Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dear Pastor Oliver

In Georgia, a Southern Baptist “youth counselor” and Sunday School teacher has been charged with multiple counts of felony child molestation. The alleged victim is a 14-year-old boy.

James “Ben” Harris, age 33, met the boy in his Sunday School class at Lawrenceville’s Brookwood Baptist Church. That’s Harris in the photo. He’s married and has kids

According to the police report, “the boy’s mother found sexually explicit text messages… on a cell phone Harris had bought the boy for Christmas. Recent contact between the two included a church retreat in Macon last month in which Harris and the alleged victim slept in the same motel bed.”

As reported in the Gwinnett Daily Post, the senior pastor of the church, Dean Oliver, responded to all this with some remarkably unpastoral and mealy-mouthed statements.

“Pastor Dean Oliver of Brookwood Baptist Church said
Harris was not technically on staff at the church ….”

Dear Pastor Oliver,
Your church put this man into a position of trust and gave him access to kids. Whether he was “technically” on staff or not is immaterial. The technicality of a man’s staff position will not do anything to ameliorate harm to a kid who is molested. Nevertheless, when ugly allegations are raised, it seems that Baptists have all sorts of ways to minimize things – such as claiming a minister isn’t really ordained or making him a consulting minister instead of a staff minister. Now you’ve just demonstrated still another way – claiming that the man isn’t “technically” on staff. In the face of such awful news, couldn’t you manage to say something a little less weaselly than that?

Pastor Dean Oliver said Harris was subjected to “a very thorough process of background checks.”
Dear Pastor Oliver,
Background checks are important, but if you had educated yourself on this subject, you would know that the vast majority of active child molesters don't have a criminal record. (Some experts place those who have a criminal record as low as 3 percent; almost all place it at less than 10 percent.) It is pure ignorance for Baptist churches to persist in thinking that they’re doing enough by doing background checks. (And while your church may be exceptional, we have little reason to believe that most Baptist churches even bother with the bare bones minimum of background checks.)

Since this particular form of ignorance has been actively promoted by Southern Baptist officials, I can almost understand why you would say such a thing. But still . . . it’s ignorance. You owe it to the kids and congregants of your church to educate yourself on the realities of child sex abuse. It might also be nice if you could manage to say something pastoral instead of immediately launching into a defense of the church. And how about publicly reaching out to any other kids who may have been hurt?

Pastor Dean Oliver said “the church is reviewing policies and procedures … but leaders are confident no further safeguards could have been in place.”

Dear Pastor Oliver,
Open your eyes! If Harris and this boy were able to share a motel bed at a church retreat, as the police report indicates, then your church dropped the ball on supervision. Further safeguards could indeed have been in place – safeguards that could have precluded an adult Sunday School teacher from sharing a motel bed with a 14-year-old.

This “no further safeguards” statement is the most disturbing of your quoted comments. It indicates that the same thing could likely happen all over again in your church. Even in the face of a dreadful lapse, you are apparently unwilling to learn from it. Blind-eyed pastors such as you are the people who make so many Baptist churches such perfect places for predators.
_____________

Update: For more words from Pastor Dean Oliver, be sure to check out his comments on this post: parts one and two.

28 comments:

William said...

This pastor's response was particularly inept. Perhaps he could ask for help before commenting again.

Dean said...

