I’d Buy That For A Dollar: Bethel’s Anti-Transgender Crusade

Bigsby Snyder (S.D. Nemeth) in Robocop.

I’m delighted to belatedly announce the future has finally arrived. Premium content on anewscafe.com can now be accessed for just $1 per day!

I’ve been waiting for this moment since 1987.

That’s when the science fiction action movie Robocop was released. Set in an indeterminate near-future in post-industrial Detroit, the film centers around a police officer who is violently murdered and reincarnated as a cyborg which then pursues the killers. It’s considered to be the most violent action movie ever made by many film aficionados.

In the movie, the characters watch a reality TV show, “It’s Not My Problem!” The show is hosted by Bixby Snyder, a pudgy, balding man with coke-bottle-bottom eyeglasses, a walrus mustache and a bow-tie who is always inexplicably surrounded by scantily clad stripper chicks.

In three short snippets spread throughout the film, Bixby first smashes whipped-cream pies into one woman’s chest and then asks two of the girls if they’re willing to sleep with him. “We’ve had our shots,” they inform him.

“I’d buy that for a dollar!” he says lecherously.

Thus, an immortal American meme was born. Bixby Snyder is the quintessential forgotten man pursuing his own version of happiness, one dollar at a time. By extension, economically, we’re all chasing that same dream, perhaps with more mundane appetites than Bixby’s.

What, after all, is the value of a dollar, other than the ultimate measure of all things in our late-stage capitalistic society?

Interestingly, a dollar today, as measured by the Federal Reserve’s price-adjusted dollar index, has roughly the same purchasing power as it did in 1987, when Robocop came out. It doesn’t seem like a dollar today stretches as far though, does it? You’ve got to dig in Dollar Tree, let alone Dollar General, to find anything that actually costs just a buck.

According to the Urban Dictionary, Robocop is definitely the source of the meme “I’d buy that for a dollar.” It is now universally used to refer to anything “that is really amazing and fantastic whether it be a person, place, thing or idea.”

“Amazing and fantastic” are two adjectives I’d definitely use to describe ANC’s premium content, which, as it so happens, you can purchase for just a dollar for 24-hours access to the whole site, not just one story. The price seems right for the time. I’d buy it for a dollar, if I didn’t already have a contributor’s subscription.

Surely, after reading a couple of stories by my esteemed colleagues, I’d realize the $5 recurring monthly subscription rate is a bargain, and I might even be tempted to generously sign on to the maximum $40 recurring monthly subscription plan. Prices go down in $5 increments from there. Do what’s right for you.

It’s time to pay up. The future is now.

Bethel pastor Kris Vallotton and his congregation prayed for Redding’s new Mayor Julie Winter, who is also member of the church, on Dec. 9. Photo from Kris Vallotton’s Facebook page.

Then They Came For The Transgenders

Because I have a contributor’s subscription, I was unaware that ANC had a $1 option to read individual stories until last week. When my profile of a former Bethel student, "Losing His Religion,” began notching up page-views at a faster pace than usual, I realized at least some people were signing up to read the story.

I’ll buy that for a dollar!

Of course, I learned that Bethel makes for good copy earlier this year, when I wrote about No. 2 apostle Kris Vallotton’s efforts to defeat a bill in the California Legislature. The bill, if passed, might have prohibited Bethel and other religious entities from charging adults money for sexual orientation change efforts, more infamously known as conversion therapy.

The story went viral, by ANC standards at least, gaining tens-of-thousands of page-views, and inspired a series. Many of our readers are obviously concerned about the charismatic megachurch that rakes in millions of dollars annually through Bethel Publishing, Bethel Music, the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, and dozens of other associated ministries, including Equipped To Love, the church’s conversion therapy outfit.

Conversion therapy has been thoroughly discredited and declared potentially harmful by virtually every credible mainstream medical and psychological association in the Western world. It is illegal to practice conversion therapy on minors in California and 13 other states.

