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Friday, October 31, 2008

Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on October 31 at 14:01 PM

Another story about a good youth pastor? Hey, it’s Halloween, and maybe I’m possessed. Or something. Anyway, one of those “Hell House” displays in—where else—Texas features a display that blames two rape victims for—what else—their own rapes. The Progressive Puppy picks it up from here

How’s this for Christian compassion: A girl makes friends with a guy on Facebook. They decide to go out on a date. When they meet, the guy brutally rapes her. A demon emerges from the shadows, sneering, and tells her she deserved it. It’s her fault she was raped. She shouldn’t have agreed to meet someone from one of those sinful online communities. Next up? A young girl is sexually assaulted by a family member and in despair commits suicide. She is promptly consigned to the fires of hell for an eternity of pain and suffering.

Welcome to Hell House—The Devil’s Playground, a production of Trinity Church in Cedar Hill, Texas.

We’re not even going to discuss the vicarious sexual thrills these “displays” provide to cast members and audiences alike. When you’ve been raised by batshit fundamentalist Christians who’ve terrorized you all your life about normal, healthy sexual urges, it must be, erm, cathartic to get to act out a rape, or witness one, in your church’s basement. Nope, we’re going to talk about a good youth pastor—from a different congregation—whose young charges heard about the blame-the-rape-victim “show” at Trinity Church and decided they had to do something. Back to Progressive Puppy:

It’s worth noting that this year something happened to cast a pall over Trinity’s annual hell house extravaganza. More than a dozen young churchgoers from the United Methodist Church in Richardson decided to take a stand against the event.

I contacted the Richardson UMC and spoke with administrative assistant Jennifer Rawlinson. She told me that the idea for the protest came from young people in her congregation who had visited “The Devil’s Playground” and were disturbed by its depiction of an unforgiving God turning his back on victims of sexual abuse. They returned to their church and voiced their concerns to Tommy Houghteling, United Methodist’s youth minister. A discussion ensued and it was decided that a protest should be organized. So Houghteling accompanied a group of his conscientious teenagers to the site of Oritz’s hell house where they peacefully demonstrated against the intolerant message espoused by their fellow believers.

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"The important thing here is to spread the message of God's love and boundless forgiveness, which we believe extends to victims of rape. The blazing fires of everlasting torment are reserved for homosexuals, atheists and the vast majority of people on Planet Earth who practice a form of faith other than Evangelical Christianity. Jesus loves you!"

Posted by flamingbanjo | October 31, 2008 2:11 PM

Anyway, one of those “Hell House” displays in—where else—Texas

The Hell House phenom started in Colorado, Dan.

Posted by kitschnsync | October 31, 2008 2:13 PM

God wants you to burn that motherfucking church down, kids, with all those sanctimonious hatemongers inside.

Posted by Fnarf | October 31, 2008 2:16 PM

It's all brainless myths and superstitions kids. Come out of the fourth century and into the twenty first.

Posted by Vince | October 31, 2008 2:39 PM

For once, Fnarf is right.

Remember, use cotton to put in the bottle neck after filling it with gasoline.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 31, 2008 2:46 PM

Wait, a demon tells the sinner what they shouldn't have done and how they're being punished for their sin? Kind of a half assed way to tempt people into more sin and eventual damnation.

Seems like the demon should be saying it wasn't her fault and to go ahead and keep being a slut. The moral lesson should come from an angel, or prophet, or minister, right? Simple logic.

I would make such a better Christian than these people.

Posted by elenchos | October 31, 2008 2:59 PM

First, way to go Young Methodists, you make me so proud and second, why are only the women going to hell? What about the rapist? What about the molester?

Posted by Fly-Over Illinois | October 31, 2008 3:11 PM

They have a webpage for their haunted house:
one of the "tag lines" is "Enjoy the Ride..."

Posted by nos | October 31, 2008 3:43 PM

It's great to read something about progressive Christians on this site every now and then. Thanks, Dan! (And way to go, Young Methodists!!)

Posted by seattle mike | October 31, 2008 4:09 PM

When I was in high school we did a thing called Safe Rides, where we gave out key chains with the Safe Rides phone number and kids could get safe sober rides home- from a guy and girl driving team- if they couldn't get a sober ride home otherwise.

We invariably worked out of local churches. We usually worked out of the local Methodist church, and the pastor there was one of the nicest guys I had ever met. I asked him about the misogynist stuff Paul wrote in the New Testament, and he explained how there's two kinds of books by Paul- articulate stuff using a 5000 word vocabulary, and hillbilly misogynistic tripe with a 500-1000 word vocabulary. They don't think he even wrote those books (shocking!), so this pastor just ignored those books.

I though "wow, somebody who actually treats the bible with a critical eye." Really impressed me. If I only believed in God, I would have *totally* joined that church.

So, in summary: yay Methodists!

Posted by Big Sven | October 31, 2008 4:21 PM

Heh, heh. Those darn Methodists. They're wacky.

Posted by Lavode | October 31, 2008 4:23 PM

Yet somehow the George W. Bush joined the United Methodist Church and next thing you know he's believing he's the anointed leader of a mission from God. How'd that happen?

Posted by elenchos | October 31, 2008 4:31 PM

I grew up Methodist, they were pretty damn liberal. I can't believe that they would condone shit like this.

Posted by Jen | November 1, 2008 6:43 AM

@13, 11, 7:

You misread the article--the United Methodists are the ones protesting Trinity Church's Hell House event.

Posted by kevin | November 1, 2008 11:58 AM

Flamingbanjo, the Methodists are pretty cool with homosexuals, atheists, and non-Evangelicals, as well as with rape victims.

Posted by A. | November 1, 2008 10:51 PM

Thanks for the clarification. I am relieved.

Posted by Jen | November 2, 2008 4:19 AM

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