Saturday, November 28, 2009
John Hari, a writer for the London Independent, gives us an interesting meditation on why artists are flocking to defend people like Roman Polanksi or John Phillips. He brings out sources I've never read, but points of view I've heard before.
I've had this happen. I'll write or say something about preachers caught molesting children, only to have some men crawl out of the woodwork and talk about ancient Greece, Egypt, the Pitcairn Islands, or boys schools in England, and how children have benefited from sexual relationships with adults. I will then respond, "Why don't you speak about this in public? Or, better yet, write an article and I'll post it on my blog?"
Silence. That statement usually keeps them quiet. And the people who make these statements? They have been well educated men. Some with PHD's. Yet, with all their intellectual grace and stamina, they refuse to stand up for their own beliefs in favor of child/adult relationships.
They'll site how society persecutes them. Then, I'll talk about my experiences with this blog and say, "Victims, and those who support them, feel the same way! They don't want to stand up against their molesters because they're afraid of persecution as well!"
So, we have a situation where both victims and their perpetrators, apologists, and would be molesters, both feel this need to express things in private they refuse to express in public.
It's almost a matter of 'who gets there first?'.
If more survivors speak out, their voices will drone out the apologists for abusers.
If they are silent, give it time and the voices of those who apologize for abusers might become the predominant voice.
Something to think about. At least, that's what was going through my mind as I read the above article.
I like how Hari writes the most painful thing is the fact that he admires the work of these artists. It's very similar to people who accept the charges leveled against Bob Gray, yet were influenced by his sermons.
It does underscore what I've been saying all along about Hollywood's relationship to abusers and victims. There are more movies about people being falsely accused of molestation than movies about people surviving it.
It's estimated there are over 3 million victims, and even more that has not been reported. Don't you think they're looking for a little cinematic validation?
They're certainly not going to get it from their pastors. There are a few books, but not enough. At the moment, the best survivors can do is visit web pages, message boards, and, if they're lucky, maybe a nearby support group?
Friday, November 27, 2009
I have no idea if this You Tube is authorized by Bob Jones University. My guess will be 'not'.
Still, a pretty accurate depiction of life at Bob Jones University. Yes, that is actually 'young Mr. Spock' who, by tripping through a fundamental time warp, found the one place in this universe he can really let his ears go outta style: BJU!
When I was a fundamentalist attending BJU, I thought they were the center of apostasy. Today, I look at a video like this and laugh. If BJU is smart, they'll do the same.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Letter to Santa program shut down because of sex offenders.
One sex offender is enough to shut down Santa's letter's to kids program, but not enough to shut down the churches, theme parks, and other organizations who have experienced their own problems with offenders.
North Pole shut down until further notice.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
NOTE: Anybody catch the story last September about a child porn ring that operated out of Six Flags?
Check out this article: S'ville man charged in child porn ring.
Garcia and the other man allegedly made sexual comments about young boys at the amusement park, photographed them and talked about viewing boys in the park's bathrooms.
Folks, this is disturbing. I have since communicated with a variety of people in churches to ask them if it's normal for men to bring young girls into bathrooms in mega churches. The answer is 'no', but in theme parks nobody seems to care. Most dismiss this as silly, until you see an article like the one above.
Thing is, to the average theme park custodial worker, who might be getting slightly above minimum wage, they have no idea if those are single fathers or not. To them, it's just an adult male entering a restroom with a young girl. Those places are practically 'no tell motels' for pedophiles.
I submit the idea that these theme parks are more hotbeds of abuse activity than most mega churches. With the exception of the reports concerning Bob Gray at Trinity, most of the allegations seemed to have taken place off church property. Except, of course, for Christian camps.
Not all theme parks are ignorant. Sea World in Orlando co-operated with the Orange County Sheriff's Department and let their employees take a course that demonstrated how to spot sex offenders, and what to do upon catching them. Disney declined to have any part in the program. Six Flags isn't in Orlando, but they could obviously use a program like that.
There are only three institutions who can adequately deal with this problem: government institutions, private institutions, and the family.
