The Interventionist: Bethel Pastor Kris Vallotton Tests the Boundary Between Church and State

Bethel’s Kris Vallotton interviewed 1st Dist. State Senate candidate Brian Dahle last week. Screen grab from Vallotton’s Facebook page.

The students at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry are encouraged to take risks. After all, what could be more risky than walking up to a total stranger and offering to heal their afflictions by the mere laying on of hands?

It takes a little nerve, a little moxie, and, to his credit, Bethel’s senior associate leader Kris Vallotton, who with lead pastor Bill Johnson co-founded the BSSM in 1998, has no shortage of those particular attributes.

Like their conservative evangelical counterparts across the country, Johnson and Vallotton, the overseers of a multi-million dollar global enterprise that includes the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM), Bethel Music, Bethel Publishing and myriad nonprofit religious organizations, have been emboldened by President Donald Trump’s rise to power.

As a candidate, Trump repeatedly promised evangelicals that he’d abolish the Johnson Amendment, the 1954 modification to the U.S. tax code authored by then-Senator from Texas Lyndon B. Johnson. The amendment prohibits tax-exempt nonprofit entities, including churches and religious organizations, from participating in political activities, including the endorsement of candidates.

Nonprofit institutions that violate the amendment run the risk of losing the tax-exempt status granted by the IRS.

Nevertheless, during the 2016 presidential campaign, conservative evangelical pastors ranging from Pat Robertson to Jerry Fallwell Jr. to the once-disgraced Jim Bakker openly flaunted the Johnson Amendment and endorsed Trump for president on their various media platforms, including print, radio, TV and the internet.

Bill Johnson arrived late to the party. In a lengthy Facebook post the day after the election, Johnson explained why he voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton, drawing on the Bible for support. The post went viral for all the wrong reasons, instantly drawing ire from a country still reeling from the unexpected election results, including more than a few of Johnson’s own congregants.

Johnson was reportedly shocked by the negative reaction. The post was deleted from Facebook and since then Bethel’s lead pastor has kept a relatively low profile on political issues.

Not so with Bethel’s second-in-command.

During the past two years, Kris Vallotton has repeatedly tested the tenuous boundary separating church from state in politics. Backed by Bethel’s millions, its sophisticated media apparatus and perhaps most importantly, its 11,000 local parishioners, he wields significant political clout in northern California.

Vallotton is taking a risk, namely that he might run afoul of the Johnson Amendment and lose his organization’s nonprofit status. But as we shall see, it’s a calculated risk. Even if he is breaking the rules, it’s not likely the IRS will come after him, or anyone else for potentially violating the Johnson Amendment.

In that sense, the wall separating church and state has already ceased to exist.

Kris Vallotton’s Facebook page is an extension of Kris Vallotton Ministeries, one of
his nonprofit religious organizations.

Vallotton’s political activities first gained widespread public attention last year, when he called on his congregation to contact state legislators and protest AB 2943, a bill that would have banned profiting off the sale of conversion therapy services to adults.

The bill was shelved by its author, in part because evangelicals and other conservative Christian groups raised a statewide ruckus.

During the run-up to last fall’s local elections, Vallotton endorsed Bethel elder Julie Winter for Redding City Council in numerous public forums as well as on his blog and Facebook page. She’s since become the mayor of Redding.

Now, Vallotton is publicly endorsing 1st District Assemblyman Brian Dahle in his bid for the 1st District State Senate seat. The special primary election is on March 26.

Last week on his Facebook page, which has 361,000 “likes,” Vallotton posted a seven-minute video of himself interviewing Dahle on topics ranging from small business regulation to the public education’s decline to illegal immigration.

The names of the four candidates running against Dahle were not mentioned during the softball interview. While he stopped short of openly endorsing Dahle, Vallotton encouraged viewers to go to the candidate’s website for more information and to go to the polls. The video serves as a homey campaign commercial for Dahle, and at last count has been shared more than 400 times.

For those followers who didn’t get the hint, the next day, Vallotton posted a photo of his completed mail-in ballot with the bubble next to Dahle’s name filled in:

Kris Vallotton’s ballot.

The photo of Vallotton’s ballot was quickly deleted from his main Facebook page, which is closely identified with Kris Vallotton Ministries. One of my colleagues in the Investigating Bethel Facebook group managed to save a copy before it disappeared.

Kris Vallotton Ministries is a 501(c)(3) religious organization. According to its 2016 tax filing, the most recent year I could find, its only two full-time executives are Vallotton, who serves as president, and his wife Kathy, who serves as secretary.

The total revenue raised by KVM in 2016 was $343,000, verses $281,000 in expenses, including $90,000 for Vallotton’s executive compensation.

The nonprofit’s distinctive “KV” logo graces the top of both of Vallotton’s Facebook pages, right above the blue “donate” button. The contact email address Vallotton provides on the pages is a KVM account. Many of the posts promote KVM or Bethel-related events, and Vallotton uses his main page, officially named “KV Ministries,” as he would a pulpit, communicating directly with his congregants.

Vallotton has some wiggle room here. When he posted the Dahle interview on his main Facebook page last week, perhaps he did it as Kris Vallatton, private citizen, not Kris Vallotton, president of Kris Vallotton Ministries. It’s impossible to tell for certain.

As explained by the IRS publication, “Tax Guide For Churches And Religious Organizations,” pastors and other religious figures have the same constitutionally-protected right to free speech all U.S. citizens enjoy. But as leaders of tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, they are encouraged to exercise caution when making any political statement that could be construed as over the line.

“The political campaign intervention prohibition is not intended to restrict free expression on political matters by leaders of organizations speaking for themselves, as individuals,” the IRS states. “Nor are leaders prohibited from speaking about important issues of public policy.”

“However, for their organizations to remain tax exempt under section 501(c)(3), leaders cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official functions of the organization.”

Is Vallotton’s Facebook page a private account, or an official promotional arm of Kris Vallotton Ministeries? If it’s the latter, he is “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

When a church or a religious organization violates the Johnson Amendment, the IRS calls it an “intervention,” which includes the following activities:

“Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of the organization in favor of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of excise tax.”

Key factors the IRS uses to determine if any given statement constitutes a political intervention include the mention of one or more candidates, remarks made in support or in opposition for one or more candidates, calls to vote for a specific candidate and the statement’s proximity to an upcoming election. This also includes political statements made on the internet.

“A website is a form of communication,” the IRS notes. “If an organization posts something on its website that favors or opposes a candidate for public office, the organization will be treated the same as if it distributed printed material, oral statements or broadcasts that favored or opposed a candidate.”

According to the IRS regulations, it appears likely that Vallotton’s recent political activities, whether he’s behind the pulpit at Bethel or slouched over the keyboard in his office, may violate the Johnson Amendment, at least in spirit if not the letter-of-the-law.

So why does Vallotton keep getting away with it?

Kris Vallotton complained that trolls keep taking down his interview with Brian Dahle. Screen grab.

The short answer is, Vallotton gets away with it because pastors across the country are getting away with it. Trump and House Republicans continue to attempt to undermine the Johnson Amendment in the name of religious freedom, but truth be told, the IRS rarely enforces it.

