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  • Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post

    True but I was thinking more broadly and not just politics. We seem to be in an age where your race (as long as it's not white) and sex (as long as you're not a male) somehow make you a genius and able to solve all problems.
    The wise old black woman stereotype that Hollyweird adores?

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

    Comment


    • Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
      The wise old black woman stereotype that Hollyweird adores?
      Speaking of which --- have you seen War Room?

      https://youtu.be/mIl-XY9t_Lw
      The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

      Comment


      • It seems that the annual General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) had a similar issue but with a twist

        Source: Can the Church Still Enact Justice When a Pastor Sues His Accusers?


        The PCA takes up the case of a church leader who responded to sexual harassment claims with a defamation lawsuit against his accusers.

        As the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) discusses its response to abuse at its annual General Assembly this week, a case involving a pastor suing former congregants over allegations against him is making its way through civil court and the denomination’s own system.

        Dan Herron, a PCA pastor—or teaching elder—accused of sexual harassment, says the women making claims against him are lying and has sued them for defamation. Several presbyteries have passed measures requesting the PCA intervene.

        “For an accused teaching elder to sue his accusers in a civil court—it is ugly,” said Steve Marusich, a pastor in the Central Indiana Presbytery who has been closely involved in the presbytery’s investigation.

        The country got a glimpse of defamation cases around abuse allegations with the recent Johnny Depp–Amber Heard trial, where the actor accused his former spouse of defamation over an op-ed that implied he had abused her.

        After the ruling awarding Depp $10 million in damages, some legal experts worried that more abusers would use defamation as a strategy to silence victims. The threat of such lawsuits could discourage victims from coming forward.

        While church disputes don’t usually turn into legal fights, Herron is among several pastors and ministry leaders who have filed defamation suits in recent years. These kinds of cases are costly and often drag out for years, grinding down victims and denominations trying to separately enforce church discipline. Civil proceedings during a church trial mean that witnesses in the church trial might be afraid of testifying for fear of being sued, or of other consequences in the civil trial. Civil cases also require extensive evidence gathering that might interfere with a church prosecutor’s investigation.

        “Filing a civil suit—we just do not do that,” said Dave Haigler, a PCA ruling elder who works as a federal administrative law judge. “I don’t think there’s even anything in the BCO [the PCA’s Book of Church Order] about that; it just violates Scripture.” Elders referenced among other Scriptures the admonition in 1 Corinthians 6 to not take believers to court.

        Haigler previously served for two terms on the PCA’s Standing Judicial Commission (SJC), which is essentially a high court for presbytery disputes. Haigler can’t remember the SJC taking original jurisdiction in a case like this, but this month the SJC agreed to try the case against Herron. That ecclesiastical investigation and trial will coincide with pastor’s civil case.

        Over the past year, as more congregants are speaking up about sexual abuse and spiritual abuse, some of the accused are likewise pushing back in court.

        In March, Colorado megachurch pastor Jonathan Wiggins of Rez.Church sued former staff and members for defamation over accusations that he was in a sexual relationship with an assistant pastor, among other allegations. The church leadership told the congregation it found “no moral, financial, or doctrinal failure” on Wiggins’s part.

        In June, a Maryland pastor filed suit against three people, his son-in-law among them, over a blog full of allegations against him, including that he had urged a victim of domestic abuse to stay with her husband.

        In Herron’s case, two women publicly accused him of sexual harassment and bullying. Herron denies the accusations, and declined to comment to CT.

        The Indiana Daily Student, the student newspaper at Indiana University Bloomington, first reported details of the allegations in 2021. While attending Herron’s congregation in 2018, Kara Million said the Hope Presbyterian pastor had repeatedly sought her out alone, physically cornered her, and in one instance pressed against her breasts for 10 to 15 seconds.

        Million’s husband, Chris Baker, was an intern for Herron and said the pastor would regularly ask him about his wife. The couple left Hope at the end of his internship, according to the news report, and haven’t joined any church since.

        Abigail Gschwend Harris alleged similar behavior, saying that Herron sought her out alone and pressed his body against her. Gschwend Harris declined to comment for this article.

        Herron has denied their characterization of events, both in media reports and in the defamation lawsuit. In legal filings, Herron called such moments “incidental contact without sexual intent.”

        He alleges that the women’s defamatory statements in podcasts, on social media, and in news reports (including leaked materials from private presbytery meetings) cost him a job and forced him to seek counseling. He now works at a health organization in Indianapolis, though he retains his ordination as a pastor.

        The women, former members of Herron’s church, first sent their complaints to the Central Indiana Presbytery in 2019. After many twists, turns, internal fights, and complaints filed with the denomination, the presbytery concluded its investigation and reported in May 2021 that it found a “strong presumption of guilt” and recommended a church trial against Herron.

        The presbytery, which said it was investigating “various reports concerning [Herron’s] Christian character,” did not say what the presumption of guilt was about specifically.

        A few weeks after the presbytery’s report, Herron filed a lawsuit against the women and accused them of defamation and “a campaign of harassment” against him. The trial is set for 2023. Million has also countersued, alleging that Herron had defamed her by calling her a liar.

        Civil litigation versus ecclesiastical justice

        Meanwhile, the trial process within the presbytery slowed. Thinking of the witnesses in the church trial, Marusich said they might be less likely to share accusations against Herron with the threat of lawsuits hanging over them: “If you’re already being sued, are you going to go in there and tell people what happened? … Some of them feel like the process is designed to wear them out so they’ll quit.”