Dear Christa PART ONE of TWO,

I don't know who you are or what right you think you have to comment on a case that you have no information on. Upon doing a quick review of your blog and website, it appears that you feel you are a self-appointed crusader against "Baptist Predators" (as if to suggest that "Baptist" offenders are a more dangerous brand of predators than others). Evidently you were a victim yourself and I'm sorry about that. It is disappointing, though, to see that you are working out your anger over that by making it your life goal to accuse churches where this has occurred of gross negligence as if we're all buffoons who have no concern for our children. Let me be clear, I am as angry, frustrated, grieved, saddened, shocked as you are that this has occurred. Even more so, actually, because I am the pastor to both of these families and have been personal friends with both of them for years. Your heart can't ache nearly as much for them as ours do, who know them. So I resent the tone and implications of your blog that suggest that we are somehow uncaring or unsympathetic of the victim and that we are more concerned about our reputation than ministering to these families.
I know there are no rules or protocol that's held to in the blogosphere. But it's disappointing to see that you and others like you are so irresponsible in your reporting. If you had any common decency and/or any concern about speaking with intelligence, you would have at least had the decency of calling our church to verify the facts. I have personally responded to anyone who has asked for comments and/or clarification. I invite you to do the same.
Specifically, I want to clarify some things you have said. You thought I was "remarkably unpastoral and mealy-mouthed by saying 'Harris was technically not on staff'". In your rush to judgment you implied that that was an attempt on our part to cover ourselves. You were wrong. I NEVER USED THE WORD 'TECHNICALLY' with the reporter. That was HIS OWN choice of words to my response to a previous media article who had wrongfully identified him as our youth pastor. I think we have a right to clear that up, don't you? I was not trying to distance ourselves from him. We have owned up to the fact that he was a SS teacher and youth leader (NOT counselor, NOT staff).
You also said.. "It is pure ignorance for Baptist churches to persist in thinking that they’re doing enough by doing background checks." We never said we were doing "enough." There is always room for improvement. But let me also hasten to add that no matter how much we address our "ignorance" and put better measures in place, surely you would even admit yourself that THERE WILL NEVER BE A 100% GUARANTEE THAT WE OR ANYONE ELSE CAN EVER COMPLETELY prevent this! If you, wise Christa, feel like we're all stupid and don't have the expertise at failsafe prevention as you, then do tell! Share with all of us "stupid Baptists" and "ignorant church people" how we can prevent this in the future. If you have the answer, then you're being irresponsible by withholding it from us. If you DON'T have the answer, then quit accusing those of us in the trenches who are trying to do our best! It's awfully easy to cast stones, isn't it?
>TO BE CONTINUED<

Dean said...

Dear Christa PART TWO of TWO,

You also said,.."If Harris and this boy were able to share a motel bed at a church retreat, as the police report indicates, then your church dropped the ball on supervision." I'm sorry, forgive what must seem like to you old-fashioned trust, but in our 26-history as a church with countless trips under our belt, with a long history of female adults sharing beds with girls at camps, and male adults sharing beds with boys on retreats with absolutely no incident, AND/OR PARENTAL ALARM I MIGHT ADD, because of this one incident we're supposed to abandon this type of sleeping arrangement altogether?! And just how do you propose we do that? Tell all adult chaperones that they are going to sleep on the floor from now on? Tell KIDS they are going to sleep on the floor? And I'm sure you would have us have 2 adults in every room wouldn't you? So then what do we do, tell BOTH adults they have to sleep on the floor? OR, how about we tell a bunch of kids they can't go on the trip because we can't reserve enough rooms so achieve that perfect ratio of 2 adults sleeping in one bed and 2 children sleeping in the other? Come on, Christa, THINK about what you're saying! But perhaps I'm as "blind" as you say I am and I don't see the obvious solution. So open my eyes. Help me to see what I, and countless other churches, boy scout, girl scout, sports teams, high-school activity clubs, have failed to understand about proper sleeping arrangements. I can't believe we've been so dumb and that you've had the answer all along. Come one, please enlighten us! Do share your wisdom!
By now, you're probably upset. Admittedly, I'm upset and intentionally snarky in response to your amazingly uninformed and irresponsible diatribe against me and all other "Baptist" churches, against which you clearly have a vendetta. Again, I'm sorry for what happened to you. And I commend you for seeing it as a part of your life mission to help eradicate this. However, I strongly feel you are going about this in the wrong way. Instead of throwing stones and calling us all stupid, why don't you recalibrate your efforts and consider a more productive approach, one that actually goes beyond playground name-calling and sloppy, amateur reporting and get to a place where you can really, actually do some good. I'll be happy to talk with you further about this anytime. Just call. That's all you would've had to do in the first place. Now, let's see if you're a REAL reporter and actually allow my comment to post or if you'll "moderate" it into the trash for fear it might look bad for you. But be careful, in doing that you just might be do what you're accusing US of,..that of being concerned about our reputation and all.

Dean Oliver
Senior Pastor
Brookwood Baptist Church
Lawrenceville, GA

Anonymous said...

The guilty dog always barks!!!

Christa Brown said...

Both in terms of tone and substance, I think my original post and Pastor Oliver's comments above speak pretty clearly for themselves. So, I'm going to reply on only a few points.

"... as if to suggest that 'Baptist' offenders are a more dangerous brand..."

I blog specifically about Baptist predators because, at this point in time, Baptists are doing far less than other major faith groups in this country toward systematically addressing the problem of predators in the churches and toward protecting kids against church-workers who can all-too-easily church-hop through Baptistland's porous network, finding new prey all along the way.