According to a study commissioned by the Alliance Defending Freedom—the conservative religious activist group best known for defending a Colorado man’s deeply held religious belief not to bake a gay wedding cake—some 2000 pastors have deliberately flaunted the law since 2008, hoping to get the IRS’s attention. Yet only one has been audited, and no church or religious organization has lost its tax exemption.

That hasn’t stopped Alliance Defending Freedom from continuing to advocate for abolishing the Johnson Amendment entirely.

Abolishing the amendment is almost universally opposed by the nonprofit industry, including most mainline churches and religious organizations. One fear is that potential donors will walk away if they believe their contribution might be diverted to a political campaign.

Another concern is that political donations will be funneled through churches, which have different reporting requirements, making the contributions tax-deductible and difficult to trace.

For those concerned with pastors intervening in political campaigns, it appears that ship has sailed, at least around these parts. If it’s any consolation, Kris Vallotton doesn’t appear to be taking much of a risk at all.

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas. He can be emailed at RVScheide@anewscafe.com.
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

144 Responses

  1. Avatar Tim says:

    Should Trinity United Church of Christ lose its tax exempt status for its support of Barack Obama during his early years in Illinois/Chicago politics through the 2007 presidential primary? Should the Sierra Club Foundation (or the NRA Foundatiom) have a tax exempt status?

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      If they violated the Johnson Amendment, the answer is yes, they should have their tax exempt status removed.

      • Avatar Tim says:

        If Bethel lost its 501c3 status, it would still not pay any taxes going forward. The members of the church would just no longer be able to deduct tithes from their tax returns (something many may not be able to do under Trump’s new “simplified” tax layout anyway).

  2. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    RV, I enjoy these informative articles on Bethel. Keep them coming.

  3. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    Thanks to R.V. Scheide for keeping us informed with another carefully-researched article on this behemoth in our midst.

    Kris Vallotton’s attitude toward his multiple violations of the Johnson Amendment is reflected in his flagrant endorsement of Bethel Elder Julie Winter for Redding City Council, in which he claims that “Julie’s candidacy is motivated by divine providence”. The belief that God has “given” Bethel the City of Redding to remake into its version of a theocracy (as Bethel’s website once stated) is the basis for its relentless take-over of so many aspects of local society. Bethel leader Bill Johnson’s book “Invading Babylon” and other writings on 7 Mountains Dominionism describe its plans for this religious monopolization in detail.

    And I assume that Kris Vallotton also receives a generous tax-free salary as Bethel Church’s second-in-command, in addition to his executive compensation for KV Ministries. It’s doubtful that he could afford cars like these on $90,000.00 a year:

    https://pulpitandpen.org/2018/04/02/bethel-prosperity-preacher-kris-vollotton-new-corvette-keyed/

  4. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    Hopefully, SOMEDAY we’ll be able to look back and comment, ” . . . . lo, how the mighty have fallen!” Hopefully, sooner rather than later!!

  5. Avatar CHRISTIAN GARDINIER says:

    Another excellent article from R.V. However, to state Bill and Bini Johnson’s social media post found not only on Facebook but in some religious periodicals as well “went viral for all the wrong reasons ” I would disagree with. I believe they preached their political agenda because Trump is what they want for The United States of America and that the Johnson’s (and Bethel’s leadership) were, and still are very proud to support Trump! There is a profound nexus from conservative political power, to the conservative property gospel, and Redding’s Bethel Church is right in the middle of the right wing part of it! This right-wing religious nexus is well known and has a well-documented history going back generations and is very alive in the Trump administration today! Both Bethel and the right-wing political establishment are based on money, fear, accumulation and maintenance of social control and political power, and within the right wing perspective, the amalgamation of church and are state sanctified by both the church and state! Bethel knows and uses this well! Bethel’s leadership and church has also profited from all the tax free money profit they pocket, enabling to buy fancy cars, lots of in short supply Redding real estate and even pay for some services the Redding Police Department provides! This is part of the white-right social / political (in this case Bethel’s Seven Mountain movement), that feeds money from the church to conservative political organizations (see the new Trump tax policy) and in return for their support the conservative Trump – local government administrations feed money back to the conservative church. This is what the Founders of the United States Constitution were very worried about when they set up the “Separation of church and state”, a wall that the Bethel leadership and other alt-right religious organizations say “does not exist,” as they support and profit (no pun intended) off Trump type religious affiliations policy and mandates, try to make money off fighting against LGBQT rights, make money off all the tax free business they run, demand tithing, sell products that propagate their alt- conservative religion in the market place, including the government and educational systems. Do we as a nation want to help pay for a right wing Christian Caliphate? No! The “church” (all religions) has and will continue to be an important part of our society, but we must be vigilant it does not become our government!

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      When I wrote that Johnson’s post went viral for all the wrong reasons, I was referring to Johnson’s own reaction to the backlash. He was mystified that anyone would care about his endorsement of Trump. But you’re right, they don’t believe there is such a thing as separation between church and state.

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        Per their “7 Mountains Mandate”, Bethel leaders believe that “God” has actually placed them above the U.S. Constitution, and secular laws in general. The mandate calls for replacing secular government with the most brutal, primitive Old Testament commands.

  6. Avatar Anita Brady says:

    Nicely done, RV. Thanks for putting into very readable format the repeated examples of why this community should be reacting to Bethel’s actions– and that reaction should not be hugging them and saying “What nice people!.” Everything they do is for one reason, to continue until they complete the community take-over.

    Their BSSM students are being allowed into our schools as “volunteers”, after-school programs are being turned over to them, they are getting elected to local School Boards and other local elected positions. Youth mentoring programs are being spearheaded by Bethel. Regardless of reassurances to the contrary, I would bet proselytizing happens. After all, we can’t walk in public without being approached by Bethel cult members asking if they can “pray for us.”

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thanks, Anita. I’m sure Bethel has many “nice people.” It’s the mean ones we’ve got to pay attention to.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        R.V. , Do you have an example of a ‘mean Bethel person’? Before retiring, I hired many Bethel kids in my business. Why? Because almost universally they were nice, hard working kids. I didn’t have to worry about drugs or alcohol abuse, the customers loved them. What impressed me the most is how much they focus on bettering themselves, to be good people and helping others. I used to eavesdrop on their conversations during closing duties where they didn’t talk about the next party to go to, or let’s go to a bar and get smashed. They talked about career goals, philanthropy, their faith and their next mission.

        I am not a particularly religious person, never really ever attending church. But I was invited to a couple of their services as a guest and found them quite inspiring. Mean people? Haven’t seen one yet.

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

          Kris Vallotton is as mean as they come. I base this on his rhetoric and writing, much of which is drenched in Old Testament violence.

          • Avatar Anita Brady says:

            Doug seems to have admitted that he screened employees by their religious affiliation, which I believe is against the law….. But on another note, I think Doug’s definition of “mean” is fundamentally different from ours.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Anita, What makes you think I screened my employees based on religion? I believe it is against the law to NOT hire someone based on their religion. I did not hire Bethel students exclusively. I hired the best person for the job. Some were Bethel kids, some were Shasta College kids.,. some were not in college. Out of the 40 or so service employees I had…maybe 10 were from Bethel,

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

          Cat got your tongue?