        In February PCA pastor Josh Holowell, the prosecutor for the Central Indiana Presbytery’s trial against Herron, resigned. He was frustrated with the slowness of the presbytery to act while a civil case was proceeding against the women. The decision, he said in a statement, was “based solely on the inability of the Central Indiana Presbytery to render justice, and my own personal weariness from the constant opposition to the pursuit of justice and truth.”

        He continued:

        The rules of discipline as laid out in the Book of Church Order have been ignored to the benefit of the accused on multiple occasions. The bias of this presbytery has made the rendering of justice in this ecclesiastical court impossible. How can an ecclesiastical process be fairly adjudicated while civil action against the witnesses is allowed to continue? My soul is weary, and I can only imagine my weariness pales in comparison to that felt by the accusers and witnesses in this case.


        Million told CT in an email that from the perspective of a victim, the PCA ecclesiastical process has been “horrific” and “heavily biased in favor of the accused.”

        “Many of the people originally handling the case were colleagues and close friends of his,” she said, adding that he was able to be involved in his own case while, as a woman, she could not participate in deliberations restricted to church officers.

        Elders in other presbyteries around the country began hearing through informal conversations about the Indiana case. Later this spring, four presbyteries (Korean Capital , Chesapeake, Northern California, and Northern New England) passed overtures requesting that the denomination should take over and hear the accusations against Herron itself.

        One overture from Northern California said Herron had been “credibly accused of impropriety” and that the defamation lawsuit “constitutes clear evidence of TE Herron’s intention to employ the civil magistrate to prevent his accusers’ testimony against him, and thus preclude or undermine the proceedings of the ecclesial court.”

        The Northern California presbytery asked the denomination to investigate and try the case “for the express purpose of defending the honor of Christ, clearing the public scandal, restoring the peace and purity of Christ’s Church, and providing the care of a true shepherd to [teaching elder] Daniel Herron and to his accusers.”

        Though the PCA is not a top-down denomination, the BCO has a provision that a minimum of two presbyteries can ask for the denomination to take up original jurisdiction of a case in certain situations of “public scandal.”

        Haigler, the elder who sat on the SJC, knows the SJC has the power to be the judge and jury for pastors facing abuse accusations but he had never heard of the SJC taking original jurisdiction in a case like this Indiana one. But in June the SJC agreed to hear the case. The SJC is made up of PCA elders, many of whom have backgrounds as judges or lawyers.

        Haigler thinks the SJC is generally a good system for the PCA because it brings finality to disputes. But for abused women seeking justice? The SJC “doesn’t work for that very well,” said Haigler because it is so focused on the technicalities of church governance.

        He believes there is room for the PCA to adapt on this. “I don’t think there’s anything in the rules that says we have to be judicial and we can’t be pastoral,” he said.

        Multiple people involved in the Indiana case repeated that refrain, saying the PCA’s approach to abuse tends to be more judicial than pastoral. The PCA has a reputation for its commitment to process and rules, which can drag out the simplest actions with amendments and points of order. Because churches are elder-led and all PCA elders are men, only men are involved in the decisions about complaints of abuse within a presbytery.

        “The judicial process of this denomination is not trauma-informed in any way,” said Marusich, one of the Central Indiana Presbytery elders. “I’m not saying, ‘I’m Mister Trauma-Informed.’ But I realized in a way I did not two years ago that we are not trauma-informed.”

        Instead of elders within one local presbytery hearing abuse complaints, Marusich thinks the PCA should move to a synod-type system where elders from outside presbyteries handle abuse investigations and where women are involved in cases involving women.

        “Almost always, the victims I work with say that [the church process] was worse than the actual abuse,” said Ann Maree Goudzwaard, the executive director of Help[H]er, a local church-based effort to help women advocate for women in crisis within PCA churches.

        Goudzwaard also served on the PCA’s Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault committee, helping create the report that the denomination just released. “The [Book of Church Order] was never written with abuse in mind.”

        The church trial could have a bearing on the outcome of the civil case. US courts are hesitant to weigh in on church matters due to church autonomy doctrine, an American legal principle that differs from the UK, where the church and government were one and the same. US courts don’t want to be entangled in church matters.

        Lawyers looking at this Indiana case thought that the existence of an ecclesiastical trial would make courts less likely to want to intervene because a civil ruling would influence the church trial. But cases with pastors suing over abuse allegations have few precedents.

        During the Catholic Church’s abuse crisis, some priests filed defamation suits to counter allegations against them. In the case of a Chicago priest, a state supreme court tossed the suit in 2006 on the grounds that it was a church matter the courts couldn’t intervene in.

        In a 2013 case, a man sued his ex-wife for defamation over comments she made about him in church tribunal. The court said the process of discovery alone would interfere with the church’s tribunal proceedings and dismissed the case. In that case, though, the woman had not discussed the supposedly defamatory statements outside of a church court.

        The dismissal of such cases tends to be about whether a court is drawn into a theological debate.

        Nathan Adams, an attorney with experience on church autonomy cases, said even Herron’s letter of defense in the court documents contains a lot of religious material, like referring to a sermon he preached.

        “There’s lots of stuff in the dispute that has a religious nature to it,” he said.

        Adams said a pastor suing parishioners is unusual, but the involvement of the church in the dispute here means that Herron shouldn’t be fighting former congregants in secular court. Even if the church process is flawed, “the solution to a flawed process is to fix it.”



        Source

        © Copyright Original Source


        I'm always still in trouble again

        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
        "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

        Comment


        • Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
          It seems that the annual General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) had a similar issue but with a twist

          Source: Can the Church Still Enact Justice When a Pastor Sues His Accusers?


