smee says

    heddle @ 22: you don’t know jack about how we treat gays

    Could you please elucidate for us? How exactly does your church treat gays*?

    * please include how your church treats gays from a policy perspective, and also how your congregation treats gays personally — if you could be so kind.

  24. colnago80 says

    Re heddle

    If same sex marriage becomes allowed in Virginia, will the pastor of your church agree to perform such marriages? That’s a yes or a no.

  25. Ichthyic says

    Not so for Calvinist churches:

    I have to complement Heddle for his progress in claiming to speak for all Christians, to at least now claiming to speak for only all Calvinists.

    someday, here’s hoping he’ll learn to only speak for himself.

    On that day, it might finally be worth listening to what he has to say.

    though I still rather doubt it.

  26. Ichthyic says

    heddle misquotes me to move the goalposts:

    Standard M.O. for Heddle. It’s how he first introduced me to his blog; by doing the exact same thing to something I said on a totally different blog.

    nothing new.

  27. says

    I will answer colnago80’s question first. But this reply is also for ‘smee.

    The church does not advocate against same sex marriage in general. That is, most of the people that I’ve talked to are like me–they advocate full civil rights for all people and are of the opinion that we are commanded to improve our own behavior, not to legislate the behavior of others.

    While we have no policy about conducting a same sex marriage, I am certain that the pastor would not do it.

    I’ll go into more detail, but I am sure many will stop reading at that point.

    The reason he would not perform it (I am reasonably certain) is not because gay sex is viewed as icky. It is not because it is viewed as a sin worse than any other sin. But rather it is because the church affirms biblical inerrancy and therefore the argument would be that the bible teaches that marriage is between different sexes. By exactly the same argument he would not marry a believer to an unbeliever, again on the basis of what the bible teaches about such a marriage. If you could convince the pastor that the bible teaches otherwise, then I am sure he would modify his position accordingly.

    As for gay individuals, they would absolutely be welcome. The majority of the church, I suspect, (the topic doesn’t come up) would view homosexual activity as sinful–but not any more so than any other sin. It is clear, for example, that garden variety lust–of which I think it is fair to say no man is immune, and which is likened adultery, is no less of a sin. The Calvinist view of salvation is not that we have to get control of our sinning to get to heaven, but rather salvation is a gift in spite of our sin–the effect of salvation, over time, will cause to you to grieve your sin but never completely defeat it.

    If you ask anyone in our church whether there can be gay Christians, the answer would be (I am confident) a unanimous yes, likely followed by a “duh” and probably followed by “we probably have some here” and “I personally know some.” If you ask: would such people place their salvation at risk if they had sex, the answer would be an equally unanimous no. (Remember the P in TULIP.)

    So to summarize:

    1) This is a topic that actually never comes up. I know most of you think we obsess over it–but I cannot recall the last time that there was at our church any mention of gays. Or atheists. Or politics. These topics are pretty much not on our radar.

    2) While there is no policy I suspect that the majority of the church views homosexual activity as a sin, but not more so than, say, a man lusting after a woman who is not his wife. Remember we’re Calvinists–we view every human: young or old, man or woman, straight or gay as totally depraved and who can do nothing good in the eyes of god, and who can only be saved by a sovereign choice (that has nothing to do with meritorious behavior) and god’s grace.

    3) The church would not marry a same sex couple or wed a believer to an unbeliever because of the argument that these unions are not how marriage is portrayed in the bible.

    4) The church on the whole is not opposed to same sex marriage, and would afford all the same rights to all people.

    5) I can’t say for certain what percentages share these views because these are topics that don’t come up. The sermons are, without exception, about biblical exegesis and the gospel. They are never about gays or atheists or politics etc.

  28. says

    Ichthyic,

    here’s hoping he’ll learn to only speak for himself.

    It’s how he first introduced me to his blog; by doing the exact same thing to something I said on a totally different blog.

    And here’s hoping that someday you won’t be a whiny little PZ echo-chamber. After all these years you still have the vapors over the fact that back in 2007 I mocked you for your PZ line-toeing uncritical certainty that Paul Mirecki (what was his online name? “The Evil Dr. P” or something like that? What a piece of work) was beaten by up by two pickup driving bumpkins who happened to be ID advocates acting on instructions from someone- their pastor, or Dembski. With typical Pharyguloidal careful reasoning and critical thinking you wrote in response to a question “What would you say to some preacher who exhorts his flock to use brass knuckles on scientists?”, and absent any actual evidence (and so just as stupid even if you accidentally turned out to be correct):

    Paul Mirecki would be happy to inform you that they already do, as he has the bruises and hospital bills to prove it.