Nevertheless, the bill that might have restricted practicing conversion therapy on adults was ultimately withdrawn after conservative Christian leaders statewide, including Vallotton, lobbied their congregations to contact the Legislature en masse.

According to the Freedom of Religion Foundation’s website, none of this lobbying activity appears to be prohibited by the laws separating church and state enumerated in the Constitution and other statutes.

Flush with their success at further blurring that line, Johnson and Vallotton in recent weeks have been encouraging their flock to endorse President Donald Trump’s proposal to remove Obama-era Title IX guidance that protects the estimated 1.4 million transgender individuals in the United States from discrimination under federal law.

Title IX, civil rights legislation enacted in 1972, states,"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Presented with ample evidence that transgender and gender non-conforming individuals face a high level of discrimination in public education and health care, Obama addressed the issue during his second term. His new directive expanded the definition of “sex” under Title IX to include “gender identity,” placing transgender people under the federal umbrella.

The religious right, especially white evangelicals, reacted to these modest reforms as if Western civilization had collapsed. So they made a deal with the devil—Trump. Give us conservative Supreme Court justices and roll back these progressive reforms, the evangelicals told Trump, and we will turn out the votes.

They did, Trump was elected and true to his transactional nature, he has delivered for the evangelicals and the rest of the Christian right. Right off the bat, he attempted to ban gender non-conforming individuals from serving in the military. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos reversed Obama’s directive to allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom at school conforming to their gender identity.

Now Trump is moving to roll back Obama’s reforms for good with a new presidential directive. The new guidelines for the Department of Health and Humans Services have yet to be officially released. But in October, they were leaked to the New York Times, which ran with the headline, “‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out Of Existence By Trump Administration.”

According to the Times, “The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by The Times. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.”

“The new definition would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves — surgically or otherwise — as a gender other than the one they were born into,” the Times concluded.

Although the Trump administration has yet to release the new guidelines, Johnson and Vallotton have been asking their parishioners on Facebook to sign a petition to implement the changes. Here’s the full text from Vallotton’s Dec. 10 Facebook post:

“Please read this urgent information and consider signing this petition to uphold the scientific definition of sex in Federal Law and Policy.

“This petition, supported by thousands of doctors, attorneys and key public leaders, seeks to solidify the U.S. government’s definition of biological sex for the sake of society as a whole. Maintaining a specific definition of biological sex guides medical science (treatment of disease), genetic/biological family heritage and physical identity for the sake of public identification (police records.) This is not discrimination or bigotry, it’s common sense.

“Our post-modern culture wants us to believe that our true identity is based upon feelings and internal thoughts. This simply isn't true! Our physical body is essential to our entire being—our chromosomes, sex organs, sex hormones all inform our personalities and emotions. It’s physically impossible to change one’s biological sex. All we can do is change the externals—what other people see.

“God desires that we cherish our bodies and celebrate our unique differences that reflect His beauty. It’s vital that our culture protect these differences for the sake of our children, their sense of safety and the development of family. Removing biological sex as a key definition in our culture will have future ramifications that we cannot envision as we get further from God’s wisdom in society.

“Please take a few minutes to review this petition and let’s stand together for the future of our children, grandchildren, and the generations to come!”

One could go paragraph-by-paragraph dismantling Vallotton’s specious arguments. It’s nice that Bethel has taken a sudden interest in science, for example, but this isn’t about science, it’s about discrimination law. Nothing in the law changes how actual scientists define sex and gender—two different topics—across fields such as biology and psychology.

Transgender people who undergo sex-reassignment surgery understand that the procedure doesn’t make them biologically a man or a woman. For most of the people who undergo the surgery, the “external changes” provide relief from the sense of not being in the “right” body, which can be extremely discomfiting on a long-term basis.

Finally, if God desires us to cherish our bodies so much, why does he command all men to whack off their foreskin to seal the covenant with him in the Old Testament?