          The PCA takes up the case of a church leader who responded to sexual harassment claims with a defamation lawsuit against his accusers.

          As the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) discusses its response to abuse at its annual General Assembly this week, a case involving a pastor suing former congregants over allegations against him is making its way through civil court and the denomination’s own system.

          Dan Herron, a PCA pastor—or teaching elder—accused of sexual harassment, says the women making claims against him are lying and has sued them for defamation. Several presbyteries have passed measures requesting the PCA intervene.

          “For an accused teaching elder to sue his accusers in a civil court—it is ugly,” said Steve Marusich, a pastor in the Central Indiana Presbytery who has been closely involved in the presbytery’s investigation.

          The country got a glimpse of defamation cases around abuse allegations with the recent Johnny Depp–Amber Heard trial, where the actor accused his former spouse of defamation over an op-ed that implied he had abused her.

          After the ruling awarding Depp $10 million in damages, some legal experts worried that more abusers would use defamation as a strategy to silence victims. The threat of such lawsuits could discourage victims from coming forward.

          While church disputes don’t usually turn into legal fights, Herron is among several pastors and ministry leaders who have filed defamation suits in recent years. These kinds of cases are costly and often drag out for years, grinding down victims and denominations trying to separately enforce church discipline. Civil proceedings during a church trial mean that witnesses in the church trial might be afraid of testifying for fear of being sued, or of other consequences in the civil trial. Civil cases also require extensive evidence gathering that might interfere with a church prosecutor’s investigation.

          “Filing a civil suit—we just do not do that,” said Dave Haigler, a PCA ruling elder who works as a federal administrative law judge. “I don’t think there’s even anything in the BCO [the PCA’s Book of Church Order] about that; it just violates Scripture.” Elders referenced among other Scriptures the admonition in 1 Corinthians 6 to not take believers to court.

          Haigler previously served for two terms on the PCA’s Standing Judicial Commission (SJC), which is essentially a high court for presbytery disputes. Haigler can’t remember the SJC taking original jurisdiction in a case like this, but this month the SJC agreed to try the case against Herron. That ecclesiastical investigation and trial will coincide with pastor’s civil case.

          Over the past year, as more congregants are speaking up about sexual abuse and spiritual abuse, some of the accused are likewise pushing back in court.

          In March, Colorado megachurch pastor Jonathan Wiggins of Rez.Church sued former staff and members for defamation over accusations that he was in a sexual relationship with an assistant pastor, among other allegations. The church leadership told the congregation it found “no moral, financial, or doctrinal failure” on Wiggins’s part.

          In June, a Maryland pastor filed suit against three people, his son-in-law among them, over a blog full of allegations against him, including that he had urged a victim of domestic abuse to stay with her husband.

          In Herron’s case, two women publicly accused him of sexual harassment and bullying. Herron denies the accusations, and declined to comment to CT.

          The Indiana Daily Student, the student newspaper at Indiana University Bloomington, first reported details of the allegations in 2021. While attending Herron’s congregation in 2018, Kara Million said the Hope Presbyterian pastor had repeatedly sought her out alone, physically cornered her, and in one instance pressed against her breasts for 10 to 15 seconds.

          Million’s husband, Chris Baker, was an intern for Herron and said the pastor would regularly ask him about his wife. The couple left Hope at the end of his internship, according to the news report, and haven’t joined any church since.

          Abigail Gschwend Harris alleged similar behavior, saying that Herron sought her out alone and pressed his body against her. Gschwend Harris declined to comment for this article.

          Herron has denied their characterization of events, both in media reports and in the defamation lawsuit. In legal filings, Herron called such moments “incidental contact without sexual intent.”

          He alleges that the women’s defamatory statements in podcasts, on social media, and in news reports (including leaked materials from private presbytery meetings) cost him a job and forced him to seek counseling. He now works at a health organization in Indianapolis, though he retains his ordination as a pastor.

          The women, former members of Herron’s church, first sent their complaints to the Central Indiana Presbytery in 2019. After many twists, turns, internal fights, and complaints filed with the denomination, the presbytery concluded its investigation and reported in May 2021 that it found a “strong presumption of guilt” and recommended a church trial against Herron.

          The presbytery, which said it was investigating “various reports concerning [Herron’s] Christian character,” did not say what the presumption of guilt was about specifically.

          A few weeks after the presbytery’s report, Herron filed a lawsuit against the women and accused them of defamation and “a campaign of harassment” against him. The trial is set for 2023. Million has also countersued, alleging that Herron had defamed her by calling her a liar.

          Civil litigation versus ecclesiastical justice

          Meanwhile, the trial process within the presbytery slowed. Thinking of the witnesses in the church trial, Marusich said they might be less likely to share accusations against Herron with the threat of lawsuits hanging over them: “If you’re already being sued, are you going to go in there and tell people what happened? … Some of them feel like the process is designed to wear them out so they’ll quit.”

          In February PCA pastor Josh Holowell, the prosecutor for the Central Indiana Presbytery’s trial against Herron, resigned. He was frustrated with the slowness of the presbytery to act while a civil case was proceeding against the women. The decision, he said in a statement, was “based solely on the inability of the Central Indiana Presbytery to render justice, and my own personal weariness from the constant opposition to the pursuit of justice and truth.”

          He continued:

          The rules of discipline as laid out in the Book of Church Order have been ignored to the benefit of the accused on multiple occasions. The bias of this presbytery has made the rendering of justice in this ecclesiastical court impossible. How can an ecclesiastical process be fairly adjudicated while civil action against the witnesses is allowed to continue? My soul is weary, and I can only imagine my weariness pales in comparison to that felt by the accusers and witnesses in this case.


