Bethel Doubles Down On Conversion Therapy

Local citizens, including the protest organizer, Sarah King, far left, protested Bethel Church's endorsement of conversion therapy near the evangelical mega church this past Sunday. Photo by Doni Chamberlain.

One thousand, nine hundred and eighty-eight years ago, on the back of a winged horse (as I like to imagine it), Jesus Christ miraculously returned to the physical realm after being gruesomely executed by the Romans.

Naturally, being the first -- and so far only -- person or deity to return from the afterlife, he had many interesting things to say, which his apostles dutifully noted for future reference, as in this passage from Mark 16 in the King James Bible:

“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Thus, the snake oil industry was born, and two millennia on, it’s still thriving in Shasta County, California.

The first thing you need to understand about the controversy swirling around Bethel Church and its misguided claim that it has a right to convert gay people into straight people, is that its self-appointed apostles actually believe they possess these healing powers and can even teach others how to harness them.

Needless to say, if any of the Bethel elders actually possessed such divine attributes, they’d be a lot richer than they already are, or at least garnering significant scientific attention. The fact that they are relatively wealthy in the first place testifies to the fact civilization hasn’t progressed as much as many of us would like to believe.

But we’re trying, and I was totally humbled by the response to “The Truth Behind Bethel’s Gay Panic,” the story I wrote last month after viewing the video of Bethel apostle Kris Vallotton’s homophobic sermon on Palm Sunday. I had hoped that there were other people out there who feel the same about this issue as me, but I never anticipated folks would take to the streets in protest, as they did this past Sunday.

To be honest, the story had been stewing in my soul ever since I moved to Shasta County four years ago, and discovered I’d have to sign a pledge that I wasn’t living in sin in order to attend Simpson University, which somehow enjoys a federal exemption permitting it to ban openly gay students from attending the school.

Look, I’m not a member of the LGBTQ community, I’m just an old straight guy living outside the bounds of holy matrimony with his girlfriend of 11 years seeking to expand his employment opportunities. But I’m not so desperate that I’d violate one of my own core principals to attend a school that actually litigated for the right to discriminate against gay people based on its interpretation of the Bible. (All apologies to those of you who have grit your teeth for the degree.)

Ironically, the core principal I’m referencing is also biblically based. In my interpretation of the Bible, Jesus Christ is a social justice warrior, a phrase evangelicals jacked up on the prosperity gospel have turned into an epithet. He’s the champion of the poor, the dispossessed and the persecuted. Arguably, there is no group in society more deserving of his protection than the LGBTQ community.

Yet in the very same book, particularly in the Old Testament, there are numerous passages suggesting in no uncertain terms this community should be wiped off the face of the earth. These are the passages Kris Vallotton has chosen to take literally—obviously he and the rest of Bethel’s higher-ups are ignoring the countless verses condemning false prophets who claim supernatural powers to a similar fate—to justify his claim that homosexuality is “inherently immoral.”

Of course, Vallotton doesn’t want you to know this on an intellectual level, which is why last week in the Record Searchlight, he announced in a Speak Your Piece that he was removing the video of the offending sermon from Bethel’s website (note to Bethel: the internet is forever) and begged forgiveness from … I’m not quite sure who. The LGBTQ community? Shasta County? The world? Me?

If he was expecting forgiveness from the latter, he was sadly mistaken.

The sign says it all: Conversion therapy is torture. Photo by Doni Chamberlain.

Inside Bethel’s dark heart

For those unfamiliar with the story up to this point, Vallotton’s now-deleted sermon concerned three bills in the California Assembly that propose to further regulate the practice of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts, also known as “conversion therapy,” AB 1779, AB 2119 and AB 2943.

In his Palm Sunday sermon, Kris Vallotton calls the congregation to action on three bills, including AB 1179. (Bethel.com has removed this portion of Vallotton's message from its website.)

Virtually every professional mental health association in the United States now recognizes that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is part of the natural spectrum of human identity and is not a disease, disorder or illness. According to the American Psychological Association, there’s a paucity of hard data on SOCE, which are now almost exclusively practiced in a religious setting. The overall professional consensus is that such therapies are ineffective, counter-productive and potentially harmful.

In 2012, California became the first state to ban practitioners in the healing arts, including physicians, surgeons, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, educational psychologists, clinical social workers, and licensed professional clinical counselors from performing sexual orientation change efforts on minors. The legislation falls under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, which protects consumers from deceptive business practices.

The three bills Bethel is now quite publicly opposing would further protect LGBTQ individuals from conversion therapy. AB 2943 appears to be Bethel’s primary concern. If passed and signed into law, it would prohibit licensed mental health providers from advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with adults, the same protection LGBTQ minors have had since 2012.

In short, the three bills would prohibit the sale of conversion therapy snake oil to adult and juvenile members of the LGBTQ community not protected by current law.

In his Record Searchlight apology, Vallotton acknowledges that his sermon promoting the sale of said snake oil “has caused some to question Bethel Church's posture toward the LGBTQ+ community and our theological stances” and he was now seeking to “clarify my own opinions and some of Bethel's heart.”

The “+” after LGBTQ was a nice touch, inferring a modicum of familiarity with the gay community. Who can keep up with this ever-expanding acronym? Certainly not Vallotton, who, steeped in Old Testament wisdom, views homosexuality and anything else falling outside the gender binary norm as a serious spiritual affliction demanding immediate exorcism.

“I believe God created mankind with a free will,” he states in his apology. “He teaches us what is right and yet gives us permission to live our lives as we desire.”

Got that? Identifying as gay or lesbian or transgender is a willful choice—the wrong choice, according to Vallotton, who then informs us that “America was founded on the notion that all people have God-given freedom and inalienable rights. This freedom means that individuals are protected from having ideologies forced upon them.”

He then proceeds to cram his and Bethel’s ideology down readers’ throats.

“But I do believe it's my responsibility to teach Biblical truth,” he continues. “Bethel Church holds to the scriptural perspective that same-sex sexual behavior is unhealthful and that Jesus offers loving responses.”

From a scriptural perspective, Jesus didn’t have a whole lot to say about same-sex behavior, so Vallatton is presumably once again relying on the Old Testament, which includes loving yet profoundly unhealthy responses to homosexuals such as stoning them to death. Fortunately, Vallotton notes that “Bethel only endorses respectful and humane counseling practices that reflect the dignity of all individuals.”

This is the way people talk about livestock, not human beings. This is the heart of Bethel, this is what its pastors have preached for the entire 50 years of its existence: that members of the LGBTQ community are somehow less than human, unworthy of Jesus Christ’s salvation unless they repent their evil ways.

