"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Example of Why Non-Christians Have a Hard Time Voting for Committed Evangelical Christians

In today's Times Union, there is a story about Mike Hogan, one of the leading Republican candidates for the upcoming mayoral elections in Jacksonville. This story is an example of why so many non-Christians have trouble casting their vote for evangelical Christians.

First of all, let me say I like Mike Hogan and his policies and believe he is a fine man and I would have no trouble voting for him. Many of my Christian friends are very much supportive of his candidacy. We need more men like Hogan running for public office. He is a long-time member of First Baptist Church Jacksonville.

However, the paper reports today that back in 2007 he was a character witness at the sentencing hearing for a local youth pastor who was convicted by a 12-person jury for possession of child pornography.

That alone is not troubling. If he has facts about the defendant that should be weighed in the sentencing hearing, then by all means speak up, and Hogan did and good for him.

But the devil is in the details. If you read the transcript of his brief testimony given on behalf of Richard Sweat, former youth pastor at Lake Shore Baptist church convicted of possessing child pornography, Hogan wasn't just pleading for leniency based on Sweat's history, and he wasn't explaining the remorse that Sweat had expressed that should be considered by the judge.

No, Hogan instead testifed to Sweat's innocence. He said Sweat couldn't possibly have done what the jury found he did do. Despite not hearing any of the testimony at trial, Hogan said the 12-person jury had it wrong.

And I find his testimony troubling:

"Your Honor, I also served three years in the Florida legislature, eight years as a City Councilman, 15 years as director of singles at First Baptist Church and have worked with young people almost all my life in church work."

OK, so he lists his experience at FBC Jax as relevant in knowing about Richard Sweat.

"Your honor, the things that I’m about to share are stated without reservation, are the truth, and although from my heart are not clouded by my personal feelings for Richard."

He is about to tell the truth, from his heart, but not clouded at all by his personal feelings. So far so good.

"If I had any thought that Richard was guilty or any reservation whatsoever about his innocence, I would not be here today."

Wow, he knows Richard could not possibly be guilty. How did he know? Was he there for the trial to hear the evidence? No, he was not.

"I am aware of the findings of this court regarding Richard’s actions, and those findings trouble me greatly. However, they are so far out of character for this man as to be bizarre. It would be like taking a trip to the North Pole and never seeing any ice or snow."

OK, Richard Sweat downloading child porn is as impossible as not seeing snow on the North Pole. The jury's sentence would be bizzare, to suggest this man downloaded child porn. On what basis does Hogan make this assertion?

"Richard is a man and as such is flawed and he’s capable of making mistakes; however, there is no evidence in his past that speaks to these problems of which he’s been convicted of. And given the things he’s done and the positions that he’s been entrusted with, a problem such as this would have surfaced."

OK, so if he is downloading child porn, this problem would have "surfaced", and since it didn't surface, he couldn't be guilty? Say what? About as hard as Bob Gray's pedophilia was to surface over at Trinity, right? How could Bob Gray have been fondling boys and girls, certainly that would have surfaced years ago, right? This is about as ridiculous a statement as could be made - and he is making it in front of a judge who has presided over a jury trial where unanimously the man was found to be guilty.

"As I mentioned, I’ve known Richard for over 15 years. I met him through my son, Joshua. Joshua has always chosen friends of great character. His buddies that he’s made from childhood to this day are active in their community, served their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, are excellent fathers, and they’re always faithful and true friends. If I didn’t know Richard, Joshua’s recommendation alone would convince me of Richard’s innocence in this matter."

Oh my gosh. So because his son only chooses the best of friends, and all of his son's friends "serve their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ", that alone would be enough to convince him of the defendent's innocence, because he is the dad of one of his son's friends? Remember, he is in front of a judge saying this.

"I never remember a time that Richard wasn’t infectiously happy and possessed great energy. He reminded me of the story of the little boy who was whistling and singing while emptying a great barn filled with manure. When asked how he could be so happy he replied, Mister, there must be a pony in here somewhere. He was a real joy to be around. He loved doing things for his friends. He was unashamed of his love for and his commitment to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The fact that he went into Christian ministry was not a surprise to anyone."

Why the reference to whistling through a manure barn? Is he somehow implying that the court proceedings or the trial, or the charges were a bunch of bull? OK, so the defendant was a happy, energetic, unashamed Christian committed to "his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"? So therefore, he must be innocent? Complete rubbish, totally illogical. Embarrassing.

Prosecutor Ron Henry asked Hogan a few questions:

Henry asks: "Mr. Hogan, I appreciate your passion for the defendant, but I have some questions about whether or not you have any training as a psychologist or a psychiatrist?"