          Million told CT in an email that from the perspective of a victim, the PCA ecclesiastical process has been “horrific” and “heavily biased in favor of the accused.”

          “Many of the people originally handling the case were colleagues and close friends of his,” she said, adding that he was able to be involved in his own case while, as a woman, she could not participate in deliberations restricted to church officers.

          Elders in other presbyteries around the country began hearing through informal conversations about the Indiana case. Later this spring, four presbyteries (Korean Capital , Chesapeake, Northern California, and Northern New England) passed overtures requesting that the denomination should take over and hear the accusations against Herron itself.

          One overture from Northern California said Herron had been “credibly accused of impropriety” and that the defamation lawsuit “constitutes clear evidence of TE Herron’s intention to employ the civil magistrate to prevent his accusers’ testimony against him, and thus preclude or undermine the proceedings of the ecclesial court.”

          The Northern California presbytery asked the denomination to investigate and try the case “for the express purpose of defending the honor of Christ, clearing the public scandal, restoring the peace and purity of Christ’s Church, and providing the care of a true shepherd to [teaching elder] Daniel Herron and to his accusers.”

          Though the PCA is not a top-down denomination, the BCO has a provision that a minimum of two presbyteries can ask for the denomination to take up original jurisdiction of a case in certain situations of “public scandal.”

          Haigler, the elder who sat on the SJC, knows the SJC has the power to be the judge and jury for pastors facing abuse accusations but he had never heard of the SJC taking original jurisdiction in a case like this Indiana one. But in June the SJC agreed to hear the case. The SJC is made up of PCA elders, many of whom have backgrounds as judges or lawyers.

          Haigler thinks the SJC is generally a good system for the PCA because it brings finality to disputes. But for abused women seeking justice? The SJC “doesn’t work for that very well,” said Haigler because it is so focused on the technicalities of church governance.

          He believes there is room for the PCA to adapt on this. “I don’t think there’s anything in the rules that says we have to be judicial and we can’t be pastoral,” he said.

          Multiple people involved in the Indiana case repeated that refrain, saying the PCA’s approach to abuse tends to be more judicial than pastoral. The PCA has a reputation for its commitment to process and rules, which can drag out the simplest actions with amendments and points of order. Because churches are elder-led and all PCA elders are men, only men are involved in the decisions about complaints of abuse within a presbytery.

          “The judicial process of this denomination is not trauma-informed in any way,” said Marusich, one of the Central Indiana Presbytery elders. “I’m not saying, ‘I’m Mister Trauma-Informed.’ But I realized in a way I did not two years ago that we are not trauma-informed.”

          Instead of elders within one local presbytery hearing abuse complaints, Marusich thinks the PCA should move to a synod-type system where elders from outside presbyteries handle abuse investigations and where women are involved in cases involving women.

          “Almost always, the victims I work with say that [the church process] was worse than the actual abuse,” said Ann Maree Goudzwaard, the executive director of Help[H]er, a local church-based effort to help women advocate for women in crisis within PCA churches.

          Goudzwaard also served on the PCA’s Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault committee, helping create the report that the denomination just released. “The [Book of Church Order] was never written with abuse in mind.”

          The church trial could have a bearing on the outcome of the civil case. US courts are hesitant to weigh in on church matters due to church autonomy doctrine, an American legal principle that differs from the UK, where the church and government were one and the same. US courts don’t want to be entangled in church matters.

          Lawyers looking at this Indiana case thought that the existence of an ecclesiastical trial would make courts less likely to want to intervene because a civil ruling would influence the church trial. But cases with pastors suing over abuse allegations have few precedents.

          During the Catholic Church’s abuse crisis, some priests filed defamation suits to counter allegations against them. In the case of a Chicago priest, a state supreme court tossed the suit in 2006 on the grounds that it was a church matter the courts couldn’t intervene in.

          In a 2013 case, a man sued his ex-wife for defamation over comments she made about him in church tribunal. The court said the process of discovery alone would interfere with the church’s tribunal proceedings and dismissed the case. In that case, though, the woman had not discussed the supposedly defamatory statements outside of a church court.

          The dismissal of such cases tends to be about whether a court is drawn into a theological debate.

          Nathan Adams, an attorney with experience on church autonomy cases, said even Herron’s letter of defense in the court documents contains a lot of religious material, like referring to a sermon he preached.

          “There’s lots of stuff in the dispute that has a religious nature to it,” he said.

          Adams said a pastor suing parishioners is unusual, but the involvement of the church in the dispute here means that Herron shouldn’t be fighting former congregants in secular court. Even if the church process is flawed, “the solution to a flawed process is to fix it.”



          Source

          © Copyright Original Source

          Interesting.

          Fortunately, the SBC is working hard to honor the tradition of the FULL autonomy of the local church, which is why they have established a "victims fund", but no help whatsoever to the accused minister, as that would be the jurisdiction of the local church or local law enforcement, and the SBC is not a party (Unless it's a denominational employee).
          The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Juvenal View Post
            The supremacy of creator gods is pretty much an Abrahamic thing. Most creator gods get offed by their offspring before hitting the rinse and repeat cycles. There’s evidence Yahweh did that to El before taking over his throne and his principal concubine, Asherah.
            The first and third statements here appear to be at odds.
            I think we’ve discussed this before. There are snippets of pre-Abrahamic tradition that check out, like the worship of Tammuz, known as Dumuzi in the earlier tradition. The dismissal of Hagar after bearing his son is straight out of the Code of Lipit-Ishtar.
            .[/FONT]
            27 If a man's wife has not borne him children but a harlot from the public square has borne him children, he shall provide grain, oil and clothing for that harlot. The children which the harlot has borne him shall be his heirs, and as long as his wife lives the harlot shall not live in the house with the wife.
            "Straight out" is over-stating things a bit, methinks. Hagar was not a harlot, and was living with Sarah until Isaac was weaned (and Isaac was born about 14 years after Ishmael). Further, Abraham's heir was Isaac, not Ishmael.
            Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

            Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
            sigpic
            I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

            Comment


            • Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
              It seems that the annual General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) had a similar issue but with a twist

              Source: Can the Church Still Enact Justice When a Pastor Sues His Accusers?


