I’m not surprised. Why should I be surprised? Religion does this all the time. I’m just mystified at how people let themselves be taken advantage of.
So, the Ark Park lobbied for all these tax breaks on the promise that it was going to be an economic boon to the region. They lied, of course. Right now they’re in the interesting position of claiming that attendance exceeds expectations (although the gigantic empty parking lot says otherwise) but none of the economic benefits have materialized, for anyone other than Answers in Genesis, that is.
“It’s been a great thing but it’s not brought us any money,” said Grant County Judge-Executive Steve Wood during a break from a budget meeting.
The county is teetering on bankruptcy and is trying to balance the budget. Wood said they were to the point where jobs may have to be cut. He will propose a 2% payroll tax at next week’s fiscal court meeting. He blames prior fiscal courts for the budget crisis, not the Ark. But he said the Ark had not lived up to its promise.
“I was one of those believers that once the Ark was here everything was going to come in. But it’s not done it. It’s not done it. I think the Ark’s done well and I’m glad for them on that. But it’s not done us good at all.”
It’s a “great thing” and it’s “done well”, but it had not lived up to its promise. I suspect that the Ark Park was the biggest development in the entire county, and it’s done nothing for prosperity. All that investment disappeared into a black hole of special exemptions and religious excuses, and now the county is on the edge of bankruptcy, but Wood is still making excuses for it.
If you think that’s bad, though, you should read about this church in North Carolina. Standard practice there was to beat people savagely for even minor transgressions. Smile at the wrong time, and wham, you were smashed to the ground. Teenagers were constantly howled at and abused for lustful thoughts and masturbation.
The ex-members said the violence was ever-present: Minors were taken from their parents and placed in ministers’ homes, where they were beaten and blasted and sometimes completely cut off from their families for up to a decade. Some male congregants were separated from their families and other followers for up to a year and subjected to the same brutal treatment.
Teachers in the church’s K-12 school encouraged students to beat their classmates for daydreaming, smiling and other behavior that leaders said proved they were possessed by devils.
“It wasn’t enough to yell and scream at the devils. You literally had to beat the devils out of people,” said Rick Cooper, 61, a US Navy veteran who spent more than 20 years as a congregant and raised nine children in the church.
Wait. You stayed in this vile ‘church’ for twenty years, and you sent nine children to be tortured in this hell hole?
“We were warned to keep the abuse to ourselves. If we didn’t, we knew we would be targeted. … You lived in total fear,” said Liam Guy, 29, an accountant who fled in 2015 after nearly 25 years in the church.
It took twenty-five years to figure this out? Religion is a hell of a drug.
You won’t be surprised to learn that, like the Catholic church, the place is a haven for sexual abuse cases, too.
There’s something flawed in human psychology that allows grifters to flourish in the guise of the godly. You’d think people would wake up at some point and realize that this stuff is dangerous.