Letter to the Editor: Bethel’s Actions Elicit Strong Reactions

Editor’s note: John Oertle wrote this opinion piece in response to a March 17 piece published in the Redding Record Searchlight. He submitted his letter to editor to the Record Searchlight and aNewsCafe.com.  

I would like to join the chorus of people who will undoubtedly react to the recent opinion piece entitled “Redding’s relationship with Bethel complicated” (March 17).

First, the word “advertisement” should have been posted on top of the article. The headline itself gave the impression that the article would be fair and balanced. It wasn’t. Instead, there were four columns where Bethel was praised time and time again, and the article really was an unpaid advertisement for the church.

It was noted that Bethel is building a $148.8 million dollar expansion of its campus. Why doesn’t this moneymaking operation (which it is) use some of its many millions to deal with real-life problems in Redding, like homelessness? If Bethel took just a fraction of that $148.8 million and applied it to a day center and overnight lodging for people who don’t have anywhere else to go, that would be doing God’s work.

Another of my concerns is the number of people that Bethel attracts to this area from other parts of the world. I’m wondering how many of them come here on student visas with family members and then begin to work at businesses that are connected to Bethel members, even though there are restrictions on working while in the United States. That would be an interesting question to research.

Finally, I believe Bethel’s ultimate goal is to take over the day-to-day operations of the City of Redding and as many local businesses as possible. There is an online list of these businesses, and I avoid all of them … to stop Bethel’s “almost supernatural commitment” (quoting from the article) before it gets any worse.

John Oertel, Redding

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    “…First, the word “advertisement” should have been posted on top of the article. The headline itself gave the impression that the article would be fair and balanced.”

    So in your view, only anti Bethel articles should be printed? Were you just as outraged over the many anti Bethel letters and articles that weren’t also ‘fair and balanced? Good grief

  2. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    To understand why Bethel does nothing to speak of with its vast wealth to help alleviate local poverty, homelessness, and hardship in general, you would first need to understand the “Prosperity Gospel”, which lends itself quite well to Bethel’s various tax-free money-making scams. Bethel is a textbook example of a Prosperity Gospel church.

    Per the Prosperity Gospel, people who are well off are being rewarded by God for living virtuous lives (a big part of which is – of course – donating plenty of money to the church). By the same token people who are poor or afflicted in any way are suffering God’s just punishment for living sinful lives. This self-serving philopsophy makes it easy for church leaders to provide themselves with lavish lifestyles (which is supposedly a sign of God’s favor), while spending nothing on truly Christ-like endeavors.

    And when congregants don’t see the promised return on their investments (that God will supposedly make them prosperous in exchange for donating excessively to the church), church leaders simply tell them that they aren’t “obedient” enough in other areas of their lives, or that their faith isn’t strong enough.

  3. Avatar Larry Winter says:

    Another observation about foreign Bethel students working in Redding. Maybe there’s some grand fraud occurring that these students become hep to once they arrive. I’m still willing to learn how they can overcome the strict laws regarding an M1 visa, which is the only foreign student visa Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry can accept. Maybe a conversion therapy that changes there tendency to be foreign,(country of residence is a choice, isn’t it) and turns them into “one of us”.

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      In one of the biggest busts in a decade ICE arrested 450 illegals working at a tech company in Allen, Texas. They said they had received several complaints about the company. Maybe a Complaint about Bethel should be given to ICE.

  4. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    I’m sure the church has done research and if the M1 visa students are simply working as a ‘sort of tithing’ thing, then everything is looked askance at. But, yes, ICE, where are you ?