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      You have been wringing your hands about the Bethel takeover for years now…where is it? Show me how Bethel has taken over the city. Because we have a Bethel member city member sitting on the city council? Do we now want a litmus test to qualify to be a councilperson? Certain churches not allowed? Because they volunteer? Is that taking over the city? Elected to school boards? Oh the horror! You call it it a community take-over….I call it community service. Something more Redding citizens should participate in. Thanks to Bethel we don’t have a boarded up closed down civic center. Thanks to Bethel the Neighborhood Police Unit is back taking pedophiles, drugs and guns off the streets.

      If a Bethel member asks to pray for you on the streets…which has never happened to me yet. A simple “no thank you” is all that is needed. I would much rather have a Bethel kid ask to pray for me than the dozens of street people asking me for money.

      Religious bigotry is an ugly thing.

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

        Sure, Doug, nothing is happening here, move along.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          As I said…religious bigotry is an ugly thing

          • Avatar Matthew Grigsby says:

            It’s not bigotry to point out legitimate concerns of political action being taken by a church. In fact, it’s the duty of citizens to pay attention to what their leaders are doing and saying. And as we all know, we certainly can’t count on churches to police themselves.

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

            Doug Cook, I don’t appreciate being called a bigot. There’s not one bigoted word in this story, or anything I’ve written about Bethel. Strike 1.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            I didn’t call you a bigot…I apologize if it came out that way. Sometimes I hit the wrong ‘reply’ button. I have had many conversations with Ms Brady about Bethel and believe she is a person who is intolerant with this church, which is a definition of bigotry.

            You story is focused on the fine line with politics and church, and I agree that this is too close for comfort. I can’t disagree with your article. However, this thread turned into a criticism of Bethel as a whole and if they are ‘taking over’ the city. Once again, apologize for my not so clear comment.

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

            Guess what? I don’t care how well you know the commenters here. Strike 2 for lashing out at a reader. And really, because you dragged my dad into your nonsense on my last story, with me you’re already on strike 3.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Doug Cook,

            Legitimate concerns about the Constitutional separation of church and state, not wanting our children and grandchildren to be indoctrinated by a cult without our knowledge through various “mentoring” programs in the public schools and elsewhere, objecting to the misappropriation of our public facilities for religious purposes, and opposing local government decisions being based on what benefits a church (often to the detriment of the average citizen) is not “bigotry” or “intolerance” – it’s self-defense.

            Bethel’s Dominionist plans are admitted to (and, in fact, described in great detail) in the writings of Bethel leaders. That those plans are being implemented to the letter locally is enough for anyone who isn’t determined to defend Bethel at all costs.

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        Doug Cook,

        In the video below Lance Wallnau (who has co-authored several books with Bethel leader Bill Johnson, including what is basically a blueprint for religious world domination) describes how Dominionists plan to implement the complete religious take-over of the “7 Mountains” (government, business, education, the media, entertainment, other religions, and family life). Wallnau, in fact, uses words like “sneaky” and “covert operations” in relation to those plans. The main goals of their Old Testament-focused agenda are also listed.

        It’s pretty hard to ignore the direct correlations between Bethel’s insidious, on-going infiltration and control of government offices and agencies, public schools, major public facilities etc. in Redding, and the very agenda Bethel leaders have written books about.

        https://thechurchoftruth.org/plan-for-christian-domination/

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          I know Patricia (did you change the spelling of your name?) You have shown me this about 3 dozen times now.
          “…insidious, on-going infiltration and control of government offices and agencies, public schools, major public facilities etc. in Redding”

          How is what Bethel has done is ‘insidious’ or how is it ‘control’? They have one member on the city council and helped keep the civic center open. They have made donations to RPD to keep a valuable police unit funded. How is being involved in your community insidious?

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Doug Cook,

            Bethel “donated” a half-million dollars to the City of Redding at a time when City approval for its massive new mega-church complex was still pending. When it came time to approve that project (based on an environmental impact report Bethel itself was allowed to arrange and pay for), City officials over-rode 26 formal (and very legitimate) complaints from local citizens as to its negative effects.

            Also, gaining control of Redding’s only Civic Auditorium, the City’s main entertainment venue (“entertainment” being one of Bethel’s “7 mountains”) was a major coup, and gave Bethel an air of legitimacy. Since taking over the Civic Bethel has tripled the rents for certain events it agreed to continue (and apparently many others), driving some of those events literally out of town, or in some cases forcing them to cancel altogether.

            And just because the Redding City Council only has one official Bethel bigwig (Mayor Julie Winter) so far doesn’t preclude there being others in the future. There’s no particular hurry, though, since most of the current members seem perfectly willing to give Bethel whatever it wants.

            I’d suggest reading Bethel leader Bill Johnson’s books on the 7 Mountains Mandate, and researching Dominionism in general. You should arrive at the inescapable conclusion that what Bethel is doing in various levels of local government, in public schools, and in other public venues is right on plan.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            The city didn’t just hand over the approval for their expansion. The reality is that Bethel will spend millions to upgrade the surrounding area. Spending more than is asked of other developers. They got no favors.

            You often criticize the NIMBY folks when it comes to housing developments, particularly low income housing. Are you saying this NIMBY-ism is ok because you don’t support Bethel? Isn’t that a double standard? I have read the 7 Mountains Mandate and the other info you suggested and sorry, I don’t come to the same conclusion as you.

            Bethel has been part of our community for many years mow and am still waiting for that takeover. I also know 3 different families (not associated with Bethel) that appreciated their donation after the fire last summer.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Bethel is no longer the small local church it was for many years, and of course nothing happens overnight. However, it’s made huge strides in recent years toward realizing its Dominionist plans, all of which you insist on ignoring.

            And any improvements to the infrastructure surrounding its new mega-church campus would either be required of any developer under the same circumstances (when was the last time anyone built a 39-acre mega-church in Redding? As far as I can see there is no basis for comparison), or they’re being done because they will in some way benefit Bethel.

            You may not have a problem with the religious take-over of the City (where everything will serve Bethel’s interests, at the expense of all non-members), but I suspect most other people will be quite upset about it as things continue to progress.

  7. Avatar Robert Scheide Sr. says:

    The danger of these kinds of organizations is they inch by inch eat your town and leave you with a shell of your former self. Over the past few years, I have set here and watched Trumps march to power. His support was driven from the south and lots of them were driven from the pulpit.

    Tricky Dick figured out the Southern strategy realizing that religion was more important to southerners and rode that to success. They cycle after cycle uses the GAGG strategy, preaching God, Abortion, Gays, Guns which easily wins the south.

    Small towns are great targets for startup fundamental religious groups. In every group you can always find one or two to buy your story. Then your off and running. I have lived in towns where certain religions controlled the town. Want a job better belong to the club. I interviewed for a job in this little town and was being interviewed by a fellow submarine sailor for a job I was well qualified for. At the end he asked me if I was a member of the local club, I said no and he said I can’t give you a job because when the folks you service find you are not one of the them you are done.

    Churches buying local businesses set up the same kind of discrimination against non-members and of course use these businesses to get new church members.

