Deconstructing Winter and Dahle’s Faith and Values

Twenty years ago this week, brothers Benjamin and Tyler Williams, armed with nothing more than sincerely held religious beliefs and a small caliber pistol, invaded the Happy Valley home of Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder and killed the gay couple in cold blood.

They were just obeying the law of God, claimed the brothers, who sparked off that hot, hateful summer of 1999 by torching three synagogues in Sacramento before murdering Matson and Mowder.

While it’s true several Old Testament passages command believers to execute men who have sex with men, such a sincerely held religious belief is not a permissible defense for murder in a court of law, at least for now.

The brothers were quickly captured after the murders. Benjamin Williams committed suicide in the Shasta County Jail in 2002 before he could be tried; Tyler Williams subsequently pleaded guilty and is serving a 21-year sentence at Mule Creek State Prison for torching three Sacramento synagogues, after which he’ll serve 29 years-to-life for the murders of Matson and Mowder.

The Williams brothers were cultivated in the faith and values of the conservative Christian evangelicalism that still runs deep in northern rural California. The brothers, who once attended Bethel Church in Redding, said they were only carrying out what they’d been taught by their parents and pastors for years—that homosexuals are an abomination in the eye of the Lord worthy of ultimate judgment.

Twenty years later, conservative Christian evangelicals continue to preach the anti-gay gospel in northern California, led prominently by Bethel, the Redding megachurch once better know for its music than its hostility toward the LGBTQ community.

This hostility, cloaked in love, emerged last year after pastor Kris Vallotton, from the pulpit, called for his congregation to contact the Legislature and protest AB 2943, a bill that proposed to ban the sale of for-profit conversion therapy to adults.

Conversion therapy is the discredited pseudoscience of turning gay people straight, usually involving religion. There is no scientific study that says it’s effective, and there’s plenty of evidence it causes more harm than good.

Vallotton loves gay people. He says it all the time. But someone who fights for the right to inflict what some gay people have described as torture — conversion therapy — does not demonstrate love for the LGBTQ community. He’s just preaching the same old “love the sinner, hate the sin” theology conservative evangelicals were spouting 20 years ago, when two of their own viciously murdered a well-liked local gay couple.

The exact same theology was on full display at the Faith and Values Town Hall co-hosted by Bethel elder and Redding Mayor Julie Winter, and newly elected 1st District 1 State Senator Brian Dahle on June 13 at the Little Country Church, just in time for Pride Month.

Photo source: Julie Winter Facebook page.

The meeting’s obvious Christian bias raised the hackles of local citizens attuned to civil rights and separation of church and state issues, and several people contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wisconsin, to register complaints.

Last Thursday the nonprofit watchdog organization fired off a letter to both Winter and Dahle, warning them that they’d transgressed the boundary between church and state and not to do it again. Most local news organizations picked up on the controversy, including the Record Searchlight.

“We write to you both because this town hall was divisive, inappropriate, and projected an intent to deliberately discriminate against non-Christians,” reads the letter from FFRF. “The event was held in a church and the invitation invited ‘Christians from local churches.’ It focused on ‘faith and values’ and ‘Christians’ who were mentioned three times in the invitation.”

I was unable to attend this event, but thanks to a reader who submitted a digital audio recording of the meeting, I’ve been able to transcribe everything that was said at the Faith and Values Town Hall. At the risk of beating a one-trick pony to death, I think it’s safe to say that Christian nationalism, the mistaken belief that the United States was founded on Christian values, is alive and well in Shasta County.

One of Redding Mayor Julie Winter’s two hats. Photo source: Julie Winter Facebook page.

The Two Lies Of Julie Winter

As she opened the meeting, Julie Winter explained the obvious, that she wears two hats, one for her duties as mayor and another for her duties as a Bethel elder.

“It’s no secret that I am a woman of faith,” she said. “My faith really grounds me, it’s very important to me. My faith is highly personal, but it’s not private.”

“My faith is highly personal, but it’s not private,” she repeated for emphasis, signaling the wall separating church and state was about to be breached.

“Our faith hopefully has a public manifestation,” she said. “It should have outward measurables that affect how we make decisions and how we interact with people. My faith hopefully grounds me in those core values that helps us make decisions for the community as a whole.”

No doubt more than a few concerned citizens would like to see the measurables on these so-called manifestations.

Winter noted that unlike some Christians, she firmly believes in the separation of church and state. Yet she seems to locate the roots of that uniquely America political invention not in the Enlightenment, but in Medieval times, when various European kings challenged the Catholic Church’s authority in matters spiritual:

“[The separation of church and state is] a foundational principle, although it was really brought forth by Thomas Jefferson, it was actually even before our Constitution. It’s a principle that goes all the way back to Europe and the reason for that is … you don’t want to have the government telling the church what to do. We have examples of that in Europe, it hasn’t worked out well.”

Indeed, it ended in numerous bloody civil wars fought over religion. Winter sees a parallel to our own time.

“We don’t want the government telling the church what to do,” she said. “In some situations, we’re running into that in our faith right now. We have issues where the government is telling us what we can and cannot do.”

What, exactly, the government is telling Christians they cannot do is revealed later in the meeting, but here’s a hint: It involves abortion and the LGBTQ community.

Winter then set the stage for the town hall by introducing two lies she wanted to discuss.

“I wanna go against two lies that are fairly common, that I see among people of faith and not of faith, and that’s if you belong to a certain church you shouldn’t be in politics,” she said. “I’ll see this on Facebook, you’ve probably seen it as well. ‘She belongs to Bethel, she shouldn’t be elected to city council, she shouldn’t run for office.’ Whether it’s Bethel, you can fill in the blank with any church.”

There’s no doubt that mean people on Facebook suggested Winter shouldn’t run for office because she’s a high-ranking member at Bethel. These mean people are mistaken. The Constitution mandates that there is no religious test for holding public office. It’s one of the rare times religion was mentioned in the Constitution by the founders.

But Winter’s Bethel membership isn’t really the issue here. The issue is whether Julie Two-Hats wears one hat at Bethel and the other hat when she’s representing the citizens of Redding, or both hats simultaneously.

At the town hall, Winter and Dahle argued that public servants should be able to wear both hats when they’re doing the public’s work.

Winter’s second lie concerned her fellow Christians who think politics are dirty and ‘of the World,’ which of course, is absolutely true. But not for Winter. She cares because god cares.

“God cares about government,” she said. “The Word says, ‘Of his government there shall be no end.’ Solomon wrote that ‘When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.’ You can probably think of examples of that now. It’s true!”

The crowd chuckled nervously. Then the newly-minted states senator arrived.

Brian Dahle prays with Christian nationalists last December at the capitol.

It’s Hard To Be A Believer

Full disclosure: I voted for State Senator Brian Dahle in the June 4 special election. I agree with Mayor Winter’s introduction of Dahle on the tape, that he appears to have a strong work ethic. The seed farmer and trucking operator from Bieber, who served 16 years on the Lassen County Board of Supervisors and six years as 1st District Assemblyman before being elected to his latest post, has been busting his ass for two decades.

With his solid working class background and ability to occasionally cross the aisle with Democrats, some voters, including myself, have entertained the idea that Dahle might be that long-missing political figure in northern California, the moderate Republican. For me, he was the obvious choice over opponent Kevin Kiley.

Now, after listening to the town hall meeting, I’m not so certain. As one fellow journalist who’s heard the tape said, “It’s really swell that Dahle waited until after the election to let his fundamentalist freak flag fly!”

Dahle is what northern California evangelicals call a “believer”—he in fact calls himself that. Asked by Winter how his Christian faith influences his public decision-making process, Dahle, who freely admitted “he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed,” explained it this way:

“Well, it’s pretty simple for me, as someone who was baptized when I was 23 … I have to stand in front of the Lord someday and be accounted for what I do. The other thing for me is that I think there’s a bill every day that has half of what you like, and half of what you don’t like. Those are tough decisions you have to make.”

When those tough decisions concern conservative evangelical hot-button issues such as abortion rights or LGBTQ rights, it actually turns out to be easy. He’s guided by his faith, which he apparently thinks is shared by all of the one million people in his district.

“You also have to make those decisions on how it’s going to affect your communities, so for me, there are things that I just don’t move on,” he said. “So I’m pro-life, 100 percent pro-life, and I get beat-up about that a lot.”

For the record, “100 percent pro-life” means no abortions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, no abortions for fetuses with serious life-debilitating birth defects, no abortions when the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy, no abortions for women who’ve been abandoned by their men, no abortions or abortifacients for consenting adults who aren’t financially ready to have a child, and so on.

Are you one of Dahle’s pro-choice constituents who believes otherwise? That’s OK with him. He loves you anyway.

“It doesn’t mean that I judge someone who is pro-choice, absolutely not, I love them,” Dahle explained.

Welcome to Calabama.