              The PCA takes up the case of a church leader who responded to sexual harassment claims with a defamation lawsuit against his accusers.

              As the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) discusses its response to abuse at its annual General Assembly this week, a case involving a pastor suing former congregants over allegations against him is making its way through civil court and the denomination’s own system.

              Dan Herron, a PCA pastor—or teaching elder—accused of sexual harassment, says the women making claims against him are lying and has sued them for defamation. Several presbyteries have passed measures requesting the PCA intervene.

              “For an accused teaching elder to sue his accusers in a civil court—it is ugly,” said Steve Marusich, a pastor in the Central Indiana Presbytery who has been closely involved in the presbytery’s investigation.

              The country got a glimpse of defamation cases around abuse allegations with the recent Johnny Depp–Amber Heard trial, where the actor accused his former spouse of defamation over an op-ed that implied he had abused her.

              After the ruling awarding Depp $10 million in damages, some legal experts worried that more abusers would use defamation as a strategy to silence victims. The threat of such lawsuits could discourage victims from coming forward.

              While church disputes don’t usually turn into legal fights, Herron is among several pastors and ministry leaders who have filed defamation suits in recent years. These kinds of cases are costly and often drag out for years, grinding down victims and denominations trying to separately enforce church discipline. Civil proceedings during a church trial mean that witnesses in the church trial might be afraid of testifying for fear of being sued, or of other consequences in the civil trial. Civil cases also require extensive evidence gathering that might interfere with a church prosecutor’s investigation.

              “Filing a civil suit—we just do not do that,” said Dave Haigler, a PCA ruling elder who works as a federal administrative law judge. “I don’t think there’s even anything in the BCO [the PCA’s Book of Church Order] about that; it just violates Scripture.” Elders referenced among other Scriptures the admonition in 1 Corinthians 6 to not take believers to court.

              Haigler previously served for two terms on the PCA’s Standing Judicial Commission (SJC), which is essentially a high court for presbytery disputes. Haigler can’t remember the SJC taking original jurisdiction in a case like this, but this month the SJC agreed to try the case against Herron. That ecclesiastical investigation and trial will coincide with pastor’s civil case.

              Over the past year, as more congregants are speaking up about sexual abuse and spiritual abuse, some of the accused are likewise pushing back in court.

              In March, Colorado megachurch pastor Jonathan Wiggins of Rez.Church sued former staff and members for defamation over accusations that he was in a sexual relationship with an assistant pastor, among other allegations. The church leadership told the congregation it found “no moral, financial, or doctrinal failure” on Wiggins’s part.

              In June, a Maryland pastor filed suit against three people, his son-in-law among them, over a blog full of allegations against him, including that he had urged a victim of domestic abuse to stay with her husband.

              In Herron’s case, two women publicly accused him of sexual harassment and bullying. Herron denies the accusations, and declined to comment to CT.

              The Indiana Daily Student, the student newspaper at Indiana University Bloomington, first reported details of the allegations in 2021. While attending Herron’s congregation in 2018, Kara Million said the Hope Presbyterian pastor had repeatedly sought her out alone, physically cornered her, and in one instance pressed against her breasts for 10 to 15 seconds.

              Million’s husband, Chris Baker, was an intern for Herron and said the pastor would regularly ask him about his wife. The couple left Hope at the end of his internship, according to the news report, and haven’t joined any church since.

              Abigail Gschwend Harris alleged similar behavior, saying that Herron sought her out alone and pressed his body against her. Gschwend Harris declined to comment for this article.

              Herron has denied their characterization of events, both in media reports and in the defamation lawsuit. In legal filings, Herron called such moments “incidental contact without sexual intent.”

              He alleges that the women’s defamatory statements in podcasts, on social media, and in news reports (including leaked materials from private presbytery meetings) cost him a job and forced him to seek counseling. He now works at a health organization in Indianapolis, though he retains his ordination as a pastor.

              The women, former members of Herron’s church, first sent their complaints to the Central Indiana Presbytery in 2019. After many twists, turns, internal fights, and complaints filed with the denomination, the presbytery concluded its investigation and reported in May 2021 that it found a “strong presumption of guilt” and recommended a church trial against Herron.

              The presbytery, which said it was investigating “various reports concerning [Herron’s] Christian character,” did not say what the presumption of guilt was about specifically.

              A few weeks after the presbytery’s report, Herron filed a lawsuit against the women and accused them of defamation and “a campaign of harassment” against him. The trial is set for 2023. Million has also countersued, alleging that Herron had defamed her by calling her a liar.

              Civil litigation versus ecclesiastical justice

              Meanwhile, the trial process within the presbytery slowed. Thinking of the witnesses in the church trial, Marusich said they might be less likely to share accusations against Herron with the threat of lawsuits hanging over them: “If you’re already being sued, are you going to go in there and tell people what happened? … Some of them feel like the process is designed to wear them out so they’ll quit.”