Hogan Answers: "No, sir, not at all."

Henry asks: "So, when you say that if he had done what the jury said he did it would have manifested itself in some way is not based on any clinical experience that you have as a psychologist or psychiatrist, is it?"

Hogan Answers: "I know leopards don’t change their spots."

Wow. He didn't answer the question. The obvious point of the prosector is that Hogan is completely unqualified to make a judgement on the matter of Sweat's capability to commit the crimes. But Hogan doesn't care, for HE KNOWS that "leopards don't change their spots"

A leopard doesn't change his spots, says Hogan.

This is the sort of illogical Christian thought that allows pedophiles to roam churches and hang out with kids and to move from church to church. It is precisely what attracts pedophiles and abusers TO churches, because they know that if they can perform as a happy-go-lucky, committed, sold-out-for-Jesus Christian, that even the smartest folk at the church will never suspect their motives and won't believe the victims.

And if they're caught, a pedophile can count on a Christian to argue their innocence or ask for leniency, because the defendent just loves Jesus so much.

I don't know if this will hurt Hogan's chances, as he is one of the front-runners. Probably not. But it is stories like this that cast a negative light on all evangelical Christians who seek political office.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hogan ain't no Hero!

If he can't tell the difference between a pervert and a saint, maybe he needs to get some glasses!

I can tell you first hand....we don't put up with mess like that at FBC!

We will absolutely kick you out of this Church in a New York Minute.

You come up in here raising cain, acting crazy, there are people reading this Blog that KNOW>>>

WE WILL KICK YOU OUT!!!

Anonymous said...

As a Christian I will not be voting for Mike Hogan as mayor of this City.

He is all Baptist and will be controlled by the influence of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville which already has a bad reputation of "greed" in this town.

Pastors from out of state only see the fluff they present at the conferences.

Anonymous said...

I'm casting my vote, a write-in, "FBC Jax Watchdog"

:)

Richard said...

I'm with anon 12:15PM ...

Mike Hogan will not get MY vote solely because of his affiliation with First Baptist Church.

Lynn said...

There's a similar story about Mike Huckabee. It's not that these candidates aren't good men; but they have a big blind spot caused by their religious faith.

And they have EXTREME faith in their own perceptions. They cannot possibly imagine being wrong about this particular person.

There are people in this world who could convince the most jaded police detective that they would never do such-n-such. They are just very, very good at deceiving people. So we should always question ourselves if we think we're the only ones who could not possibly be taken in by them.

Plus, even worse, is when you go out on a limb and make these drastic statements when you haven't even studied the evidence! I mean, does he think the police made it all up? Does he think those 12 people on the jury are all stupid? That is unlikely. In fact, the jury does not know the defendent, so they can be objective.

Anonymous said...

This goes on all the time and it is truly astounding how blind so many are. I know one minister of music who was viewing porn on the mega church computer for years.

Did no one know? How was he outed? His wife told his boss to check the computer. He admitted later he had been viewing porn for many years.

He was the LAST person I would have ever suspected of such a thing.

Or what about that minister at Prestonwood in Dallas who was texting lewd messages to a teen and setting up meetings? Who would have suspected him?

Just look at Christa's blog to get a whiff of how stupid Christians can be.

Mike has disqualified himself from office due to telling a jury they were stupid after viewing evidence.

Anonymous said...

Mike Hogans son did not hear the evidence. I know because I was there every day for every part!!!! Yes I even heard Mr. Hogan speak on Richards behalf and remenber his anger towars the court that he was questioned by Mr. Henry which does not show in the transcript.

Innocence Project Supporter said...

Dog, there is a lot more to the story than you know. Trying to read between the lines of the article and extrapolating what you or others perceive as truth can become very convoluted and a very slippery slope.

If you have not payed attention over the last twenty years or so, there have been hundreds an innocent person convicted of despicable crimes by a jury of their peers that you and others in the community would say "GUILTY AS CHARGED!" only to later through the Innocence Project and others to have been wrongfully convicted and released from prison.

In this particular case I am absolutely positive that this guy is not guilty and wrongfully convicted. Mike is fully aware of the potential harm for standing up for a young man he and his family have known growing up with his children. But him intimately knowing this guy, his family and his background did what no one else would notice if it was not someone in the public eye.

You or I standing up for someone whom we were convinced is innocent and wanting to vouch for their character, no one would care. Well maybe you since you have been more in the public eye, but not anyone else on this blog for the most part.

I can tell you from personal experience with a friend who is closer than a brother that sometimes the justice system is not out for justice, but another win for the prosecution. That is especially true in cases of rape, incest, pornography, molestation, etc. My friend was totally innocent, but just like the young man in the story, had to use a public defender because he had no viable resources for a defense.

