Now THIS Is An Unethical Pastor! Also An Idiot. Also…ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

As I go through life, I find myself having increasing difficulty distinguishing organized religions from cults. I know what Ben Franklin would say: “cult” is always used in the third person, as in “their cult.” I also have a difficult time of late distinguishing cults from religions. Isn’t climate change activism a religion now? How about hating President Trump? Socialism has always been a cult. Cults install One Great Truth as a substitute for critical thought and the ongoing process of self-education and accumulated wisdom. They also can drive people mad.

Take, for example, this story….

Jaddeus Dempsey, the associate pastor at Impact City Church in Pataskala, Ohio, asked the kids attending his after-school youth program to spit in his face,  slap him in the face, and finally to cut him on the back with a kitchen knife. He explained that  the exercise was part of a larger lesson on “how much Jesus loved them.”

If Jesus really loved them, He wouldn’t allow them to get trapped in a room with this wacko.

The whole horrible  episode was partially captured on video, as you can see above. Some of Dempsey’s Disciples  shout and laugh as they line up to  spit at the pastor and slap him.  Some of them seem genuinely enthusiastic about abusing him.  (Hitler Youth may have been trained this way.) The video ends after the first cut with the kitchen knife; who knows what happened after that.

The church spokesperson “explained” that Dempsey was just trying  to present the exercise as a lesson of the crucifixion ahead of the Easter holiday.

Oh! Then that’s all right then!

Dempsey appeared in a video on the church’s Facebook page, saying with a knife sticking out of his back—I’m joking!

“It was just not appropriate and it was in bad judgment. I am so sorry for misrepresenting the community, the church, the parents, and the students — anybody that I hurt. This was not my intention. My intention was to just show them how much Jesus loves them and that I love them as a student leader for almost four years now. Tonight was an anomaly and it is not normally what happens. Again, I am deeply sorry for the pain that I have caused.”

Got it! You’re an irresponsible moron, and unfit to be left alone with children! Now check yourself into a mental ward, that’s a good pastor…

The church’s lead Pastor Justin Ross elaborated on the intended lesson. “Jaddeus got up in front of the students and he says, ‘I’m going to ask you to do something that might seem a little crazy, but if there’s anyone here that would like to spit in my face, you can do so without any repercussions,” Ross said.

“He had the opportunity to share a message about Easter,” Ross added, “and he chose to use an illustration to explain a very important topic about the crucifixion, but the illustration went too far.”

Ya think?????

In another statement, Ross told WBNS-TV,

“We exist to create an environment that is safe and predictable for students to come, connect with their friends and grow closer to God. Today we failed at creating that safe, predictable environment. We want to do better.”

Well that’s a relief. It would be pretty hard to do worse.

Another disturbing aspect of the episode was that none of the adults, including Ross, who were in the room  witnessing Dempsey’s deranged lesson—that was child abuse, you know— had the integrity, courage or independence to stop it.

Cults are like that.

The mother of one of the male children who handled the knife told a TV station that  her son won’t be returning to the church, and that she reported the incident to the sheriff’s office. Good. That’s one responsible parent. Unfortunately, I assume most will echo the sentiment of Kelsey Collier, who  told the BBC,

“Jaddeus and people in that church were always there for us.They’re the most understanding, least judgmental people you will ever meet.”

Well they certainly have the least judgment of anyone you are likely to meet…

 “I don’t think someone should be judged just based on one mistake, that one mistake doesn’t define who he is.”

Sorry, Kelsey, but someone in a better youth group needs to introduce you to the concept of signature significance.

Normal, trustworthy, rational and responsible people don’t tell kids to slap them and cut them with knives—ever. That’s not a mistake, that’s fanaticism, and it absolutely defines what the pastor is, at least in a professional context.

Dangerous, and nuts.

10 thoughts on “Now THIS Is An Unethical Pastor! Also An Idiot. Also…ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

  1. Generally, the difference between a religion and a cult is what happens when you try to leave. This is just garden variety brainwashing, however. It isn’t just the kids who are brainwashed, it is this pastor as well. Where would they learn something like this? Probably at a conference or retreat. You can always tell when your boss or the HR director has gone to a conference because they come back with the dumbest ideas. Good ideas like think, evaluate your data, reward good work, aren’t that hard to express, but require a lot of work. You can cover that in an afternoon, not a week. Likewise, in religion, reading the Bible, studying interpretations, and critically analyzing it is easy to explain, but hard to do and takes a lot of effort. It also doesn’t feel good because you realize that you are probably not doing what you should, you are doing things you shouldn’t, and you need to make changes that aren’t fun. It is so much easier to come up with things like this to make yourself feel better, to distinguish how much better you are than everyone else. Look at Martin Luther with his flagellations. People starved themselves, cut themselves, to show how much more holy they were than others. Look at churches who essentially say that all you have to do is come here every week and donate money and God will take care of you, despite what the Bible says. You can’t take the easy path unless you give up study and critical thought and that is brainwashing.

    The cult of the minister is a real thing and something to look out for. It has been for millenia.

    • Thank you for summing that up so well. When I left my childhood denomination to be Catholic I was told I was going to Hell, formally disfellowshipped, some family members still won’t speak to me. I was not allowed at my cousin’s wedding. My brother-in-law who left Catholicism? He’s still welcomed by the family. May attend any church services or celebrations.

      The cult of the minister has been with Christianity since the beginning. Paul addressed it in his first letter to the Corinthians. It seems people are drawn to Gnosticism in its many forms. We’re on the inside. We have the secret knowledge. Religion and politics are very similar in this way.

      • One branch of my family boycotted my wedding because my husband isn’t Catholic. Great example of the love and mercy of Christ, eh? As a result of that and similar eye-opening acts of so-called Christians, and the Church sex scandal, I have rarely been in a Church since.

        • I find that sad, crella. Churches are full of people, who are, well, people. As many as are all-the-bad-things-you-had-done to you, there are those who want nothing but your best interest.

          Transcending what happened in the past is what Christianity is really about: we get better together.

          I would invite you to my church, if I could. We are not perfect, and have all of the personality issues one would expect… but we also see lives changed for the better all the time. We bear with one another and forgive mistakes.

          • Thank you, slickwilly. I don’t still feel upset about it, it’s been a long, long time. I knew who was behind it and they had a history of being demanding and keeping some family members under their thumb. This person was also the most Church-going and Bible-quoting of all our relatives, and that was just too much for me sometimes.

            All people make mistakes and have personality flaws, me included. I have a tendency to be very black and white in my thinking, which isn’t good…so I do strive to grow and be better. I think that’s very important. We’re never finished growing. I may make it back to Church one of these days.

  2. I wonder how that job interview went.

    “Yeah, there’s some stuff in the Bible about ministers being reasonable, wise, having good sense, discernment, blah blah blah. Look, Jaddeus, I’m just gonna cut to the important thing though. How not-judgmental are you?”

  3. Personally, I can’t help but wonder if this is the realization of some sort of kink/perversion that the guy has. There is no shortage of people out there who derive pleasure and gratification from being abused and humiliated in various ways. In fact, I’d say it’s probably one of the more garden-variety of the group.

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