              In February PCA pastor Josh Holowell, the prosecutor for the Central Indiana Presbytery’s trial against Herron, resigned. He was frustrated with the slowness of the presbytery to act while a civil case was proceeding against the women. The decision, he said in a statement, was “based solely on the inability of the Central Indiana Presbytery to render justice, and my own personal weariness from the constant opposition to the pursuit of justice and truth.”

              He continued:

              The rules of discipline as laid out in the Book of Church Order have been ignored to the benefit of the accused on multiple occasions. The bias of this presbytery has made the rendering of justice in this ecclesiastical court impossible. How can an ecclesiastical process be fairly adjudicated while civil action against the witnesses is allowed to continue? My soul is weary, and I can only imagine my weariness pales in comparison to that felt by the accusers and witnesses in this case.


              Million told CT in an email that from the perspective of a victim, the PCA ecclesiastical process has been “horrific” and “heavily biased in favor of the accused.”

              “Many of the people originally handling the case were colleagues and close friends of his,” she said, adding that he was able to be involved in his own case while, as a woman, she could not participate in deliberations restricted to church officers.

              Elders in other presbyteries around the country began hearing through informal conversations about the Indiana case. Later this spring, four presbyteries (Korean Capital , Chesapeake, Northern California, and Northern New England) passed overtures requesting that the denomination should take over and hear the accusations against Herron itself.

              One overture from Northern California said Herron had been “credibly accused of impropriety” and that the defamation lawsuit “constitutes clear evidence of TE Herron’s intention to employ the civil magistrate to prevent his accusers’ testimony against him, and thus preclude or undermine the proceedings of the ecclesial court.”

              The Northern California presbytery asked the denomination to investigate and try the case “for the express purpose of defending the honor of Christ, clearing the public scandal, restoring the peace and purity of Christ’s Church, and providing the care of a true shepherd to [teaching elder] Daniel Herron and to his accusers.”

              Though the PCA is not a top-down denomination, the BCO has a provision that a minimum of two presbyteries can ask for the denomination to take up original jurisdiction of a case in certain situations of “public scandal.”

              Haigler, the elder who sat on the SJC, knows the SJC has the power to be the judge and jury for pastors facing abuse accusations but he had never heard of the SJC taking original jurisdiction in a case like this Indiana one. But in June the SJC agreed to hear the case. The SJC is made up of PCA elders, many of whom have backgrounds as judges or lawyers.

              Haigler thinks the SJC is generally a good system for the PCA because it brings finality to disputes. But for abused women seeking justice? The SJC “doesn’t work for that very well,” said Haigler because it is so focused on the technicalities of church governance.

              He believes there is room for the PCA to adapt on this. “I don’t think there’s anything in the rules that says we have to be judicial and we can’t be pastoral,” he said.

              Multiple people involved in the Indiana case repeated that refrain, saying the PCA’s approach to abuse tends to be more judicial than pastoral. The PCA has a reputation for its commitment to process and rules, which can drag out the simplest actions with amendments and points of order. Because churches are elder-led and all PCA elders are men, only men are involved in the decisions about complaints of abuse within a presbytery.

              “The judicial process of this denomination is not trauma-informed in any way,” said Marusich, one of the Central Indiana Presbytery elders. “I’m not saying, ‘I’m Mister Trauma-Informed.’ But I realized in a way I did not two years ago that we are not trauma-informed.”

              Instead of elders within one local presbytery hearing abuse complaints, Marusich thinks the PCA should move to a synod-type system where elders from outside presbyteries handle abuse investigations and where women are involved in cases involving women.

              “Almost always, the victims I work with say that [the church process] was worse than the actual abuse,” said Ann Maree Goudzwaard, the executive director of Help[H]er, a local church-based effort to help women advocate for women in crisis within PCA churches.

              Goudzwaard also served on the PCA’s Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault committee, helping create the report that the denomination just released. “The [Book of Church Order] was never written with abuse in mind.”

              The church trial could have a bearing on the outcome of the civil case. US courts are hesitant to weigh in on church matters due to church autonomy doctrine, an American legal principle that differs from the UK, where the church and government were one and the same. US courts don’t want to be entangled in church matters.

              Lawyers looking at this Indiana case thought that the existence of an ecclesiastical trial would make courts less likely to want to intervene because a civil ruling would influence the church trial. But cases with pastors suing over abuse allegations have few precedents.

              During the Catholic Church’s abuse crisis, some priests filed defamation suits to counter allegations against them. In the case of a Chicago priest, a state supreme court tossed the suit in 2006 on the grounds that it was a church matter the courts couldn’t intervene in.

              In a 2013 case, a man sued his ex-wife for defamation over comments she made about him in church tribunal. The court said the process of discovery alone would interfere with the church’s tribunal proceedings and dismissed the case. In that case, though, the woman had not discussed the supposedly defamatory statements outside of a church court.

              The dismissal of such cases tends to be about whether a court is drawn into a theological debate.

              Nathan Adams, an attorney with experience on church autonomy cases, said even Herron’s letter of defense in the court documents contains a lot of religious material, like referring to a sermon he preached.

              “There’s lots of stuff in the dispute that has a religious nature to it,” he said.

              Adams said a pastor suing parishioners is unusual, but the involvement of the church in the dispute here means that Herron shouldn’t be fighting former congregants in secular court. Even if the church process is flawed, “the solution to a flawed process is to fix it.”



              Source

              © Copyright Original Source

              Naturally, these nuggets jumped out at me:

              [box]“Many of the people originally handling the case were colleagues and close friends of his,” she said, adding that he was able to be involved in his own case while, as a woman, she could not participate in deliberations restricted to church officers.