As my friend learned these guys have hundreds of cases. I said if you are innocent to fight like hell. My friend says that the facts don't count if you cant afford a private attorney. I said this is America and you are innocent until proven guilty. NOT TRUE!" That is especially true if you have no resources to mount a defense.

At the end of the day, this guy as well as my friend discovered that many times justice is not done and you get convicted of a crime you did not commit and have to "pay" for a crime that you did not commit.

Vote for whom you wish, but not voting for Mike Hogan for what you perceive is some politician supporting an alleged pervert because the guy was convicted by a jury of his peers and given the minimum sentence under current guidelines should not be top on your considerations. If he had supported a perv like Steve Edmonds, I would agree, but unfortunately this young man has been wrongfully convicted and will be carrying this mill stone around his neck for the rest of his life.

Perhaps Mike will bring out more of this story as time goes on. Frankly, I don't think anyone will believe what he says as their minds are probably made up.

Anonymous said...

OK the truth hurts but I am going tell it anyway. It was the so called values voters and Christian right wing crowd that gave us 8 years of the worst presidency in history namely the George Bush administration. If the same crowd had their way we would be saddled with another team of winners namely McCain and half term governor and money grubber Sarah Palin.This is the truth and I think most folks would agree.

TROLL DETECTOR said...

"WE WILL KICK YOU OUT!!!"

The Trolls must not have anything to do!

Carter Voter said...

"It was the so called values voters and Christian right wing crowd that gave us 8 years of the worst presidency in history namely"

JIMMY CARTER

Perhaps you should go back and look at your history.

Anonymous said...

"He is all Baptist and will be controlled by the influence of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville which already has a bad reputation of "greed" in this town."

OK ANON. Back up your accusations with documented FACTS!

Anonymous said...

No sir you need to look at your history.

Christa Supporter said...

"Just look at Christa's blog to get a whiff of how stupid Christians can be."

I like her blog and what she stands for. I have yet to read any case she has brought to light that the perps were innocent in any way based on the lives they ruined like Edmonds.

I don't think it stupidity as much as being enabler's.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Let me be clear. My point here is not about the guilt or innocence of the accused. It is the argument Hogan uses to explain HOW he knows the man was not guilty. It is embarrassing and illogical.

History Student said...

"No sir you need to look at your history."

I have sir. I voted for Carter the first time based on his profession of his walk with the Lord like so many folks.

We have three branches of government, but don't ask some of the folks in Washington because they don't know. It is Congress who writes and passes legislation. The only power the President has is the Veto Pen. He makes nor writes any laws nor does he interpret them. He does have the bully pulpit bu that carries no power to change a nation.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't vote for that guy to be dog catcher!
The only thing worse than being a Pervert is to stand up for Perverts!

I don't care if he knew this guys Parent, or if he knew this guys grand mamma, this slime ball needs to be wearing orange!

"Oh they were life long friends, Oh he was framed, Oh he knew his parents"

If I was good friends with Jeffery Dalmer's parents I still would not go to bat for that cannibal!

Give me a Break!

Hogan's being drinking too much Prune Juice!

Anonymous said...

Innocence Project Supporter. You are wrong the young man Richard had a highly paid lawyer not a public defender. Also the website you mention is maintain by his mon and FULL of her opinion and not accurate to say the least!!!!!! Get a transcripe before you defend the guilty!!!

Anonymous said...

"It is the argument Hogan uses to explain HOW he knows the man was not guilty. It is embarrassing and illogical."

WD, It is a lot different sitting with a lawyer and a judge like you did than on a witness stand with jurors, judge and a room full of people, both of which I have had the "privilege" of experiencing.

Attorneys in this type of situation are very good at twisting things around and getting you to say things that sound goofy, convoluted, crazy, and stupid, etc. They are also good at twisting a truth or half truth into what sounds like a lie to the judge and jury.

Anonymous said...

To stand up in court and defend a Child Porn addict is CRAZY!

If he gets to be Mayor, every Pervert in America will want to move here!

Who is going to be his choice for City Council....Boy George?

If Hogan is a Committed Evangelical Christian than Elton John is a Marine!

Wow...things are really getting pretty weird around here!

Anonymous said...

"Wow...things are really getting pretty weird around here!"

February 9, 2011 4:14 PM

Right, the politicians who are members of First Baptist seem to know how to get their names in the newspapers!

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for Richard's family that they have to defend his perversion.

Now I can tell you if my kid had done something evil like Richard, I would want his sorry self behind bars.