More generally, many experts agree that, when child molestation is committed by religious authority figures, it does indeed carry a unique component of harm, in that it is not only psychologically, physically, and sexually destructive for the victim, but often, it also carries an effect that some term spiritual annihilation, or "soul murder."

"... irresponsible in your reporting."

In my blog post, I commented on reporting that was already done by the Gwinnett Daily Post.

"Share with all of us 'stupid Baptists' and 'ignorant church people' how we can prevent this in the future."

Those are your words, not mine. And actually, I have been very public in sharing my views on how Baptists can better protect church kids -- in numerous media statements and interviews over the past 4 years, with in person pleas at state and national denominational headquarters, in a book, in a national network 20/20 TV program, on radio talk-shows, and with a website and blog. Because Baptists are so far behind the curve on this, they don't need to reinvent the wheel. They need to step up to the plate and start working to implement denominational safeguards similar to those that other major faith groups have already put in place.

"... because of this one incident we're supposed to abandon this type of sleeping arrangement altogether?!"

Yes. But not merely because of what you so minimistically describe as "this one incident," but also because it's the right thing to do for the protection of kids.

"By now, you're probably upset."

No. I'm greatly grieved because I can readily see how easy it will be for this to happen all over again in your church . . . and because I've seen it happen in far too many Baptist churches already and because I do not yet see much hope for responsible denominational action among Southern Baptists. I grieve for all those wounded kids in the past, and for those who will be wounded in the future, because of blind-eyed attitudes like yours, Pastor Oliver, and because of the callous refusal of this denomination's leaders to effectively deal with the problem.

Thanks for commenting. You have provided an illustration of part of the reason that Baptist churches often present such a perfect paradise for predators.

Wendy said...

I appreciate Pastor Oliver's comments. They're a perfect illustration of the problem with many Baptist leaders, and I hope readers of this blog don't miss what he had to say. His words say it all...

Rather than take this crucial time to prioritize the victim's needs and reach out to other potential victims, Pastor Oliver has gone on the defense and attacked a woman who IS prioritizing the victim's needs (and the needs of other victims of Baptist sexual predators).

Reaching out to the victim does NOT include defending the church's reputation. It does NOT include defending their supervision of the youth leader who molested the child. It does NOT include patting themselves on the back for having safeguards in place. (Clearly, they didn't have enough of them.)

Instead of attacking someone who's trying to HELP Baptist leaders and Baptist kids, why doesn't Pastor Oliver take this time to educate himself on child sexual abuse and the enormous problem of Bapist predators? Why not take this time to learn what really happens to the body, mind, and soul of kids who are abused by trusted spiritual authority figures? Why not take this opportunity to look at the reality that their safeguards DIDN'T work and more safeguards must be put into place? Why not act like a pastor and show some genuine compassion and concern? Why not take this opportunity to do everything possible to make sure it never happens on his watch again?

Nope, I guess it's easier to stay in denial. It's easier to turn a blind eye to the truth. It's easier to scapegoat and yell at someone else than to deal honestly with your own problems.

Timothy said...

Christa,

I don't believe I have ever served in a church where adult leaders would be sleeping in the same bed as the students they are in charge of.

It is obvious, no matter how inconvenient, that the church needs to change its system.

I'm floored at Pastor Oliver's explosive attack on you for pointing out things that ought to be obvious.

Tim

Debbie Kaufman said...

Why is this always seen by Baptist pastors as a vendetta? I don't get this at all. As for trust? Are you kidding me? These are kids who need to be protected and have not been. Pastor Oliver forgive my snarky response, but I am Southern Baptist and have been for over twenty years and I have no idea where in the regions of your mind or soul for that matter you would dare say the things you have. Part of me is grateful because it's twisted(and I do mean twisted) thoughts such as this that are the reason we do nothing. We don't see it as a problem yet another from your church no less has emerged. How many more children have to be destroyed for life by this before we do something?

Valarie said...