In “The Truth Behind Bethel’s Gay Panic,” I pointed out that here in Shasta County, we are already painfully aware where this kind of thinking, based on the homophobic verses in the Old Testament, can lead: the murder of two innocent men because they were openly gay, by two brothers who once attended Sunday school at Bethel and took the clobber passages to heart.

Pray the hate away? It’s worth a shot. Photo by Doni Chamberlain.

Bethel as the victim

Vallotton would have us believe that these very same clobber passages offer a “loving” remedy to members of the LGBTQ community, a cure for an illness serious medical authorities no longer recognize as such. He frames Bethel’s apparently ongoing use of conversion therapy techniques as a battle between competing beliefs of equal value in the free marketplace of ideas.

“We respect the right of people who disagree with us to voice their opinion, and we request the same respect for the beliefs that we hold,” implores Vallotton. “We cannot stand by and allow our message, our hope, and our faith to be silenced. Proposed legislation like these Assembly bills ultimately seeks to restrict and control many voices, not only ours.”

But Vallotton provides us with no evidence, other than a couple of allegedly ex-gay counselors in Bethel’s employ, to honor this patently false request for equal billing. The proposed legislation doesn’t silence Bethel or any other religious denomination’s message, hope or faith. If passed, religious denominations would remain free to openly discriminate against the LGBTQ community, as Simpson University does today, with full federal approval.

What would be prohibited is charging money for the scientifically discredited practice of conversion therapy. Vallatton doesn’t present any legitimate research that such therapies are effective because no reputable studies exist. The legislation doesn’t address the broader free market of ideas protected by the First Amendment; it’s narrowly targeted to protect the LGBTQ community from false and deceptive business practices. That’s why it’s filed under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

In his apology, Vallatton feigns puzzlement at the reaction of the local LGBTQ community and its allies to his Palm Sunday sermon.

“Bethel Church has been a part of the Redding community for more than 50 years,” he writes. “We have always lived in peace with people of all different persuasions in our community. We have never participated in any protest against the gay community.”

Again, that’s not exactly true. For the past half-century, Bethel pastors, including Vallotton, have been actively protesting against the very existence of the gay community, from the pulpit, if not in public. They have unfortunately been joined by a vast swath of the evangelical community. Such religious persecution is one of the main reasons the LGBTQ community has been forced to turn to the state for protection.

“We also have many friends in this city who are gay, and we do business without reservation with people in our community who are gay,” Vollatton continues, in the time-honored some-of-my-best friends-are-gay tradition some homophobic bigots eventually resort to when they’ve been snake-bit. “Even though we would disagree with some in the LGBTQ+ community, we are not haters but lovers of people, even when we have a different perspective.”

To be clear, the different perspective of these “lovers of people” is that anyone who exists outside gender binary norms is an abomination in the eyes of God. Such thinking is so ingrained in Vollatton he not only claims he “did not realize that I was being disrespectful” in his Palm Sunday sermon, he apparently doesn’t comprehend that his apology simply regurgitates the same arguments, this time gussied up with rainbows and love.

“I ask forgiveness and will be taking the sermon off the internet,” he concludes. “I want to communicate God's love for all people, and am asking that we create a way forward together in our community by respecting each other in the midst of disagreement.”

Somehow, I don’t think Vallotton’s apology will be accepted by the LGBTQ community anytime soon, if only due to its utter lack of sincerity.

In my case, no apology is necessary. In fact, I’m grateful that Bethel posted Vallotton’s Palm Sunday sermon, because it illuminated an issue that has disturbed me ever since I moved to Shasta County four years ago: the rampant discrimination against the LGBTQ community practiced not just by Bethel, but a significant portion of the area’s religious community.

If Vallotton and Bethel truly seek to create a way forward for the community, they’ll repost that video in its entirety, to remind the rest of us who we’re really dealing with.

Although Bethel.com has removed the controversial video of Kris Vallotton's Palm Sunday sermon from its website, aNewsCafe.com anticipated this move and secured a copy before its removal. You may watch the video here in its entirety here. 

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas.
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115 Responses

  1. jackalope vojtecky says:

    When I moved to Wyoming one of the first things I noticed was how the murder of Mathew Shepard was remembered in the community. I could not go anywhere in Wyoming without reading about Shepard’s murder, in fact the whole world knew about the murder of Mathew Shepard. I thought that within a year the same thing happened in Redding, the murders of two gay men. Yet, unlike Laramie, Redding seemed to view the tragedy as something only a few knew about and wanted to forget.
    I tried to show the difference in my A Tale Of Two Cities letter but the posters on here chose to view Mathew Shepard as a pariah. An attitude reflecting Redding’s indifference to gay people.
    Today, twenty years after those murders, the stark difference between how Laramie and Redding have evolved about gay rights is clearly shown and can only be attributed to the actions each city had taken since the murders.
    Laramie has enacted more gay friendly laws than any other city. Wyoming has gay marriage and openly gay legislators. This was pointed out in a Casper newspaper in an article about Scotia Mullin, a diver at the University of Wyoming. UW divers have placed high in NCAA contests in a large part because of Mullin. Scotia Mullin is an openly gay diver who came from Australia specifically to attend UW. He knows about Shepard and in the article stated that Wyoming gets a bad rep that isn’t true because of Shepard’s murder. Mullin talks about other gay members of the Laramie community and how they are accepted in Laramie and Wyoming.
    While Laramie gets openly gay athletes coming to it, Redding gets a church that ambushes gay, or supposedly gay, residents and tries to “fix” them.
    This present situation can be traced back to how the two cities reacted to similar gay murders twenty years ago.

    • Jackalope, “The Laramie Project” is currently showing at the Riverfront Playhouse. I agree with you, Shasta County has never come to terms with the Matson and Mowder slayings.

      • bruce vojtecky says:

        RV, with all the creative talent in Redding why hasn’t someone produced “The Redding Project”?

  2. Matt Grigsby says:

    Another thoughtful and interesting piece R.V.

    Bethel isn’t sorry for what they said. Vallatotn isn’t sorry for his words OR his deeds. He’s sorry that his words and deeds brought negative attention to his church. I can forgive someone for not really understanding the impact of their words, because I’ve certainly stumbled enough times myself. But forgiveness comes once a person has understood what they’ve said is hurtful and wrong and then they stop saying or doing those things. Vallotton’s apology amounted to “I’m sorry you took offense at what I said.”

    Bethel isn’t changing their philosophy or their faith with regards to the gay community. Bethel is free to preach anything they wish. The public is also free to comment on what is preached, and to have strong opinions about those words.