    And, horrors, I mocked your lack of critical thinking and it irks you to this day.

    By the way, in rereading that science blog post I’m reminded of how much more interesting Pharyngula was back then. When you guys were advocating getting mean and physical and nasty it was so much better that the present micro-parsing of every Dawkins tweet.

  29. Ichthyic says

    And here’s hoping that someday you won’t be a whiny little PZ echo-chamber

    who’s little boy is learning what an ad hominem is?

    why it’s Heddle!

    *squeezes cheek*

    soo cuute!

  30. dingojack says

    “So Professor Heddle let’s see if your answer is on the board… and the PEW survey says — ”
    [looks up hopefully at the ‘Family Feud’ style board]
    Nuh Uh!

    ‘White’ Protestant churches seem to have only about 10-15% in the 18-29 year old band, and seem to be losing more members than they’re gaining, anecdotes not withstanding.
    Dingo

  31. bybelknap says

    Heddle’s point 2 at number 28 demonstrates some fucked up repugnant shit. Everyone is totally depraved? Your god is an asshole. Correction, your church’s interpretation of Calvin’s interpretation of god is assholish. Have fun worshipping, you unworthy worm.

  32. Michael Heath says

    heddle writes:

    This is a topic that actually never comes up. I know most of you think we obsess over it–but I cannot recall the last time that there was at our church any mention of gays.

    It doesn’t matter whether you obsess over or it not. By your own admission your church discriminates against gays. You’ve now falsified your claim I was question begging, not that it was ever in doubt given we all know how fundamentalist denominations treat gay people.

    Your church does not offer gay children the same rights as heterosexuals. If you’re a gay child congregant, you’re being abused by your policy. You’re not being allowed the same treatment heterosexual children are when it comes their socializing with other children. Gay children are also indoctrinated to believe that they don’t have access to marriage with a person of the same sex, that would be a sin. For them, it’s demanded they suffer a lifetime of loneliness if they desire a mate like most humans.

    heddle, your participating in evil against gay children that attend your church. You’re causing them to suffer. Show some courage and work to end this atrocity. This is not an abstract issue as you frame it, real people suffer because your religion hates on gay people, including people who don’t have the power to defend themselves – gay children who attend your church.

    There’s a reason you’ve never written here about how your church treats gay children, that you instead avoid the topic instead of digging into the implications of the policies you describe above. These are the same positions claimed by nearly all evangelical and fundie denominations – who create the environment that’s caused gay people to suffer abuse from society.

    heddle writes:

    The church on the whole is not opposed to same sex marriage, and would afford all the same rights to all people.

    I presume your church has pre-teens and teenage gatherings where boys and girls are allowed to practice some interactions that your church hopes will lead to them being able to find a life-long mate. But that these practices are not allowed for gay children interacting with other children of the same sex to whom they’re attracted. So are you lying here or in deep denial regarding the degree of abuse your church practices against gay children congregants?

    Because you demonstrate no ability to empathize here, imagine yourself as a gay child growing up in your church. Imagine loving another boy but not being able to act towards him like the other boys are able to act towards girls that they feel attraction towards. Imagine being told how sinful it is if you were to practice what’s celebrated in your church when it comes to heterosexual marriage. Your god instead offers the gay child in your midst a life-time of loneliness in order to avoid unimaginable suffering for all eternity.

    In the past you’ve claimed you’re fine with equal rights for gays when it comes to government protection, as if that somehow absolves you of the abuse you practice in your church and how such abuse against gay people has and continues to infect the culture at large. Here we see you demonstrating how that works; it’s sickening. Gay people suffer because of your church and your beliefs. Please buck up and work to end this atrocity.

    Your weak-ass attempts to ridicule me won’t stop me from working to end people causing gays to suffer. I’ve gotten three death threats for criticizing conservative Christian mistreatment of gays, you think the mere written word will stop me? The goal here is far more important than mere feelings. People suffer because of you; please stop it. Please start working to instead end the suffering you and your fellow believers cause gay children who attend your church and others like it.

    You’ll have accomplished that task when gay children can be out of the closet in your congregation and can interact with other kids the same way heterosexual kids are allowed. I doubt you have the moral fortitude. I’d love to be proven wrong.

  33. says

    Michael Heath,

    I presume your church has pre-teens and teenage gatherings where boys and girls are allowed to practice some interactions that your church hopes will lead to them being able to find a life-long mate.