              ...

              Because churches are elder-led and all PCA elders are men, only men are involved in the decisions about complaints of abuse within a presbytery.]/box]
              Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

              Beige Federalist.

              Nationalist Christian.

              "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

              Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

              Proud member of the LGBFJB community.

              Would-be Grand Vizier of the Padishah Maxi-Super-Ultra-Hyper-Mega-MAGA King Trumpius Rex.

              Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

              Justice for Matthew Perna!

              Arrest Ray Epps and his Fed bosses!

              Comment


              • Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                The first and third statements here appear to be at odds.
                That’s from this.
                .
                The supremacy of creator gods is pretty much an Abrahamic thing. Most creator gods get offed by their offspring before hitting the rinse and repeat cycles. There’s evidence Yahweh did that to El before taking over his throne and his principal concubine, Asherah.

                The series of Mesopotamian pantheons eventually linked to Yahweh all included creator gods. This is the tradition referenced when Yahweh tells the soon-to-beome Israelites he was once known to them as El, the highest of the El, El Shaddai, and as a personification of his divine council, the Elohim.

                As reflected in the first of the ten commandments, members of these pantheons were worshipped separately, contradicting the supremacy granted to Yahweh and his more successful incarnations as the supreme God of Christianity and the Allah of Islam.

                The tension between the first and third statements is in part due to a bridging statement lost on the cutting-room floor between the second and third statements.

                While some of these creator gods were explicitly slain, the more common form of execution was the piece-wise theft of their defining aspects in a tradition that goes back to the dawn of history with the stealing of the divine mes by Inanna from Enki. Blame it on vanity. I couldn’t pass up the chance for a phrase like “offed by their offspring.’

                It’s not like I wrote them out of history for failing to pay their temple tax.

                But when I speak of the supremacy granted to Yahweh, I’m speaking of later incarnations of the earlier “Yahweh and his Asherah” depicted in the temples of the early Israelites. There’s no archaeological evidence for a monotheistic Yahweh before the Babylonian exile. In contrast, none of the Yahwehs worshipped by today’s principal Abrahamic traditions had a wife.

                "Straight out" is over-stating things a bit, methinks. Hagar was not a harlot, and was living with Sarah until Isaac was weaned (and Isaac was born about 14 years after Ishmael). Further, Abraham's heir was Isaac, not Ishmael.
                That’s an overstatement, but in line with the diminishment of Hagar suggested by the Jewish sacred texts.

                Hagar was the mother of the firstborn son of Abraham — that is, Abram before theophoric elements were added to Sarai to create Sarah, to Abram to create Abraham, and even to YHW to create YHWH and complete the cycle. That’s what it says here.

                But who was Hagar actually.

                We can’t really know, but the texts provide insight into both the early Israelite tradition and the traditions with which they were in competition. If they mentioned her as a servant who left the household, we can assume that was to push back against another tradition that portrayed her differently. Ideas come to mind.

                Imagine if Hagar was simply his first wife. And she had a kid. So Abram had a second wife and Hagar learned to share. And then the second wife had a kid and she wasn’t into sharing.

                As descendants of Abraham’s second-born son, what better way for the heirs of Isaac to answer competing claims from descendants of his first than writing up Hagar as Sarah’s servant, and less than a servant, a slave.

                Cue the code of Lipit-Ishtar.
                .
                25 If a man married his wife and she bore him children and those children are living, and a slave also bore children for her master but the father granted freedom to the slave and her children, the children of the slave shall not divide the estate with the children of their former master.

                So she was a slave, and her children couldn’t inherit, so long as she and her children were freed. So why was Sarah worried about her son’s inheritance. As a first wife, that shouldn’t have been Sarah’s worry. But if Hagar wasn’t a slave, and was actually a first wife, things make more sense. In that case, Hagar had to go. But how could she be driven out.

                Cue Genesis 21:10.
                .
                … and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

                Cue the code of Ur-Nammu (page 20).
                .
                25. If a man's slave-woman, comparing herself to her mistress, speaks insolently to her, her mouth shall be scoured with 1 quart of salt.

                Note the original text is translated by Roth as “If a slave woman curses someone acting with the authority of her mistress, they shall scour her mouth with one sila of salt.” There’s room for interpretation here.

                But in any case, this, by the way, is where I went wrong. I knew these ancient law codes, and that they spoke of conflict between a slave and her mistress, and of inheritance, but collectively, not specifically. Somehow I’d conflated them into support for the law code of Ur-Nammu speaking of the inheritance of the children of an insolent slave. And in so doing, created a direct link between the historical Ur III and Ur of the Chaldees, as described in the Bible.

                Fortunately I looked it up and found my errors. But I’d long since spoken to tabibito about the reliability across a larger time span of the Israeli sacred texts related to the Mesopotamian tradition in contrast to tales coming from the later Egyptian traditions, based in part on this example. Worse, he’d taken special note of it. But if I was wrong, he was then wrong for believing me. Cue me, mortified.

                Again, freed slaves might not inherit, but there was no law for driving Hagar out, just for washing her mouth out with salt. But if Hagar was even less than a freed slave, if she was a strip of woman-shaped meat serving the sexual desires of the man who bought her, if she was no more than a harlot, then 27 of Lipit-Ishtar could come in handy.

                And so Isaac supplanted Ishmael.

                Certainly the writers would want to tread carefully before they set up a precedent for Isaac’s kids to follow.