    This community has embraced and supported Bethel for many years, but I do not for one second believe that Bethel would embrace or support me as a member.

  3. conservative says:

    I prefer to see the 10% of Redding who are members of Bethel leave California. Why live in California if you don’t share California values? I will not specify destinations. In Exodus, the pillar of fire led the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land.

    What would a lawyer say about the possibility of Bethel conducting activities on federal land where California law does not apply? Across the state line?

    The Gannett newspaper has joined the fight. This could go worse for them than housing first.

    • The Land of Nod might be a good location.

    • Tim says:

      You mean forcibly remove them like Andrew Jackson did with Indians (or Adolf Hitler with Jews)? Or more of a semi-voluntary exile like what sent the Mormons from Missouri & Illinois to Utah?

      Apparently California values no longer include tolerance for diverging beliefs.

  4. john says:

    I don’t get it. Are the LGBTQ individuals being forced to take/attend conversion therapy? If not then whats the problem. Could these state bills be in conflict with the Constitution separation of church and state? Dang everyone get a life.

    • The vast majority of the LGBTQ community believes conversion therapy is harmful and has lobbied for these regulations for their own protection. The vast majority of psychiatrists agree with them. This isn’t about church and state. It’s about charging people money for treatment that doesn’t work.

      • john says:

        Then don’t go for the treatment.

        • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

          It’s unclear how many adults voluntarily seek conversion therapy at Bethel. The reason it was banned for juveniles in 2012 is because there’s near unanimous agreement the therapy is more harmful to youngsters, and they often didn’t have a choice.

          Two of the three bills concern adults and juveniles who have also been coerced into treatment by guardians and group homes.

          Quite often, adults are coerced by family, even though, as you say, the choice is up to them.

        • Matt Grigsby says:

          John, do you support gay marriage? Because if you don’t believe in same-sex marriage, you don’t have to get married to a man, right? Equality for all!

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      The proposed laws are under the guise of consumer protection. Since it’s established in the field of psychology (to the extent that anything is “established science” in that field) that conversion therapy is useless, and even harmful, the legal theory is that the practice constitutes consumer fraud if you charge a person for the service……Bethel can continue to do it for free.

      I agree that conversion therapy is snake oil, but I’m still uncomfortable with the selective outlawing of snake oils. Years ago, when the local fish-wrap was still a fully functioning newspaper, it ran an in-depth article about “New Age” cancer treatments offered, for a price, by Mt. Shasta hippies. (Crystal healing, etc.) The story profiled several women who were dying of what had once been treatable forms of cancer—women who were leaving behind husbands and young children, and were full of remorse. It was heartbreaking, but crystal healing is still legal, as is the great frauds of homeopathy and the majority of herbal supplements and alternative meds sold on the shelves of Rite Aid and Walgreens.

      • Larry Winter says:

        Here’s what I see as a critical difference.
        Can crystal healing do harm to a healthy person?
        Can conversion therapy do harm to a healthy person?

        • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

          Larry, that seems like a distinction without a difference. True, crystal healing can’t do anything bad to a healthy person, but healthy people aren’t the people seeking to be healed. It’s sick people—often very sick people who could be cured—who seek out and are killed by New Age treatments that do zilch.

          It’s widely acknowledged that conversion therapy is not productive, and there are cases where the ultimate outcome is suicide. There are likely other cases where the ultimate outcome is that people don’t commit suicide—people who are, for religious reasons, racked with guilt over their sexual orientation and convince themselves the solution is to get the gay prayed out of them. (It’s well noted that the religion-based remedy for that guilt is also the source of the need for the remedy.)

          Crystal healing doesn’t heal anyone, and kills some of the people who put their faith in it. The analogy would be treating people with “laying on the hands,” if they’re forgoing medical treatment because they think they’re being cured.

          Indeed, it’s illegal to withhold medical treatment for minors in favor of religious healing. But if you’re an adult and you want to take your chances with prayer or fasting or sacrificing a chicken while forgoing medical treatment, it’s your corpse.

          That, in a nutshell, is why I’m still opposed to at least one of the three proposed laws. It protects adults from themselves in a way that’s inconsistent with how adults are generally treated. Nobody is crusading to prevent my wife’s niece from wasting her money on homeopathic bullshit. California isn’t going to pass a law preventing my local brewpub from selling me more than three 16-oz servings of beer per week.

          Snake-oil salesmen of all persuasions can and should be held civilly liable for the harm they do. I’ve got no problem with that.

          • Tim says:

            Totally agree with your libertarian sentiments, Steve.

            As for the crystal healing, I’m not even convinced that it is a net harm compared to the snake oil that is “modern” medicine. People generally get better from most ailments with time and if they are encouraged to do nothing but sit under a crystal (or better yet, hike in fresh air to a spiritual waterfall) they may be better off, actuarially, than visiting a clinical petri-dish (1 in 25 hospital patients will develop an infection) and getting potentially unnecessary prescriptions/treatments (70% of Americans will take a prescription drug this year).

            Sure, some will die who modern medicine could have saved, but modern medicine kills at least as many who would have lived if left alone: 440,000 people die in hospitals each year in the US from medical mistakes – 1 in 741 (or about 125 Reddingites per year). https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/medical-mistakes-are-3rd-leading-cause-of-death-in-us

            This is probably why the average American lifespan declined from 78.9 years to 78.8 after Obamacare expanded access to healthcare. We like to imagine we’re getting some infallible authority like we see from TV doctots, but we’re probably getting someone much closer to George Washington’s blood letter…

          • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

            Nobody cuts into me until I’m *damned* sure it’s the only viable alternative. I’ve weaned myself off of three drugs that I supposedly needed to take for the rest of my life, and am happy to be free of their side-effects (it took several years for the effects of one of them to fully dissipate). I also declined the last two elective surgeries that were offered up to me, and 10 years later that seems like the right decision.

            So yeah, I understand and agree to some extent with your broad argument.

            But when a 35-year-old hippy mommy of two kids gets diagnosed with curable early-stage breast cancer and opts instead to be treated with crystals, homeopathy, sage smudges, and praying to Gaia—and subsequently dies horribly—it’s f***ing tragic. If one of my girls was diagnosed with breast cancer, I’d beg her to get conventional medical treatment.

            As for that decline in lifespan from 78.9 to 78.9, that seems like a difference that’s within the noise.

      • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

        I have a sneaking suspicion that one reason Bethel has opposed the conversion therapy legislation is they’re worried that if they can’t do that, how in the heck can they sell the rest of their snake oil?