None of these three seem to even want to acknowledge the problem exists. But ignorance of child predators will ultimately effect us all. If private institutions and the family don't deal with it, in time, enough victims could pressure government authorities into stiffer regulations for churches, theme parks, and other family based businesses. So, if all these people in private industry (and I include the Southern Baptists under 'private industry', along with theme parks) fail to address this problem, they only have themselves to blame if they ever find themselves saddled with even more regulations in the years to come.
Care about freedom? Then send a child molester to jail! It only takes one to shut down 'Santa's operation' in the North Pole.
Imagine what a couple hundred accusations could do to everyone else.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Gray did not do that.
His lawyers entered a 'not guilty' plea on his behalf.
As far as Gray's own words?
One victim reported him being apologetic to her.
Gray did sigh a lot on the interrogation tape, admit french kissing a minor, and then said, "There's never any excuse to do wrong."
That's about it!
He never actually took to the pulpit and denounced 'false charges'. That was used against him in the court of public opinion. And yet, I'm wondering if that would even have helped him?
Wayanne Kruger (aka, Rae Elizabeth Klein, author of Inborn Justice) is a staunch child advocate who stood behind her daughter, Desiray Bartak in a landmark decision where an abuse victim, waving anonymity, sued her molester and won a million dollar settlement. Desiray would eventually address a crowd on the Capitol steps as she received the 'Making a Difference' award from the National Organization of Women.
Rae and I are working on a documentary called 'Leaving the Lion Behind', about her efforts to stand behind her daughter, and bring more accountability into the system.
Rae's story appeared in the same People magazine that mentioned Michael Jackson's arrest for charges of child molestation. They met, pictures were taken, and we're hoping to negotiate something with the Michael Jackson estate over the use of those pictures.
Rae believes Jackson was not guilty of molestation.
"We were in the same People magazine and when I saw this, I do not think there was a dry eye in our house! Especially since we just came back from Jane Whitney with Latoya Jackson.
As a PhD and when we spoke I will say without certainty; Michael was NOT molested. He was abused in every way imaginable, as he has stated. There were times he had to use shoe polish (he told me) to cover up the whips, bruises, open wounds if he was in public. The websites and you tube that is going up about the hideous allegations disgust me. Those who knew him and his family, children and fans. IMO.
Men who are that abused become more withdrawn into a delusionary world and create in their mind, with such talent as Micheal had, what he could play out in life. Everything was grandiose. Michael could pull that off. He was, the King! They do not become perpetrators as what was stated in my opinion and 25 years of experience. Michael did not have the hand to spank his own children, let alone hurt another child."
You can read more of Rae's opinions on her myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/talkandtell.
Here is a video of Michael Jackson's statement after the police interrogated him.
What I'd like for you to do is: substitute your favorite preacher, who has been arrested for similar crimes, speaking with the same tone as Michael Jackson, and ask yourself, "Would it have made a difference if (fill in the blank) made just an impassioned a plea?"
That was one of the big accusations thrown against Gray!
He was accused of being guilty BECAUSE he did not stand up and shout, "I am innocent." Yet, we have MJ doing that, in very graphic terms, and it still doesn't seem to fly in today's world. Child molestation is one of those crimes that, once it's been attached to your name, is practically impossible to rid yourself of.
Rae is one of the few advocates I've met who realizes that false accusations happen. Sometimes to cover up actual molestations by diverting attention to a scapegoat. Our dedication to attacking a scapegoat often pulls rank over standing up for victims of sex crimes. it just taints the reality of true child abuse cases happening throughout our nation and the world.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I originally approached a local Atheist group to show 'Don't Go In The Church', but they didn't show it because of Chappellaphobia.
Well, while the gallery show was going on, somebody asked me how I got involved with videotaping wrestlers.
I became involved when Jeff Archer, of the Atheist Coalition in San Diego, who was also a wrestling promoter, invited me to videotape the match between Kasie Cavanaugh and Bryan Walsh. Killer Kowalski, now deceased, was the referee. Jeff was also responsible for the 'self help' video Killer Kowalski would later pay me to make.
I didn't meet Jeff Archer in a vacuum! Many of the Atheist, and Humanist, groups in Los Angeles do the same kind of work that Christian charities do. So, I look upon the Humanist Association of Los Angeles, Atheists United, and the other groups, in the same vein you'd look at the various Christian children's funds.