“I believe at conception, there’s life,” he said, waxing metaphysical. “To me that is simple, clear-cut. So those are the things I don’t move on. I don’t move on those. I want to give everybody the same rights I have. Freedom. If you choose not to be a believer, that’s OK with me. But I don’t want you to influence me in my beliefs.”

Why would anyone try want to influence his beliefs? Beside the fact the they’re his constituents, too? Anyway, it’s hard being a believer in the den of iniquity that is the state’s capitol, Sacramento.

“I will tell you that there are real struggles for believers in the capitol,” he said. “Those struggles are, it’s a different lifestyle. People think you are like that, because you got elected. They think it’s a big party, some people think. Some people think there’s infidelity, and there are, I’ll be honest with you. There are a lot … you are pampered as a legislator somewhat.”

Careful, Senator! You’re giving up the whole show!

How tough is it for believers in Sacramento? Dahle claimed that one of his colleagues, who had voted for last year’s bill that would have banned selling snake oil conversion therapy to gullible adults, was reduced to a puddle of tears when thousands of voters in his district phoned his office complaining about the bill.

Dahle then switched gears, first talking up the state’s economy, then talking it down, then talking it back up.

“I’m a farmer,” he said. “What goes up will come down. You buy your tractor in a good year and make it run through the poor years and we’re gonna see some tough times coming. There’s a lot of obligations.”

But California will prevail because of its industrial diversity, including those well-known conservative Christian favorites, Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Dahle apparently held up a cellphone to the audience.

“The thing about California is, this little thing right here, this device, was developed in California,” he said. “Think about this: Somebody in another country can speak into it and another language comes out of it. Think about spreading the Word. This device right here, it’s a TV in your hand, it’s information. If we can get this to the world, we can grow, we can share the Lord with so many more people.”

But hold fast, Christian soldiers! There’s also a devil in your universal translator!

“So, it also has pornography and there’s all kinds of other stuff in there, that’s the enemy side of it,” he said begrudgingly. The enemy, as it turns out, is everywhere.

“Me? No, I’m not gay. You?”

Combating The Gay Agenda

Dahle continued with a discourse on farming, religion and politics that may make some readers a bit squeamish.

“I think for me, God blessed me with being a farmer,” he said. “You can’t harvest until you plow, level the field, there’s a lot of preparation you have to do before you can get a harvest. You have to put the seed into the ground. You have to believe it’s going to grow. As some point you have to turn it over to the Lord.”

If you ask me, I don’t really think, “You have to believe it’s going to grow!” is the greatest slogan for a guy who sells wheat, barley and rye seed for a living. Dahle brings this same faith to his interactions at the capitol, planting a seed in each person he meets. Maybe it will grow, maybe it won’t. It’s God’s will, and according to Dahle, God is on the move.

Redding Mayor Julie Winter and California State Senator Brian Dahle stop for a photo-op after the Faith and Values Town Hall meeting. Photo source: Julie Winter Facebook page.

Winter re-introduced her “two lies” theme and explained how she mixes faith with politics.

“As a woman of faith I was called to be salt and light to the earth and I should bring my skill-set to wherever it is to bring good governance, to bring the values of the King and his Kingdom to the marketplace,” she said.

For the uninitiated, “King and Kingdom” is terminology from Bethel’s dominionist Seven Mountain Mandate theology. No one from Bethel really ever articulates what these Kingdom values are, other than a great work ethic and opposition to abortion and LGBTQ rights. Turns out Bethel is just more of the same old time religion.

By the way, the “marketplace” Winter referred to is your government, which mandates the separation of church and state.

Dahle explained that the “enemy” referred to above is indeed the devil, who apparently resides not just inside cellphones, but inside every member of the LGBTQ community.

“We don’t fight against flesh and blood,” he said. “Nobody is my enemy. I fight against … I have one enemy, and that’s Satan, the devil. The liar. The deceiver. So I love everybody. Some of my best friends in the Legislature, people I truly love, are people who are … who are homosexuals.”

A few people audibly gasped.

“They’re awesome!” he responded, perhaps a bit too eagerly. “They’re my friends, I love them. They are great to work with!”

Does he condone or promote their insidious bedroom behavior, not to mention their holding of hands in public, or God forbid, kissing? Absolutely not! They’re all abominations. Love the sinner, hate the sin. So says the Word.

Virtually every credible medical and psychological association in the world agrees that LGBTQ individuals do not choose their sexuality. Neither do heterosexuals, for that matter. Sexual orientation or gender identity, for most people, is not something you consciously choose. Without choice, free will, you cannot have sin, in the Christian sense of the word.

But Dahle’s beliefs about the LGBTQ community aren’t based on scientific data or even sound Christian principles. If they were, he might understand why LGBTQ youth in our public schools deserve protection from bullying and bigotry.

No, Dahle follows the Word on such matters, and like conservative evangelicals across the country since the U.S. Supreme Court made gay marriage the law of the land in 2015, he’s choking on the gristle of his meatless arguments.

“I don’t like what my government is forcing down my throat, in education, in a lot of things,” Dahle said. “I believe we should be involved. … Voting is awesome, you should vote. It’s a right that our forefathers, who were believers, they gained a lot of ground for this country having those freedoms, and we should not give that up.”

Smells like Christian nationalism to me. Fortunately, the very same forefathers were thoughtful enough to build a wall between church and state. Dahle encouraged the audience to tear down that wall and swap out man’s law with God’s law.

“There’s no trick to taking back our government and changing it to what you want it to look like,” he said. “If you want it to look like what the Word says, you have to be involved. Do what they do.”

“They” being the homosexuals behind the gay agenda.

“Every single day they’re at the capitol and every single day they’re raising money and they’re putting their candidates in and they’re voting what their agenda is,” he said.

Official White House photo of President Trump groping Old Glory.

Dahle And Trump Chosen By God

Dahle portrays himself as the biblical King David fighting against the mighty great gay Goliath, but the reality is quite the opposite: The LGBTQ community is diminutive David in this bout, fighting 2000 years of oppression by a religious giant that remains the dominant faith in this country, and let’s face it, Shasta County.

Like Winter, Dahle scolded the faithful for being apathetic.

“Too many believers are thinking somebody else is going to do it,” he said. “Or that God sets up Kings. He absolutely does. He also tears them down and puts his people in. When David picked the rock up he put his people in. He did something.”

“He” meaning “God.”

“He wants us to do it with the glory going to him,” Dahle said. “I didn’t win this race. I didn’t win this race. God won this race. If I wasn’t supposed to be in the senate, I wouldn’t be in the senate.”

Winter asked if action taken last year by Bethel and other conservative Christian groups against AB 2943, might serve as a model for future political protests. The adult conversion therapy bill was shelved by its author, Rep. Evan Low, one of those homosexual legislators Dahle loves, after thousands of constituents called their legislators at the bequest of their pastors.

“The church I attend, Bethel, actively spoke out against that, obviously the church took quite a bit of heat for taking that stance,” Winter said, donning her church-lady hat. “We sent people down to the capitol to testify and they did a very effective job.”

Dahle once again described frantic legislators being phone-bombed by their religious constituents over the bill and offered the following advice:

“The best thing would be to organize across the state. Let me give you an example. If every believer in the state wanted to make a change on a bill like the conversion therapy bill, if I got 500 calls in my office and every other legislator from their district got 500 calls, that’s going to awaken people that I have a problem.

“You need to tell your legislator I’m very concerned about this, this is personal to me, and I’m going to work every day to take you out of office.”

You can test out this method by calling Sen. Dahle’s Sacramento office at (916)-651-4001.

Like many religious conservatives across the state, Dahle is concerned about revisions to the state’s Health Education Framework that have added the subjects of gender identity, LGBTQ relationships, and transgenderism to sex education curriculum in public schools.

“There’s a lot of stuff in the education code that will blow your mind about the curriculum,” he said. “I was reading some of it a couple of weeks ago, I have a 9-year-old daughter, and the stuff that they want to teach her in school … is scary. It was not even readable for me and I’m married after 20 years and I know the birds and the bees stories.”

Dahle was referring to six recommended educational books, including “My Princess Boy” and “The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity,” that have since been removed from the curriculum after religious conservatives complained. The books are well-reviewed and readily available on Amazon, and you can’t get them at the local porn store. Consider their removal from the curriculum a sign.

“God is on the move,” Dahle said. “You don’t think he’s on the move? Donald Trump’s in office.”

The audience responded with the loudest applause of the evening.

“I don’t like all the things that he [Trump] says, but he’s there,” Dahle said. “Somehow he got there, and I don’t think it’s because he was the best politician out there. I believe God moves things around. … People of faith are, like, awakening. They’re like, that is just not right.”

With that, Dahle made the transition to full-blown Christian nationalist.

“I believe God is going to increase us and we’re going to see a grass roots revival,” he concluded.

