"...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

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pastor Gets Caught in 5-Year Lie About Being a Navy SEAL - Navy Expert Says "Clergy" are Worst Offenders at Exaggerating Their Military Record

A Pennsylvania pastor was caught red-handed last week in a 5-year lie about his past as a Navy SEAL.

The Rev. Jim Moats of Christian Bible Fellowship Church in Newville, PA had told people in his congregation that he served as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam. After Osama bin Laden's death last week, Moats' local paper did a story on his supposed military career involving Navy SEALS service in Vietnam.

To Moats' credit, he did own up to it, and he confessed and asked for forgiveness publicly. Unlike Ergun Caner who was exposed last year for his decade-long deception of being raised in Turkey, Moats didn't remain silent. He didn't depend on his friends to defend him and attack those who pointed out his deceit. Moats didn't say that Satan was attacking him, or that the story was concocted by a bunch of Calvinists trying to bring him down. But then again, Moats didn't have high-profile pastor friends who helped push his story either.

After what evangelicalism went through last year with the Ergun Caner fiasco, this sort of story is not surprising.

But what IS surprising about this story, is what the Navy expert who busted Moats had to say about these kinds of liars, and also what law expert Jonathan Turley said.

Here are quotes from Don Shipley a retired Navy SEAL who runs a website called Extreme Seal Experience, which in part is set up to expose liars who claim to be former SEALs.
"We deal with these guys all the time, especially the clergy. It’s amazing how many of the clergy are involved in those lies to build that flock up."
"Pastors are common impostors. So are sheriffs. Politicians get caught boasting about medals they never received. Several impersonators were booted from boot camp, dishonorably discharged....Many never served a day in the military."
How sad that pastors are known as the worst offenders. This likely has to do with how pastors do a poor job of policing themselves as we saw in the Ergun Caner disaster. Pastors and law enforcement leaders are the worst, says Shipley. Last year I compared the Ergun Caner saga to that of Gainesville, FL police chief, Waylon Clifton, who was found to have exaggerated his life story by telling of his days playing football at Alabama for Bear Bryant. Someone finally investigated, and he was found out.

Also from the article about Shipley:
"Shipley and other retirees use YouTube, Facebook, and military sites, such as pownetwork.org, to get the word out. As soon as a news article hits the wire, they mass distribute — outing the phonies in a virtual form of street justice. 'We don’t just go around punching these guys in the nose anymore,' he said. 'The pen is mightier than the sword.' "
Amen. The playing field is evened, and lying pastors are found out. Pastors might have the mike for 45 minutes on Sunday with no rebuttals, but the Internet allows their sermons to be listened to and stories checked, and lies and deceptions exposed.

Another quote:
"Until Shipley told him, Moats said he was not aware of the Stolen Valor Act, a federal law that had made it a crime for someone to wear military medals he had not earned or to otherwise misrepresent service in the U.S. military. The law has been declared unconstitutional as a violation of freedom of speech. Shipley said even if the law was binding, he would not favor prosecuting Moats. The pastor has been outed through the Internet in what Shipley said is a form of street justice.
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley chimed in:
"Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University, said the majority of people who lie about military ranks and honors do it for the money. ...'Faux warriors often buy medals on the Internet,' Turley said. 'Some can’t resist buying more and more medals until they look like a Soviet general. ... It’s tragic. These are people who are desperately seeking recognition of this kind.' "
And Turley summarizes it very well, at least what SHOULD happen to ministers when they have been found to be repeating lies about their past to make them seem greater than they are:
"And for a minister, it should be rather devastating to have perpetuated such a terrible lie. That’s a significant punishment. ... Many of these people have a desperate need for public adoration and respect, and when uncovered they become social pariahs and pathetic figures — truly their worst nightmare."
Here is video of Rev. Jim Moats:



H/T: Times Union reporter Jeff Brumley, on his Twitter.

23 comments:

Guess Who said...

At least he owned up to his lies, asked for a public apology and started the mending/healing process. I wonder what it would take to get Caner to do the same?

Military Veteran said...

It would take humble pie!

Anonymous said...

Pathological liars only confess when it is to their benefit. For example, if LU had threatened to fire him unless he confessed publically he probably would have done it. Ergun Caner will probably never confess unless he is put in the situation where he will gain more from confessing than he will lose by not.

Anonymous said...

Three words from his bio should have given everyone a clue that this guy could be troubled - Bob Jones University.

Anonymous said...

WD,
Are you ever going to point out the good pastors do or are you just content to dig up the bad and painting pastors as some devil?

Anonymous said...

Too bad Moats does not have an influential defender like Norm Giesler who excuse his lies or even help Moasts dismiss them.

If you are going to be a Christian in leadership liar, best to get important friends who blurbed your books and shared paid speaking gigs.

Anonymous said...

Are you ever going to point out the good pastors do or are you just content to dig up the bad and painting pastors as some devil?

May 10, 2011 12:35 PM

I can imagine it is pretty embarassing for people like you who follow man instead of Christ.

Slow to speak said...

Pastors are child molesters.

Pastors are liars.

Pastors are thieves.

Pastors are money grabbers.

Pastors are womanizers.