To think we might have a Mayor that defends Kiddy Porn really offends me.

I mean, is he going to promote Cross Dressing Teachers in our Public Schools and would he invite Boy George to headline our Jazz Festival in May?

These are good questions that deserve an answer!

You know the old saying...Hate the Sin and love the sinner....I hate the pervert and hate the perversion!

WishIhadknown said...

I don’t have to look it up, I lived it, Jimmy Carter was the worst! Horrible horrible President.

Anonymous said...

We need Hogan in office like we need Pee Wee Herman running a Daycare!

Let me get this straight...
A pedophile is convicted by a jury of his peers and a "Christian" is saying that even though they found kiddie porn and other porn on Richard's computer that he was "set up".

Yea, he was setup alright!

He is "setup" right now in an orange tuxedo...He is "setup" to come back soon and go back to his sodomized lifestyle. He is "setup" for a good deal from a "Christian Mayor" that wouldn't know righteousness if hit him upside his hard head.

What are they teaching these "Leaders" at FBC?

Anonymous said...

WE WILL KICK YOU OUT!!!

Are you sure?

Anonymous said...

A clueles left winger said:....

"so called values voters and Christian right wing crowd that gave us 8 years of the worst presidency in history namely the George Bush administration."

Can you cite specifics about W? How is the current socialist-in-chief any less corrupt than BUsH? What exactly is so wonderful about Obama, Pelosi and Reed anyhow?

The bail out fiascos, Fannie and Freddie Mac? How about and TARP and TIGR funded fiascos? HOw about the loss of Egypt and our own national prestige? HOw can that pale to any of Dick Chaney's alledged corruption.

This executive branch dim wit want to jack the debt ceiling even higher? Well, he's all yours to crow about, Mr/Ms. Compassionate Enviro-Nazi.

Run with, maintain the ban on oil drilling and power plants, restrict business activity with duplicitous legislation. Yeah, your boys are the righteous leaders.

I voted for that dim bulb Carter in 1976 and to this day am embarrased to admit it. What a doofus, but I too bought into his Christian speak. THis guy is so anti-Israel, it's disgusting and a national embarassment.

But he speaks the right religous talk and buzz words and gets by enough to convince a few people he is a statesman. How the President of the WOrld, Slick Willy CLinton. THere is your poster boy of pristine liberalism, don't forget his adorable wife too.

Go play in the street.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago a respected married elder of our SBC mega church was caught by police in a motel room with two underage teenager girls engaging in sexual acts. This elder was also a well known reporter for the local city newspaper. The pastor was called as a chracter witness for the elder. To the pastors credit he stated facts he personally knew about the elder and even stated that if the elder had indeed raped these girls he should be punished. Lesson is- stick to the facts. Also the church was asked to support this man's family as they had no part in his crime. Sometimes churches and pastors do do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

"And you do understand that the FBI reached the same conclusion through their forensic examination."
(Hogan) No, sir, no problems personally with the FBI, sir. But I do not believe Richard has done these things and I don’t believe the evidence has shown that. I think it’s substantial circumstantial evidence. (ps...he never even heard the evidence)

Wow...the "Mayor" doesn't even believe the FBI!!! He said Richard is his sons (Joshua) buddy and listen to this...
"Joshua’s (his son) recommendation alone would convince me of Richard’s innocence in this matter."

WHAT??? WE CAN TRUST A MAN TO BE MAYOR THAT DOESN'T TRUST THE FBI BUT TRUST HIS SON'S RECOMMENDATION REGARDLESS OF THE EVIDENCE.

WHAT YOU BEEN SMOKIN' MIKE?

Anonymous said...

You might want to google OS Hawkins involvement in the punishment phase of a member of FBCD. It was a murder trail that involved the son of a powerful FBC member. If though the guy was guilty as sin, he got off with probation. I think OS's involvement haunted him later when the Dallas Morning News did a front page series on the disparity in our justice system.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes churches and pastors do do the right thing.


When churches do the correct thing then we all have hope!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:11

I don't think the defendant in that trial was a member of FBCD. His father was a former pastor of FBC Waco, and very well connected, politically.

For more information on how the pastor of FBCD testified as to the character of a man accused of killing a male prostitute, you can go here:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2618531&page=1

Lynn said...

Wow. Just read the website defending the former youth leader. It all sounded really nasty and ugly all around. Some thoughts:

The parents in this situation sure were involved in their children's marriage. A bad idea.

The wife's father (a pastor) knew about the couple's sex life and discussed it with friends??? Unbelievable. On both points.

Not a good idea to be a youth leader. Not a good idea to let anyone else use your computer.