The Limitations Of Faith

In the Q&A session that followed Winter’s interview with Dahle, the senator fielded questions from the audience on homelessness, illegal immigration, sex education in the schools, vaccinations, the status of the Shasta Dam-raise, the state’s water supply and forest practices. Faith played a roll in some of his answers.

He said throwing more money at the homeless crisis will only make the problem worse. Any funding the state allocates to the crisis should be awarded to faith-based organizations, because they do a better job than the government.

Dahle said he knows and loves a few illegal immigrant Dreamers, but despite his sincerely held religious beliefs, he can’t figure out whether it’s right or wrong to deport them.

Don’t like LGBTQ content in the public school sex education curriculum? Complain to your local school board. If they don’t listen, run for the board. Sound advice.

Don’t want to vaccinate your child for religious reasons before sending him or her to public school? The senator, apparently unaware of the concept of herd immunity, thinks parents should have that choice.

Dahle was unaware of the Shasta Dam-raise status, but his comments on the state’s water supply were interesting, particularly his emphasis on recharging existing groundwater aquifers and using our forests as natural reservoirs. Faith is of little help there. If we don’t make massive investments to secure our water supply and forests now, we risk losing them to this burning world in the future.

But Dahle’s local base, well in attendance at the Faith and Values Town Hall, is apparently not too concerned by anthropogenic global warming. They’re more worried about religious matters. This great Christian nation is going to hell in a handbasket; fast. Banning abortion may be a lost cause in California, but the gay agenda can still be stopped.

At this point I must ask the reader to forgive these Christian nationalists, for they do not know what they are doing.

I began this report with the murder of two well-liked local gay men for a reason. Twenty years ago this week, a pair of young brothers steeped in the very same religious-based homophobia espoused at the town hall, used the Word to justify taking the lives of two men whose only “sin” was to be attracted to one another.

That’s where this particular brand of faith always leads, toward violence. It’s no secret that LGBTQ youth suffer more physical bullying and abuse in public schools than their straight counterparts. That’s one of the main reasons California revised the sex education curriculum: to inform parents and students that being LGBTQ is normal, so at least some the violence will stop.

Conservative Christians claim they aren’t homophobic, they love gay people, some of their best friends are gay people. Their actions speak louder than words. They’ve opposed every inch of freedom the LGBTQ community has gained since the Stonewall Inn Riots 50 years ago. They don’t care if gay kids are bullied at school. They hate the sinner and the sin.

If they could, they’d insert into state law that passage from Leviticus that commands men who lay with men to be stoned to death, just like the Pilgrims did. The founding fathers knew better.

Winters has apologized to citizens who felt the Faith and Values Town Hall was not inclusive of all religions. Dahle has fired back at his critics, saying in a written statement that those “who think they can intimidate me or religious people in my district who identify as religious, I want you to know that I will not stand down.”

Please don’t stand down, senator. The Faith and Values Town Hall demonstrated perfectly why the founding fathers erected a wall separating church and state, and why now, more than ever, we need to protect it from religious zealots such as yourself and Mayor Winter.

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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138 Responses

  1. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    The Mormon Church has been around a lot longer than Bethel, like two centuries, and a meeting held in Salt Lake attended by politicians and LBGT kicked off Pride month. The gathering high lighted the difficulties LBGT have with their Mormon faith and being gay and how they coup with it. No snake oil conversion therapy. The Mormon Church has evolved over the years into a more accepting church that reflects social changes. Yes, there are those who oppose those changes but they are in the minority of church members.
    In Wyoming, where I wrote a LTTE about the murder of Mathew Shepard that happened twenty years ago, Pride month kicked off with parades, shows, events that, as the Wyoming ACLU stated, show how far Wyoming has come in addressing gay rights. Though they did say more has to be done.
    As I look at Utah and Wyoming, two ultra conservative religious states with the same voter base as the 1st District, and their changes in social conscious I wonder how the 1st District became so entrenched in the past. Don’t blame it on Trump voters and some doministic takeover because those same voters are in Wyoming and Utah. Look harder at where your problems came from.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Bruce, you’re correct that we can’t blame this on Trump voters, or even Trump himself. In fact, the supposedly disenfranchised conservative evangelicals across rural America created the conditions that made Trump’s election possible. This is where the hatred of gays comes from, period.

      The Mormon Church changed its LGBTQ policy because they realized it was bad PR, and bad PR means the church loses money. But I’m not so willing to give the LDS a pass as you. It’s only been 11 years since they poured millions into the campaign to defeat Prop. 8, California’s gay marriage initiative.

      At any rate, sooner or later, the people of Shasta County are going to realize this is bad PR.

      • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

        “It’s only been 11 years since they poured millions into the campaign to defeat Prop. 8, California’s gay marriage initiative.”

        R.V., that’s true, but to put things in perspective, we should keep in mind that a decade prior to that, Bill Clinton was still asserting his opposition to gay marriage.

      • Avatar KhánhMinh Nguy?n says:

        I already filed a complaint to FFRF. Do you think I can escalate this Christian favoritism to Washington DC?

        After reading your article, I am frightened about what this senator is capable of doing to our state.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        RV, you are correct that the Mormon Church changed their policy on LGBTQ policy because of bad PR. They also changed their policy on Blacks because of bad PR as well as their policy on Polygamy. My point is they changed more to embrace the new social values while Bethel seems to have gone in the opposite direction.

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

          Yes, Bruce, I was agreeing with you. I know a little bit about the history of the Mormons, and they’re not high on my list.

      • Avatar christian gardinier says:

        R.V. Would you agree that implicit (not fully conscious at best), or explicit (fully conscious) at worst type racism (Obama is a Muslim from Africa and rapist immigrants), homophobia, and sexism (over look grab them by the p—-) is within a majority of Trump supporters (like Dahle) that voted for both Trump – Dahle and fuel the White Nationalist as well as the currently defined conservative religious and conservative political campaigns?

    • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

      I can back up your observations about the Mormon church based on my experiences at work. During my 34 years with my employer, our pilot staff averaged about 700, with a fairly large contingent of Mormons. I saw a softening of attitudes toward LBGT folks as the years rolled on. It was heartening.

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

        I’ve seen the same softening of attitudes over the past 20 years. As I’ve said before, that’s what makes Bethel’s stance so odd.

  2. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    I held my nose when I voted for Dahle over his opponent. I should have held my pen tighter and written NOTA. Can I change my vote retroactively? If all this blather had come out prior to the election, I would have written in Homer Simpson, even though I understand write-in’s aren’t accepted.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I considered, for the first time ever, not voting. It’s so strange with the top-two primary system, when we get two conservatives trying to out-conservative one another. I was aware of Dahle’s religious connections with Bethel, but I figured he was just schmoozing the base. After transcribing the town hall meeting, it’s clear to me this guy is a hardcore “believer.’ Unless he was just faking it for the Christian audience?

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        Until now I’ve been under the mis-impression that Dahle had at least slightly more integrity than LaMalfa, and was less under the thumb of right-wing religious extremists like the leadership of Bethel. I’d hate to think that backwardness and general idiocy is a requirement for a politician in the North State.

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

          I’ve been following both LaMalfa and Dahle’s sudden election day conversions, and the only thing I can conclude is that they mean it, because they keep saying the same bullshit.

      • Avatar Larry Robbins says:

        I could not decide between Dahle and Kiley so did not vote. If Dahle’s strong religious affiliation was known to me before the election, I would have voted against him. I feel deceived.

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          I believe the only way to avoid religious Dominionists in office is to vote Democratic. Not all Republicans are Dominionists, but all Dominionists are Republicans.

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

          Larry, I feel deceived too. Keven Kiley wear religion on his sleeve too, but at least he has multiple college degrees.

  3. Avatar Derral Campbell says:

    “So I’m pro-life, 100 percent pro-life, and I get beat-up about that a lot.” The importance of the Victim Card cannot be ignored. Dahle’s appealing to an aggrieved base, framing them as persecuted, and himself as well. When he says “I didn’t win this race. God won this race,” he’s claiming a Divine exceptionalism that separates him and his adherents from the godless gays, an overarching morality that precludes the laws of the state. Saying that God “.. puts his people in. When David picked the rock up he put his people in. He did something..” is just inciting violence, and smugly asserting his own Divine placement. I was ambivalent about Dahle until this Christians-only wankfest. I see his wife is going to run for his old Assembly seat. Enough of this crap of people claiming exclusivity of THEIR religion over all others, trying to impose their beliefs on the rest of us at the ballot box. Convincing the willingly ignorant that the government is their enemy, that their religion should take precedence over laws they don’t like – it smells like treason to me, and is certainly contrary to the finest traditions of freedom in America. But it’s the Victim Card that really sticks in my craw. It’s such a weak tactic, making up persecution to invoke sympathy, creating enemies to argue against, nurturing misunderstanding and division.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Winter played the same grievance card with her claim that Christians are under attack from the government, which, as Dahle put it, is cramming things Christians don’t like down their throats. They need an enemy, it’s the only way to keep the revival going.

      • Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

        Whoa . . . that last sentence packs a punch. Even Hitler figured that one out.

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        Falsley portraying Christians as “victims” was actually a brilliant tactical maneuver by the leaders of the religious right. What better way to convince their followers to commit zealously to the cause than to claim they are under attack for their “sincerely held beliefs” (and their entire warped world-view in general) by the rest of “godless” society. Of course it completely escapes these clueless fanatics that it’s actually the other way around.

  4. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    Thank you R.V. Scheide for another powerful article, and an outstanding analysis.

    I’m posting the link below so there is no doubt as to exactly what plans Bethel and other 7 Mountains Dominionist organizations have for our country and beyond. The article begins with a short video featuring Lance Wallnau, who has co-written books with Bethel leader Bill Johnson on world religious domination. He talks about “sneaking” into positions of power in government and elsewhere, and other “stealth” activities. The list below the video describes the plans Dominionists have to replace world governments (including ours) with brutal Old-Testament law.

    Those familiar with Bethel’s 7 Mountains Dominionism can clearly see this take-over in action in our local area. Bethel is not just another local church with a large congregation. It has national and international connections, including to the White House itself through close associates of Bethel leaders (like Lance Wallnau) who are now part of Trump’s inner circle of Dominionist “advisors”. Bethel’s in-progress take-over is not something we can afford to ignore.

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

  5. Avatar Randy says:

    Aside from bombs and guns the most powerful and effective political tools in existence are the flag and the cross and the ‘conservatives’ are making the best out of both.

  6. Avatar Richard Christoph says:

    Sadly and surprisingly, young people are apparently also increasingly less accepting of LGBTQ individuals.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/06/24/lgbtq-acceptance-millennials-decline-glaad-survey/1503758001/

  7. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    Wow, Richard, that’s a depressing survey! And the pollsters attribute the decline in tolerance to the hate spewed out on the internet. The good news is that 50 percent of non-LGBTQ individuals consider themselves allies of the LGBTQ community. Count me in!

  8. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    About the Pro-life stance. The whole argument is begging the wron question. It isn’t a matter of whether I’m Pro-life it’s a matter of who controls my body. THE DAY YOU GET TO CONTROL MY WOMB, I GET TO CONTROL WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE TO, OR CANNOT HAVE A VASECTOMY.
    And about the “Love the sinner etc.” mantra: You have no right to have an opinion about another person’s sex life choices. Do you make a judgement on which sex position your pastor prefers? No, it’s none of your business unless you’re in a partnership with that person.
    I also think that it’s interesting that Leviticus 19 keeps being waved as a red flag against homosexuality. The same chapter also says that getting a tattoo is an abomination (Lev. 19:28). Also other abominations listed in the same chapter says you can’t wear blended fabrics or grow cotton and flax in the same field (Lev. 19:19) . . . . oh, and no watching football, either (Lev. 11:7-8)
    GET OUT OF MY BEDROOM, GET OUT OF MY DOCTOR’S OFFICE!!

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      The assault on women’s rights is easily the scariest aspect of the Christian nationalist movement. Once they get a foot in the door, and swap secular law with religious law, we’re all screwed.

  9. Avatar Matthew Grigsby says:

    Wow, I only *wish* we gays had the power we apparently wield over this country, what with our legal marriages and our…not getting “gay fired” from our jobs. Before you know it, we’ll be allowed to vote and stuff and then look out America! How droll.

    The whole fear-mongering about LGBTQ+ is just utter nonsense, especially with the tiny percent of the population we truly represent. We know it and they know it, but an entire pearl-clutching segment of the population truly thinks we are demons come to destroy the world. It’s our allies the far right should fear because I know many conservative Christian people who stand beside us, and support our right to the same freedoms shared by everyone else. It blows my mind and fills me with gratitude.

    The simple fact is, the right has nothing to fear from the LGBTQ+ community, and as you’ve pointed out the reverse is actually true. Gay people aren’t breaking into straight people’s homes and murdering them in their sleep just for being straight. Gay people aren’t shooting up bars and nightclubs filled with straight people expressing their sexuality. We are the ones who live under the threat of violence for holding hands or sitting too close to someone of the same gender. This is true EVERY SINGLE DAY. Not just during Pride month.

    How wonderful it is that Dahle doesn’t hate his gay colleagues! How noble! He loves *some* gay people!
    Statements like this are condescending, obnoxious, hypocritical and fill me with utter rage. People who truly feel that way don’t ever say stuff like that, they just show it by being decent people. Substitute the word “blacks” for “gays” and you truly have a reason to clutch your pearls.

    I voted for Dahle with some hesitation, but hope too that he would be different. I was voting against the other guy specifically, but thought I’d see if Dahle could be better than that. Either he isn’t better than that, or he’s kissing the ring of the far right and either truth is terrible.

    • Avatar Candace C says:

      Matt, “Gay people aren’t shooting up bars and nightclubs filled with straight people expressing their sexuality. We are the ones who live under the threat of violence for holding hands or sitting too close to someone of the same gender. This is true EVERY SINGLE DAY. Not just during Pride month.”

      Yep. YEP.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      So we’re pretending Omar Mateen & Benjamin Matthew Williams were straight?

      • Avatar Matthew Grigsby says:

        Do you have proof otherwise? They said they were straight, and while there is some question about how true that is, it’s utterly irrelevant. The people they murdered were killed for being gay.

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

        Tim, the FBI investigated the claims that Omar Mateen was a closeted gay and debunked those claims. The claims about Benjamin Matthew Williams being closeted were sketchy at best, belied by his having an out-of-wedlock child in Bremmerton, WA, and belied by his immersion in the Christian Identity movement, a rabidly anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-government extremist group that has deep roots in California.

        • Avatar Tim says:

          The FBI did not debunk those claims, they said they could find “no evidence” (despite multiple eyewitnesses going back to 2006). The FBI also said they found “no evidence” that the pulse nightclub was targeted for being a gay bar: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/no-evidence-so-far-to-suggest-orlando-shooter-targeted-club-because-it-was-gay/2016/07/14/a7528674-4907-11e6-acbc-4d4870a079da_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.82dfa4c0cd9b

          This is the same organization that was more interested in keeping a valuable informant happy (Mateen’s father) than investigating the multiple reports of Mateen’s desire to commit a terrorist act.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Tim,

            The implications in your article are attributed to an anonymous “official”, and an anonymous person “familiar with the case”.

            Its author is obviously trying to make it appear that gay people aren’t objects of violence because they’re gay. In the case mentioned that doesn’t appear to be the F.B.I.s position at all.

          • Avatar Matthew Grigsby says:

            Tim,
            I find it interesting that your objection with my post is that the killers might or might not be gay. Of all the things I said, *that* one bothered you the most.
            Wonderful.

          • Avatar Matthew Grigsby says:

            Moreover, if your point is that those murders were gay people killing gay people then…what is your point exactly? That violence was conducted within the gay community and thus has no part in a discussion about the church two of the murderers belonged to?

            I honestly can’t wrap my head around what you’re trying to say because the impression I’m getting is rather abhorrent.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            It was a quixotic attempt to disabuse you of the fallacious notion that heterosexual Christians are the biggest danger to the LGBTQ. Stranger danger makes for dramatic stories, but the reality is violence largely stays within familiar groups: white on white, black on black, gay on gay, druggie on druggie, etc. And the victim almost always knows the perp.

          • Avatar Matthew Grigsby says:

            Tim, I’m kind of in awe that you’d claim straight Christians aren’t the greatest threat to the LGBTQ+ community. “Stranger danger makes for dramatic stories.” Dramatic stories? Is that what this violence is? Just some dramatic tale to tell, followed by a tut-tut and a shake of the head?
            A flip and glib response like that is a “quixotic” attempt to educate me. Having been called a faggot in public, at the grocery store no less, I’ll let you have one guess the obvious orientation of that person and while their faith wasn’t obvious, they certainly didn’t look Muslim or Jewish or Sikh or Buddhist.

            I’m bowing out of this discussion before you try to educate me even more. I’m not sure I can learn what you’re trying to teach me.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Tim,

            Here are the REAL statistics on hate crimes by the F.B.I., which tells us that the LGBT community is targeted for violent hate crimes more than any other group – mostly by anti-gay strangers.