Still, one of the people responsible for the gallery show told me later she wished I hadn't mentioned the phrase 'Atheist Coalition'. She could see a growing pallor in the guy's face.
I smiled and nodded. Agreed. But nothing's going to keep me silent! I'm not going to hide from the word 'Atheist', even if local Atheist groups seem to want to hide from it.
Just like villagers in Transylvania stop talking whenever the name 'Dracula' is mentioned in vampire movies, Lancaster liberals, and some skeptics, seem to stop talking whenever the name 'Paul Chappell' or the word 'Atheist' is used in a conversation.
The reason Paul Chappell, who is allegedly 'cleaning up' Lancaster from its gang problems, has not yet responded, in public, to the scandals regarding the molestation charges that were against Bob Gray, and other Baptist leaders caught with their hands in the cookie jar, is because those who SHOULD KNOW BETTER are buying into the fear. At some point, someone has to stand up and say, "The emperor has no clothes, and it's time to say so!"
In spite of all the posts I've made on this page regarding fundamentalist corruption in Jacksonville and in Lancaster, nobody has yet to show up and make a public challenge whenever I've done these public events.
I am glad the article mentioned 'Don't Go In The Church' (see below). It did provide some context as to why I found myself in Lancaster in the first place.
The fear is bogus, people!
It's time to start speaking out these issues. Especially when it comes to issues regarding the clergy abuse of children. There are more supporters of survivors than you might think, but we're still cowering in a baseless fear.
There's no excuse for that.
NOTE: Click image for the big picture.
This article appeared in Friday's edition of the Antelope Valley Press. It appeared in their Friday supplement section. Very impressed to see it shares the same page that features a review of Michael Jackson's This is it.
The article manages to include Don't Go In The Church!, working at Disneyland (without mentioning the name), a bit about growing up fundamentalist in Jacksonville, and professional wrestling, without missing a single beat!
Film documents devotion to violent craft.
By Lavender Vroman
Antelope Valley Press, Showcase Editor
November 6, 2009
When director Dwayne Walker started making the documentary “Wrestling Then and Now,” he didn’t have much sympathy for those who participate in the violent, flashy sport.
When I first put this movie together, I kind of had a superior attitude toward some of these wrestlers,” said the 48-year-old filmmaker, who lives in Long Beach.
“Some of these young wrestlers are just putting their bodies through so much hell and getting paid very little for it.”
After abandoning the project, and then returning to it about six years later, Walker found himself working on the custodial staff at a major amusement park.
“My body was just rebelling against me. It just wasn’t used to that,” he said. “My paycheck, it was like working two or three jobs and only getting paid for one job. Now, I’m re-editing (the film) and I’m realizing, ‘Hey, aren’t I doing the same thing?’”
Walker said he realized the wrestlers were more noble than him because they don’t complain about the damage inflicted on their bodies.
“They’re sacrificing their bodies because of something they want. Suddenly, these wrestlers are serving as an inspiration to me. Suddenly, it was like this weird thing where this movie was inspiring me.”
Walker ended up quitting his amusement park job to pursue more satisfying endeavors. The completed documentary “Wrestling Then and Now” will premiere Saturday, Nov. 7, as part of “Sound of the Body Slams: Wrestling in Documentary Film” at Antelope Valley College.
The event will also feature a screening of director Arthur Cauty’s “Hard Knocks” which explores the skill, aptitude and dedication required in wrestling; an appearance by wrestling tag team The Ballard Brothers; and a discussion with Walker.
The film festival is recommended for mature audiences. Walker said his documentary contains some adult language and wrestling violence.
“Sound of the Body Slams” coincides with the college art gallery exhibition, “Beyond the Ring: The Art Careers of Professional Wrestlers,” which features the works of Steve “Strong” Cepello; Marc Letzmann, aka “Excalibur”; Jerry “the King” Lawler; Pete Bregman; and Ted Lewin, author of “I was a Teenage Wrestler”.
According to Walker, the film festival and exhibition came about after he sent Antelope Valley College a copy of his short film, “Don’t Go In The Church!”, which deals with the subject of child abuse by Protestant clergy. He also threw in a copy of “Wrestling Then and Now.”
Walker said he contacted art gallery director Christine Mugnolo, who told him she was interested in the wrestling documentary and wanted to organize an art show.