Not a good idea to marry the preacher's daughter AND work for his church. An extremely bad idea.

I think they all sound like really nasty people. He may or may not be guilty. I'm SO GLAD I no longer attend church.

Politics and church is a very bad combination. And here's another example of all these people claiming to have the God of the universe living within. It sure shows.

As Hitchens says, "Religion poisons everything."

Anonymous said...

Yea that's right,a clueless left winger. Truth is that you and your crowd have screwed up this country. You don't get it now and you will never get it.

Anonymous said...

He's Guilty. No need to debate it.

FBI is out to get me.

My Pastor is out to get me.

My ex-wife is out to get me.

12 Jurors from our Community that don't even know me, they are out to get me.

I don't know how that Kiddy Porn got on my computer?

I've been set up.

WE HAVE A MAN RUNNING FOR MAYOR, WANTING TO LEAD OUR CITY THAT SAID DESPITE THE EVIDENCE, DESPITE THE FBI, DESPITE THE AMERICAN SYSTEM OF A JURY OF OUR PEERS, MIKE HOGAN SAID "MY SON SAYS RICHARD IS INNOCENT AND THAT'S ALL I NEED TO KNOW'

THIS IS THE BEST JAX CAN DO?

I DON'T THINK MIKE IS SMOKING ANYTHING, I THINK HE HAS DRANK TOO MUCH KOOLAID

Anonymous said...

It's a peculiar study - and present in every Baptist institution I've ever heard of - how church members and denominational leaders and pastors get all twisted around to be each other's "friend." And further, the compromise that takes place in the name of the church. Shameful.

Andy said...

I fear that those in high religious positions are concerned too much with outward appearance. eg - 'What we want others to think'. Until there is complete brokenness and reformation there will not be any place for the love of Christ to fill those that are in positions of authority.

Remember - the flask had to be broken before the perfume could be poured over Jesus head .... great write up.

Lynn said...

This could be turned into a TV movie-seriously. It sounded like a soap opera. Who put the child porn on there? A teenager in the youth group, accidentally? Was it planted purposely to get the husband in jail? That would take a quite daring, determined, really bad person to think that one up and truly want the husband in jail.

I don't really understand the wife's role in all this. And I know the point of the post was not about discussing the case. But I'd just say if you are deep in Christianity and have marriage problems, go to an outside psychologist-not your parents.

Anonymous said...

This is a very common human trait. if we love something (an idea) or someone so much, we will ignore things or minimize things that show that idea or person in a bad light.

Mr. Hogan's testimony is so illogical, there is no explaining it except to say that when the evidence contradicts a human's love for someone, that person will ignore the evidence or try to explain it away. Hogan took the smarter of 2 indefensible routes - he ignored the evidence. Just refused to look at it. The other route would have meant examining all the evidence, finding explanations, discounting it etc., and then having to defend that conclusion to the court. That mountain was too hight to climb. So, Mr. Hogan just did not bother to look at the evidence and professed ignorance.

But that is completely illogical, as you have demonstrated.

History is full of people who do this.

The Nation magazine and many liberals continue to defend Alger Hiss who was convicted in the late 1940s of perjury connected with espionage acitivites in the employ of the Soviet Union. The liberals loved their ideas so much, and Mr. Hiss stood for those ideas, that he could not be convicted of lying.

If the Blue Dress had never been found, Mr. Clinton would still be proclaimed as "innocent." But since the dress proved conclusively what happened, the tack became to minimize the crime of trying to fix a sexual harrassment court case to "this was just about private sex and is a private matter" and "my political opponents are out to get me.

There are other examples - free Mumia Jamal etc.

So, I am not so sure that this is only a Christian foible, though it clearly is here.

Whether is has an impact on the Mayoral race in Jacksonville is way beyond my knowledge. I have been to the Jacksonville airport a half dozen times in my life, but have only visited the city once.

Usually local politics, like most politics, is decided by lots of factors, including the strength of the opposition, the ideas the candidates have for the city etc.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Lynn,
you are believing the writings of his mother and the guilty. Read the transcript of the trail. The website is full of inaccurate statements.

Lynn said...

Anon 11:06,
I'd love to read the transcript. How do I find it?

Anonymous said...

Lynn,
You have to buy it Or know someone who has.
My point is don't just believe what is written by one side. If you want the truth you have to know both sides. Even then you won't know all the truth because both siides always have their opinion and humans are sinners. But with the transcript you might understand why the grand jury voted to indict and the FBI spent a year looking into this case and why the jury of 12 peers convicted. Not a he said she said like the website ran by the guilty, his mom and friends who have a stake in this case and all the emotions that go along with it.

Anonymous said...