            Many Republicans appear to be promoting the false senario that these murders and other violent crimes aren’t really directed at people because they’re gay, and that the over-representation of gay people among the victims is just a coincidence (some have even gone so far as to claim that Pulse was not a gay nightclub). While it may be true that murder victims in general know their perpetrators, when it comes to crimes of this type, that’s typically not the case.

            https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/06/16/us/hate-crimes-against-lgbt.html

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Tim, I lived in San Francisco for a few years around 1970. Gay bashing was a common practice by “straight” men, usually from the suburbs. It started to taper off when more gay men “came out” and were actually better fighters than those trying to bash them. And when I met my wife she was sharing an apartment with another girl and a gay man. On Saturday night three men would show up for dates. Coming from Utah that was a new experience for me but I was more interested in my future wife than her choice of room mates.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Here are the real stats Patricia: https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2017/topic-pages/victims

            1,338 sexual orientation hate crimes in 2017 for all of the United States.

            45% (~602) of those were intimidation
            34% (~455) simple assault
            20% (~268) aggravated assault
            0.5% (~7) rape
            0.3% (~4) murder

            So approximately 4 of the ~480 murders of LGBT in 2017 were reported hate crimes. Sure, hate crimes go underreported (one advocacy group says ~27 hate crime murders in 2017), but it is still a miniscule fraction of the violence partners do to each other. Trivia: gay men are 3 times more likely to be victims of domestic violence.

            And more likely than murder? Suicide: about 5,400 a year — again about 3x more often than heterosexuals.

            The point is the boogeyman is not lurking in the bushes outside (or in the church down the block), he’s probably looking back at you in the mirror or smiling in the framed picture on your desk.

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

            Nothing to see here, move along. Same old song and dance.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Tim,

            All I’m going to say is that I’m not getting the same interpretation of the data. I’ll stand by the more comprehensive information in my link above.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Matthew, I’ve been following this Bethel beat specifically for Shasta County’s LGBTQ community because I’m a rational person who believes reason trumps faith when it comes to the question of who gets civil rights in America. The founding fathers were quite specific that our government should base its decisions on reason, not faith-based dogma. I have to admit, I was laughing out loud when I first listened to the town hall tape, because the level of insensitivity and fair play expressed by Julie Winter and Brian Dahle, the utter lack of any finesse, was so fucking spectacular. Cheers, brother!

      • Avatar Matthew Grigsby says:

        I appreciate you shining a light on this subject. My taxes pay for both Winter and Dahle to say and do these things. The money I pay them allows them to make decisions about my life and the lives of people just like me.

    • Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

      I’ve always thought it odd that gay people are expected to “come out of the closet,” . . . . but straight people aren’t. I’m being a tad facetious here but it just goes to the ridiculous mental gymnastics we humans heap on ourselves.

  10. Avatar CHRISTIAN GARDINIER says:

    Yes, another great read from R.V. that clearly shows how the tRump-Alt-Right-ChristiantRump-Bethel-Dal movement is alive and well up here… Clearly, if taken to a “Proud Boy” (recently seen at tRumps “Campaign” kickoff last week) extension, this “Holly Alliance” can get very dangerous quickly as the Matson – Mowder murders demonstrated many years ago… because it’s alive and well today, right here in River City Redding and in Oregon. The Dahle-tRump-Alt-Righ-Christian Holly Alliance fuels the Kool-Aid and gives some sick people at worst, the legitimacy to commit the “Christian” white nationalist terrorism we have seen today that has killed so many people in the last few years, and at “best,” discriminate against people of non white color and alternative sexual orientation while developing their blind eye to the acts of tRump conservatives that so cruelly separates families and puts kids in concentration camps without a thought…. that it’s NOT THE CHRISTIAN THING TO DO! Fueled by Bethel’s” Democrats are doing the work of the devil and the racist, sexist pro tRump-Dahle – State of Jefferson folks, we, and the Constitution of The Untied Sate is at risk. I hope people at least begin to understand why the separation of church and state is part of our US Constitution. And I hope people understand why we need to throw the money changers (Bethel economics) and alt-right conservatives out of office in 2020. Vote BLUE in 2020!

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thank you Christian. You’re 1000 percent correct that this allegiance between Trump and evangelical Christians, Christian nationalists, is a troublesome development. Wingnuts are being appointed as judges. Trump must be defeated in 2020.

  11. Avatar Robert Scheide Sr. says:

    For me, all religions are dangerous and need to be kept within strict bounds. Bethel is a perfect example of religion gone wrong It seems to tolerate them is to encourage them to try and take over the country.

    Most of the religions I have tinkered with all have a favorite people, practice or thing to hate and it forms a major part of the religion. All seen to think their way is the only way.

    Bethel’s Seven Mountain Program Is flat out Treason. Overthrowing our government is just that Treason. At least they put in in writing. Raised Catholic some of the same theories exist not many are in writing. Some even put forth programs that are against certain people, brown people are the current folks under the bullseye and are being rounded up and kept in horrible facilities, kept that way as punishment, Certainly a Christian act.

    I have lived in Shasta County for 20 years and didn’t have any idea Bethel had grown into this monster trying to take over the county bit by bit. Since RV has focused the spotlight on them more and more things pop up that need to be put back in the bottle.

    Bethel is our problem but the rise of fundamental religions and their capture by the Republican party is a US problem Our Supreme Court is headed up by 5 strick Catholics and that will affect the whole country.

    I saw the same takeover of a small town when I lived in Idaho. They did not publish a list of principles for the whole community they only applied to Mormons. They did take over things like the school board.

    For my money as long as you keep your beliefs inside the church , fine, when you try to stick me with the same rules, I object.

    • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

      Well expressed, Mr. Scheide.

      “When you say ‘radical right’ today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.” Barry Goldwater in 1994.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thanks for chiming in, Dad. Yeah, those were strange times in American Falls, Idaho. The town was only 2500 people, but at least a third were Mormons. It was strange. We weren’t a religious family, but there were Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists in the town too, and I melded perfectly with those kids. But the Mormon kids always set themselves apart, like they were special. Chosen, you might say. That’s what happens when Christians get too drunk on the Old Testament.

  12. Avatar Pedro says:

    I came very close to not going to the town hall. But I felt it important to chronicle what I suspected would be said. It was far worse than I imagined. Nothing about it felt like a town hall. It was a good ol’ religious gay and immigrant bashing. The kind of meeting that years ago would have been followed by a lynching. I hate that we as a community have to deal with this nonsense, given the fact that we are facing the end of the goldilocks, not too hot, not too cold period of Earth’s history that spawned Us. Thanks for your important work R.V. Scheide. Glad I could contribute to the Resistance.

    • Pedro, we thank you very much for attending this Faith & Values Town Hall, and for sharing the audio with us. Well done!

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Pedro, I can’t thank you enough for providing A News Cafe with that audio recording from the meeting. Thank you! It was a strange experience transcribing it. I was laughing most of the time because I couldn’t believe two elected public officials were carrying on like that. Kudos brother.

      • Avatar Pedro says:

        Happy to help shed light on this darkness and help you fight the good fight.
        “Human groupings have one main purpose: to assert everyone’s right to be different, to be special, to think, feel and live in his or her own way. People join together in order to win or defend this right. But this is where a terrible, fateful error is born: the belief that these groupings in the name of a race, a God, a party or a State are the very purpose of life and not simply a means to an end. No! The only true and lasting meaning of the struggle for life lies in the individual, in his modest peculiarities and in his right to these peculiarities.”
        Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate

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

          That’s the same as John Locke’s concept of “freedom of conscience” for individuals, which heavily influenced the founder when writing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

  13. Avatar Lisa says:

    In better times, we could count on the IRS to rethink Bethel’s tax exempt status for campaigning against AB 2943 and for Dahle.

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      The IRS needs to rethink tax exempt on all churches and even secular non-profits.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      One thing I learned reporting on Kris Vallotton’s campaign activities is that right-wing evangelicals purposely violate the Johnson Amendment and taunt the IRS into questioning their activities, That way, if there’s a misdemeanor charge against any certain pastor, it will go to court, and there’s dozens of nonprofit Christian legal groups who will appeal it all the way to the Supreme Court.

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

        Therefore, the IRS doesn’t enforce the Johnson Amendment, because they don’t want it overturned by activist judges.

  14. Avatar Chris Soul says:

    What? No Gold Dust or Angel Feathers Falling at Little Country Church for Dramatic Effect? Not Yet Anyway…

  15. Avatar Dan Greaney says:

    Re the thread about hesitation to vote for Dahle:
    A week before the March primary I received two mailings from “unaffiliated” Republican campaign engines: “The choice is clear,” they proclaimed. “For Repub’s, Dahle, for Dem’s, Baird.”
    But Baird had withdrawn a month earlier. I immediately emailed an LTE to the R-S, on Friday before the Tuesday election. R-S modified and printed the letter– the Sunday after the election.
    Baird won 10,855 votes. If the running Democrat had received half those votes she would have been in the runoff. If she had received all of them she would have been the top vote-getter.