        The difference with conversion therapy verses these other forms of snake oil is that there was an active class of injured parties, namely the LGBTQ community, actively fighting it.

        I haven’t done this yet, but I suppose I’ll be doing it down the road: Has anybody ever sued Bethel for failing to heal them or a loved one?

        • Tim says:

          Where are these directly injured parties?

        • Aleeta Stamn says:

          Right off hand I know there was a lawsuit against two Bethel “supernatural school” students several years (it should have been against Bethel itself).

          Two Bethel students went out drinking with a third person. That person either fell or was pushed off a 200-ft. cliff, so the Bethelites decided to just pray away his injuries instead of getting help. In fact, they wandered around for hours then sat by a swimming pool for awhile before mentioning the man to anyone. I believe that man was paralyzed from the neck down. I haven’t been able to find any follow-up to this lawsuit, but I could just be Googling the wrong words.

  5. Patrick says:

    Vollotoon’s uncertified & uneducated counselor charges $90 per hour to ….”Un-gay,” someone,but cannot accept any insurances because of no qualifications or legitimate training in therapy. Again, more snake oil for money. Vollotoon should stick to traveling with his single female.. “assistant” ( with he publicly attempted to auction off at the airport)…” She is good looking & has good teeth”?? The sheepish look on both of their faces said it all. . Or, maybe he should stick to waving his Rolex watche in front of the camera as he did in the same public post?? Fishy??? You bet’ca!!

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I saw that video, and I thought, WTF, he’s traveling around with a woman who is not his wife? And he’s a “sexual purity” expert? I think the Billy Graham rule should be applied in this case!

  6. Common Sense says:

    ” I want to Communicate God’s Love for All people,” he says. Well, the simplest and easiest way to do that is to Love and Accept ALL People just the way God Created them!

  7. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    This whole series of articles has me wondering how many of my Bethel friends and acquaintances have been “un-gayed,” and how long the supposed fixes will hold. Peer pressure is a powerful force, but so is sexual desire. If I had to bet on a couple of them, I’d go with “not long.”

    One of the more eyebrow-raising facets of Vallotten’s sermon on the subject centered on the rationale for people seeking sexual orientation conversion. He suggested that LGBTQ+ people are innately unhappy because, deep down inside, they know their behavior is frowned upon by God.

    There seems to be zero acknowledgement of the possibility that maybe they’re unhappy because their family, friends, and fellow church-goers are forever guilt-tripping them over the social mores of a band of Middle Eastern Bronze Age goat herders (who also believed that wearing linen with wool was an abomination in the eyes of God, and put that in their Bible as well).

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      “There seems to be zero acknowledgement of the possibility that maybe they’re unhappy because their family, friends, and fellow church-goers are forever guilt-tripping them.”

      In the various studies on conversion therapy I have perused, there’s definitely a religious cohort that appears to suffer more than non-religious members of the LGBTQ community. This is precisely because families, friends and pastors shame them.

      Vallotton would have us believe that when a person’s sexual identity manifests and they happen to be gay, God himself informs them that it’s wrong. Malarkey. Family, church and other social forces do the shaming. Then people like Vallotton have the nerve to turn point at mental health statistics to prove gays are “unhappy with their lifestyle.”

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        It’s a nasty positive feedback loop that guys like Vallotton pimp, but don’t acknowledge, probably even to themselves. A religious cure is applied to a psychological malady created by religious intolerance.

        Weird business model—like a doctor making you sick, then selling you the remedy.

  8. Stan w says:

    Yea Johns right “get a life” RV and I have one. I mean we are white heteral sexual mid aged white guys living the good life in the foot hills.
    Try living in the foot steps for one day of a gay, colored or disabled human living here or for that matter any where then tell them to get a life. This is not about our white male privlaged asses. RV and many others are fighting for equal treatment for all.
    Sure you are not being forced to except their conversion bullshit if they kept it in side the church but that is not what bethel is doing. “501 club bethel intervention”
    Religion for me is nothing more then people trying to control people through guilt. And profit from it while they are at it, I mean why not right! Seems like a perfectly white male thing to do!

  9. Ol Brier Bush says:

    RV you always have a way of dragging this Ol Bush out of the brush.There are two words left out of all the response
    to this subject matter.
    1 the word NATURAL

    2 the word ALL

    The word natural does not mean there are no toxic substance present.
    The word ALL means there is not one rightous
    I’m just an 80 year old plus child .Has anyone got the answer. MAH-CARE-EUS HEMERA to all.

  10. Chris Solberg says:

    “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

    Romans 1

    • Larry Winter says:

      So according to your list, I’m damned if I’m gay and damned if I’m not.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      These are some of the few clobber passages in the New Testament.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      Chris, it’s odd that you would park this here, as if we’re unaware that there are portions of the Bible that explicitly condemn homosexuality. Is that what you thought? That we didn’t know?

    • Matt Grigsby says:

      Are these quotes your entire argument?

      Please quote other parts of the Bible too, taking careful note of the rules you’re following and the rules you aren’t. Or make an argument of your own, using your words and your logic.

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        I think Chris is hitting us up with Grandma’s “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” bumper-sticker argument. That argument has its own internal logic, and defy’s counter-argument.

        Those who profess to follow that simple logic rarely rise to the fly when you ask them about the mandates of the Bible that they choose to ignore. I’m pretty sure Chris isn’t going to respond to either of our requests that he explain the cherry-picking.

    • Janis says:

      I was waiting for some knucklehead to rise spewing his pretext.
      The question is… what did Jesus say… not what did Peter, John, Mark or Paul say
      Jesus said You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. John8:15

  11. Stan w says:

    Chis, that last comment sounds like something a frustrated middle eastern bronzes age sheep herder would write and hide in a dessert cave for some white guys to find two thousand years later and profit from. Keep digging there may be more!

  12. toni says:

    in my opinion we are stuck.

    first it was ” you chose this bad lifestyle and therefore, you are not okay.”

    now it is “you cant help it, you were born this way, therefore, you are okay.” help what?

    choice or no choice it doesnt matter people.

    its simple.
    as long as everyone has a good time, everyone is an adult, and they dont do it in the street and scare the horses: people get to do what they want.

    i hope someday we get to this point.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      My deceased mother-in-law’s name was Toni (Antoinette). She used to walk past my wife’s bedroom the we had the door closed (back when my wife was my girlfriend) and say, “Don’t scare the horses!”

      Her live-and-let-live philosophy sounds a lot like yours, too.

      Toni? Is that you?

  13. Chris Solberg says:

    Should Bethel and other Christians tear out of the Bible Gods view on homosexuality found in old and new testament ???