    The whole church/business relationships make me nervous, I wish they would stick to taking care of their flock and not the takeover of our town.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      FYI, Dad is discussing the Mormons in southern Idaho, who did indeed take over American Falls while we were there. It’s great–if you’re a Mormon.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        I grew up, a non-Mormon, in Salt Lake City and have mostly good things to say about the church. When the Mormon Church moves into a new area they target the youth with dances, sports, the Boy Scouts. What I read on here about Bethel is totally different than the Mormons. As a non-Mormon the only non access that was forbidden to me was entry into the Temple though the grounds were open to all.

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

          As a kid Bruce, non-Mormons were not allowed to go to Mormon events such as dances unless you got an invite. I never did.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            In Salt Lake City I was never turned down for any event because I was a non-Mormon. The only restriction was for sports teams, you had to attend the sponsor church three times a month. That was done to prevent teams from stacking their roster. In fact non-Mormons were encouraged to come out to dances and other events. New meat for the grinder I suppose.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            RV, you were never invited, did you ask if you could go?

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

            I was not invited.

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        There is an obvious Bethel economic ecosystem in Redding built on reciprocal patronage and benefit. That’s clear.

        What’s less clear is whether that inbred economy helps or hurts other businesses. Do other businesses suffer from that Bethel mutualism? Or does the Bethel economy float all boats?

        It probably depends on your line of business. I suspect, however, that if Bethel were to suddenly relocate to Reno, Redding’s economy would crater like an elephant carcass dropped from 10,000 feet.

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          Bethel has enticed many people to the area with its offer of business loans (although at 20 percent interest), to both set up and bail out their businesses if they run into trouble. Add to that the offer of volunteer labor through the church in certain situations, and I believe this gives Bethel adherents an unfair competitive advantage over existing local businesses.

          Also, Bethel attendees patronize Bethel businesses whenever possible. As Bethel-owned businesses take over more and more of the local business community, there will be less and less business for owners who aren’t affiliated with Bethel.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Is there a “Green Book” that Bethel puts out to let parishioners know which businesses are … kosher?

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

          There is a list of about 30 to 40 official Bethel businesses you can find at the Bethel Affiliated Businesses Facebook page. Most of these have been vetted, so it’s a fairly accurate list. There is also an extensive number of Bethel-related nonprofit orgs. I have a saying for this. “It’s all about the nonprofit Benjamins.”

  8. I think what’s interesting is when political candidates – even those not affiliated with Bethel – agree to sit down with Vallotton for a pre-election chat. It says a lot about the perceived power and influence that Bethel wields that candidates believe that a Bethel connection might increase their chances of election.

    • Avatar Matthew Grigsby says:

      They have to kiss the ring, to put it bluntly.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I wasn’t kidding when I said Vallotton has political power. There’s no question he does.

    • Avatar CHRISTIAN GARDINIER says:

      Interesting? Perhaps, but logical yes. Brian is a nice guy when talking with him one on one. But, he has had to tack a bit hard to the right in this election because two of the other candidates are basically Tea Party to Alt -Right and they see Senate D 1 as a prime opportunity to send a Trump look alike to the Ca Senate. This means Dalhe needs to kiss the ring of Bethel, the very conservative dominate political, social, cult here in the North State, and hey, who knows, there just might be some cash in it for him. Bethel’s hard right Trump card is as well known as is their distain for people on the left. “I found that redefining the family according to the latest immoral code is in fact cursed by God. Tragically this is a primary focus and value of the Clinton candidacy” and “I found that the devil himself is called the accuser, and that often times good people fall into that trap thinking they are doing the rest of us a good service by creating an evil image of someone (Trump) when their perception is in itself wrong…” I say “Trump” here but Trump is just the figure head, like how the New Zealand shooter called Trump the “symbol of renewed white identity.” Bethel and the religious right support Trump’s policy and thinking along with most hard right politicians because it matches with their MAGA nationalism identity, unrestrained capitalism, their distain for immigration, their destine for the LBGQT community, their belief in white male dominance and because hard right conservative politicians agree with this Bethel type social – cultural control… and they make sure these organizations get lots of $$$$$ in crafty tax policy. In a district where Bethel political – cultural – mindset is the power, and where Trump won by over 20%, Brian and any other smart conservative politician will kiss the ring of Vallotton; it’s part of the game… and this game of mixing religion with politics is very powerful, but dangerous!

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      A former Independent, I’ve voted for Dahle in the past. I’ve told Bruce—Doni’s former colleague and current Dahle flag-bearer—that I won’t vote for another Republican until the party purges itself of Trump’s authoritarianism. (I’m not holding my breath.)

      It pains me to see Dahle—a guy who I think is a genuinely decent human being—groveling for the support of a Trump shill like Vallotton.

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        Steve, I held my nose and voted for Dahle again, and as I was marking my ballot, I thought of your comment sometime back that you would vote straight Democrat ticket because the Republicans were all Trump supporters. But you had been a Dahle supporter before. I believe you said you wrote to Dahle saying you would knock on doors for him if he ran against LaMalfa. I Googled “Is Dahle a member of Bethel,” and the only comments were rah-rahs from Bethel members who were persuaded to vote for Dahle because of the interview. Receiving votes from 11,000 congregants apparently is worth some groveling.

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

        Dahle is obviously the best of the four Republicans. Before I started looking more closely at his record, I had a positive view of him. I thought maybe he was a moderate because of some of the work he’s done on forest issues. He’s read the reports that detail what needs to be done to prepare for climate change, and how it could be a real boon for rural economies–or at least he signed off on them. Yet apparently he’s going along with the Trump and the rest of the AGW deniers. Willful ignorance is not an attractive characteristic. We’ll lose with any of these Republicans, but apparently that’s what the people want.

  9. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    If I were Mr. Dahle, I’d put out an immediate Press Release separating himself from KVM and Bethel Ministries. Not only is he going to be, should he win, a minority legislator with no political capital at the Capitol; but one who is no longer thought of as one who reaches across the aisle, or pulpit in this case.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      It’s an interesting predicament for Republican candidates. Kiley can’t complain that Dahle has aligned himself with a Bethel, because they all support the God, Gays and Guns agenda.

  10. Avatar Richard Christoph says:

    Minor quibble, R.V., but the proper word is “flout” rather than “flaunt.”

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      It’s not minor! I knew that flaunt was wrong but I couldn’t remember why! Now I’ll never forget again. Thanks!

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        I was gonna mention the flaunt for flout error, but after the firestorm my post about comment hogs has generated, it’s well I didn’t.

  11. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    I do not blame Doug Cook, or anyone else, who defends Bethel as I defend the Mormon Church when detractors voice opinions that I feel are not true.
    I know nothing about Bethel but what I read on here. Concerning the Convention Center, my wife was a 1,000 hour city employee who worked at the Convention Center for a few years until she was hired by the school district. After she left she would see Convention Center employees she had worked with and they would tell her how bad things were becoming at the CC. Bethel took over a city structure the city could not run. I think a lot of other Bethel take overs were caused by inept Redding officials to run them.(disclaimer, living in Anderson I have always had a low opinion of Redding officials)
    As far as a cult I asked my step brother-in-law, Thom Bogue who knows a few things about cults, what his thoughts were on Bethel. He replied that he is noticing a climate in the country where young people are joining cult like groups, right and left. Bethel is tapping into this feeling.
    My suggestion to Doug Cook, instead of hogging the comment section, write a letter to the editor. Doni and Barbra have both told some commentators to do so at times.

