Lies, Damn Lies, and Pastors

Truth and Mercy – painted by Pompeo Batoni in roughly 1745

If you care about the things that are actually true then somebody lying to you or others is something that may indeed concern you. There is no avoiding the observation that there are two distinct types of false information …

  • Misinformation – the person promoting it does it with the sincere belief that what is being promoted is true and factual. They have been successfully conned
  • Disinformation – the person knows that it is indeed not true at all and has manufactured a lie that is designed to manipulate and deceive

Only malicious bad actors tend to indulge in manufacturing disinformation, usually to gain influence, acceptance, power, or just money. As for the rest of us, we can all be very prone to being conned.

You might indeed believe you are smart enough to see through a ruse, but trust me on this, you can easily be fooled, as can I.

When faced with things that appear to align with our values, our gut reaction is to accept them uncritically and so we should always be cautious and take care to follow the evidence

Let’s work an example of a guy who faced something that conflicted with his beliefs that were an integral part of his identity. He was unable to follow the evidence, and instead rejected all the verifiable evidence by rolling with a narrative that enabled him to retain his belief.

Sexual Abuse Censorship – Truth vs Lie

Hemant posts a link to a wild story about a pastor telling his congregation that specific individuals in the congregation will be “sniped and take out” if they dare to believe stories about sexual abuse committed by his good buddy, another pastor…

I know from experience that Hemant is a reliable source, he does check stuff, and so I can assure you that this is not about him. Well OK, I have a bias, I know Hemant, but that said, he is still a reliable source that uses the best available evidence.

So this anonymous account pops up with a response, and yes this is about him and what is going on in his head…

His “evidence” that it is a lie that has been made up … nada … he simply declared it.

When challenged, he modifies his stance …

He used the phrase but the context was changed as usual. you people can only lie.

The rather embarrassing observation for him is that the context was fully established by Hemant who posted it all in context.

Then when challenged about that, he explains …

He was talking about reporters and then people agreeing with them.

… which is the context that Hemant actually established for his posting … so his “lie” is no actual lie at all.

I’m not really sure an anonymous account that joined in Feb 2023 and has just 70 followers actually matters at all. Check his timeline and you find a religious guy more or less shouting nonsense into the wind and then declaring victory when blocked.

The term is “pigeon chess” – That’s where playing chess with a pigeon results in it knocking the pieces over, then craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.

Guidance, don’t bother engaging him or people like him.

However, what makes him interesting is to wonder what is going on inside his head.

Clearly he holds specific religious beliefs, and if you check his other tweets he takes the stance that the only good moral people are the Christians, and that everybody else is evil incarnate. However, when faced with Godly Christians doing some vile obnoxious stuff then clearly that conflicts with the beliefs that he uses to establish his core identity. To handle that, his solution is to reject the evidence and declare it all to be a lie.

That’s about him … but wait, what about the rest of us.

So this is the point – we humans all have the same cognitive biases. It’s not “them” vs us rational people, it really is just us, all of us, because we also are all prone to the same biases.

However, we humans can to a degree practise critical thinking, and by doing so, find out what is really true, regardless of where it leads.

Spoiler – there are no quirky twists coming up, things really are as they appear to be. However, we should always strive to check and follow the best available evidence.

You be the judge – here it all is

Pastor Jeremy Pfeil took the clip down off the church website because he very clearly got pushback and realised he was indeed in the wrong … however … what can I say but to perhaps welcome him to the internet, a place where people can grab any stuff you post and keep it available for all to see …

This would perhaps be the point where our twitter “friend” chips in with something along the line of “You people just clipped it out of context and posted it, it is all lies, a ‘true’ Christian would never do that” … or similar. That was more or less his stance, more to convince himself rather than others.

Well …no.

The above clip is by Julie Roys. She is a Christian journalist who exposes corruption and abuse via her Christian Media outlet. While I might not believe what she believes, I do applaud her integrity and open honesty.

Here is a transcript from that clip …

I’m saying this because you might have heard that my friend James Randolph has been lied about recently. And whenever I get a call from him, and he tells me about that—he’s going to court tomorrow. I believe that he’s going to be… I believe justice will be served and all liars will be exposed. Eventually it’s gonna happen one way or another. You mark my word. It always happens. 