It sounds as if Mr. Hogan was being a character witness. If so, he can't be faulted at giving a witness of how he interpreted the character of the man.

Anonymous said...

Hogan said this about his son Joshua's insight about the accused Pervert..

"Joshua’s (his son) recommendation alone would convince me of Richard’s innocence in this matter."

So....what if Joshua Hogan said..."Daddy, Obama is the greatest President ever and he needs to be re-elected....Daddy, Obama Care is Awesome!"

Would Mike Hogan actually truly believe EVERYTHING his little boy said???

Do we need a man THIS gullible to be our Mayor???????

Lynn said...

Anon 12:27,
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I know nothing about this case and was totally unaware of it until reading here. However, I know and have been around Mike for many years as an FBCJ member. But, I am not an FBCJ puppet. Mike has always appeared to be a principled man and one that would try to do the right thing. The fact that he may be risking his run for mayor, because of derogatory publicity, in order to defend someone he thinks is innocent is brave, and indeed principled. Whether he is right or not, I don't know. But, I will support him as mayor. Because I think he will do the right things for Jax.

Having said that, I have wondered for years why so many from FBCJ run for some position or other in govt. I hope it is not because of "guaranteed votes". I think not in Mikes case as he has been at FBCJ for years, long before he thought of being mayor. Mike is a good person that "happens" to be a member there. I will say now, that there are too many "plutocrats" in charge of FBCJ. My opinion. It would be so much better if the "ordinary" people were in charge. Maybe we could get back the humility and serious business of soul winning that FBCJ was known for during the Lindsay years.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 1:12 makes some good points.

Richard Sweat is innocent because Joshua Hogan says he is??

Huh?

Mike Hogan doesn't need to look at the evidence, he just takes the word of his kid?

Joshua is a great kid but he is not with Richard all day long.

It is possible to have a double life, Mike.

Richard Sweat was convicted and our "Mayor" is standing up for Child Porn Addicts?

Bizarre!

Anonymous said...

If you take the time to google OS Hawkins/Alex Wood make sure you dig til you read why AW shot the guy. The main article that pops up is "the scales of justice swing wildly" (by abc news) comparing this case to a young black male who got life for a lesser crime. It doesn't tell the story of why he shot the guy, which makes it even more interesting/confusing that a prominent SBC leader would be a character witness for him.

Anonymous said...

About 20 years ago, the 20 year old son of a mega staff minister raped a girl. He was found guilty and went to prison.

The evidence was there...could not be refuted YET...you would not believe the lengths many at the mega went to try and make him somehow innocent.

It was more about pride, image and ego than truth. They could not believe that a young man who grew up around such spiritual people all his life, was baptized and totally immersed in church culture did such a thing. Instead of asking themselves the hard questions, they simply refused to look at facts.

Lynn said...

People give the spiritual stuff may too much credit for how much it can influence people. Actually many times it does influence people, but in the wrong direction.

In the church I grew up in, the pastor had a son and a daughter. The daughter grew up to flatly declare how much she hated her mother. The son has spent most of his adult life in prison, while "getting saved" over and over.

I think all families, definitely including mine, are dysfunctional to various degrees. The point I'm trying to make is that very religious families are too, and maybe even more so. When people think this is not so, they just look really naive to have such faith in the effects of religion.

Lynn said...

Anon 8:05,
I dug deeper. All pretty sad. I guess it just shows that money and status are extremely helpful. I guess all the preacher cared about is keeping his son from going to prison.

The celebrity preachers like Hawkins are just one of the big boys in the elite group, and they all stick together. Has nothing to do with what's right or moral.

Ryan Jennings said...

I agree with you that he did a poor job of argumentation. He should have been more prepared.

After looking at the case information out in the blogosphere I feel you should have been a little more clear in your note that you were not making any form of declaration of guilt or innocence with your piece toward the indicted and convicted youth pastor.

Good post though...I would have liked to see a clear disclaimer on this one however. Peace.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I assume that if the 12 person jury found him guilty, that he is guilty.

I did read the website, compelling story for sure, but the point of this article is this:

Hogan went way beyond being a character witness at a sentencing hearing. As a character witness you come in and explain your knowledge of the person's benefit to society, pleading leniency on their past or their repentence, or whatever.

But Hogan came in to tell the court:

1. You and the jury have it wrong, the man is NOT guilty.

2. He is not guilty because my son picks wonderful friends, and this is the father of one of my son's friends.

3. He has held important positions in church before, and if he did these things we all would have known it before.

4. He loves Jesus and has lots of energy, thus the liklihood of him being guilty is about the same as all the snow melting on the north pole.