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      Bruce,

      As I pointed out to Doug, it’s impossible to have a truly informed opinion on this subject without reading the books and other writings of Bethel leaders on 7 Mountains Dominionism, and researching Dominionism in general. Bethel’s in-progress seizure of power and control in the Redding area follows those written plans to the letter.

      Of course Doug claims that he’s done all that, and still doubts the overwhelming evidence (in Bethel leader’s own words). It’s a shame that there are people who will defend Bethel at all costs, all evidence to the contrary.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      Bruce, your sentence ending with “defends Bethel as I defend the Mormon Church when detractors voice opinions that I feel are not true.” The comments about Bethel that appear on ANC are based on writings, teaching, videos, interviews, and personal exchanges. They aren’t simply “opinions that I feel are not true.” And because of that, people opposed to the Bethel takeover of Redding are very concerned.

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      As I suggested to Doug, maybe Patricia and Beverly should write Letters to the Editor.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      One aspect of a cult that Bethel does not meet: apparently you can leave any time you want. You might be ostracized, but you can leave. Allegedly.

  12. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    As I’ve said before, I have quite a few Bethelite tennis buddies who are extremely nice people. With some there’s a definite gulf—we’ll never be close friends, because I’m not part of the flock. With others, that doesn’t seem to be a barrier at all. I’ve never been subject to anything but hints of mild and brief proselytizing by any of them (e.g., book recommendations that I take as baited hooks).

    A good fraction of them share my politics. That baffles me. I used to think of Bethel as one of those charismatic outfits where the congregants are in it for camaraderie and the Sufi-like group high they experience during worship. I can understand the appeal of that.

    Some of the controversy surrounding the church, along with R.V.’s articles, prompted me to take a closer look. Where I differ from many is that I don’t find Bethel’s theology especially unique or off-putting. That type of ire seems to come mostly from other Christians—nothing new about “I’m right and you’re wrong” squabbles among churches.

    What’s baffling to me is that Johnson and especially Vallotton are theological lightweights. The latter especially comes off as a used-car salesman (his former profession, if I recall)—a small-town hustler who stumbled into a career-change home run. When I hang out in coffee shops and brewpubs frequented by young Bethelites I hear a lot of earnest talk about personal religious growth (if I’m being honest, I can only take so much). But with Johnson and Vallotton, the vibe I get is conservative fundie prosperity gospel, with an emphasis on prosperity. With an emphasis on *their* prosperity.

    I just don’t understand the attraction these two are able to maintain.

    To say that this brand of Christianity—and the opportunists who peddle it—are off-putting to me is a grand understatement.

    But there remains the mystery of why this particular church so deserves our ire. Certainly its “seven mountains” goals are reason for concern, as others point out. But is it also that success breeds contempt? There’s another church out there with a substantial local presence that for centuries has coddled child molesters, systematically covering up their crimes. But let’s hate Bethel because getting people elected to City Council is clearly worse? I just can’t wrap my head around that logic.

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      Steve, good comment. I see a lot of hate Bethel in some comments while others, like yours, are more forgiving.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Well said Steve.

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      Steven,

      Unfortunately it goes well beyond just getting someone elected to the Redding City Council. Bethel’s stated plans are to seize complete control of every aspect of society, with Redding basically serving as a test case in how to turn an entire city into its version of a theocracy. Bethel is actually a leading force in the world-wide Dominionist movement, and its ultimate goal (along with its national and international cohorts) is to implement a single world government based on Old Testament law, and a single world religion.

      If you think this sounds far-fetched, please read the article below. Lance Wallnau (who has co-authored several books with Bethel leader Bill Johnson, including what is basically a blue-print for world domination) has been invited to the White House on multiple occassions, and has the ear of the current president, due in part to his book “God’s Chaos Candidate”. This book delivered the votes of hundreds of thousands of evangelicals to Trump by giving them the excuse that (no matter how immoral he may be) he’s the modern-day equivalent of the biblical King Cyrus.

      http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/lance-wallnau-is-working-with-ninja-sheep-in-the-trump-administration-to-gain-control-of-the-seven-mountains/?fbclid=IwAR2jvar0gRejdvmeTNVCTcf1VZcwD9urJsNv8GVg6eKxfYXWRogExub9sgs

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        I have a long interest in the history and current influences of religion, but my interest is primarily academic. As a secular humanist, I do harbor concerns about those who would be happy with an America that resembles “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

        So yes, I’m familiar with—and opposed to—the dominionist agenda laid out in the Seven Mountains playbook.

        Here’s where I think we stand on that: Good luck getting most of California to buy in, Bill and Kris. In fact, I think the only reason Bethel is still located in this state is inertia—you boys are local yokels.

        As for Redding? I think the contest for Redding was lost to Bethel many moons ago, and the only way that’ll turn around in my lifetime will be if the church implodes. Redding has gone Bethel—that toothpaste is out of the tube.

        • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

          Toothpaste, or Preparation H?

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          Bethel actually doesn’t need California, other than right-wing Shasta County as a temporary base of operations (it will be just one of many, as the international Dominionist umbrella organization, the New Apostolic Reformation Movement, continues to plant and take over churches around the world). Bethel and its national associates have a U.S. president in their pockets, who is loading every court he has control over and every federal department and cabinet post with God-in-government Dominionists. The department positions can eventually be replaced, but courts could be ruined for decades.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      The reason some people are ireful is they take separation of church and state more seriously than others. Bethel constantly tests these boundaries, and it touches some people’s lives in a negative way. It’s useful to state the actual seven mountains or spheres of influence to understand where these transgressions might take place: religion, family, education, economy, government, media and entertainment.

      Hook that up to the prosperity gospel, faith-healing revivalism and multi-level marketing and you’ve got yourself a giant tax-free money redistribution machine, complete with a built-in low-wage workforce with nice shiny (mostly white) faces who are willing to sleep 8 to a room.
      .
      In their interview, Vallotton and Dhale agreed that everything’s “gone sideways” the past 20 years is Shasta County. They were talking about education. That got me thinking. What happened 20 years ago? Oh yeah, KV and BJ founded the BSSM!

      Everyone seems to agree that Bethel is a net gain economically. Do we really know that? I’ve been attempting to trace the contours, layer upon layer of nonprofit organizations. It is an immense empire. They’re sucking up all the oxygen in the room. Bethel is good for the economy. But good for whom?

    • Avatar Larry Winter says:

      Steve, to speak to “the mystery” of picking on Bethel while letting the local Catholic Church operate without any concern, let me put it this way. I feel the coddling of child molesters is related to the Church’s political power and influence over the years. There have been no accusations that I can remember of the local Catholic Church and neither is there an overt attempt on their part to control the City of Redding. Out of sight, out of mind. Bethel has no qualms in promoting their Expansion Mandate and as the Catholic Church has shown, having political power and influence can lead to unsavory actions, though I’m in no way accusing Bethel of hiding horrendous crimes as the Catholic Church has done. Power does breed corruption and any single group of people that can exercise power in a local government should be criticized for trying to monopolize this power. Especially those that say they know the Will of God.