I could go on, but I won’t. For those readers familiar with the difficulties transgender and gender non-conforming people face in society, Vallotton’s words speak for themselves.

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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59 Responses

  1. Bruce Vojtecky says:

    There is trouble in River City and it starts with a B. Bethel, according to what I read, is stuck in some sort of 50’s wormhole. While other areas are moving forward on Gay rights, even in Wyoming and the former “Gay is bad” Utah, Redding seems to be languishing in persecution of Gays.
    I find it hard to believe there are that many people in Redding that support Bethel’s claims. Are these new people brought in by Bethel? I knew gay people in Redding, some family, all my life there and never saw the outright threats made by Bethel.
    Has Bethel truly bought Redding?

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I believe Bethel has made a serious miscalculation on this issue. There have been a half-dozen stories in recent months that young people are leaving evangelical denominations in droves in large part due to their anti-LGBTQ positions. I would like to believe the majority of the people in Shasta County don’t subscribe to these beliefs, but it’s hard to say.

  2. Beverly Stafford says:

    Thanks, R. V. Yet another reason to fear Bethel’s takeover of Redding. Question: how can one, lone federal judge declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional and make it stick? Is he a Bethelite? Or will his decision go to the Supreme Court where Trump’s mouthpieces support it? Since Congress couldn’t come up with an alternative to the ACA, what are the millions who are now covered do for insurance? What happened to common sense?

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      It turns out that one lone federal judge is a crackpot, his Obamacare decision will be struck down. I wouldn’t doubt it one bit if the judge is an evangelical.

  3. Matthew Grigsby says:

    When the armed forces were required to stop discharging gay and lesbian soldiers, so many conservatives shouted and wailed and wept that our country would be made weaker by this rule (John McCain was particularly vocal about this, which I never forgave him for). Nothing happened, nothing changed. You never heard another word about it.

    When the Supreme Court began allowing gay and lesbian people to marry, there were similar hissy fits thrown and garments rendered, but nothing happened. Well, other than we got to see lots of happy, beautiful couples participate in a social contract everyone else had the right to all along.

    Similarly, here we are with transgendered people. Bethel will ALWAYS be on the wrong side of history with these issues, and I can’t for the life of me see what they stand to gain out of their positions other than money. Stoke the Fear Fires and the money comes pouring out of member’s pockets, I suppose. It’s shameful and more harmful than people realize and it’s only when we shine a light on what’s really happening will it ever be stopped. If it can.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Personally, I think Johnson and Vallotton are addicted to social media. The only reason I’ve become aware of their LGBTQphobia is they’re posting their opinions on websites and social media platforms for all the world to see. I think they’ve made a critical error in doing so. They’re raking in money from all their other operations, I can’t imagine too many adults are signing up for conversion therapy sessions at Equipped To Love, which apparently start off at $1000 per pop. A lot of people were OK with Bethel until they became openly political with the rise of Trump.

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        If you think of Johnson and Vallotton as grifters, it’s a little hard to square that with their Biblical anti-homosexuality literalism. Bethel seems built to attract bright young people, so adding sexual-identity bigotry to the mix seems like a bad business decision. Among the wide range of Christian churches, there are plenty who downplay or ignore the Bible’s harsh assessment of homosexuality, so it’s a conscious choice to play it up.

        J & V come off as a couple of wannna-be hipster dudes in mom jeans who want their church to be fun in the sense of, “Let’s all get high on Jesus!” And that’s pretty much how I thought of them until this conversion therapy stuff came up.

        Maybe it’s not that complicated. Maybe if you make it to 30 as a relatively uninformed, untraveled, undereducated, closed-minded, small-town rube, that’s what you’re going to be for life.