But to think that people that left our fellowship are somehow involved in encouraging that made me go on high alert. I’m not going to allow people like that around here and I’m letting you know that. They’re not going to come and video, they’re not going to come and do this, and if you still talk to ‘em and you listen to ‘em, you’re going to be sniped and taken out. 

JFC … in a culture awash with guns and mass shootings on a daily basis, that truly is a repugnant turn of phrase.

For full context, he then goes on to say …

Don’t come crying to me later. I’ve warned you and warned you and warned you and warned you and warned you… If you think this is a personal matter, you’ve missed the entire boat. This is a spiritual war that we’re in. Men that I respect and look up to are being lied about. Now you can either trust that or not…

I don’t hang out with pervs. Pervs run away from me. They always have.

Since I follow God with all my heart, they’ve run away from me. I told a story. I heard myself on the radio telling it recently. You may not understand this: I’ve reached out to the LGBT lifestyle for a long time in the past to try to get ‘em born again. And one night… I had one of them in the car, I went to pick him up for church, and he had grown his nails out, and he said, “I tell you right now, if you hate on me, I’ll scratch you to death.” 

I say, “You ain’t going to touch me. You’re going to either repent or else you’re going to get out of this car.” 

I ain’t putting up with that. Now I’m not hating on anybody, either, but I don’t have to confirm your sinful lifestyle. The church does not exist to confirm sin. It exists to get you out of sin…

Clearly this Pastor is an obnoxious homophobic bigot, but putting that aside, he is also striving to defend his friend whom he claims has be falsely accused because … (quote) …”I don’t hang out with pervs

It would also appear that his best buddy is, to use his term, a perv, but he can’t come to terms with that … yet.

Josh Shepherd, another Christian Journalist wrote up a full report on it all that was titled “TX Pastor Warns Those Who Speak Against ‘Righteous Preachers’: ‘You’re Gonna Be Sniped and Taken Out’

TRR spoke with a former member of Accelerate Church, who requested not to be named due to alleged past threats by Pfeil.

“This is strictly for manipulation and to control the narrative,” the former member told TRR. The former member, who had posted the story about Randolph on Facebook, added that Pfeil and his staff constantly monitor social media as part of a high-control church culture. 

If we skip over the reporting, can we find any specific official court records?

Indeed, yes we can.

The James Randolph charges.

Via the court records we discover the details of case 2023-23-2099-FY, not just one vague charge, but instead seven, yes count them, seven very specific charges …

  • two charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct
  • four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct
  • one count of accosting children for immoral purposes

I’m being very careful here with my sources so that our twitter “friend” has no excuses to dismiss it all. I’ll post this into his twitter feed so that he can chew on it, and no doubt choke, then proceed to given a real-time display of cognitive dissonance by dismissing all the reporting on this by other Christians as a pack of lies.

Liz Lykins, yet another Christian journalist, also writes …

The charges against Randolph come months after Brandon Saylor, 44, an elder and son of associate pastor, Randy Saylor, was charged with nine felony counts, according to court records.

Brandon Saylor faces six counts of criminal sexual conduct and three counts of accosting children for immoral purposes for crimes that allegedly took place in 2010. He remains in custody on a $500,000 bond. 

Living Word’s environment and culture have become “nauseating” and “cultish,” former church members Dan and Dana Stahl told The Roys Report (TRR) in a statement.

The Stahls said that since Saylor’s arrest, several church members have come forward with additional accusations against Saylor. However, the Stahls say Mark Barclay has tried to intimidate congregants from coming forward and sharing.

How much further into this cesspit do we need to wade then?

We have gone far enough because the truth of all this is rather clear.

The pastor who is claiming it is all lies, is himself the liar, and his suggestion that anybody within his congregation reporting and believing the evidential truth will be “sniped and taken out” is utterly obnoxious and is also a clear attempt at intimidation.

In Summary

An obvious evidence-based conclusion is there for any and all to grasp.

Those deeply invested in the church, or simply invested in the idea that Christians can do no wrong, will dismiss or perhaps strive to excuse such evidence-based conclusions by perhaps suggesting something akin to “Oh, they were not True Christians” or similar.

However, what if the shoe was on the other foot, what if some individual who had values that align with your values stood accused, how would you then respond?

Would you defend them?

Your best play is to use the available evidence to reach a conclusion. Anything else opens you up to being fooled by the one person who will most probably fool you the most – yourself.

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