    Are you looking for unity?

    “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”

    Luke 12

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDPnsTRAvIM

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Not God’s view. The Bible was written by human beings.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      Chris — So clearly, you’re a fundamentalist when it comes to the Bible. I’m not asking this question with anything other than sincere curiosity: How do you square your fundamentalism with all of the Biblical mandates that Christians routinely ignore?

      The Old Testament forbids tattoos, and I don’t know about you, but I know for sure that this one is routinely ignored by Bethel’s youth. “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” — Leviticus 19:2

      The Apostle Paul wasn’t keen on uppity women. “Let your women keep silent in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.” —1 Corinthians 14:34

      Jesus himself said that praying in public is for show. “When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men.” — Matthew 6:5

      You down with all of those? If not, why not?

      I’m expecting to hear crickets chirping as the response, because that’s the typical reply to queries about Biblical cherry-picking on the part of fundamentalists.

  14. Melanie says:

    Just putting it out there that if there are LGBTQ people looking for a faith community All Saints Episcopal Church on Benton and the United Methodist Church downtown are both welcoming places.

  15. R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    So I was cruising the internet, checking out the website Right Wing Watch, and here’s a story about an ex-gay rally in Washington DC last weekend. In the photograph, on the far left, you’ll see both of Bethel’s ex-gay counselors in attendance.

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/at-ex-gay-rally-activist-mommy-warns-of-war-on-our-children-hiding-behind-rainbow-and-glitter/

  16. Joe H says:

    “Unnatural”, “perversion”, “abomination”.

    Sound familiar?

    These are all adjectives, that IMHO, though not for the majority of wonderful homosexuals and wonderful Christians, are excellent descriptions for the worst elements of the rabid, faux-Christian right (led by the repulsive fake Christian/sexual predator in the White House!). And in an era where homosexuals, women and people of color are demanding equal justice under law, their new age, hyper-intolerant, willfully ignorant, money grubbing, Republican Jesus makes so much more sense.

    Given the reactionary animus and unabashed hypocrisy of far too many of these most pious, it any wonder that church attendance and tithing are both dropping like a lead balloon in this country?

    Enough is too much. The 1950s are calling and it wants you “unnatural” gay-converters – who have almost nothing in common with Christ – back…

  17. Stan w says:

    RV, not gods view the bible was written by human. Exactly by humans how many years ago and translated how many times? Indoctrinated (hey bethelites look that word up) is what its called. They will only believe what those sexual intellectuals on the pulpit will say. (F…ing know it alls). Their sheep by bethels design and can not hear anything we the non buyers of their bullshit will say. I escaped the Christian cult by force at the age of seventeen and carry on my hell bent sinning life happily. Other than their hypocrisy I don’t see them living any different then the rest of us. Sorry Steve for stealing your bronze age sheep herder thing. And Chris and the others you can stop quoting the bible to none buyers because its old and makes you sound like you don’t have a mind of your own. It falls under the wtf category. Try saying something of your own mind that might make sense.

    • Sierra says:

      So judgmental. This is a democracy. Religions have been around for centuries and won’t be altered by some of your statements, most of which are quite rude, biased, and uneducated. It’s funny that liberals preach protection for all, equality, human ‘rights’, ‘love’, until Christians try to exercise their rights.

      • Aleeta Stamn says:

        What “rights” are Christians being denied?

        The “right” to exploit laws and legislation to discriminate against gay people in businesses that are open to the pubic, and make their services available to every other group?

        The “right” to outlaw constitutional protections for women?

        The “right” to force their religious beliefs down the throats of everyone else in public venues?

        Your “rights” don’t extend to depriving the rest of us of OURS.

      • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

        Sierra, I including almost all of Vallotton’s column from the Record Searchlight which supposedly were suppose to explain his views. So blame him.

  18. conservative says:

    I think it is inevitable that Bethel people will leave California. The longer they wait, the worse it will be for them. There should be an orderly liquidation of their properties and businesses. The trend in California should be obvious to all.

  19. Sierra says:

    Dear A News Cafe, articles by this author are destroying your Credibility. One of the most ignorant, biased, and distorted articles posted yet by this author and on your website. It is a sad sight to see. He is not interviewing any Bethelites or their pastors to gain a true perspective. He is polarizing and stirring up unnecessary controversy.

    His last article regarding the sermon preached on LGBTQ community was faulty and lead a lot of people astray. I hope more audience members use discernment and question his statements. His tactics are extreme and polarizing. Not good journalism.

    • bruce vojtecky says:

      Sierra, all I can say, and Doni has too, is write your own letter to Anews.

    • George Koen says:

      Define good journalism and then provide the same. Teach him and us.

    • Aleeta Stamn says:

      How is video of the actual Bethel service a lie?

      And as I recall, Bethel leaders asked – and were invited – to share their perspective in this forum. However, their eventual response was to have some supposedly ex-lesbian write a vague substance-less letter about how Bethel is all about “love”.

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        Yeah, Sierra apparently assumes this ongoing discussion started the moment she (?) walked into the room. And unaware that Vallotton decided, for whatever reason, to publish his own contribution in the local fishwrap rather than here, where the discussion originated and continues.

        I haven’t really changed my mind since I wrote my own piece in this series. I still like most of the Bethelites I’ve met—I think they’ve moved the needle on the niceness meter in Redding, and I still hope that most aren’t simpatico with Valloton’s views. And I still think Valloton is a self-important, self-righteous, preening, intellectual manikin.

        • Ol Brier Bush says:

          Intellectual Brilliance is no guard against being dead wrong.
          I read this some ware and first thing in my mind was politicians and now it’s preachers.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Sierra, I did practically a line-by-line critique of Kris Vallotton’s “apology” in the Record Searchlight, which he claimed represents and clarifies his true point of view. So your comment that I don’t present Bethel’s point of view here is erroneous. Please list any other faults in my article so I can make sure not do it again.

    • Colleen Adams says:

      Sierra… Bushwah! R.V. laid out a very accurate portrayal of Bethel’s stance along with a link to the actual sermon in question! I watched it (the whole thing!) and R.V. did not write anything that Vallotton didn’t say himself. In fact, Vallotton is the one who seemed to deliberately confuse his audience by playing a video during the sermon that wasn’t about homosexuality or the assembly bills in question, but about a totally separate issue…being transgender. I live in Redding, and I have to hear Christian people praying in public, talk about the lord to me, pray over me, put unwanted Christian literature on my car, etc. etc. I don’t need to read an interview with them to know what they think and what their views are because they are everywhere talking about it all the time! And they post their sermons online so we know exactly what they believe! Furthermore, liberals, as you mentioned above, would not give a toss about any religion at all if Christians would simply keep it to themselves, but that isn’t the case! Bethel has tried to assert itself into politics and also into our public schools, and elsewhere in the U.S., Christians are trying to influence laws so that they can discriminate in business practices and overturn Roe v. Wade. The rights of Christians are the same in this ding dong country as the rights of say, Satanists (myself included there), but I can assure you that the Christians are slowly trying to take away the rights of everyone who believes other than what they do.