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

          Steve that’s an astute observation about BJ and KV acting like wannabe hipsters. I laughed out loud when KV dropped the post-modern trope in his post. He’s been listening to too much Glenn Beck who’s been reciting the same trope. All the world’s problems are caused by post-modernism and Cultural Marxism. KV desperately wants to be considered an intellectual. You’re also right about their anti-LGBTQ public agenda. Ultimately they’re shooting themselvesin the foot. The kids these days won’t buy that for a dollar.

        • Patricia Barrett says:

          I have a slightly different take on all of this. We should keep in mind is that Bethel is a leading force in the international Dominionist movement, with the ultimate goal of replacing our Constitution with brutal Old Testament law (I know that sounds a bit far-fetched, but please research “7 Mountains Domionism”, the New Apostolic Reformation, and Bethel’s relationship to those movements). At the moment it’s building up an “army”, and toward that end it’s trying to be all things to all people. I believe this push to vilify the gay community and the so-called “gay agenda” is a first step in slowly acclimating its followers (frog-in-the-water style) to the Old Testament nightmare society will become if Bethel and its national and international counter-parts ever manage to seize power.

          Which unfortunately isn’t entirely beyond the realm of possibility when you consider that Trump has placed flaming Old Testament dominionists in control at the highest levels of government, and that there are a number of state governments already under their control.

          • Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Patricia, Perhaps you could inform me as to which number of state governments are under control of Dominionists. As far as Trump’s picks they seem to all have a shelf life worse than rotten fruit as they change while he is still twitting.

          • Patricia Barrett says:

            Bruce – I sincerely hope you are correct about the “shelf life” of Trump’s appointees. As to the rest, I’d be happy to get back to you on that this evening (I’m a little tied up at the moment).

            Another thing I’d like to suggest is that anyone interested in more information might research Bethel leader Bill Johnson’s close relationship with fellow NAR “prophets” Lance Wallnau and Lou Engle (I believe he has co-authored books with both of these people), and what they’ve been up to lately.

          • Patricia Barrett says:

            Bruce – It seems the best way to answer your question is with the three links below (I’m going to post them separately, since some websites won’t accept more than one link at a time). Below you will find examples of dominionist politicians in state government, the 71-plus bills they have introduced to erase the line between religion and secular government (“Project Blitz”), and an excellent, easy-to-understand description of the Dominionist Movement (close associates and co-authors of Bethel leader Bill Johnson are mentioned):

            https://www.texasobserver.org/dominion-theology/

          • Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Patricia, not one of your links pointed out any state government, in your own words, that is under control by dominionists. Sure there are right wing nut jobs in all the states but they are not in control. It is nothing but a left wing conspiracy fed by left wing conspiracy, maybes, could bes, and possible but never happen.
            I will trust to writings of RV who does research other than google the latest conspiracy rags.

          • Patricia Barrett says:

            Bruce – If the fact that governors, Lt. governors, and a majority of legislators in multiple states are heavily promoting a textbook dominionist agenda doesn’t constitute being “controlled” in your opinion, nothing will convince you.

            However, I would cerainly agree with you that we can trust R.V., who has had much to say on this subject (example below):

            https://anewscafe.com/2018/04/17/redding/doug-lamalfa-religious-freedom-and-the-first-district-whose-dominion-is-it/

          • Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Patricia, My question was exactly which states, out of the many you say, are under control of dominionists. I say none and I ask you to name one.

          • Patricia Barrett says:

            Bruce – If you only want one example, you might try Texas (per my link above), which is home to admitted dominionists Senator Ted Cruz, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and recent Governor Rick Perry (now head of the country’s Energy Department under Trump). There are of course many other states where governors and a majority of state legislators are promoting a blatant dominionist agenda, such as Kentucky and W. Virginia (recent activities include implementing “Bible literacy classes” in the public schools).

            I’m sure you will continue to be deliberately obtuse in view of your obvious disdain for what you call “liberal sources” (is that anything left of Breitbart?), so I’m going to leave it at that.