Pastors are Satan incarnate.

Are there any good pastors out there?

YES!!!

99% OF THEM ARE GODLY MEN BUT IF YOU WANT TO SPOTLIGHT A FEW FREAKS, MAYBE THAT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF.

Anonymous said...

Slow To Speak:

What is your problem outside of the fact that your hate for this blog comes through loud & clear,

This is public news and not something people delight in exposing. As far as I'm concerned it's like scripture tells us that "God is not mocked" and evidently a liar in the pulpit is always found out.

Personally I want to have a man of character to be a shepherd to his flock - not one who has a resume built on lies.

What I do note, is all these individuals for the most part ask for a public apology ONLY after they have been caught in their spider web.

Thanks WD for posting this article.

Anonymous said...

"I can imagine it is pretty embarassing for people like you who follow man instead of Christ."

You draw the conclusion that I am a man worshiper based on that my simple question? Also, you draw the conclusion that I follow a man over Christ. That reveals your intelligence I suppose.

Anonymous said...

"I can imagine it is pretty embarrassing for people like you who follow man instead of Christ."

You draw the conclusion that I am a man worshiper based on that my simple question? Also, you draw the conclusion that I follow a man over Christ. That reveals your intelligence I suppose.

You probably are a man worshiper, just not man enough to confess up. You lack the proper training the SBC issues to the sheep.

Anonymous said...

"You probably are a man worshiper, just not man enough to confess up. You lack the proper training the SBC issues to the sheep."

Wow, and you are comfortable calling yourself of Christian with that kind of hate and accusation flowing out of your mouth? Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Wow, and you are comfortable calling yourself of Christian with that kind of hate and accusation flowing out of your mouth? Pathetic.

Never called myself of Christ! That is Your Man Interpretation.

Anonymous said...

Another article that gives a little more detail about Moats:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42975023/ns/us_news-life/?GT1=43001

Anonymous said...

Slow to speak and anon 12:35-
You are attacking WD for bringing up bad pastors/preachers. I am a pastor, I think that I am a good pastor/preacher, because of Jesus. And I know many, many, many pastors who are good, noble and honorable men. But I also know a few who are scoundrels, and if they are going to persist in their misdeeds they need to be exposed. I will be honest with you, the fact that thee are people out here like the Watch Dog, I believe that God uses them to help keep me accountable and on the up and up. I do not want to see my name and face on this site!!!
Ergun Caner should have come clean, especially when all of the evidence came out. You can't get around the fact that Caner is a liar, pure and simple and as such he shold have been outed.
WD does give this preacher, Moats some props for being a man nd acknowledging his SIN. And that is what it is, whether it was Moats or Caner or you or me misleading and lying to your peers and parishioners is a SIN!
Kyle

Craig Dunning said...

Romans 3:5-8

Anonymous said...

This individual should be held accountable to the military for misrepresenting his status - this is a criminal injustice and he should immediately step down from the pulpit.

Anonymous said...

"Are you ever going to point out the good pastors do or are you just content to dig up the bad and painting pastors as some devil?"

Here is what I take from your comment:

1. You don't want to read about lying, cheating charlatan pastors.

2. You imply that Tom is worse because he writes about such things instead of writing about "good" pastors. Saying he is painting pastors as devils. (How can he do that when he is presenting facts? Seems the facts present the pastors as devils)

3. You are uncomfortable with such posts which is why you made the comment to begin with. YOu think it is better to never speak of the negative truths in what is promoted as Christendom.

My advice is not to read here. It is called "watchdog". You seem to be uncomfortable with that. You should go to a pastor blog like SBC Voices where it is all about great pastors since most who comment there are pastors.

Slow to speak said...

This Brother deserves a second chance.

So he stretched the truth....who did he hurt really?

This is not that big a deal.

He apologized and said he would never do it again...what else can he do?

Peter lied about knowing Jesus

Rahab lied.

You lie, I have lied, so what are we to do about it...crucify everyone who lies?

NO....Jesus was Crucified so this Pastor would not have to be nailed to the Cross.

So put down your hammer Dog

Anonymous said...

So put down your hammer Dog

Let these Abusers get away with there transgressions, Heck, let them molest and every thing will be just great, Why not, did not Jesus paid for it all. There is no need to look for abuse. Submit all authority to church, no questions ask, this is what God would have any one do.

Anonymous said...

How is it that when people talk about forgiveness they go to the
New Testament and not the Old Testament: an eye for an eye, etc ?
Grace, right.

But when it comes to the Tithe, it's the Old Testament and not New Testament?

Oh well , guess that why we need those studied pastors, just like in the days when there wasn't the written word, to let you know how you are to think.

Anonymous said...

"Here is what I take from your comment:

1. You don't want to read about lying, cheating charlatan pastors.

2. You imply that Tom is worse because he writes about such things instead of writing about "good" pastors. Saying he is painting pastors as devils. (How can he do that when he is presenting facts? Seems the facts present the pastors as devils)

3. You are uncomfortable with such posts which is why you made the comment to begin with. YOu think it is better to never speak of the negative truths in what is promoted as Christendom."

Then you fail to comprehend my comments. Though I am not surprised.

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