  20. Sierra says:

    So judgmental. This is a democracy. Religions have been around for centuries and won’t be altered by some of your statements, most of which are quite rude, biased, and uneducated. It’s funny that liberals preach protection for all, equality, human ‘rights’, ‘love’, until Christians try to exercise their rights.

    If you all want to actually engage in dialogue that helps both communities, I would suggest being open minded and actually asking people to dinner or coffee to have dialogues about differing views etc.

    • LetsBeOpenMinded says:

      So judgmental (How?) This is a democracy (And…what is your point?). Religions have been around for centuries and won’t be altered by some of your statements, most of which are quite rude, biased, and uneducated (Please, educate us). It’s funny that liberals preach protection for all, equality, human ‘rights’, ‘love’, until Christians try to exercise their rights ( I don’t hear anyone trying to take away the rights of Christians).

      If you all want to actually engage in dialogue that helps both communities, I would suggest being open minded and actually asking people to dinner or coffee to have dialogues about differing views etc. (We invite you to explain further, because I watched Kris’s Palm Day sermon and it made me sick to my stomach, and I am not the only one. Go ahead Sierra – tell us how we got it all wrong. Coffee anyone?)

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      Sierra, if anyone here is offended by the free exchange of ideas in this democracy, it’s you.

      I don’t see anything in R.V.’s article suggesting that you be prevented from practicing your religion. Nor in the comments of the readers. Most of us agree that you should be allowed to attempt to talk your gay acquaintances into straitness until the cows come home. Some of us think your church shouldn’t be allowed to charge a fee for that. In my opinion (probably a minority opinion here), your church shouldn’t be singled out for selling snake oil until other snake-oil peddlers are prevented from grifting grown adults, too.

      Said Matt (one of the commenters above who happens to be gay): “Bethel is free to preach anything they wish. The public is also free to comment on what is preached, and to have strong opinions about those words.”

      I wrote one of the articles in this thread of pieces addressing Bethel’s stance on homosexuality. Near the conclusion I said that that I’d be happy to talk with any my Bethel friends about the issue, but that it would be a two-way discussion. The question that I’d most like to ask is the one that I asked Chris Solberg up above—the question that he’s studiously ignoring: “What’s with the fundamentalist cherry-picking?

      Feel free to answer that one yourself. I’m truly puzzled by it.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Judgmental? You mean like calling gay people abominations because that’s what is says in the Bible?

  21. The Old Pretender says:

    “…which includes loving yet profoundly unhealthy responses to homosexuals such as stoning them to death.” It is for this that I anxiously await every article. Truth with humor can ease the truly sad revelation that there are people on this planet still adhering to bronze age superstitions . Tax the churches. Enough of this nonsense.

  22. Stan w says:

    Religions have been around for centuries and won’t be altered by your statements! Really lolololol! That’s been going on with people of faith for centuries to fit their agenda. Do you think Jesus would wear a Rolex and (here comes the rude part) tell you that your unhealthy and a sinner because of who you love? Did he ever say that to anyone? Or was it some other of the many unnone ghost writers of the most confusing books ever written. Rude is when your dude with the Rolex pulls that zealot crap on those that have a hard enough time getting through life. Rude maybe so but I’m feed up with hypocrites still telling others how to live. And yes I’m uneducated, only made it through high school. I did managed to raise to educated suscussful boys that treat everyone with respect. I did manage to produce nationally sindicated outdoor shows for fifteen years. And retired at fifty five. Mr Towers is educated and writes very well and with good grammar and that is why I and alot of poeple read RV’s articles and Steve’s and others comments. Call me uneducated is fine but RV and some of the others here thats rude. As for me pecking away with fat fingers on a tablet I hate because I have to watch my coffee roaster so as not to go past a full city + with a pound of Costa Rican beans. I care more about my beans than my grammar. And as far as dinner…well we don’t talk politics or religion at the table because I want to enjoy my dinner.
    Credibility lost…. with who. Maybe ten percent and we know who they are.
    RV do you like a good cup of coffee? I’m only a few ridges over, come over and we can talk about my dad’s r80rt that I have been restoring. Just not R and P.
    OK I’m done with the titty twisting contest here, I will leave it up to RV and looking forward to more.

  23. Lisa says:

    I was under the impression that a church enjoyed tax-exempt status contingent on it’s lack of involvement in political matters. Is that no longer true?

  24. George Koen says:

    Entropy
    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entropy

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics
    https://www.livescience.com/50941-second-law-thermodynamics.html

    Relativism
    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/relativism

    (Maybe I have forgotten to mention ethnocentrism. Simply stated, this is the belief that my culture is superior to yours.)

    Although the first two mentioned definitions govern physics and the universe, it is imperative that within the subject matter, one draws the principles from those definitions. In other words, the philosophy then becomes this; everything is winding down and everything is on the road to disorder and chaos. Couple that with Relativism and one ends up with a nasty Trio. (The antithesis to the musketeers.)

    Immanuel Kant basically posited that the result of an action holds no moral value. The moral value comes with intention. If it was my intent to help someone positively, but the net result was a negative, then I did not do anything negative because my motivation was positive. Again, if I see someone drowning, dive in to save that person, but instead end up drowning that person, I am not guilty of anything because my intention was to save and not to kill. This is Relativism in action. (By the way, Relativism is a very close cousin to Situation Ethics.) Relativism by its very definition cannot allow for absolutes. Relativism is indeed today’s Master Blaster. And in most respects it should be so.

    Which leads to the question of what is truth? Who has the truth? And given the biblical nature of this discussion, who is truth? Can an individual be truth? Well, it is all relative isn’t it? We do all have the right to an opinion. We do all have the right to a belief. I have a belief system that is very private. I do not speak of it unless someone wants to hear what is. I do not believe that my belief system is superior to the belief system of anyone else. I definitely do not believe that it is for me to impose my system of belief on another. Yet my attachment to my belief system is complete. Surely that is the way it should be. It is said that opinions are like elbows, we all have them.