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

            Forms of dominionism exist across all Christian denominations, beginning with the Catholics. For example, Roger Severino, the conservative Catholic who heads the HHS Office of Civil Rights, is an anti-abortion and anti-LBBTQ zealot and the architect of Trump’s anti-transgender agenda related in this story.

            For today’s evangelicals, one of the primary sources of dominionist theology was the late R.J. Rushdooney, whose Calcedon Institute in the northern California gold country laid the groundwork for sects like Bethel.

  4. Patricia Barrett says:

    Another outstanding offering from R.V. Scheide exposing the hypocricy and harmful intent of the powerful international mega-cult that is relentlessly taking over our city. Bethel’s activities seem to be primarily motivated by two things: the ability to turn a profit (for example, the exorbitant sums of money it charges to supposedly cure gay people of their so-called “affliction”), and uniting its easily-led followers behind a common enemy (in this case “liberal” laws they are told circumvent God’s plan). The success of a cult depends largely on giving its followers groups of people they can feel morally superior to, with the test of their faith being their willingness to abandon science and reason in favor of blindly accepting their leader’s warped interpretation of reality. That’s the price of admission for being allowed to become one of God’s “chosen” people tasked with “saving the world”.

    Thank you R.V. – this article was riveting (as always).

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thanks Patricia. I believe you are right about Bethel’s primary motives in regard to their anti-LGBTQ stance. The good news is, young people are fleeing churches that espouse such dogma in droves.

  5. George Koen says:

    ANC is the chief source of non-corporate news in the North. That is exactly why a nominal fee is needed. This is not Sinclair or any other backer that will skewer the news. Independent news is largely supported by concerned citizens I urge free thinkers to sign up. BTW, free thinkers do not necessarily subscribe to a single political view.

    The Jesus created by religion never existed. In fact, historically he did everything to remove people from religious mania. Think only of the Catholic history that reads like a lascivious novel. (Think Borgia).

    The reformation is touted by protestants, yet this change was hatefully violent. Not to mention inter-faith history. Historically and even now, the church cares more about its goal that that which its saviour taught. Universal love taught by Jesus is not selective.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thanks for supporting independent media in the north state, George. Between Sinclair and rightwing talk radio, we’re fighting an uphill battle.

      In high school, I was taught the Protestant Reformation was a good thing. Luther nailed his thesis to the church door and everything lived happily ever after. Later, I learned this wasn’t the case, the Reformation was drenched in blood.

    • Patricia Barrett says:

      Absolutely. ANC is to be commended for bringing us information the corporate-owned, local sacred cow-pandering Record Searchlight won’t.

    • Why, thank you, George, for that lovely paragraph endorsing ANC. 🙂

  6. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    Oh R.V.. . . . thank you for manning the watch-tower. It may get tiresome manning the spotlight that shines on the current aberration in our cultural path, but it an extremely valuable work that you do.

    Questioning the separation of church and state is something more folks need to . . .ummm. . . . question!

    I always come back to this thought: Why is it that those who seem so supportive of the “get government out of our lives,” philosophy are frequently the same folks that want government to dictate our sexual/reproductive lives?

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Speaking about intruding into people’s lives, Trump’s proposed directive will require genetic testing in order to “prove” your sexual status. Sounds like a Brave New World to me!

    • Judith Salter says:

      The best comment. I intend to use it but give you full credit.

  7. Shucks, RV. Thank you for the pitch. I agree that $1 for full access to the site for 24 hours is a deal … and it gives non-subscribers the chance to look around the site and decide whether it’s worth it to pay the monthly subscription rate of $5 a month.

    I wish the paywall were not necessary, but I do feel good about the fact that the lion’s share of our content is free and open to everyone, including non-subscribers.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      No one told us journalism would be this hard in the future Doni. The internet was supposed to be a boon for us and it has been to some extent. But it has completely blown up the business model. Nowadays you can make more money running a fake news website than a real news website. Real news costs time and money. Fake news costs nothing you just make it up. It’s encouraging that our subscribers understand real news is important.