Only the arrogant pastor used "playground name calling".
You expose how ignorant and stupid you think with every comment. Who are YOU that Christa would waste her time calling you for anything at all?
Check your facts, Dean.
Christa is NOT a reporter. She is an attorney, a seminary student, an advocate for victims of clergy abuse, and a woman who has seen the likes of your arrogant self absorbed excuse for an ambassador of God many times over.
Your words, tone, and self importance don't impress anyone but yourself.
"Knowing" the people involved doesn't mean you have more compassion or sympathy. That's very obvious. YOU judge with every sentence you write. Point your angry finger at yourself since you are so upset.
I suggest you change your methods to something more productive and affirming to someone other than yourself. When you play the offended victim you dig in the wounds of the real victim in this horrible situation.
You display the same attitude of the arrogant do nothing Baptist leaders in the SBC. At least you all use the same twisted nasty script.
Christa defends those who have been abused by sexual predators. You defend yourself.

Doug Pittman said...

Now you can see what I have been battling here in Georgia for years now.

It all starts at the top within the Georgia Baptist Convention and its leadership!

Remember, I am the notorious Ga Blogger with whom the GBC felt they needed to get a resolution to "order" and "force" me to stop blogging. I have caught this kind of hotheaded responses from GBC leadership disciples for years after exposing Mike Everson, his beloved Discipled Deacons, and his bunch of PORN CREW STAFF MEMBERS on my website.

And I too heard that line....

" Technically, I did not do.... "
Must be a GA Baptist Convention and/ or the new wave phrase seminary taught response.

Be careful Christa, you may get that next " blogger resolution " when they meet in the coming months :)

But your probably like me and say, bring it on.....

"The Internet,The Great Equalizer"

Following Christ, Not Man

Doug Pittman
doug@dougpittman.com

ps. See I am still signing my name to what I post GBC foe

Christa Brown said...

"... the new wave phrase seminary taught response."

Yeah. I noticed on Pastor Dean Oliver's bio that he was a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. It doesn't indicate when he graduated, but I couldn't help but wonder whether Pastor Oliver learned his blind-eyed attitude and over-the-top aggressiveness under the direction of current Southwestern president Paige Patterson, who has a blind-eyed history of his own. Do you think Pastor Oliver exemplifies the kind of "pastoral" approach they teach nowadays in Southern Baptist seminaries?

Doug Pittman said...

Christa;

"Do you think Pastor Oliver exemplifies the kind of "pastoral" approach they teach nowadays in Southern Baptist seminaries?"

Absolutely and much more. I know it to be a fact that one way to divert any responsibility is to deny deny deny and always make it someone else fault. Hey I know the Pastor has no control over what others do, but you would think that common sense tell you.......

Never ever Never, let ADULTS sleep in the same room with kids! I have been involved with sports and scouts and both have very very strict rules concerning being alone with youth! As a matter of fact both train adults in a youth protection policy that NEVER be alone with a child under any circumstance! NEVER!

You would think common sense would have some thought process with this Baptist bunch.

Doug

Jim said...

Christa, thanks for posting Dean's comments. In that anger-laced diatribe, he confirmed all your posts about the arrogance and defensiveness of SBC pastors, when confronted with actual evidence of child sexual abuse. He is living proof that Baptists have a huge problem, but are unwilling to deal with it. If Brookwood Baptist Church is unwilling to change their "26- (year) history" of adults and children sharing beds on retreats, perhaps the courts will order that change. In my nearly 45 years of ordained ministry, I have never allowed adults and children to share the same bed when traveling or while on retreats.

Christa Brown said...

“Liberal witch-hunters”

Just thought you’d like to know that this is what Pastor Dean Oliver has to say about all of you.

In addition to the two lengthy comments above, Pastor Oliver tried to post a third comment and he also sent me a couple emails. I didn’t allow his third comment to go through, because it was just a little too much over the top. Yeah . . . even more over-the-top than the two above. Besides, he also made a false statement about me, and that’s the gist of one of my rules. “You can’t use my own blog as a forum for libeling me and calling me names.” Pastor Oliver can probably say whatever he wants in his own pulpit, and I guess people will even pay him for it, but he doesn’t get to say it here.

In less than 12 hours’ time, Pastor Oliver has already back-tracked on his “I’ll be happy to talk with you... Just call” schtick. He didn’t really mean it. Now, in an email, he says this: “I said at the end of this post that I’m waiting on your phone call. But scratch that, I won’t take it after all. And if you send an email, it will not be read. It’ll go in the trash where it belongs.”

Don’t worry, Pastor Oliver. Whether or not I’ll call you should really be the least of your concerns at this time, and besides, I wasn’t in any hurry to place the call. When someone says “I CHALLENGE you to call” (like you did in your third attempted comment), it sounds sorta like a childhood "double-dare" . . . and I’m not a child.