    I do believe implicetly that we need to confine out lives. This not in the sense that we become selfish with any knowledge and wisdom we have, but in the sense that we do not dispense any knowledge and wisdom without the approval of another. Any conversations we may have can never be accusatory in nature. Buy all means we question but we never judge. When a discussion has the sole intent of changing the mind of another, it will fail. Humanity has lost the ability to allow life to do it’s job by taking care of what it needs to take care of. It is not for us to convince, but it is for life to convince. So although we do need to manage our lives wisely, there are those times when there is little more we can do but share. It is at these times when we must allow that life will do what it needs to do. Call it karma, or a blessing. But it will happen.

    Philosophically much has changed for our race. Many bemoan Relativism for the changes it has wrought. Many welcome these changes. Knowledge is indeed power. But how we use that power is what matters. Knowledge is exponential. The more knowledge we gain, the more knowledge we gain. The more knowledge we gain. It is like opening a tap. The more we open the tap the higher the flow of water.

    Certainly some changes can be viewed as less than ideal. One can point to a historical event and name it as a cause for a negative outcome. Yet even in that, we are resilient enough to learn and change accordingly. Yes there are aspects to humanity that are subjected to entropy. We age and with that comes deterioration and death. We do indeed lose our minds. We become intolerant. Or not. We are proud and also narcissistic. We love and we hate. We care and we use. We smile and we frown. (Sucks to be human right?)

    Colonialism and imperialism are but two byproducts of the ethnocentric mind and attitude. One may attempt to restrict ethnocentricism to the realm of of the anthropologist, but that is not so. Overt religious fervor is quite as guilty. When one religion seeks to subject another to its system, then guilt stands in stark contrast to innocence. I am no fan of catholicism, but by limited assimilation of aspects of other religions, they at least got a small part of this right. Religion in general, is not inclusive however. This is because exclucivism is, well, exclusive. Remember that no matter how unpalatable, inclusivism and exclucivism enjoy the same rights. But again, value is determined by the individual. Wise individuals do not deny but they do accept the existence of differing philosophies. Acceptance opens doors and is that not what we and life are about?

    History is the best recording machine humanity has. It does not discriminate. It does not take sides. It simply records. (Remember Kant?) There is no moral value a record can apply. In fact, there is no value at all. As with beauty, value is in the eye of the beholder. The interpretation of history is individual in nature. One blames our seeming human chaos on the denial and removal of absolute values. Another appeals to the inevitable changes that growth as a species provides.

    So, can we have it all? Hell no! (oops!) Can we share it all? Nope! But we can agree to disagree. We can protest one another’s position and sometimes that is the only answer life provides. Life is a parent and sometimes we have to get that. By every means stand up for your beliefs. By all means practice what you preach engendering no shame, hate, intolerance or anything negative. Boldly go forth.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      The philosopher I was channeling on this piece was Karl Popper and his tolerance paradox. In a tolerant society that tolerates everything, Popper theorized, the intolerant will ultimately come out on top. So the tolerant society has to draw the line somewhere when dealing with the intolerant.

  25. Joanne says:

    Thanks R.V. I always enjoy your articles.

  26. Jeff says:

    Perhaps a little of topic, but not. Y’all need to get up to Ashland and take in the play “Oklahoma”.
    Absolutely hilarious and breathtaking, and I’m pretty sure Vallotton would have walked out.

  27. Blake Dorsey says:

    Bethel Church Children’s Pastor Teaching Telepathy
    BY NEWS DIVISION · PUBLISHED DECEMBER 21, 2017 · UPDATED DECEMBER 21, 2017
    Pulled off a website that follows Bethel….
    Seth Dahl is the children’s pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, California. Recently, he posted a video teaching parents how to do telepathy with their children.
    OK….. this is the type of person everyone is trying to communicate with there is no way you can have a Socratic empirical conversation with Bethel people who really actually believe this… neither can you regrow limbs in their healing rooms
    …people who believe that are truly mentally ill…..again… if you think you can regrow Limbs in a healing room you’re mentally ill….. these people are being taught that they can heal anyone just like Christ it okay I call bull####….. an eight-year-old from Lithuania is not going to come up to me and heal my gallbladder again I call Bull we need to call these people out for what it truly is people who really believe the stuff are mentally ill I don’t say that flippantly I say if you think you can heal people like Jesus did your crazy and really need to seek help….. if you think an angel flew over you in church and drop feathers you’re crazy…. if you truly think God has manifested himself in a dust cloud above you you’re crazy….. we need to tell these people to their face when they believe that you’re crazy

  28. Blake Dorsey says:

    Stan and RV… COFFEE! Local coffee roaster here…( That is not Bethel) will not mention my name brand. Because I do not think that this is not the forum.. for but hey love to have coffee with both of you I’ll roast up some Brazilian Cerrado contact Donnie for my info….

  29. conservative says:

    The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators reading is high. Consumer confidence is at an all time high. Now is a good time for Bethel members to sell their houses and businesses. If they wait, they could be stuck in Shasta county for a business cycle. If they rent for a year or two in their new location, they could see better prices.

    • conservative says:

      The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index is just out at an all time high. Now is a great time for Bethel members to sell their small businesses.

  30. Liz says:

    The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board: May 7th 4:10 a.m. 2018

    “Finally, its true that AB 2943 concerns only sexual orientation change efforts that result in the “sale or lease of goods or services” and thus wouldn’t affect a lot of religious communications in which no money changes hands. But what if a minister urged someone he or she was counseling to buy a book or enroll in a religious seminar that charged a registration fee? Treating that activity as consumer fraud would raise some serious constitutional questions.

    It’s possible that the critics of this bill are being alarmist, but the language of the legislation is ambiguous enough to justify at least some of their concerns. The senate can allay them by amending the bill to make it clear that it cannot be used against books or religious preaching or counseling about sexuality.”

    Thank you Los Angeles Times Editorial Board. I do not usually agree with you! : )

  31. Your opening paragraphs come across as a self-righteous diss on Christianity.

    Surely that’s not what you intended?

    • Chris Solberg says:

      More like spirit of Anti Christ

      • Ann T. Christ says:

        Leave me out of this, thanks.

        Also, I’ve heard that Shasta College offers remedial adult education courses (free tuition for new students, too!). With a little hard work you might even earn that G.E.D.! Keep trying, Lil’ Buddy. I believe in you! 🙂

    • Linda Cooper says:

      Me say, nah. I think the author had just finished a coffee and chat with Andy Borowitz, and that inspired the mentioned paragraphs.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      The Bible describes the angels who are God’s immediate attendants as having six wings, two of which they use to cover their eyes so as to avoid looking directly at God, and two more used to cover their feet, because the ground below them his holy from having been trod upon by God. Other angels are described as being covered in eyes, even below their wings, so as better to view and celebrate the glory of God.