  8. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    Whew ! Where does anyone begin the conversation after reading more of what the BSSM acolytes continue to be subjected to by their charlatan leader, KV. However, the legislature in SAC won’t be intimidated this year, like they were last session with those thousands of phone calls and letters. Because they know they’re from non-registered voters & religious temporaries who move to CA just to make their prejudicial needle move to the Right. Intimidation, fear and loathing is the subliminal message spewed by those at the Corporate Church at the north end of Redding. BTW, sex is something humans and other mammals do, gender is who we are. And, again, shame on you Julie Winter for allowing yourself to be bamboozled by this mysoginist, homophobe, racist, etc.; you know better.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I think the original legislation restricting conversion therapy for adults may have been overly broad, as it appeared to ban selling books on the practice as well.

      One thing I’ve picked up on lately is that Bethel has re-branded the “ex-gay” movement, which was demolished after the truth about conversion therapy was revealed in the 00s, as the “once-gay” movement. Now it’s totally possible that the once-gay staffers at Bethel’s Equipped To Love conversion therapy center are no longer gay–sexual preference can be fluid over a person’s lifetime. That’s a much more probable explanation than praying the gay away. An even more probable explanation is this: the once-gay staffers have closeted themselves in the trappings of straightness. They’re married with children now, so they couldn’t possibly be gay or lesbian. As if a gay man and a lesbian couldn’t conceive a child. Anyway, I guess conversion therapy for adults is one way for them to make a buck, at least for the time being.

  9. Robert Scheide Sr. says:

    When does a religion become a cult? I don’t actually know where the line is and if you are inside that organization you might not see it at all. They inch you along inch by inch and the next thing you know you are a whacko.

    Cults, don’t have to be religious, the latest evidence of this if the Trump Cult. Beyond all doubt, Trump is leading a cult. Many people I have talked to about the Trump phenomena woke up down the road saying “What have I done”. Words are cheap and he threw out stuff that grabbed your attention never thinking that he would never do them in the form you anticipated. Immigration is the perfect example, his following are definitely anti-immigrant till they started putting kids in cages.

    Having been raised Catholic I never considered it a cult. The hold they have over those who are true believers is cult like. They personally did some pretty cruel things to our family, that I have never forgiven them for. My best friend married a non catholic girl and his parents never set foot in his house ever..now that is a cult.

    Ran into some real doozy cults along the way some very dangerous. So my advice, be very careful what outfits you join and at the first sign of unease bail.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Dad, I’ve hesitated to call Bethel a “cult” because as you point out, many religious denominations are cult-like. I am however compiling a list of Bethel’s cult-like activities, and after I’m done, maybe I’ll be able to confidently say, “Bethel is a cult.”

  10. Patricia Barrett says:

    For anyone interested in the truth about gender identity (something Bethel leaders are completely unconcerned with), the article below is an excellent source of information. There are actually quite a few people who don’t fall clearly into either category in physical terms:

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/political-minds/201810/trump-administration-s-definition-gender-is-not-science?fbclid=IwAR2Kbvk7B2b6-LoHoAbuqDq2axsG5IaLD-YN__2Z2KNZoU0yqPlCrlzyZv0

  11. Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Redding is not some isolated, geographic or weather, back water. Anyone who has lived in the north state has, like myself, had to commute to the liberal, high economic bay area for work at times. It is an easy three hour drive south. But while other isolated areas where it is hard to commute to work have actually expanded, Redding seems to have become more isolated. The Bay Area is still only three hours away and the economy is booming. What happened to Redding?

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I always marvel when people go down to see the Giants or the Niners like it’s no big deal, an afternoon jaunt. It seems like a long way to go to me. That distance is often cited as the reason Redding can’t be a major manufacturing center–too far from the ports. We’d wanted a CSU, we got the BSSM. It feels like a quarter of the region burned down this past summer and fall. But I still love it here in Shasta County especially after a week or two of heavy rain in the foothills. The Green New Deal will maybe save us.