Finally, Pastor Oliver says in his last (and what I hope will be his final) email to me: “Write what you want to write, inflame your little parade of liberal witch-hunters all you want.”

Wow. Now each of us is a “liberal” (at least according to Pastor Oliver). Who knew? And this is the guy who berates “playground name-calling”? Pastor Oliver sure knows how to demonstrate what he’s talking about, doesn’t he?

This would be funny if the guy’s attitudes weren’t so flat-out dangerous. Good-night, ya’ll.

Valarie said...

It makes me laugh when these guys throw the "L" word at anyone who doesn't bow to their toxic waste. I definitely think they should get a new script and something else to call people they can't control.
It's funny when they get all full of rage while we shake our heads wondering...do they seriously think they reflect the love of Christ???

Doug Pittman said...

“I said at the end of this post that I’m waiting on your phone call. But scratch that, I won’t take it after all. And if you send an email, it will not be read. It’ll go in the trash where it belongs.”

Christa, I am not getting into a name calling bout but it is funny how the above statement made by this Pharisee is a tactic all these LEGALISTIC EXTREMIST Baptist Disciples from within the Georgia Baptist Convention now use when confronted with truths and issues and they know they are wrong about. I know I have heard this same message many times when I have gotten nose to nose with Loose Lipped Baptist just like him.

Like bullies when confronted, they run, hide, and slam shut the door behind them and hope no one comes through that door and try to hide behind their bible until their storm passes them by hoping no one else says boo.......

Just as you were written in that email, I too was told similar things like that from many I caught burying their heads in the sand concerning issues within their TARE ministry world.

I, as I am sure you are, am thankful I have a backbone and am not one of those spineless noodles within the Baptist denomination who can't handle their issues outside of their speaking platforms, and those who won't stand up against these men.

I like your style. Keep exposing them!

Pastor Oliver and GA Baptist Convention members,

Tear down that Wall!

Following Christ, Not Man
Doug Pittman
doug@dougpittman.com

In case anyone wants to ask me a question or call me :) I have an open door policy :)

Anonymous said...

"Finally, Pastor Oliver says in his last (and what I hope will be his final) email to me: “Write what you want to write, inflame your little parade of liberal witch-hunters all you want.”"

Well, I am about as conservative as you can get both politically and orthodox Christianity when it comes to the Gospel. That makes me MORE concerned about kids being molested by adults. NOT how it affects some guy with a title of pastor who makes his living off of the Gospel.

But Pastor Oliver is worried about his "career". That is what all the "technical" talk is about. He is in defensive mode for himself instead of the victim. That speaks volumes to me.

he is not a shepherd but a hirling. The SBC is full of them.

Anonymous said...

"don't know who you are or what right you think you have to comment on a case that you have no information on."

Speaking of conservative/liberal...the above is the exact same tactic the Clinton defenders used all over the media about his shenanigans. It is called, attack the messenger to deflect attention from yourself.

Good job, Oliver. Using Clintonian tactics to try to deflect from yourself.

Anonymous said...

"Who knew? And this is the guy who berates “playground name-calling”? Pastor Oliver sure knows how to demonstrate what he’s talking about, doesn’t he?"

When dealing with Pharisees, one learns they can do what they tell you that you cannot do. Of course, when they do it, it is not bad because they have a "title" of "pastor" and that gives them a pass.

Anonymous said...

"hy is this always seen by Baptist pastors as a vendetta? "

Simple. Because it is not about the victim and how their lives have been changed forever. It is really about the pastor and his career, his reputation, etc. It is one of the problems with following men instead of Christ.

Oliver is trying to do image management right now when he should not be concerned for his image or the churches image at all. Wrong focus. But it shows his heart and possibly where his followers are.

Valarie said...

About the actual reporting of this crime of sexual abuse by an adult in a position of authority:
WHY do they use the word "relationship" anywhere in these articles?? Why must the world continue to go backward instead of forward in their ignorant thinking??
The kid couldn't be in a sexual relationship with this pervert. He is completely innocent of any compliance. He is a child. He is the victim.
Why did the parents wait until a day the child left the cell phone the pervert gave him for Christmas to check their suspicions about the intentions of this man with their child?
Any adult male who called my son on his cell phone(even if it was to mow his grass for money) I was immediately suspicious that he was paying too much attention to my child. What's wrong with people?
A pastor goes on a tirade about it being policy for adults to sleep with kids on church trips...and actually thinks we will see the logic in this??
Both articles posted on the website use the term "relationship?
Children seem to have no value too often in this world.