“I’m kind of on cloud nine, the fact that this movie inspired this gallery show,” the director said.
“Wrestling Then and Now” explores the East Coast’s independent wrestling scene, including the injuries, the women’s division, overzealous fans and the system by which wrestlers “pay their dues”.
It features interviews with such “old school” greats as Killer Kowalski, Nikolai Volkoff and Don “Dr. Death” Arnold, and younger wrestling stars, including Homicide, Lowlife Louis Ramos and the Mambo King.
The East Coast wrestling community is a far cry from the ‘glitz’ of the World Wrestling Entertainment empire, Walker said.
“It’s more of a blue collar crowd. You can actually meet the wrestlers, they can sign autographs, you can have conversations with them. It’s my understanding that there really isn’t an indie scene like that out here in Southern California. In New York and New Jersey, it’s a part of people’s life.”
Growing up surrounded by Christian fundamentalists in Jacksonville, Fla., Walker said his childhood love of movies was squelched by his church’s strict disapproval of the cinema.
“I really fell into it hard, too, to the point that I wound up giving up movies for a while.”
When Walker went to college, he started seeing films again. “Unfortunately, I just couldn’t recapture that first love that I had for movies,” he said.
His passion for the cinema didn’t return until the late 1990’s, when he began videotaping wrestling matches in Southern California.
“It just took me away from all of this gloom and doom and hell and damnation,” Walker said.
Through his videography work, the director met wrestling writer and radio show host Evan GInzburg, associate producer of last year’s Oscar nominated drama “The Wrestler” starring Mickey Rourke.
Ginzburg regaled Walker with stories of wrestlers he knew on the East Coast.
“Eventually, he told me enough stories. . . that I said, ‘Ok, maybe I should take him up on this,” Walker said.
The director stayed with Ginzburg in New York for three weeks in 2002, doing nonstop interviews with wrestlers.
“Every single person practically had a hard luck story but there were all about the same thing, ‘This isn’t going to make wrestling look bad is it?’” the director recalled.
“My movie, believe it or not, besides all the hard luck stories, is practically cotton candy because I’m paying tribute to them.”
After a conflict over footage of one of the featured wrestlers, Walker set the project aside. It wasn’t until “The Wrestler” was released that he was inspired to revisit and re-edit the film.
“Wrestling Then and Now” is on sale at Walker’s Web site, walkertown.com.
As for AV College’s elevation of wrestling to an art form, Walker said he wholeheartedly agrees with the approach.
“I do think of it as an art form. I think of it as an extension of the morality plays back to the medieval era. To me, at its best, I see it as like the medieval theater where you have the good guys and the bad guys. When you look at it like that, the question of ‘Is it fake?’ doesn’t even play into it.”
Used by permission.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Messer will be speaking on 'Transition: Leading the church to adapt for greater effectiveness'.
You can see his picture just below Richard Land, who will be speaking, ironically enough, on the 'Persecution of the American church: welcome to pastoring in a persecuted environment.'
What some call 'accountability' others call 'persecution'. In a subculture where paying your taxes is regarded as 'persecution', I think some women who recently got stoned for adultery (some, for even wearing pants) in the Middle East might beg to differ.
Link: Official website for Florida Baptist Convention.
Christa Brown's article: Tom Messer is speaker for Florida Baptist Convention.
Here's my comment which can be found underneath Christa's article:
I'm really not shocked anymore. Kinda just a bit numb. I'd like to see a convention where every preacher who has ever been accused of molesting children, or covering up molesters, appears on the program. We might moving toward that anyway.
The more they put their heads in the sand, the more this seems to be a reality.
I remember being totally shocked when Jerry Falwell publically admitted he recommended First Baptist Church over Trinity Baptist Church. The recommendation was for Tonya Flynt, who just wrote a book accusing Larry Flynt, Falwell's good friend of molesting her as a toddler.
Everybody denied Falwell and Flynt were friends, until Falwell died, then we learned they were in fact friends. Still, I was thinking, "The guy's independent! Why would he recommend a Southern Baptist church over his own 'non denominational' denomination?"