    As the runoff approached, I, a Democrat, received mailers praising Dahle over Kiley not for the Republican values they share, but for more typical Democratic positions– against predatory lending and other corporate abuse of the public.
    So the chain of mailings I received urged me first to waste my vote, and then to elect the lesser evil that was left.
    And it turns out that Baird, although he had filed as a Dem, actually has positions and prior registrations that are all Repub.
    I again wrote an LTE, before the runoff. R-S declined to publish it.
    I don’t know who propagated this cheat, but some GOP campaigners seem to believe in their message and power more than in representative government.

  16. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    Another aspect of Bethel that doesn’t get nearly enough attention is the fact that it’s virtually a textbook example of a “prosperity gospel” scam. Bethel leaders urge their followers to donate more than they can afford (beyond the customary 10 percent) even before they pay their rent and other bills, or even buy their groceries (supposedly this money will be magically replaced – and added to – by “God”). And when Bethel’s “supernatural” students and others are forced to beg for money through GoFundMe accounts and from family and friends to avert a crisis, Bethel leaders conveniently label that money a “miracle from God”.

    According to Bethel leaders, the alternative to all this lavish giving is that God will be angry, and may “evict” them from his planet. And if they’ve given till it hurts and still aren’t rewarded with wealth by God, it’s because they are “disobedient” in some other area of their lives. Meanwhile, Bethel followers are told that all this money belongs to Bethel leaders to do with as they please, with no accounting given to the people who were guilted and terrorized into giving it to them in the first place.

    http://churchandstate.org.uk/2019/06/how-the-prosperity-gospel-convinces-poor-people-to-give-everything-to-grifty-millionaire-preachers/

    • Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

      Here’s my take on the “Prosperity Gospel.” I guess those ministers and evangelists didn’t read the same Bible I did where a rich, young publican came and asked Jesus what he had to do to gain the kingdom of Heaven and when Jesus told him all he had to do was to give everything he had to the poor, the young man went sadly away. Notice Jesus didn’t say “give all your money to the church,” or “give all your money to me.” It was at that point, I think, that Jesus opined that it was easier for a camel to make his way through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. The Eye of the Needle, BTW, was a small individual gate built into the larger city gate to allow for individuals, not camels, to come and go at night when the main gates were closed.

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

        In other words, the prosperity gospel is heretical. Which is why Bethel’s most severe criticisms come from the Christian discernment community, not secular news organization like ANC.

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          Amazingly the average Bethel adherent doesn’t seem to know that Bethel is a textbook example of a prosperity gospel scheme. I wonder how many would leave if they could be convinced of that fact.

  17. Avatar James Sherman says:

    God, what a horror show the North State must be for those who are sane. Like Dante’s Inferno without the laughs. I hope I’m VERY very wrong, but I don’t see this ever changing. Ever. Blessings to those who keep fighting the good fight. But for myself the despair is too much to bear.

    Excellent article, Mr. Scheide.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Why hello there James! It’s good to hear from you! While this story reports some pretty egregious religious activism going on in the north state, I honestly believe that most of the north state isn’t on board with this. That’s one of the main reasons this town hall attracted attention, not just from me, but from lots of people. It’s so good to hear from you James!

  18. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    The most effective way that the religious assault on women’s right is being addressed has already starting to take shape. Actually it is the way a lot of changes will and have been made. Economic boycott. Arizona felt it when they were reluctant to pass Martin Luther King Day. Utah felt it when Colorado took the Outdoor Recreation Show away over Utah’s stance on Bear Ears. The Super Bowl saw it in trying to get big name stars for their halftime show. Now the film companies are planning to boycott all production in Georgia over the state’s abortion law. This will finally kill The Walking Dead that should have been killed a couple of seasons ago. And if I read the news about Bethel it is a tossup whether they are good or bad for the Redding economy. As far as Bethel Music let me know when a Bethel artist reaches the status of other former gospel singers like Amy Grant and Elvis Presley.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Bruce I’m going to make a joke that might get me in trouble, but here it is: One of the main reasons Kris Vallotton’s sermon condemning gay people last year caught my attention is because Bethel makes at least half of its $100 million annual income off arts and entertainment, and everybody knows that LGBTQ individuals, for some unknown reason, excel at arts and entertainment. I know for a fact that talented individuals in Bethel’s employ are totally pissed off at the church’s open hostility to the LGBTQ community.

  19. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Oh! I will have to come back to study this article R.V. I found one bit of misunderstanding in the first segement. Julie Winters says that the separation of church and state has to do with not having government telling the church what to do. I think that separation was to prevent one religion’s control of government from telling OTHER churches and temples what to do. And of course the Dahle’s odd idea that your believe makes a seed grow. Oh, and Trump is in office because God wanted it. I’ve run out of time today, but I’ll more closely study your article tomorrow. What a sad anniversary for a that horrible murder committee in our community 20 years ago by Christian zealots.

  20. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Who is telling the truth? A fund raiser is going on right now for CASS, a secular homeless shelter in Phoenix pointed out on these pages by a commentator. Lisa Glow, the CEO stated that CASS never turns away those seeking help, yet three nights ago with the protests over homelessness is not a crime going on, the same reporter talked to the actual manager of CASS and she stated that they turn away 500 people a month. It gets even murkier when one reads the reviews by people who have actually stayed at CASS. And Lisa Glow thinks former Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a hero.

  21. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    Bruce,

    So now that I’ve proven there are numerous secular organizations in your area addressing poverty and homelessness (and that it’s not all religious organizations, per your earlier claim), you are attempting to discredit the one example I gave. I found an interview with CASS’s Lisa Glow (below) in which she admits lack of space has forced the shelter to turn away three hundred people due to a recent increase in homelessness (although it did manage to serve five thousand families and individuals in the previous year). I’ve found no statement by CASS that it never turns anyone away, unless that was true at some point in the distant past.

    On the other hand, the administration of Shasta County’s only homeless shelter (the hellfire-and-brimstone Rescue Mission) has stated repeatedly that it never turns anyone away, even up to the present moment. However, another excellent article by R.V. Scheide in ANC proved conclusively that the Mission can’t accommodate anywhere near the number of people it claims to shelter, and that its capacity and effectiveness is far less than it would have the public believe. In fact that claim was proven to be so patently false that it actually prompted a recent letter of warning to the City of Redding from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty in Washington D.C.

    https://www.arizonafoothillsmagazine.com/features/az-giving/9994-az-giving-lisa-glow-of-central-arizona-shelter-services.html

  22. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Patricia, there are not numerous secular homeless shelters in Phoenix, don’t you read your own links, there is a lack of homeless shelters in Phoenix period. Lisa Glow who I saw on the news last night at their fund raiser clearly stated they turn no one away. That her view is different than the view of the manager of CASS is not strange. Lisa Glow is a figurehead out for self promotion whose views differ from CASS’s staff and those who stayed there. A collation of forty churches, who have come under fire from patriot groups, has protested ICE dropping migrants off at the irrigation ditch by the Greyhound Bus Depot. CASS is nowhere to be seen. As far as your glowing figurehead Lisa Glow, on her own self promoting website, she stated she wanted input from the community. I emailed her and asked about her views on the churches offering shelter and sanctuary, under patriot groups protests. I am still waiting for a return email. Maybe you could send her an email and she would answer you knowing there is no way you could personally see for yourself, like I can.

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      Bruce,

      I didn’t say there were numerous shelters – I said there were numerous secular organizations addressing homelessness and poverty in your area. And I also never claimed that CASS is involved in helping refugees. However, I actually now live closer to the border than you do, and there are a number of atheist groups and other secular organizations involved in those efforts here.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Patricia, unlike you I don’t try to discredit anyone from helping the homeless or migrants because of their political or religious views.
        But you are a keyboard warrior where I am on the frontline serving the needy whether they are homeless or migrants or just poor.

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          Of course I’ve never done that. However, I do have a problem with a certain antiquated, heavily religious, grandfathered-in local organization that has actively helped NIMBYist local officials keep more adequate facilities and services out of the area by claiming to do far more – and accommodate more people – than it actually can. I suspect its directors just haven’t wanted to share those scarce donation dollars with another (and very likely better) service provider.

          This is the same organization, BTW, that Bethel Elder Julie Winter has solicited donations for – while claiming that any help that comes through just about anyone else is bad for the community. Not surprising, though, considering that this organization administers Bethel’s bus-the-homeless-out-of-town program, which has involved a considerable number of locals.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            However, Bruce, I freely admit that I don’t believe people who are in desperate trouble, need life-saving help, and have only one place to go for it should be labeled “sinners” and subjected to hellfire-and-brimstone preaching for hours on end, day in and day out. There needs to be a secular alternate, which this area doesn’t have.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            I overlooked your statement that I’m just a “keyboard warrior”. You have no idea what I actually do, or have done. However, I can guarantee that it was – and is – considerably more than just handing out food once a week. You seem to be patting yourself on the back an awful lot in this forum, for a minimal amount of effort.