      Imagining Jesus on a winged horse isn’t much of a diss, given the context.

      Humor that makes lighthearted fun of a subject is tough to pull off when the subject matter is orders of magnitude weirder than the parody itself. Harder still when people are humorless about the subject matter. For me, it made for a humorous and effective lead-in to the passage from the Bible that explains where Bethel’s faith-healing beliefs and practices originate.

      Incidentally, the origin of “snake oil salesman” has nothing to do with that Biblical passage, and is a fascinating story in its own right, set right here in California. The fraudster who invented snake oil elixir said he learned of it from Hopi medicine men. https://goo.gl/YeKCdj

  32. Stan w says:

    Thank you Doni for putting up anewcafe. RV I will catch up with you as soon as I get all the spring time uneducated stuff done around the ranch like weed eating and figuring out what’s wrong with my three point lift on my tractor.
    Blake, I love America’s coffee’s. I have been enjoying some Honduras beans lately. I buy my beans from bodhi leaf. Nice company and good prices.
    Carla, RV and many others who bring their talents to the cafe, thank you. You don’t have to be gay to get your mental ass kicked by this kind of behavior. They figured out if they target our youth that they are much more moldable and then can build their numbers faster. Hell Manson figured that out a long time ago.
    So what does bethel, manson and rejneeshpuram have in common? Not a lot but one big thing, BRAINWASHING.
    What ever we do what ever you think about this kind of neighbor don’t take your eye off them because its a cult.
    Ever cult comes with something inticing , friendly and oh yea big smiles.

  33. Chris Solberg says:

    “Your opening paragraphs come across as a self-righteous diss on Christianity.”

    Indeed , imagine this R.V. Scheide… Not fit to tie his sandals friend.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V4jxkoXp2U

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      Mel Gibson’s obsession with ritualistically staged torture porn—from the execution at the conclusion of “Braveheart,” to the numerous scenes of brutality in “Apocalypto,” and pretty much all of “The Passion”—is downright weird.

  34. Blake Dorsey says:

    Stan…. I’ve seen Bodhi Leaf ….I actually buy a bit more… I go down to the Importer in the bay once a week and by about a hundred and twenty to 150 kilos I’ll flip you some if you want… oh and keeping up with the chat of this comments…… Bethel Bethel bad Bethel bad bad Bethel

  35. Stan w says:

    Chris come man bible quotes and video clips really. I know there is more to you then that. I’ll tell you what I’ll watch your video clip and you read the front page of http://www.evilbible.com OK? Does that sounds fair? Just the the front page and no you won’t go blind.
    Got to go and do my happy dance just figured out my tractor problem..see ya!

  36. Stan w says:

    Wow Blake your a real roaster! I’m home roaster with behmor. Three or four pounds a week. But back to topic. Blake its not so much the people the followers its the top the leadership the profits and the control to do so. The Rolex dude the wanky promises and the ability to do it under the muse of a religion. You can do a little research on mega churches and see the parallels both good and bad. I’m sure a lot of the folks that have been coming here to defend bethel are good and kind people. Its those at the top selling the same old snake oil rebottled that bothers me.
    You don’t need the Rolex dude, become your own ministers of love and kindness by your actions and then people will ask you about your happiness and then and only then you can share your deep found believes.
    You don’t need a thousand other people around you shaking their heads in agreement while listening to the Rolex dude while he discriminates against our friends our families and our neighbors.
    The people I call and see as true Christians don’t need a church and don’t have to pick up their bible all that often because they are grounded in their morals and ethics. They pray alone and do for others quietly and never claiming their faith for their actions. You should never have to ask someone to go hear someone else speak to show them how you believe. It’s your actions that shows them. What I have seen in my sixty years is that overtime many of these good folks will start to question these kind of beliefs and move on into their own personal relationship with their god and not relie on the Rolex dude and others.
    Your faith is your friendship your walk with your god and should not be compared to others.

  37. Blake Dorsey says:

    Agreed

  38. tom says:

    What kind of person hired CBS anchor man Otis Livingston to work on national television if he hase bad views over CBS Leslie Moonves calling him white garbage, unprofessional in business, dumb, and even homo. Leslie Moonves must becareful of Otis Livingston he is maniac!

  39. Sierra- I think a cup of coffee or tea would not change your mind one iota about how you think vs how I think and live, you must begin to challenge Bethel leaders; ask critical questions about human relationships, of all kinds of course, but most of all please don’t let yourself be so dogmatic.
    Conservative-Love your comments about Bethel folks should leave CA, there’s several states that would accept them with open arms…Utah, Mississippi or better yet Alabama, come on down.
    BTW, is anyone taking on the project of calling the FPPC in SAC and fully checking out a church, like Bethel, and their version of Freedom of Speech, Separation of Church & State and how their 501c3 status jives with what they seem to be doing in the realm of open politics ? Just askin’

  40. PS I believe Kris Vallotton is known as a ‘Leader’ and not a bonafide pastor; same may be true of Bill Johnson and his credentials as a pastor. Someone might dig into this ?
    Oh, bumper stickers with ‘Don’t Drink The Cool Aid’ are being sold in a store at the Shasta Factory Outlets.

    • Linda Cooper says:

      I too am curious about the credentials of the “Leader,” and his/their team(s). Good golly, I’m going to start a team. This team will be imaginary, but obviously, what does that matter? I will inform my water district, and PG and E. I will say, “My team will get back to you!”

      I’ve tried googling my heart out, and nothing. Except that Kris Vallotton sells “sells a lot of books.” Short answer, I won’t dig any further. Giant hat off to anybody that does dig.

  41. Melanie says:

    For anyone interested Kris Vallotton is at Barnes and Noble today signing his book. They have a big display when you walk in.

  42. Ron says:

    For all who see the obvious issues at Bethel, please do remember that a lot of Christians are not happy with those types of ministries. They are an easy target of their own design. But for actual intelligent discussions of how Bible based Christianity intersects with the the LGBT folks, I think an interview with or article from Rosario Butterfield or Pastor Albert Lea would be great for anewscafe. Most of the folks here will not agree with them in the end, but the dialogue would be a great representation of how many Christians like me view these issues. And certainly more credible perspectives than from Bethel staff.

  43. Ron C. says:

    The fixation on Bethel is unreal. I’m no supporter of the cult but I also choose to ignore them. if the gay community is totally against them, then they should be a massive protest instead of what? Five or ten people show up. That just shows me that the LGBTQ have better things to do then worry about a private church spouting off hate.

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