  13. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    What I have noticed in comments and letters from people who have left Redding, either to Palo Cedro(Steve) or back to Trinity County(my relatives) or to other parts of California or the country is not one mentioned Bethel. They mentioned the influx of homeless, AB109ers, bad economy. I believe Bethel is just an obsession for some.
    My relatives in Anderson do not mention Bethel. My business friends in Redding say they work with Bethel members without the hardships some mention on here.
    Nero fiddled while Rome burned and I think some have a seven molehills obsession while Redding burns.
    RV writes informative well researched columns about Bethel while some post comments with links to obscure and questionable sources.

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      Bruce,

      The biggest threat to Redding is the ADMITTED in-progress religious take-over of the area by an internationally-affiliated mega-church. That there are many people who don’t recognize that fact (yet) doesn’t make it any less a threat.

      And there are no end of different sources that inform us about the connection between Bethel, Dominionism, the New Apostolic Reformation, the prosperity gospel, etc. etc. etc. I chose the articles I used because they are simple, to-the-point, and easy to read.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Mega Church would be the Catholic Church or the Mormon Church or any number of national churches. Bethel is a tiny ink spot in a remote northern California city. Nobody has heard of it elsewhere.

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          And Patricia your Right Wing Watch link does not mention Bethel at all. Bethel is a small town cult which is a threat to no one. If you have better information write a Letter to the Editor.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Bruce,

            You are dangerously uninformed. Bethel is a leading force in the international Dominionist movement, which is a vast network of churches and religious organizations with a world-wide reach. In conjunction with its national and international partners it is not only planting churches and schools all over the world, but is taking over hundreds – if not thousands – of existing churches. There are also a considerable number of lucrative “non-profits” Bethel controls and/or is heavily involved with in foreign countries.

            And as I explained when I posted it, my Right Wing Watch article features Lance Wallnau (a fellow “apostle” of Bethel leader Bill Johnson in the international New Apostolic Reformation), who has co-authored several books with Johnson – including what is basically a blue-print for world religious domination. Wallnau now has influence on the national level through his close association with the president.

  14. Avatar Candace C says:

    Bruce, I know I said I was bowing out for a bit but I can’t let this one go. I don’t know your friends or relatives but I’d be hard pressed to find any of my friends or relatives that pay attention to any news source in Shasta County that are not at least aware of Bethel Church. No need for Patricia to write a Letter To The Editor, one can simply go to Bethel’s web page. It’s all there in plain “site” (sorry) . Might I suggest, if you’re so inclined, taking some time to look around while you’re in there. Their intended reach is far in all aspects of our community. They are tech savvy and well connected. There’s a popular restaurant close to Bethel Church. Go there and you will hear many accents from around the world from those who came to Redding specifically for Bethel. The school they are building will draw even more people from around the world. One doesn’t need to be “obsessed” with Bethel Church in order to be aware and perhaps concerned. Side note: I personally know of a small long time specialty niche local business that will soon be announcing their closure. Mostly they, like many small businesses, cannot compete with the internet. The owner did however mention that they do not have the backing of Bethel Church. It wasn’t said with malice, it was stated as fact. It will be interesting to me to see if a Bethel backed business opens in the same place and is instantly successful(?).

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      I have read Bethel’s web site and the church has been in Redding for years. Twenty years ago it was hijacked by the Supernatural wing. That it is being allowed to take over Redding seems likely but it’s, supposed, takeover of the world is a conspiracy theory that ranks up there with chem trails. Outlandish statements from questionable sources may influence, obviously it has, some but saying that people who do not believe in those questionable sources are ignorant simply makes me feel those pushing those statements are false. I can go out on my street here in El Mirage and hear accents from around the world, that doesn’t mean some supernatural cult is taking over Arizona.
      Patricia, or anyone else, can believe what they want but don’t ask me to buy into that conspiracy theory based on questionable sources.

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        Bruce,

        Have you actually read books written by Bethel leader Bill Johnson on religious world domination? Have you done any research into Bethel’s connection to the massive international Dominionist movement, the international New Apostolic Reformation, it’s take-over of churches all over the world, its vast involvement in other countries?

        If you don’t like the sources I linked, many others are available. No one who has made any real effort to become informed on this subject could possibly describe Bethel as just “a speck” in far northern California.

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          I have read Bethel’s website and realized it is a crackpot cult not worthy of my time. I can’t believe anyone who has read their website thinks anything else. But then, like you, I don’t live in Shasta County anymore.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Bethel’s website is hardly an unbiased presentation of the facts. It takes quite a bit more research to be truly informed on this subject.

            And what does where I now live (following 40 years in Redding) have to do with Bethel?

          • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

            Bruce, we all have our prejudices, but I was surprised at some of your comments that seemed to take many of us to task for vehemently disagreeing with the cult that is Bethel. Feathers, glitter, conversion therapy, obvious anti-LGBT. And these are people who are making political decisions for Redding. Yeah, I find it scary.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Beverly, that Bethel is trying to take over Redding is pretty obvious and I would probably feel the same way you do about them. Especially after they kicked out a respected café at the Convention Center and installed their own non-profit volunteer café.
            Where I differ is taking over a rural town is a far cry from taking over the world based on Bethel’s own promotional views and questionable Right Wing Watch sources from an out of towner.

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          The Southern Poverty Law Center, a credible source, lists the only hate group in Redding with national ties and world domination plans as Identity Evropa, white nationalist. Bethel is a “speck” not worthy of mention other than local.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Bruce,

            If you’ll read my comments below (and throughout this thread), it should become obvious that Bethel is a prominent part of a massive international movement, with a reach far beyond Redding. No one who is at all knowledgeable on this subject imagines that Bethel is an isolated “speck”, confined exclusively to the North State.

            And you still haven’t answered my question as to why the opinion of someone who spent 40 years in the Redding area (and years researching Bethel) should be dismissed just because she now happens to live elsewhere.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Patricia, because it isn’t any of your business anymore. You don’t live here. It is time to move on. You made a comment after you moved that you were going to forget Redding ever existed. Remember that? So please do. We don’t need you stirring up discontent in our city. We get enough of that from those that actually live here. I left Santa Rosa 20 years ago. I don’t really care what is going on with that city’s government. It doesn’t affect me in the slightest.

          • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

            Doug,
            Patrecia pays her ANC subscription and can comment on Redding whether she lives here or in Sacramento or Cincinnati or Jakarta.

          • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

            “And you still haven’t answered my question as to why the opinion of someone who spent 40 years in the Redding area (and years researching Bethel) should be dismissed just because she now happens to live elsewhere.”

            Just keep in mind that many folks here *don’t* dismiss your opinion, Patricia. I don’t always agree with you, put I think the 40 years you spent living in Shasta County counts. If others don’t, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.

          • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

            I left Sacramento ~25 years ago. I still care about what’s going on there politically and culturally. Sacramento is the nearest big metro area, and what occurs in Sactown most definitely affects me.