It was embarrassing that he made this argument in front of a judge. I'm glad the prosecutor got up and asked him questions.

This is why conservatives who are not Christians, have a hard time pulling the lever for evangelicals who they agree with on many policies.

It is why Huckabee getting elected president is as likely as the snow melting on the north pole.

Anonymous said...

Dog:

And - Hogan came to tell the court that he had these opinions - even though he had not followed the trial and had not read the evidence.

I like Huckabee an awful lot as a TV personality. I don't watch his show that much, but he is positive, entertaining and wholesome.

Huckabee would make an awful President in my opinion. I have devout Christian friends in Arkansas who helped get him elected but now say they would never vote for him. They said that he flip flopped on a series of issues.

For me, his parole or pardon of the convict who went to Oregon (I think - it was a Northwestern state)and killed or raped or something was horrible. He paroled the convict basically because of Christian sentimentalism.

Again - he's great on TV, but for me, he is not a candidate about whom I could be enthusiastic.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Judge not lest ye be judged.
I find this article to be not very well thought out and a little "loud" for what it really is. First, the pastor was found guilty before Hogan testified...you act like his testimony had anything to do with the outcome of his verdict. Second, it is obvious that the opening statements were prepared by Hogan, and, if he had ANY legal sense, the defense attorney. The whole point of a character witness is to aid a judge in determining the social efficiency of whether or not to push full sentencing or if the crime was an "inconsistent lapse in character." Hogan knew his friend had been found guilty. He KNEW he had NO PART in determining guilt/innocence. The reason for the language in his speech was to paint a picture of "an inconsistent lapse in character." Disbelief is a good way to convey that to a judge. I guarantee the script was scrutinized heavily by the defense party and every word was used for a reason. The only thing that can be looked at as "off the cuff" is after the prosecutor started the questioning. Hogan did a good job during the questioning and stuck with the purpose of the initial speech...disbelief. Know why unbelievers dont vote for Christians? They have enmity with God and we are His sons/daughters. Unbelievers immediately peg Christians to be unlike them. This can lead to a strong influence in not voting for that candidate. However, if God's plan is to have Hogan in office, then Hogan will be in office. I feel that while you were trying to "uncover some unknown secret" to make good press, you have painted a deceiving picture of a good man that God will use to help the city. I know Hogan and respect him greatly. He came to the need of a friend and what he thinks to be a "good man". Who are you to determine the character of both of these men? All sin is as filthy rags. Satan tempts those according to their weaknesses. Sins of the flesh are no more ungodly than sins of the mind. C.S. Lewis has an excellent explanation of this in Mere Christianity. I appreciate your posts, but this one missed the mark completely. I do not necessarily blame your intentions however. I feel like it may be due to a lack of education in legal activities and the "sensitive nature" of pastors and sexual sins. I wish you the best! Hope the family is well.

P.S.-I hope the "im not voting for Hogan just because he goes to FBC Jax" writers are no older than 15...Judging a man because you dont like his church? wow...

-Wilberforce

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I appreciate you posting your defense of Hogan, but your zeal for Hogan I hink has caused you to miss the mark. I'm not aruging ANY part of the character of either man as you say I am.

I read Hogan's words again, and he can't now say he was just arguing for leniency. He argued at the sentencing hearing that they got the verdict wrong. He wasn't expressing personal disbelief so as to say that it was a brief lapse in judgement. He very well could have argued leniency on the basis of all the good that the defendant has done, and still has yet to do.

But Hogan didn't argue that.

He said the defendent not only did NOT do it, but couldn't possibly have done it.

I'm sorry, but I take his words for what they mean.

I like Hogan. Read my post. He is a good man, and would make a good mayor I have no doubt.

I am pointing out his seriously flawed logic in arguing that this youth pastor could not possibly have done it for some ridiculous reasons.

And his response to the prosecutor was also ridiculous. The prosecutor was merely trying to point out that Hogan is unqualified to make the determination of whether he could have done it, and Hogan's response is a trite "Leopards don't change their spots." instead of a "yes, you are right."

I think what Hogan meant is "Really, really, good committed Christians like this man don't download child porn, it is out of their character."

That is wrong, and flawed, and it is embarrassing. But my point is it is not just a view that Hogan has, it is one that we have seen many Christians have when confronted with evidence of misbehaviaor of their spriritual leaders. And Hogan's testimony is just another exhibition of this flawed logic. And this is one reason non-Christian conservatives can't vote for evangelicals.

And on your last comment: be honest, did you judge Obama in part because of his pastor? :)

Anonymous said...

P.S.-I hope the "im not voting for Hogan just because he goes to FBC Jax" writers are no older than 15...Judging a man because you dont like his church? wow...

