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SPINDALE, North Carolina — As a court-appointed advocate for two foster boys, it was Nancy Burnette’s job to ensure they were in good hands. So as part of her casework, she visited Word of Faith Fellowship, the evangelical church they attended with the couple seeking to adopt them.

What happened next haunts her: In the middle of the service, the chanting and singing suddenly stopped, Burnette said, and the fiery pastor pointed at Burnette, accusing her of being “wicked.” ”You are here to cause strife!” she recalled Jane Whaley shouting, as she sensed congregants begin to converge upon her. “You don’t think these kids are supposed to be here!”

Terrified, Burnette left, but not before promising the boys, ages 4 and almost 2, that she would return — a promise she ultimately could not keep.

“What I didn’t know was how hard Word of Faith would fight — and the tactics they would use — to keep the kids,” Burnette told The Associated Press.

Continue reading:  Ex-members say church uses power, lies to keep grip on kids

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8 thoughts on “Ex-members say church uses power, lies to keep grip on kids

  1. I am not a fan of too many church sermons that “tell a story,” (because congregants never get to practice using their “critical thinking” caps), I am not a fan of churches that encourage suspicion of knowledge (i.e., education), I am not a fan of churches that follow Right-Wing (!) ideology, etc…

    But this church is led by an emotionally damaged individual, and is nothing but a cult.

    Here’s something I figured out: people should be wary of “independent” churches. (I mean independent from mainstream denominations, like United Methodist or Southern Baptist.) Most of the time, leaders of these “independent” churches want to amass personal wealth. Sometimes, when the church Board of Directors (who rule) are jerks, a well-meaning pastor may break-off to start an Independent (pure) church.

    (BTW, Thomas Road Baptist Church ((the Falwell church associated with Liberty University, in Lynchburg, VA)) is an “independent” Baptist church.) (Yes… I figured all this out when I was a student there.)

    But this church, the Word of Faith Fellowship, has to be an “independent” church. What it did is not common practice! There is no excuse for its behavior, but please do not confuse it with mainstream churches (even though, they are weak as water, when it comes to following the Lord’s walk).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks. I do accept, and I’m sure most of my readers would too, that this story is not representative of all churches. At the same time, I am cognizant of growing religious radicalization in America and elsewhere which demands public exposure for quite obvious reasons.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The moral aspect is only part of why people are inclined towards religion. I’ve read several studies on the issue recently, many on WordPress. There are various biological, psychological, and cultural factors involved. Reading them comprehensively gives one the sense that we humans are behaviorally predictable.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Everyone is predictable on some level.

    Though I think religions usually affect creative thinking in a negative way, I don’t have a problem with people being part of a compassionate belief system that teaches justice and helping others. What I do have a problem with is people thinking that it’s a necessary component of a happy, healthy life of moral integrity. I’ve seen a lot of righteous arrogance that doesn’t gel with a life of peace and compassion.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Religious righteousness (i.e. sanctimony) is like trying to perch atop a flagpole during a hurricane. In other words, it can’t be done for very long. Those who try soon fall off, and many “good” Christians have admitted to me that this is one of their great frustrations.

      Generally, people get exposed to religion at a very young age before they have an opportunity to construct their own moral character. This is why religion targets children so passionately. Culture and social dynamics exert pressures on these kids as they get older to remain under the religious fold.

      However, people do leave religion. Such folks possess or develop personal independence and critical thinking which reject institutional dogmatism. Those that stay lack these traits. America is a good example of how these dynamics transcend religion. Christians, particularly fundamentalists, strongly favor political conservatism while non-religious favor liberalism.

      Ask any secular humanist, and they’ll proudly tell you about their powerful sense of ethics and morality. Religion has no exclusivity, and claims to the contrary are like spitting into the wind.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was raised Roman Catholic and decided at around the age of 12 or 13 I wasn’t very interested, but still had some respect for organized religion. A few years later, after seeing the involvement of religious people and religious groups in politics, I decided that there was something wrong with organized religion. I came to the conclusion that it’s better left as an individual thing, kept to oneself. I still feel that way, but I’ve seen that religion has helped some people – very often it’s people in prison. If it can help some people I won’t disrespect it, but I still feel that it will hurt more people than it will help. I believe it limits creative thinking and clouds perspective on many issues.

    Liked by 1 person

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