  12. Tim says:

    Boycotting, outing, shaming — quite a show of religious intolerance we have here! Would you be as quick to your pitchforks if we were talking about a mosque preaching the same heterosexual fundamentalism?

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I haven’t suggested boycotting anyone. But there’s a sizable number of locals who do. I’m more into following the money. Stay tuned.

    • Matthew Grigsby says:

      Tim…yes, I would. You don’t actually know what anyone here has said about any other church or faith. This is the topic at hand.

      It’s not religious intolerance to call out people on their own words. No one here has said we can’t all speak our minds, what many people have shared is how they feel about what has been spoken.

      • Beverly Stafford says:

        Amen, Matt. I, too, would and do boycott any church or business that is as immoral as Bethel is. Any time I learn that a business is affiliated with Bethel, I boycott it. It would be helpful if Bethel businesses put signs in the windows stating that they are proud members of the glitter and feathers church. After Vallotton’s little jig at the podium on Easter Sunday panning gays, how could anyone think of someone who is that – what were Frank Treadway’s words? “misogynist, homophobe, racist, etc.” – as someone to follow? That’s what’s so frightening about having a mayor who is an elder in that loony bin. And with the voting bloc that Bethel enjoys, it only follows that there will be more “misogynist, homophobe, racist, etc.” City Fathers/Mothers elected.

    • Patricia Barrett says:

      Tim – The problem is not what Bethelites practice in their church, their homes, and in other appropriate venues. The problem for most of us is Bethel’s admitted, in-progress plan to “dominate” and “take over” all of society (the “7 Mountains”) for their religion, on the local level and beyond.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      Tim — I have to laugh when I’m accused of defending Bethel. Most of the time it’s when I say, “How is this significantly different from maybe half of the other churches in town? And not just regarding views on homosexuality, faith healing, miracles and such, but also on the notion that our government is based on Christianity, which rightfully should be at the steering wheel.

      It’s really not that different, and if intolerant fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist theology is your thing, I promise you there are more than a dozen churches in the Redding area that will better deliver the goods.

      It’s not the dominionism that sets Bethel apart—few conservative Christians in these parts believe in separation of church and state. Bethel freaks people out because (for reasons that still elude my comprehension) they’re so damned good at it.

      Unless the church implodes owing to some sort of major scandal, it apppears to be well on the way toward its goal of taking over Redding.

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

        My theory, which at this point is still very much a theory, borrowed from Matt Taibbi’s famous article about Goldman Sachs, is that Bethel, rather than being a boon to our economy, is a giant vampire squid rapped around the face of Shasta County, sticking its blood funnel in anything that smells like money.

        • Ned Estill says:

          I tend to agree with that theory. At the first sign of scandal or any other threat to their revenue stream, I think the powers-that-be at Bethel will pull up stakes and head for greener pastures (and fatter wallets).

          • Beverly Stafford says:

            Since most Bethel members are from somewhere other than Redding, those fat wallets don’t need to be from locals. Yes, they may reside here temporarily (except for those who put down roots), but the money pouring into Bethel’s coffers is probably from elsewhere. So I doubt that Bethel would pull up stakes for greener pastures and fatter wallets when they seem to be happy to dominate Redding politics while padding their collection plates.

      • Tim says:

        Right Steve? I propose we Make Redding Great Again and ban Bethel by building a Great Wall of Tolerance.

        • Beverly Stafford says:

          I’ll be happy to add some bricks to your wall, Tim, by being tolerant of all sects that aren’t attempting to be the legislative power of Redding nor aren’t blatantly anti-gay.

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

          The Great Wall of Tolerance. Good one, unless your in a Tolerance paradox like we are. See Karl Popper.