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          Patricia, you are trying to compare stacked like sardines southern California with empty Arizona. Services are available everywhere in SoCal, not so in Arizona. Ice and the Border Patrol bring migrants from the border to Phoenix rather than leave them in the desert.
          What have you done to help the needy? I have written LTTE’s on what I have done in Cheyenne and here in Phoenix.
          You question everybody on what they are doing when they don’t do it your way seems to be the problem.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Bruce,

            I’ve answered your question in detail in the past, and I don’t intend to repeat myself.

            And it’s not “my way” – it’s a Constitutional right, as determined by the court ruling linked below.

            As R.V.’s excellent investigative reporting on the Mission a few months ago informed us (backed by a warning letter to the City from the Naitonal Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty in Washington D.C.), the City of Redding is violating that court decision by arresting and/or issuing tickets to local homeless people for living on the streets when there is nowhere near enough room to accommodate them in Shasta County’s only homeless shelter (although the Mission Director claimed to have far more room than is actually available).

            It’s also illegal to force people to take part in religious programs when there’s no secular alternative. In order to stay more than 30 days at the Mission (which is not enough time) residents are required to jump right into one of its heavily religious “programs” within the first week of being there. It’s highly doubtful that the first week is religion-free either.

            This conversation is wandering off topic, so this will be my last response on this subject.

            https://citiesspeak.org/2018/09/19/what-the-ninth-circuits-camping-ruling-means-for-housing-first-strategies-in-cities//

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Patricia, The people I hand out food too do not think it is a minimal amount of work. But, God will forgive you for your attacks on me.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            And will he “forgive” you for bashing me? I’ve expressed some very legitimate concerns (backed up with hard evidence) about organizations and individuals who are deliberately harming marginalized groups and people in crisis. Those organizations and individuals aren’t automatically good just because they bang the bible.

  23. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    What I find strange, maybe because my daughter played soccer at Anderson, is the complete absence on these pages of Megan Rapinoe She has reached the pinnacle of success in her sport and is all over the media in the world.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      That’s a good point Bruce. I’ve been wanting to interview Rapinoe for a while. Perhaps after the World Cup is over, I will. I’d really like to get her perspective on growing up gay in Shasta County.

    • Alan Ernesto Phillips Alan Ernesto Phillips says:

      Hear, HEAR!!

      • Avatar Candace C says:

        Bruce, my guess and hope is what Rapinoe would do is nothing other than simply ignore or politely refuse their offer and go about her business. She’s an extremely talented athlete and seems to also be an intelligent, civilized human being comfortable in her own skin and sense of self. No need to give the “healers” anymore attention than that, negative or otherwise. Walk on by.

        • Avatar Candace C says:

          Bruce, and I too wonder why we’re not hearing more Rapinoe “hometown hero” stories of late. I hope it’s not for the reason I suspect. I hope I’m proved wrong.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Candace, I fear your suspicions are right. Other small towns have boasted of their athletes that have succeeded but not Redding. Casper Wyoming wrote an article on how gay divers have helped UW place so high at NCAA diving finals.

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

            A successful outspoken lesbian from Shasta County? Quick, cover it up!

      • Avatar Gracious Palmer says:

        Thank you, R.V., for your continued insight and objectivity. Your “arrangement” is powerful.

  24. Avatar Cindy Ellsmore says:

    Thank you RV for another revealing article about Bethel and for the thought-provoking comments from your many readers. This article and its comments will be reposted throughout the Senate District.

    Brian Dahle faces election once again in March, 2020. Megan Dahle is running for his open Assembly seat on August 27. We need to vote for the rights and protection of all people by making sure neither Dahle is elected in the future.

    Vote for Elizabeth Betancourt for Assembly in the special election on August 27.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      That’s an excellent point about Brian Dahle having to run again next year.

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        Can there possibly be a viable candidate to run against him? Kiley wasn’t the answer. Any moderates out there willing to go to Sacramento? The good news is that Johnson, Vallotton, and Winter won’t run because there isn’t enough money in it.

  25. Avatar Ann Webber says:

    Thanks R V for your dedication to this topic! I have been fuming about this since the invitation was posted on Facebook. Unfortunately, an old dog had an issue that night and I was unable to attend.
    A bit of background, I’m 4th generation atheist. When I moved to Shasta County in 1989, my father was adamant that I keep that information private. Especially when I was in the workplace. He had experienced issues throughout his career and nearly lost his job at Lockheed in the 60s. My brother did lose a job for declining to participate in a weekly prayer meeting. The closest thing to discrimination I have experienced is having people say “You’re such a good Christian!”, to which I do respond with truth.
    As a keyboard warrior, I have posted on Julie Winter’s Facebook page and learned a big lesson. That is the importance of the screen shot! A few days ago she had responded to my diatribe with some usual political rhetoric. However, she closed with “People of faith will not be silenced!”. Playing that victim card! This has since been deleted. She has a hot head and is bound to make some more errors. We must be vigilant in watching for both of these two. They are so certain of their gilded positions that they are sure to stumble out in the open again.
    Kudos to you, sir!

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Last year I was posting on Dahle’s Facebook page trying to get them to acknowledge or deny that Anthropogenic Global Warming is real. I haven’t figured out the connection, other than conservative politics, but most “believers” also appear to be climate change deniers. The theme underlying my last three articles has been the lack of a shared objective reality that we all agree on. Believers don’t share it.

  26. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    All I can say is…Ms. Winter, get out while you can, the tide is turning. And really, staff of Mr. Dahle, there’s other similar paying jobs out there, don’t do this to yourselves.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Or perhaps they could acknowledge that as public servants, their first obligation is to ALL their constituents, not to their faith. They they can maybe stay. Is the tide turning? We’ll see Frank! Thanks for reading!

  27. Avatar Candace C says:

    R.V. In regard to Rapinoe and Shasta County I was thinking more along the lines of the “taking a knee”, etc. aspect then the lesbian aspect. I hope I’m wrong about both of those reasons for the seeming lack of local coverage.

  28. Avatar Candace C says:

    Tim, perhaps the “Boogeyman” you speak of also partially resides inside those who would rather marginalize others fears than show any empathy whatsoever. Perhaps said Boogeyman chooses instead to glibly trot out “facts” and “trivia” regarding who’s doing what to whom to discredit someone else’s very real pain. I’m wondering if said Boogeyman has ever been called a faggot in public and if the answer is yes, did they stop to look up the stats as to whether it hurt or not?

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Everyone is entitled to his own feelings, but no one is entitled to his own facts. The insinuation & later statement that “straight Christians are the biggest danger to the LGBT community” is not only offensive & divisive, it is also factually incorrect.

      Despite being (or perhaps because I am) a straight atheist, I empathize equally (well/poorly) with fundamentalist Christians and the LGBTQ. 20 years ago I had no reason to advocate for Christian rights: Christians in America enjoyed their alloted rights and then some. Instead I was one of the very few Reddingites with a “No on 22” sign in my front yard – and “No on 8” eight years later (or should I say “signs” since they were constantly being stolen & vandalized).

      Thankfully most gay rights, like equal protection & recognition under the law, have finally been recognized over the past 10-11 years (I might add not by the ignorant masses of democracy, but by the constitutional/judicial protections of our Republic). Sure, there is still a little work to be done, but instead of wrapping up those loose ends I’m instead seeing the assertion of privileged desires as new LBGT rights — extra rights to be provided at the expense of the existing civil rights.

      For example: many transgendered now demand third parties recognize them as their preferred gender in spite of religious, conscientious, or scientific objections. Others in the LGBT community are successfully advocating for the censorship of speech that makes them feel unpleasant. So while monotheism & Christianity still assert more rights in our society than they deserve (“one nation under god,” “in god we trust,” “so help me god,” etc), the attacks against religious overreach are largely being directed against actual rights — like the ability of government employees to peaceably assemble after work on a Thursday night to discuss shared religious values.

      Quixotic quests cannot go on indefinitely so barring some new & interesting line of inquiry, this will be my last post of the subject.

      • Avatar Candace C says:

        Tim, Ah yes, ones seemingly endless quixotic quest to educate the “ignorant masses of democracy” (and their uninteresting lines of inquiry) about the horrors of preferred pronouns being thrust upon unsuspecting law abiding citizens must get terribly exhausting. One’s sword must indeed get heavy. If I were they I’d most likely wish to lay my sword down from time to time as well.

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        Tim,

        Your past support of LGBT rights sounds superficial at best. I can recall people who claimed to support the Civil Rights movement during its very early years (in theory), but a few years later had withdrawn their support when they realized that Black people were actually going to step out of their “place” to claim those basic rights.

        The only group asking for special rights and priviledges are Christian fundamentalists, who are demanding to be exempt from anti-discrimination laws – just as they demanded to be exempt in the past when it came to anything involving inter-racial marriage, the desegregation of private (often government-funded/tax-exempt) “Christian” schools, etc. These people are using the legal system to force their version of morality on the rest of the population in an attempt to violate the hard-won civil rights of women, gay people, and others.