-Wilberforce

February 11, 2011 4:30 PM

Just to inform you M/M Wilberforce, I'm no 15 year old, but a 70 year old woman, former member of FBCJ, know a lot about our community and will say I for one will not be voting for any politician in this church as I can assure you they too have very judgmental characters and stick together like glue.

Your statement read like someone in the legal field filled with some interesting thoughts for us to ponder.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog,
Do you seriously think that the defense party wanted Hogan to just say, "o no sir. i have no professional degree and my opinion should be made invalid!"? i will say again, this statement was not anything but a legal tactic that is commonly used in similar cases. It should not be read into so deeply. And no, i did not judge Obama according to his pastor. To get side tracked, i think that neither party put up candidates with the competence expected of a president. This conclusion however, was not brought out with his pastor...Back to hogan: I have no zeal for him. I do not even live in FL anymore. I do know however, that you have incredible influence with this blog; and i believe that your message, regardless of how it was meant to be conveyed, was taken as more of an attack against Hogan and his character, than what it really is. Yes, it is OBVIOUSLY illogical to say "he is innocent" immediately after he was charged as guilty during testimony. But logic in that sense was not the goal of his "speech."

Also, ma'am, respectfully, i hope you understand the irony of your post. You talk of judgemental church members while judging thousands of people all at the same time...i being one of them. I feel like this is not the correct approach to take. There will be flaws in every good thing. But despite the flaws, there is good. I was involved with many inner areas of the church, and despite some issues I disagreed with, there are heroes of the faith in that church.

-Wilberforce

New BBC Open Forum said...

I appreciate your posts, but this one missed the mark completely. I do not necessarily blame your intentions however. I feel like it may be due to a lack of education in legal activities and the "sensitive nature" of pastors and sexual sins.

Wilber,

If we've learned anything about the "sensitive nature" of pastors and sexual sins in the past few years it's that there are a lot of pastors out there covering up a whole lot of sexual sins. (See Paul Williams of Bellevue Baptist Church along with Steve Gaines and the other men who kept quiet. Or read Christa Brown's blog.)

But logic in that sense was not the goal of his "speech."

What was the goal of his "speech"?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

You're making it worse for Hogan in your defense.

He did not offer a character witness on which the judge could then weigh the pros and cons of a long sentence.

Hogan likely made it WORSE for the defendent, as the judge and prosector and the jury were probably shaking there head when Hogan declares the man's innocence based on his son's selection of friends, and telling a story of a man whistling through a manure barn, and saying leopards don't change their spots. Hogan made an ILLOGICAL defense. Plain and simple.

Thy Peace said...

Stop Baptist Predators [Christa Brown] > "Louis" tells why Baptists need review boards

New BBC Open Forum said...

Off topic, but has anyone checked out Maurilio's blog lately? He's done some delightful articles on wrinkled vs. pressed shirts for men (and how to properly roll up one's sleeves because if you don't do it right, guys, you've probably got problems in the bedroom, too), the return of the "skinny" necktie, and the proper fit of a shirt -- very tapered vs. slightly tapered but never full around the middle because, you know, that adds the illusion of unwanted pounds. And there's the not-so-age-old question, do you tuck your shirt in or wear it out?

I can hardly wait for his series on pleated vs. flat-front slacks! And the pros and cons of boxers vs. briefs. I'm giddy with anticipation! Of course, I still haven't gotten over the Snuggie and barefoot-shoe posts, so I may have to wait a while before I read any more.

Remember, FBC Jax members, this is the guy in Tennessee who's getting paid the big bucks to "market the brands" of Mac and your church.

Lynn said...

I'm blown away that churches have PR firms, or branding firms or whatever they're called.

I guess all is justified by, "whatever it takes to "win souls!" (How do you know when you've won one?)

How do they differ from McDonald's? They have quite a product there (salvation from hellfire.) But I'd say knowing a Christian personally who is noticeably kinder or the most unselfish person or something makes a much bigger impact. At least on me.

Actually I think people are drawn to those most like them. Well, now that I think about it, it's more that I'm drawn to "approachable" people. I don't think I come across that way myself; I wish I did. But I know I'm drawn to someone who I think likes me or will not judge me.

I guess the PR firm has to find out what kind of people the church wants to attract and go from there. Cause what we find attractive differs somewhat. It's an interesting subject-religion and PR firms.

Lynn said...

Even more off-topic: Mega pastors might want to read the post on Egypt that is on Christopher Hitchens' page of Facebook.

I saw so many parallels with my background in Christian fundamentalism. People will only take being treated as children for so long. After awhile, they start to catch on.