                Nah, that’d never happen.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Juvenal View Post
                  Fortunately I looked it up and found my errors. But I’d long since spoken to tabibito about the reliability across a larger time span of the Israeli sacred texts related to the Mesopotamian tradition in contrast to tales coming from the later Egyptian traditions, based in part on this example. Worse, he’d taken special note of it. But if I was wrong, he was then wrong for believing me. Cue me, mortified.
                  I've been trying to trace this one to put it in context, but without success.
                  1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
                  Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                  .
                  "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

                  "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                    I've been trying to trace this one to put it in context, but without success.
                    If you mean finding the original discussion, I’m no help there. I remember the conversation, which was certainly a tangent in some other topic, so thread titles aren’t going to help, either. It was some time ago, as well, which adds to the difficulty.

                    As best I recall …

                    You’d mentioned something along the lines of your usual position that you don’t credit historical references prior to Moses, and possibly not much of the Mosaic tradition as well. I was substantially in agreement, but objected that there were reliable, or at least illuminating accounts from the Abrahamic hence Mesopotamian hence chronologically earlier tradition that argued for separating out the Egyptian traditions and considering them separately from the Mesopotamian. I cited, as here, both the Dumuzi aka Tammuz references and the harmony between the actions of Abraham and the Law Code of Ur Nammu.

                    That last was wrong, as detailed above.

                    A better argument can be made for harmony with the Law Code of Lipit-Ishtar, again, as above.

                    If I could link Abraham to Ur Nammu, I could comfortably place the origin of his earliest tales, including the story of Hagar and Ishmael, inside Ur III and the neo-Sumerian period from 2112 BCE to 2004 BCE according to the middle chronology, or shortly after its end. But that’s not going to happen now. If Lipit-Ishtar was more relevant, then the timeline shifts into the Isin-Larsa period bringing the stories forward perhaps 150 years.

                    Another century and we’re looking instead to the code of Hammurabi and the first Babylonian empire. At that point, the linkage would break entirely.

                    I’m arguing here that the shift to Isin-Larsa can still be harmonized with an origin for Abraham inside Ur III. First, because Lipit-Ishtar is far closer in its fines to Ur-Nammu than to the significantly harsher penalties of Hammurabi, echoed in the Mosaic law. Next, because its principal religious template undergirding the law had not yet shifted from Sumerian to Babylonian. Together, because the proximity in time, culture and religion argue for a continuity in legal traditions as well, and because the recorded codes must have reflected a much wider jurisprudence given the ubiquity of legal documents uncovered from the period and to the acknowledgment of wide-spread use of contracts inside the codes themselves.

                    If I can put Abraham inside Ur III, I can argue for historical relevance of the stories associated with him in the Bible. I can’t pretend a similar argument for the historicity of the Mosaic stories. Perhaps the most iconic of these, Moses’ birth narrative, is suspiciously similar to the birth narrative of Sargon, which is, ironically, both Mesopotamian rather than Egyptian and within the Akkadian empire, preceding even the neo-Sumerian period of Ur III.

                    Elsewhere, I’ve argued the Exodus was not that of the Jews from Egypt, but instead of the Egyptians from the lands that became early Israel. The archaeological evidence of the population of early Israel cannot be reconciled with even a fraction of the population accounted for returning from Egypt in Exodus. The religious tradition of the supposed exiles is as consistent with Ugarit as it is inconsistent with Egypt.

                    ______

                    I don’t want anyone to think I’m anything more than a duffer here. I am an active researcher, but in mathematics presented for publication in mathematical journals whose names would require explanation for the general population even before we consider the esoteric differences between, say, work one would submit to the Journal of Combinatorics, series A, and the Journal of Combinatorics, series B.

                    I’m barely an amateur hobbyist in the Ancient Near East. I have a handful of books, maybe a dozen or so, that I’ve read with rebuttable competence. If anything I write about ancient Israel and the surrounding cultures stirs interest, go find an actual academic studying these fields to get the stories straight. I understand that most folks here take a religious interest in these topics that are for me, little more than idle curiosity. I read and I ask questions, mostly to myself, most of which will remain forever unanswered.

                    Comment


                    • Returning to the OP, DOJ gets involved.
                      Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

                      Beige Federalist.

                      Nationalist Christian.

                      "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

                      Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

                      Proud member of the LGBFJB community.

                      Would-be Grand Vizier of the Padishah Maxi-Super-Ultra-Hyper-Mega-MAGA King Trumpius Rex.

                      Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

                      Justice for Matthew Perna!

                      Arrest Ray Epps and his Fed bosses!

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post
                        Returning to the OP, DOJ gets involved.
                        Yeah, it gets ugly.
                        The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                        Comment


                        • The article seems to insinuate that the investigation is politically motivated.

                          I'm always still in trouble again

                          "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                          "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                          "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                            The article seems to insinuate that the investigation is politically motivated.
                            Well, it'd Ben Shapiro's website so that's not completely surprising that he'd try to insinuate that. Not saying it can't be, but it seems like a reasonable thing to investigate.
                            "So when you actually get the virus, you're going to start producing antibodies against multiple pieces of the virus. So, your antibodies are probably better at that point than the vaccination."
                            - Pfizer Scientist Chris Croce

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                              Yeah, it gets ugly.
                              Regretfully, SBC brought this on themselves by attempting to cover it up. No one seems to have learned from Watergate, that covering-up bad behavior makes the crime worse and punishment worse when it comes out.

                              You wou;d think that someone would have known Luke 12:3 and the many verses similar to it.
                              "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                              "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                                The article seems to insinuate that the investigation is politically motivated.
                                What does this White House do that is NOT?
                                The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                                Comment

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