So. . .I actually called Tonya and mentioned the Gray situation. Remember, this is years before Gray had been arrested. I told her I thought it was really odd he recommend this church over Trinity UNLESS the rumors were true. That Gray molested children, and he did not want to gamble on sending someone, known for speaking out loud against her molestation, to a church pastored by someone involved in that particular crime.
She might have had children during that time also. I'll have to look into that. When you look at this way, Falwell might have spared Larry Flynt's grandchild from possible Gray abuse. Isn't that interesting?
Somewhere around this time frame, Falwell went into the Southern Baptist Convention! In fact, I have a Christian newspaper in the garage where that is a headline. There's an article about Falwell joining the Southern Baptist Convention.
So. . .once upon a time, when Southern Baptist Convention preachers got in trouble, they used to leave and become independent and blame their separation on 'liberalism' and 'apostasy'. Today, when independent Baptists get in trouble, they now seem to RETURN to the Southern Baptist Convention.
Guess birds of a feather must stick together?
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I had an interview with Lavender Vroman, a writer with the Antelope Valley Press. The newspaper of Lancaster, CA. A lot of material covered, from the inception of the movie to 'why Lancaster for your screening?'
I have no idea what will, or won't, be used in the article,. Hopefully it will attract people to the screening of my movie, Wrestling Then and Now. As far as the rest of the subject matter we discussed? That will be at the writer's discretion. Let's just say that the creation of Wrestling Then and Now was quite interesting. It truly was a rare opportunity where the creator became inspired by the creation. Very inspirational.
Killer Kowalski, the late wrestling legend, paid me $1000 to make a self improvement video. This video consisted of Killer Kowalski explaining how he gets through the hard ships of life. He put a lot of strength in the phrase, "I Am."
I don't have that video, and I practically have an all points bulletin for anyone who happens to have 'Walter Killer Kowalski's Miracle Video' to get in contact with me. In that video, he talks about using the phrase 'I Am' to pick yourself up. I tried, using his method, and it does seem to work.
Well, if anyone has read Dan Brown's latest book, he keeps harping about some lost freemason saying that will transform the individual. I'm going to give it away since I believe Kowalski has the better answer.
Dan Brown's book, The Lost Symbol, speculates the saying is 'Praise God'. It's apparently somewhere on the Washington monument. According to the book's hero, 'Praise God' is part of our freemason founding father's grand goal of a nation devoted to transforming men into gods.
Kowalski's method of saying 'I Am' is clearly the 'magic phrase', if you believe in that sort of thing. An unbeliever can say 'I Am' and it will be an affirmation that he, or she, is worthy of respect by the pure virtue of existence. A believer can also say 'I Am' with the knowledge that it is also a reference to a deity.
Either way, 'I Am' is a powerful phrase that can be used by both believer and unbeliever. Hence, its uniting power. Plus, with the knowledge that it's both an affirmation of self, and a name for the deity, ultimately puts the person saying it on an equal level with the alleged deity of your choice.
Men into gods!
The theme of Dan Brown's book.
Yet, Kowalski improves on Brown: believer and un believer can be both united, and find strength, through the power of 'I Am'.
Nope, it wasn't a theological scholar who brought that to the public. It was our theological Prometheus, Walter 'Killer' Kowalski!!!
Yes, the foolish things of the world confounding the wise. . .
"Wrestlers make great fundamentalist preachers!" I said to Lavender, "If I ever get a chance to make my dream project, Most Say Nothing, I want professional wrestlers playing the roles of fundamentalist preachers!"
You do hear Kowalski mentioning 'I Am' in the movie, but I think the meaning will pass over people's heads. Unless, of course, someone finds 'Walter Kowalski's Miracle Video' and puts it on the market!
Saturday, November 7, will be devoted to wrestling and the art it inspires. Kasie Cavanaugh, aka Jayne Tryka (gym teacher in original Scary Movie) is slated to appear, as is Bryan Walsh. The Ballard Brothers, from the movie Hard Knocks (which will also be screened) will be there for Q&A between movies.
Lancaster, California residents! Keep an eye out for the paper on Friday. If the article has an internet presence, I'll be sure to link it.
Official gallery link: http://avc.edu/academics/vapa/artgallery/
Walter Kowalski's Miracle Video:
Scroll all the way down for mention of the video. I'm sending a letter to that address to see if it still works. If it does, I'll let 'ya know!