Anonymous said...

I'd be fascinated to know any clues that the child's family or that others had along the way that something wasn't quite right. Those would be helpful to put out there to warn others.

The adults sleeping with children-esp. boys with men, that seemed so normal to this pastor-struck me as pretty odd. I really can't picture my 14 yr. old son going on a trip that requires adult men sleeping in a bed with him. I think churches, etc. should go overboard to make it very difficult for anything improper to happen.

In fact I'd say children or teens going on overnite church trips is a lousy idea period. Maybe if the parent is along with them, it could be okay.

And I agree with the word "relationship" being especially sickening. This was an adult man who is a predator with a child as his prey.

The longer these things go on and are defended, the worse damage it does to all the preachers and youth leaders who are decent people. They'll soon have the reputation of used car dealers.

Anonymous said...

As a fellow pastor, I would hope that Dean Oliver would stop talking, stop typing and call someone he trusts who can counsel him on how to stop digging a deeper hole. His words demonstrate an acute lack of wisdom in this matter.

One can only speculate about what will be done with his defense of his church's long history of men occupying beds with boys.

Though not surprised, I am saddened that some of my pastoral collegues are so uneducated on this issue.

William

Anonymous said...

"because of this one incident we're supposed to abandon this type of sleeping arrangement altogether?! "

ABSOLUTELY YES! You should abandon it. It's weird that it wouldn't be a no-brainer to stop, and even weirder that you want to defend it and weirdest of all that you so insistently want to KEEP doing it. Like kids don't sleep on the floor. It's standard practice (both traditionally and contemporary) for kids to bring sleeping bags and have a sleepover and sleep on the floor. Guess what? Kids LIKE doing that. They think it's fun. And they will look back at sleeping on the floor much more fondly than having to share a bed with an adult. Have you forgotten what being a kid was like?

Anonymous said...

Do you not post messages you do not agree with? I know of a couple that have been written yet not posted...

Christa Brown said...

Yes, I allow comments that disagree with me. Anyone can look at the 4-year history of this blog and its comments, and can readily find plenty of examples.

I suspect that Anon 12:48 is aware of a couple comments "that have been written yet not posted" because he himself probably wrote them. And amazingly, those additional "Anonymous" comments bore a remarkable resemblance in style, tone, substance and length to the comments of Pastor Oliver above. (They even have that intermittent all-caps thing.) Plus, there's the fact that the additional comments appeared to come in from Lawrenceville, Georgia, and arrived in very close sequence.

Now mind you . . . I'm not saying those additional "Anonymous" comments were in fact from Pastor Oliver. Maybe they were and maybe they weren't. I don't know. All I'm saying is that they bore a strong resemblance. (But if they were from some alter-ego of Pastor Oliver, that would make a total of 6 over-the-top comments from Pastor Oliver along with two obnoxious emails.)

A lot of blogs don't allow for anonymous comments at all, or for comments in which the person's profile isn't visible, precisely because they provide more possibilities for manipulation. I do allow for anonymous comments, and in fact, I welcome them. (This is, after all, a blog on which many of the regulars are clergy sex abuse survivors.) But the reason I allow anonymous comments is NOT so that someone can go on and on with over-the-top rants, and can do so under cover of anonymity. So yeah . . . I moderate comments nowadays, and anonymous comments get moderated more aggressively. Period. I will not allow my blog to provide a forum for venom-spitters and bile-spewers.

But hey . . . to "Mr. Anonymous who talks a lot like Pastor Oliver," you don't need to worry about making sure we get that message about how God has put the pastor in charge. On this blog, most of us have already seen that "touch not God's anointed" line about a gazillion times.

And to the one anonymous person who managed to send a comment supporting Pastor Oliver that was not in over-the-top language, and saying we "have it all wrong" on Pastor Oliver, I would simply say this: Pastor Oliver has spoken for himself, and other people can read for themselves the two comments of his above.

Frankly, I'm disgusted with what I've seen coming out of Lawrenceville, Georgia, these past few days. Comments for this post are now cut off. No more.

Anonymous said...

Wow, just found this. I used to attend there. Crazy.

Anonymous said...

I too used to attend there. I am completely embarrassed by this, but not surprised. Dean was the reason we left.