    • Colleen Adams says:

      Tim… This isn’t religious intolerance. If Bethel were not trying to influence legislation with its religious ideas, perhaps we wouldn’t be having a discussion about this at all. If Bethel would just keep its views in the church and out of the public eye, then everyone could just mind their own business. But Bethel doesn’t mean to stay out of the public eye… the leadership deliberately tries to influence policy with its views, and encourages its followers to do the same. The shame isn’t in having your own belief system and keeping it quietly to yourself, the shame is expecting others to believe what you believe and deliberately and loudly forcing it on others. THAT is shameful and that is what many Christians, the ones at Bethel in this case, are guilty of. If a mosque or any group of religious folks were in Redding causing a stir, we would act in this same manner and speak out against it. And perhaps this isn’t a good argument or point in this particular discussion, but it comes to my mind that I don’t believe Bethel has to pay taxes, and I think that many people would agree that until churches pay taxes like the rest of us with strong opinions, that they should just shut up and stay out of it until they do.

      • Tim says:

        When Bethel promotes a piece of legislation that infringes on the rights of others (as opposed to protecting their own rights) I’ll be with you. But for now it seems that many Reddingites are falling into a hypocritical intolerance reminiscent of the backlashes against muslim refugees in Idaho & Minnesota – an intolerance that appears to stem less from opposition to the newcomers’ commonly and long held religious beliefs and more from the old guard throwing a tantrum over their loss of influence.

        PS: 44% of Americans pay no income tax. Should they be told to keep quiet too?

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

          No Redding residents are respononding against Bethel because the seven mountains mandate is real and more apparent than ever. It’s not an economic boon it’s a parasite which will be demonstrated in the coming year. Follow the money.

  13. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    I don’t really care, and I don’t think anyone should care what belief system to which anyone else subscribes. It’s the idea that anyone has the right to legislate those beliefs on anyone else . . . me, especially.
    Our country was NOT established as a Christian nation, as some seem to believe. We were established as a tolerant, freedom of religion nation. If you don’t believe that, go read some of the Jeffersonian papers.

  14. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    The microcosm called Shasta County, at least for some of its fellow citizens and their fundamentalist leaning churches, is alive and well. However, all good and bad things will come to an end, mostly bad things. While I’m not opposed to boycotting, in a quiet and deliberate sense, and occasional picketing, I do think they’ll burn themselves out in due time. And if Mayor Julie Winter starts to proselytize from the podium, let their be loud voices of complaint reign over the City of Redding. Of course with KV right behind her with his ‘healing hands’ who knows what will transpire. Can’t wait to see RVs next article.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      I hope that the “due time” whereof you speak is sooner rather than later. Any particular reason why you think that they’ll burn themselves out? They seem to be getting stronger with every election. As I understand it, Erin Resner has ties to Bethel through her campaign manager, Matt Mosley. So I guess that means I boycott both Dutch Bros. and Mosley wines. R.V.’s vampire squid continues to keep growing tentacles.

    • Patricia Barrett says:

      Frank – the risk is not that Winter will “proselytize” from the dais. In fact, she makes quite a show of recusing herself from the vote when an issue involves Bethel. However, she meets with senior members of the city staff before the vote to exert influence on them to recommend city council approval of whatever it is Bethel wants (and considering that city council members have the power to fire those same senior staff members, this is an obvious conflict of interest on more than one level.

      Also, cult adherents continue to pour into Redding from all over the nation and world. Bethel is getting wealthier and more powerful by the day, so there is really no indication it’s going away any time soon.

  15. Johanna Anderson says:

    Can we give awards for best comments? Both Towers’ and RV’s resonate with me deeply, but this one takes the cake: “J & V come off as a couple of wannna-be hipster dudes in mom jeans who want their church to be fun in the sense of, “Let’s all get high on Jesus!” And that’s pretty much how I thought of them until this conversion therapy stuff came up.” <– This should be patented.

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