        They are also less than honest in these attempts. They want to be free to deny services to certain groups, but aren’t willing to post a notice on their businesses or on their websites (for employment, housing, etc.) warning the public that those groups will not be served, because they know that they would lose customers and support from other groups if they were upfront about their prejudices. Instead unsuspecting gay people etc. are humiliated publicly when they unwittingly try to access those services.

        And the only mention I can find of government employees being denied the ability to have bible study outside of work hours was a 13-year-old case where federal court employees had their application denied to use a court room during the lunch hour for that purpose, because approving it was considered by whoever made that decision to be a government endorsement of religion.

  29. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    “God is on the move,” Dahle said. “You don’t think he’s on the move? Donald Trump’s in office.”

    :::three involuntary gags later:::

    In the runoff between the two Repubs, I kept to my vow not to vote for any Repub again until the Religious Right Racist-Ass White Nationalist Mouth-Breathers have been purged (or at least lost their stranglehold on the GOP).

    I struggled with that decision in the run-off, which entailed not voting at all, in part because there are things about Dahle that I’ve admired. I’ve voted for him in the past. I’ve even said that I’d ring doorbells for him if he ever decided to take on Dougie LaMooch for our congressional seat. So yeah, I felt a bit guilty about not voting for the local guy in the runoff.

    Thanks, Sen. Dahle. The quote above makes you a rabid Trumpster, far as I’m concerned. You’ve relieved me of every ounce of guilt I was feeling.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      I regret that I didn’t know all this about Dahle prior to the election. As an absentee voter, I had mailed my ballot two or three weeks prior to election day. So where you, Steve, have been relieved of guilt, I’ll be weighed down with guilt for having marked my ballot for Bethel and yet another religious right wingnut. I won’t make that mistake in 2020 nor will I vote to fill Dahle’s vacant seat with his wife.

  30. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    I knew Trump was a raving idiot even before he gained the Republican nomination. I did not want more of the same with Clinton. I wrote in Mitt Romney. Some say I wasted my vote but I sleep better knowing I did not vote for either of the two worst presidential candidates in history. While I believe Trump has brought some issues to the forefront I cannot vote for a candidate who I feel is too impulsive to be in charge. As for the Democrats I think Biden and Buttigreg stand out as the others seem to be as impulsive as Trump. I will not vote for the lesser of two evils even if it means, to some, I wasted my vote.

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      Bruce,

      You did more than just “waste” your vote – by not voting for a viable candidate you actively helped to install a demented sociopath in the most powerful position in the world.

      Trump is more than just “impulsive” – he’s a malignant force who has deliberately incited endless violence, “legitimized” blind prejudice, handed the running of the country over to ill-intentioned religious extremists, destroyed America’s international reputation, allienated it allies, vastly increased the national debt (primarily to benefit a wealthy minority), is leading the attack against 60 years of hard-won civil and human rights, is in the process of ruining the economy by way of his white nationalist agenda, and may yet plunge the world into a nuclear holocaust with the strutting arrogance and confrontationalism that appeals to his lowest-common-denominator base. None of this was unexpected – he gave us ample warning throughout his campaign.

      Clinton would have basically been a continuation of Obama. Sometimes the “lesser of two evils” is so much “less” that there is only one responsible course of action.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Patricia, Trump was elected by Democrats who chose not to vote, and not by a protest vote against the lesser of two evils. So now you are telling me how to vote.

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          Bruce,

          Thanks to the electoral college (an antiquated compromise created before most of the country even existed), Trump was elected by a small number of voters in a handful of backward states. Clinton won the actual vote, by several million.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Patricia, it is no surprise that you in the most populous state want to eliminate the voice of the small states. The Democrats lost in 2016 and now want to change the rules rather than field a better team. Even the Democrats said they had to pay better attention to the flyover states.
            Sanders knew this and came to Wyoming and had, as he said, one of the largest turn outs on his campaign tours. In fact he won Wyoming but Clinton, like in other states, stole the nomination from him. If Sanders had been the Democrat candidate Trump wouldn’t have even been a footnote.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            The real question is why should the votes of a relative handful of people in a few red states count MORE than the millions of votes in California? (which is exactly what the electoral college accomplishes). It’s actually the voice of the most populace state in the country that has been “eliminated”.

            As far as I’m concerned the vote of a college-educated professional in California should carry at least as much weight in presidential elections as that of a low-education white supremacist thug in the northern and southern bible-belt states.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Patricia, my college educated professional daughter, from Anderson, now living in Wyoming had her vote count as much as four white supremacist thugs living in northern California.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Fortunately far northern California is not representative of most voters in the rest of the state. It’s no coincidence that the states that voted most heavily for Trump are the least educated.

            You can’t overcome stupid, no matter how much campaigning you do in certain states. The only way Clinton could conceivably have won the northern and southern bible-belt states would have been to pander to their racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc. etc. And even then she wouldn’t have won, because most of those people weren’t about to vote for a Democratic woman.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Most of those states that didn’t vote for Clinton voted for a fresh face that happened to be a black Democrat man.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Bruce isn’t the reason Trump won. Clinton is the reason Trump won. Trump is an arrogant, bigoted, delusional, megalomaniacal rectal orifice, and came across as such in the campaign.

        If Clinton hadn’t presented herself as a pale approximation of the same, and had been less cock-sure of victory, she’d have won. Instead, she spent the last week prior to the election holding self-congratulatory pre-victory rallies in friendly states, while ignoring the vital swing states in the Upper Midwest (which she lost).

        Every time I hear from her these days, I have the same reaction: You blew it, and now the SCOTUS is going to be a shit-show for the rest of my living days.* Please go away.

        *Just yesterday the SCOTUS ruled 5-4 along conservative/liberal lines that the federal courts have no constitutional basis for preventing states from gerrymandering—one of the GOP’s most vile tactics for thwarting the democratic process—totally blowing off the clear intent of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          Steve, I whole heartedly agree with every point you stated and so do a lot of Democrats as well as many Republicans.

          • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

            “Steve, I whole heartedly agree with every point you stated and so do a lot of Democrats as well as many Republicans.”

            Bruce, what the heck is wrong with you and Steve? We don’t want this mellow adult crap, we want SNARKY! By gawd, this is America, and snarky is our game!

            Hm. Maybe it’s time for a beer.

            Sorry, Barbara.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Hal, don’t do that when I have a drink in my hand, now I have to do my monthly computer screen cleaning early.

          • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

            Don’t be offering beer if you don’t have enough for everyone.

  31. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    If you missed RV Sheide’s appearance on the KCNR program “Free Fire Radio” on Friday, June 28, here’s a link to the archived broadcast.

    http://apps.kcnr1460.com/media//podcasts/Free_Fire_Radio/Free_Fire_Radio_2019-06-28.mp3

    RV shows up for the second hour of the program. I thought he did a great job of expressing his views, and although hosts Carl and Linda Bott obviously took issue with some of his points, I thought they treated aNewsCafe’s star journalist respectfully.

    Disagreeing with someone, and yet treating them respectfully. Golly, what a concept.

  32. Avatar Candace C says:

    Hal, I understand and hear the point you’re making about the importance of civil discourse. I also understand that there are people doing horrendous things to others that for me, personally, do not have nor deserve my respect. In many instances human lives and the loss of basic human rights are at stake. I’m feeling angry, sad and powerless about a lot of things these days and I’m sure that comes across in some of my own comments on ANC. I try my best to be respectful but sometimes my anger gets the best of me.

    • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

      Yeah, Candace, but it still seems that your guiding principle is to treat people respectfully. You try. Too many folks don’t even try.

  33. Avatar Candace C says:

    Hal, Well, thanks for that but I think some folks have every right not to check their anger at the door. Being angry shouldn’t disqualify a very valid reason for their anger. It may make it so no one listens but it shouldn’t invalidate their anger. That’s my two cents anyway.

  34. Avatar Bob Moore says:

    Who was in Bethel church leadership while the Williams Brothers were being indoctrinated?

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Quite the loaded question.

      The Williams Family attended dozens of churches, finding each one lacking and moving to the next. In the 1980s one of those churches was Bethel, then led by Ray & Rebecca Larson (Johnson didn’t take over until 1996, and the church began emphasizing miracles & lost half the congregation in 1998).

      The last church the Williams Family attended was a baptist church in Palo Cedro.

      Where did the boys receive the majority of their religious instruction? At home. Neighbors constantly heard sermons blaring from the Williams house.

      Where did the boys learn antisemitism & violence? Matthew gradually shifted to extremism during the years he spent with white supremacists in Moscow, ID & Pullman, WA. Younger brother Tyler then picked it up from Matthew.

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