            More importantly, I know people who still live there. I didn’t stop caring about Sactown because I didn’t stop caring about those people.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Patricia, I have read your threads and the only thing obvious about your take on Bethel, and homelessness also, is anyone who doesn’t buy into your opinion is some how ignorant. You have stated this in past comments until Barbra Rice told you to tone the attacks down.
            I choose, after living in the north state for over forty years and with family who trace their roots to long time Trinity County history, to concentrate on where I presently live, Cheyenne and now Phoenix, to help out. I see what works elsewhere personally and try to point out to the north state what I have actually seen, and been involved that will work in the north state. I have had LTTE published on ANews about certain ways that I expand on how those options work.
            Living in Sacramento it would be useful if you could show how Sacramento deals, or doesn’t, with your chief concerns rather than just post links to obscure and questionable sources. Others have done so, why can’t you?

          • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

            Bruce and everyone else concerned with Patrecia’s comments,

            I (and Doni and Joe) look at comments to see if they pass our standards. If they don’t, I take them down and/or warn the OP to cut it out. Patrecia is following our guidelines. She is aware of our policies.

            I don’t like every comment here. I have my personal preferences and prejudices just like everyone else that reads and writes here. Very often I think to myself, “Boy, if I owned this website, X and Y and Z would be history just because I can’t stand to read another stupid thing they write and it would make me smile to see the back of them.” But I don’t. Freedom of speech and all that, you know – which is tempered by the fact that this is a privately owned site and just as in someone’s home, the owner has the power to boot anyone out for whatever reason they want, good, bad, or otherwise.

            I get it. I get that some commenters seem to say the same things over and over, that they say things you disagree with (boy, do I know this), that maybe they seem like forum hogs (boy, do I know this too).

            As I sometimes need to do to keep my mental health reasonably stable -if someone gets your goat, step away from the computer. Cool down. Don’t feel you need to correct others. If someone crosses our line, we’ll take care of it.

            You’re a valuable part of ANC;s contributors and we need all kinds of voices here – otherwise it’s just a room full of mirrors.

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        Thank you Hal and Barbara.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Candace, I was also going to bow out on this subject, but I’m a bit confused by one of your statements. You said, “… Go there and you will hear many accents from around the world from those who came to Redding specifically for Bethel.” Isn’t that a good thing? That we have people from all over the world enjoying our city? I hired a number of Bethel students at my business from all corners of the world. I loved the diversity it brought, as did my customers.

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        Yeah, I confess that I like this aspect of Bethel’s presence, too. Until Bethe’s rise, Redding was the least-diverse and most senescent place I’d ever lived. You could spend an evening downtown and you’d be hard-pressed to encounter anyone below 30 years of age. Redding was a place that bright young people abandoned as soon as they could.

        I still wish it was a research university providing all of this youthful diversity, though.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          I had employees from Ukraine, Brazil, Kenya, Korea, Sweden, South Africa, Italy and more that I can’t think of right now. That’s a good thing. and as I said before, they were all awesome kids.

          • Avatar Larry Winter says:

            Bethel only accepts foreign students with a M1 visa. Students with a M1 visa aren’t allowed to work here. I’m sure you checked to see if they qualified to work here?
            http://bssm.net/admissions/international/m1-visa/

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            We have been using E-verify for years and closely look at all work documents. I never hired anyone that wasn’t legally allowed to.

          • Avatar Larry Winter says:

            Do you remember what the exception to the rule was that these foreign students used? I’m not following how they could work at a restaurant under an M1 visa.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            The onus is on the student to get approval from both their school and uscis before working. Employers need only verify that the student is present in the country legally.

          • Avatar Larry Winter says:

            Tim, the employer does need to certify that they’ve seen the documents required and that to the best of their knowledge the applicant is eligible to work, under penalty of perjury. I’m just trying to understand how foreign students can get around what’s stated on Bethel’s website that says unequivocally that foreign citizens can only attend on an M1 visa and that they cannot work while here. This is Bethel saying this.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Larry…I don’t see where Bethel only allows M1 Visas. The ones that I hired had the V1 Visas which allows them to work.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            I may be wrong on the V1 Visa…it’s been awhile,

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Those are Bethel’s rules – employers certainly aren’t required to know and follow the rules of each and every local church their workers attend.

            It is possible for students on school visas to legally work in the US:
            https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/students-and-exchange-visitors/students-and-employment

            The worker fills out the I9 attesting that they have the right to work. The employer checks the identity documents to ensure they reasonably appear genuine. That’s it, that’s the employer obligation. The onus is on the employee to be truthful on their I9.

            Some employers go further and use E-verify but going beyond that can get you in trouble in California (under the immigrant workers protection act, California employers can face $10,000 fines for re-verifying a worker’s employment eligibility).

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Nevertheless…I have legally hired Bethel students from out of country. I never heard of Bethel not wanting a student to work. Not sure what you mean by a fine for re-verifying a worker’s employment eligibility. Isn’t that what E-Verify does? Checking on the eligibility of applicants? We always made sure we E-Verified ALL applicants, not just those from other countries. As I said, I have been out of the business for 5 years now so Ca laws may have changed. We never had any problem using E-Verify. It works very well and should be mandatory for all employers.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Ok…I checked the law. The fines have to do with the misuse of E-verify. You cannot use it for individuals who have not accepted a job offer from the employer, we never did that…and you cannot use it on existing employees., which again we never did.

          • Avatar Larry Winter says:

            Tim, I believe federal law dictates those rules not the school. The M1 visa is for non-academic schools such as vocational and schools like Bethel. Bethel has no choice in making their rule and employers are responsible to understand the law. As we all know ignorance of the law is no excuse. V1 visas are for spouses of those that have “Lawful Permanent Resident” status. Again, M1 visas are the only visa Bethel and the Feds allow for foreign students attending Bethel. And they can’t work at a restaurant, for example. Obviously, there must be some loophole that I can’t find that allowed Doug to hire them through E-Verify. I’m still curious what that loophole is.

          • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

            Larry — Whatever the answer is to the loophole issue, it’s commonplace to encounter foreign Bethel students around town working in eating/drinking establishments. If it’s verboten, employers are getting around it one way or another.

  15. Avatar Candace C says:

    *similar specialty niche Bethel backed business . The business closing is an easily accessible location among other stores, but not one with a lot of foot traffic shopping.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      Candace, is it out of line asking the name of the business that’s closing? My own prejudice is that I don’t patronize businesses that I know are owned by Bethel members; so if another similar business moves to that location, I’ll want to know the ownership.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        Why don’t you patronize Bethel businesses? There is a lovely little Italian Bakery and Deli on Churn Creek called Tantardini’s. A very nice couple from Milan, Italy owns it. Yummy authentic Italian bakery and lunch items. The Tantardinis came to Redding in 2012 to study at Bethel. They liked Redding and decided to stay. Here is a couple that fell in love with Redding and is providing a wonderful service for the city. Why wouldn’t you want to encourage more of this? Better thamn more fast food restaurants that are continually springing up.

  16. Avatar Candace C says:

    Beverly, No, it’s not out of line to ask which business I’m referring too but I promised I wouldn’t say anything until they publicly announce it. Sorry.