    Your (here’s a surprise) presume incorrectly. We have no “youth group” or similarly functioning activity.

    Your weak-ass attempts to ridicule me won’t stop me from working to end people causing gays to suffer. I’ve gotten three death threats for criticizing conservative Christian mistreatment of gays, you think the mere written word will stop me?

    Oh big deal. Who, in posting strong opinions all over the internet, hasn’t gotten death threats?

    You’ve now falsified your claim I was question begging, not that it was ever in doubt given we all know how fundamentalist

    That’s just plain stupid. The charge of question-begging stands. Accept, for the sake of argument, your charge, which comes down to: OK, supports full civil rights but will not conduct same sex marriages == abusing gay children. (Which means, btw, that the church also abuses Moslem children, atheist children, LDS children, JW children, Hindu children, Jewish children, …) That would not absolve you of your logical fallacy. “The bible is inspired because the bible says it is inspired” is a fallacious argument, even if turns out that the bible was inspired.

    You’re not being allowed the same treatment heterosexual children are when it comes their socializing with other children. Gay children are also indoctrinated to believe that they don’t have access to marriage with a person of the same sex, that would be a sin. For them, it’s demanded they suffer a lifetime of loneliness if they desire a mate like most humans.

    What bullshit. All children have exactly the same opportunity to socialize. Do you think we have rules about two little boys holding hands? Do you think we make them chant “It’s Adam and Eve!” They are never taught anything on the subject at any time. By the time they might glean from sidebar discussions that the church would not conduct a same sex marriage they would likely teens. By that time many more would be recognizing their unbelief–that is we would almost certainly have more unbelieving teens than gay teens–(again granting your dumbass premise that denying a church activity == abusing children) how much more we abuse a likely far greater number of atheist children. Like a same sex couple, they would also be denied having our pastor marry them. But in addition they would be denied baptism, communion, etc.

    Funny how we can indoctrinate without ever mentioning the subject. We are zen masters.

    You have a germ of point that could be argued intelligently–it is something I think about and struggle with too–the issue of homosexuality in evangelical churches. Instead, like an idiot, you simply jump to the extreme conclusion present in fallacious form that this is child abuse without mentioning (because it dilutes the rhetorical effect doesn’t it?) that the same “abuse” is directed to atheists, Jews, Moslems, …)

    bybelknap

    Have fun worshipping, you unworthy worm.

    Thank you. I always do.

    DJ

    ‘White’ Protestant churches seem to have only about 10-15% in the 18-29 year old band, and seem to be losing more members than they’re gaining, anecdotes not withstanding.

    This means what? Did I ever claim that the large Protestant denominations were gaining youth? On the contrary, I seem to recall claiming that some of the gain in the new Calvinist denominations is coming at their expense. I have no doubt that the large mainstream denominations and the over-all numbers of self-identifying Christians are in decline. The point, from the NY Times article I quoted, is that Calvinistic churches are an exception–they are growing, and it is in large part a youth movement. You do realize that it is mathematically possible for the population of Japan to decline while at the same time the population of a given prefecture increases?

  34. steffp says

    Thanks for the info on Calvinist theology, after all, according to Pew forum, they make up 7% of the world-wide Protestants, or about 2% of Christianity, and less than 1% of the general population. I was a bit shocked about the apparent omission of Lev 18, Lev 20, Romans 1, 1st. Cor, etc that is claimed to take place in educating the kids of the congregation. Anyway…to live is to learn.
    Small denominations may experience impressive growth rates as the “cannibalize” on bigger denominations, or rely on higher birth rates (Amish). A 100 people congregation grows by 1% through the conversion of a single person…
    But back to the OP: It’s a strange coincidence that the same people who instigate fear and claim imaginary state prosecution in the US applaud the very real state prosecution of LGBT people in Russia and Uganda. A clear case of projection.

  35. dharleyman says

    Heddle @16:

    Thanks for answering my question. I don’t believe in God, so that answer is not satisfying in that respect. However, I did ask what you thought and you answered, so in that sense it is satisfying. Besides, you want on to give more secular observations about the possible causes, so thank you.

    I think you make a better representation of your theology than many other Christians do of their particular denomination. Certainly I think it is better to think everyone is equally depraved than to think certain sects are better people than all other people. I am still repelled by the idea of thinking of all people as depraved though. I think all people are capable of both good and bad and through equality, fairness, and good social policy we can tend to bring out the better nature of people. As such, I believe your congregation’s focus on the poor is a good thing for society and so I applaud you for that.

