So, Chuck and BGBC decided to help their case by issuing a "press release" yesterday. A press release might be in order, given all the negative press - maybe a brief statement that Chuck stands by his allegations, a call for people to not rush to judgment, asking people to let the justice system do what it is supposed to do once all the facts are put to a jury.
The only problem is, this isn't a "press release" like that. It is a press release that dwarfs even Chuck's amended complaint. It is a 5500-word, 18 page long essay in which Chuck makes another accusation against the defendants, he states how his lawsuit is not just to defend him but to actually defend God and Christ, and then defends the theology of a Christian suing another Christian. None of this helps his case, and none of it helps his public image.
First, let's look at this paragraph from the "press release":
"....a member of this group called the police and the DHS to deliver a false report accusing Pastor O’Neal of physically abusing his own children and allowing pornography to be distributed to adolescents in the church. He, his family, and the church were subsequently investigated by the authorities and the case was dismissed as unfounded."With an important hearing before the judge in just a few days, Chuck decides to add another charge against Julie Anne and the co-defendants. A few things to point out about the statement above:
By including this new allegation that is NOT in the lawsuit, in a press release explaining the charges of defamation, is to insinuate that the defendants maliciously, knowingly, filed a FALSE police report as a part of their alleged defamation. After all, there is nothing wrong, in fact to the contrary it is noble and brave (and in most cases required by law) when a church member has the courage to report facts or even rumors of abuse by a minister or church members....UNLESS, the person maliciously, knowingly, files a false police report to harass someone. That seems to be what Chuck is saying by putting this information in his press release. In my view, Chuck is treading dangerously close to defamation himself, stating as fact that the people he is suing filed a false police report - which is to commit a crime - about him in order to defame him.
Later in the press release Chuck says:
"Families cannot continue to be threatened by false allegations of abuse. "
If Chuck knows for a fact that the defendants made a false child abuse claim against him, why is THAT not listed as an offense in his lawsuit? Did he file a report with the authorities so they could investigate whether someone made a false police report? If the allegation is important enough to put in a press release justifying his lawsuit, why not put it in the lawsuit as a statement of fact? A quote of calling the church "creepy" IS in the lawsuit, but a false police report alleging abuse is NOT?
Sadly, I don't think Chuck even realizes the harm he is doing by making a public statement such as this. The biggest obstacle in getting church members to report abuse in their churches is the fear of retribution for making accusations against the "man of God". It is the fear that they will not be believed, and that the minister and his peers will vilify those that make the report, or even the victim himself/herself. Chuck's accusations of malicious false claims of abuse in a public forum against former church members only makes it less likely someone in the future will ever dare to report abuse at his church should it ever occur. Another reason for the BGBC church parking lot to look like the above photo.
And doesn't this sound familiar? A minister doesn't like what a critic is saying about them publicly, doesn't appreciate harsh criticism, so the minister and those defending him at the church decide to make public statements insinuating that the critics are criminals. "Yep, you all just don't know the real story about these critics (wink-wink)". Chuck, you have learned well from your peers on what NOT to do in response to your critics.
Next, Chuck decides to dig himself into a bigger hole by stating the theological implications of his lawsuit, that really it is not just about him being defamed. He is not just defending himself, but he is defending God, too. Yes, God is sovereign, but he still needs Chuck to intervene in our courts to defend God's character.
Courts absolutely do not want to involve themselves in theological squabbles. Chuck views this lawsuit as a means to stop his gospel from being hindered. This is the same old story - to criticize the pastor publicly for his spiritual abuse, for personnel decisions he has made, or how the money is spent, or any number of other things, is to "discredit God", it is to "harm the church", and by golly you're even harming "the testimony of Christ's Gospel", and it is to "hinder" the ministry of the local church. Yes, pastors everywhere, Chuck is filing this lawsuit for YOU so that "the local church" (that is you!) will not continue to be hindered by these evil bloggers!"For three and a half years this group has been engaged in a public, church to church, and World Wide Web defamation, showing their willingness to discredit God, harm the church, harm wives, harm children, and harm the testimony of Christ's Gospel. It is BGBC's firm conviction that this cannot continue. The ministry of the local church and the Gospel cannot continue to be hindered."
Seminaries are teaching these men that they are God's modern day prophets, the 501(c)3 religious organizations that employ them are the Holy of Holies, and criticism of either is to defame God and Jesus himself.
When preachers act like Chuck, their church just might become the "Holy of Holies" - the inner sanctuary where no man but the high priest himself enters.