  17. Avatar Candace C says:

    Doug, I don’t see anywhere in what I said where I equated others accents to a supernatural cult taking over? I was addressing your statement that nobody has heard of Bethel elsewhere.

  18. Avatar Candace C says:

    * whoops! *Bruce * Sorry Doug!

  19. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    I grew up in a large city, Salt Lake City, where the Mormon church not only dominated the city but the state. The Mormons sent and send missionaries on two year missions all over the world, my brother went to Finland, to preach for new converts. Mormon politicians have run for President of the country as well as headed many international committees. There are actual Mormons in every country including Redding. In fact, with a stake center in Redding as well as Anderson, I would say there are more Mormons in Shasta County than Bethelites.
    Likewise the Catholic Church has a presence in every country and has had Catholic politician at all levels of politics including President of the United States.
    Likewise the Islamic religion has a presence in every country including Redding, and is building mosques all over the world. There are also Islamic politicians at local and national levels.
    Bethel has no political members outside Redding. Bethel IS a speck in a rural northern California town. To say Bethel belongs in the group I mentioned is making a mountain out of a molehill.
    And, actually, if someone needs a good laugh I would suggest going to Bethel’s website and read their testimonials.

    • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

      This maybe ain’t so pertinent, but oh well.

      I had a couple of young coworkers who were non-Mormons who grew up moving around Utah. (If I remember correctly, their dads were mining engineers.) They both related pretty much the same thing: good memories in the big and medium-sized towns, but bad memories in the small towns.

      But, that’s not particular to the Mormons. I’ve been in towns in the south where the only church was Southern Baptist, and it felt like living dangerously to step into the Dairy Queen.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Hal, my dad was a glazier and traveled Utah working I on small town projects. In the summer he would sometimes take me. The religious climate in those towns was a different climate than Salt Lake City.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Hal, I had a black friend in San Francisco who told me about stopping in a small town in Montana. He asked a police officer where the black part of town was and the officer said, “You’re it”. My friend said he drove to the next town.

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        My Dad’s family is from the Colorado side of the border with Utah. Fear of creeping Mormonism was the local brand of xenophobia and bigotry.

        As a young guy I used to drive up to 4 times per year through Heber City, UT (not far from Park City), a small town set in a gorgeous mountain valley. A few times I said that I wished I could scrape together enough cash to buy a house in Heber City because I thought the place was eventually going to boom, and the area was spectacular if you like mountains. My dad: “You’re crazy unless you want to convert to LDS. Besides, this place will always be a cow town.”

        Man, was I ever right and was Dad ever wrong.

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          Steve, Park City is nothing now like it was when I was living in Salt Lake City. Back then SLC banned dancing in public places on Sunday. We would drive up to Park City, a bunch of closed mines and dive bars, to party on Sunday. You should have bought. My mother bought a house in SLC for $17,000 and I was checking prices the other day and that house is listed at $1 million. I should have kept that house.

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      Bruce,

      It appears you know almost nothing about Bethel.

      In addition to its ten thousand local attendees (with thousands more to come upon completion of its massive new mega-church complex), Bethel also sends people all over the world – to its considerable number of bible schools, churches, and its whole slew of so-called “non-profits” (which are anything BUT).

      If Bethel were a lone entity, it might be a different story. However, it is part of a mutual-support network comprised of thousands of other Dominionist churches and organizations around the world.

  20. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Barbara, I appreciate the not easy task you have at monitoring this site. As one who often gets caught up in the “vortex of negativity” I will heed your advice and quit trying to get the last word in.
    One thing I do, and both you and Doni have suggested to some commentators, is write a LTTE where I can rant or say something I would later regret and would delete myself if I could. Most of those LTTEs never see print but they make me feel better and a few times you have actually printed them. Thank you again for your efforts, many other sites could use you.

  21. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    OK, I await the rotten tomatoes that will soon be hoisted in my direction along with the jeers and Aw, come on’s that will follow, but . . . For those of you who feel that Bethel and other Dominionist churches aren’t out to dominate the world, I ask that you remember a goofy looking little Austrian who was from a small town – much smaller than Redding – who, along with his followers, managed to kill 5,000,000 Jews and was responsible for millions of lost lives from fighting his war. Shield up.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      I was just waiting for Godwin’s Law to take effect – somebody wake me up when Bethel invades Poland…

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      God-in-government Dominionists (who certainly all agree that they want a government based on Old Testament law) have now been placed in charge of nearly every federal department, every cabinet post, and have been appointed to every court around the nation that the current federal administration controls. Bethel’s form of Dominionism is literally everywhere in our national government. Anyone who isn’t aware of that needs to follows the news a lot more closely.

  22. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    Too funny Tim…thanks, I guess it was just a matter of time before the former Chancellor of Germany would be mentioned, good grief.

  23. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Researching Dominionist churches I have found two things out. Steeplejacking is commonly referred to as a take over of a local church. That would appear as what happened to Bethel as it was around Redding for several decades until it was Steeplejacked about twenty years ago by the present leadership. That these Dominionist churches would like to make a worldly presence, ala Catholic, Mormon, Islamic religions, is obvious. That they are nothing more than local take overs and not a part of a worldly threat is because they all want to be the boss. It is impossible for them to agree on anything.

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      Kindly see my post above.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        That is a pretty broad claim. I know federal officials, including my daughter, in Wyoming and Colorado. Kindly inform me which federal officials or at least the departments or cabinet posts so I can do what you say I don’t, get informed. I’m waiting.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        My daughter is a federal official based out of Denver. She goes to towns, just got back from Sioux Falls, and states, “I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help you”. I love that. Not bad for an Anderson High Graduate.

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          In addition to his choice of vice-president, just some of the flaming God-in-government religious dominionists Trump has placed in charge of the highest levels of government are Betsy DeVos, Rick Perry, Ben Carson, Mike Pompeo, Matthew Witaker, William Barr, and many others.

          I’m sure there are any number of minor federal “officials” in the country. Obviously I’m referring to the people at the very top of these agencies.

  24. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Chick-fil-a’s planned Dominionist takeover of fast food hit another road block as San Antonio, in a 6-4 vote, banned them from the San Antonio airport.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      I expect San Antonio to lose a large free speech lawsuit in the near future. They were dumb enough to say that the political donations of Chik Fil A management was a primary factor in their decision — basically “we the city of San Antonio have a right to suppress speech by declining contracts to those who express views with which we disagree.”

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        San Antonio is not the only city, or university, that has denied Chick-fil-a access over their donations to questionable groups. As Ted Cruz twitted, Salvation Army? Christian Athletes? This is more Liberal scare tactics. Like the Hobby Lobby controversy, much ado about nothing.

  25. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    Patrecia Barrett knows exactly what she’s talking about, she’s done her research. The people opposing her here obviously haven’t. The fact is the Trump administration is loaded with right-wing evangelicals who have leveraged the internet to dramatically increase their political power, at the federal, state and local level. This is a proven fact, not some matter of opinion. It’s a specific power block, and its winning, because while all Patrecia’s critics salivate over the rights of the individual, this collective power is stealing the country from under your noses. BTW, it meshes nicely with fascism.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      It is almost like we elected a president who openly expressed admiration for Andrew Jackson – “to the victor belong the spoils”