  36. Nick Gotts says

    From heddle’s link@4

    Roger E. Olson, a Baylor University professor and the author of “Against Calvinism,” is the Calvinists’ most outspoken critic.

    “One of the concerns is that new graduates from certain Baptist seminaries have been infiltrating churches that are not Calvinist, and not telling the churches or search committees who are not Calvinist,” Professor Olson said. According to what he has heard, young preachers “wait several months and then begin to stock the church library with books” by Calvinists like John Piper and Mark Driscoll. They hold special classes on Calvinist topics, he said, and they staff the church with fellow Calvinists.

    “Often the church ends up splitting, with the non-Calvinists starting their own church,” Professor Olson said.

    It is not clear from the link whether “Attendance at Calvin-influenced… churches is up, particularly among worshipers in their 20s and 30s.” because worshippers are choosing Calvinist churches, or because churches with existing congregations are being taken over by Calvinist pastors, or both.

  37. Nick Gotts says

    I think it is better to think everyone is equally depraved than to think certain sects are better people than all other people. I am still repelled by the idea of thinking of all people as depraved though. – dharleyman@36

    And what should we think of an omnipotent being who chooses to create totally depraved people – and even worse, only totally depraved people? Calvinism is the worship of absolute evil.

  38. dingojack says

    Heddle – nope Calvinism (as a whole) within America is neither growing nor shrinking and they are not significantly pilfering from other churches, nor are they losing congregants to other churches.
    The fact is that less than 1 in five of the congregants (overall) are under 29.
    Sorry, I love the anecdotes and the claims of the lack snow, but those are (sadly) the facts. :(
    Dingo

  39. colnago80 says

    Re HKeddle @ #28

    The reason he would not perform it (I am reasonably certain) is not because gay sex is viewed as icky. It is not because it is viewed as a sin worse than any other sin. But rather it is because the church affirms biblical inerrancy and therefore the argument would be that the bible teaches that marriage is between different sexes

    Fair enough. Now another question. If same sex marriage is found to be a right in the State of Virginia and, say, Mary Cheney and her wife happened to move to the Tidewater area and applied for membership in your church for them and their children, would they be accepted under this scenario? Again, a yes or a no.

  40. Al Dente says

    Nick Gotts @38

    Calvinism is the worship of absolute evil.

    According to the Calvinist dogma their god hates his creation.

  41. Ichthyic says

    Oh big deal. Who, in posting strong opinions all over the internet, hasn’t gotten death threats?

    me, for one. why, do you commonly receive death threats?

    whatever. I do hope that at least most people can see how fucking ridiculous you are.

  42. Ichthyic says

    Did I ever claim that the large Protestant denominations were gaining youth? On the contrary, I seem to recall claiming that some of the gain in the new Calvinist denominations is coming at their expense

    lolwut?

  43. Michael Heath says

    heddle once agains misrepresents what I wrote to avoid confronting the fact he and his fellow adult congregants abuse gay children who are also congregants:

    The charge of question-begging stands. Accept, for the sake of argument, your charge, which comes down to: OK, supports full civil rights but will not conduct same sex marriages == abusing gay children. (Which means, btw, that the church also abuses Moslem children, atheist children, LDS children, JW children, Hindu children, Jewish children, …)

    I’ve never claimed your church abuses children that don’t attend your church within its confines – ever. It’s sad you’ve never once confront what I write and directly respond.

    My charge is that you and your church are abusing gay children that are congregants. You’ve already addmitted such by pointing out you don’t allow gay marriages and therefore have no gay families as members (as opposed to congregants). This is abuse precisely because the authority figures within conservative churches socialize heterosexual children to, in adulthood, lead and have families. That while simultaneously not doing the same for gay children within the church’s control. Instead these kids are taught that expressing their homosexuality equal to how heterosexual activity is condoned would be a sin. That, “while all fall short of the glory of God”, expressing themselves sexually equivalent to heterosexuals is sin, as is their leading a family led by gay parents. That where the non-elect will sustain unimaginable suffering for all eternity.

    Face it heddle, you promote evil, as does your church – which commits evil. Be a hero; end the evil in your sphere of influence. Promote treating gay children equal to that of heterosexual children. Quit being such a cowardly weasel by avoiding my points. A truly wise and moral person would defend gay children; not abuse them as you and your church does. I hope you will some day; and for the sake of children in the closet around you, the sooner the better.

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