That’s some consensual suspension of disbelief

Juli Kearns Everyday Stories 11 Comments

Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana is hitting the news big time. For a couple of reasons. First off, the prayer debate. To pray or not to pray in the schools. Nola.com has he story on how some Tangiphoa teachers and administrators are flouting the prayer ban. 4th grade teacher has prayer in class, and has also Bible study classes in the cafeteria, admonishing students who don’t show.

The ACLU has been fighting this battle in Tangipahoa for a decade. They were favored by the Court with a 2004 prayer ban in the schools (2004? I thought this was taken care of decades ag) and a February decision banning prayer before school board meetings, a decision the school board is appealing with the help now of the Christian-oriented Alliance Defense Fund.

The 4th grade teacher, Pam Sullivan, reportedly told a student teacher who had protested the prayer, “I have been teaching for 12 years, and I can do what I want in my own classroom or at school.”

Sullivan also imparted to the student teacher that she was against mixed-race marriage.

The Tangipahoa school board (I guess hmmm the same one appealing the decision banning prayer before school board meetings) says that anyone acting in violation of the ban is doing so without the Board’s authority or consent, and promises that teachers and administrators will receive training so “violations due to ‘misunderstandings'” can be avoided.

I suppose that as there are probably no violations due to “misunderstandings” this won’t have much effect.

At the same time (this news I came upon over at Big Brass Blog) Tangipahoa is in the news because of three arrests over the past couple of days of members of a splinter group of the Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula who had formed a “cult” and were having sex with children and animals, sometimes in the church classrooms though not in the sanctuary or during worship. Those arrested included the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s deupty and the self-annointed minister of the church.

More arrests are possible. Five victims are given as interviewed and there are believed to be more. Sheriff Daniel Edwards said that some “cult” members were parents of the victims and that the parents either knew about the alleged abuse or had harmed their own children.

There was a confession. Louis Lamonica, 45, the former minister of the Hosanna church surrendered to Livingston Parish sheriff’s deupties on Monday and confessed to having sex with children and animals. On Tuesday, Christopher Blair Labat, 26, the Tangipahoa Parish sheriff’s deputy, was arrested by Tangipahoa authorities.

He was fired from his job the same day as his arrest.

Two of the men in custody and the victims have told investigators some sexual acts were recorded, Edwards said.
Source: 2theadvocate.com

This all came to light when a woman contacted Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s authorities from Ohio, saying she had fled Louisiana several months prior in order to protect her child after she had learned what was happening.

Livingston Sheriff’s Detective Stan Carpenter says church minister Louis Lamonica turned himself in on Monday and admitted to having oral and anal sex with kids for years…
Source: WAFB Louisiana news

The abused animals are given as having been dogs and cats.

The years concerned are between 1999 and 2003 at Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula.

An undated fish camping story concerning supervisory adults and boys from the church at Bass Pro Shops gives Louis Lamonica as pastor at “Hosanna Assembly of God” in Hammond at the time of the article.

Rev. Louis LaMonica, pastor of the church, joined us later that evening. He said something about being late because of a church function. I suspect he just waited as long as he could, thinking the boys would finally be asleep. He didn’t wait long enough. Bringing his own supper of fast food, he obviously had heard of my famed “Deep Woods Char-raw” and didn’t take any chances, despite his belief in divine healing…

Pastor LaMonica also left early the next day, saying something about having a lot of praying to do for us. He was probably correct about that.

The address of Hosanna Assembly of God in Hammond was also the address for “First Assembly Christian Academy” of Ponchatoula, LA at a Child Day Care Services Business Listing Page.

A reason I post the story is because of the long battle that the ACLU has had in Tangipahoa over the presence of prayer in schools. I don’t know personally this area of the country but my husband’s mother’s family, though not from Hammond or Ponchatoula, was from Washington Parish and neighboring Tangiapahoa Parish, and were/are Assembly of God. Assembly of God has produced a number of the megachurches and is responsible for Jimmy Swaggart, Jan and Paul Crouch and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker (I wrote recently a little on them in here).

I think we can ignore the fact this abuse occurred in connection with an Assembly of God church, because sexual abuse of children by pedophiles in esteemed positions happens in probably all churches, I know I’ve family and friends that were sexually abused in extremely conservative churches as well as in very liberal churches, though news has focused on abuses in the Roman Catholic church and people have gone so far as to conjecture that it’s the sexual ascetism of the priesthood that makes them vulnerable to pedophelia.

But I’m not going to ignore Hosanna Assembly of God being in the same parish as one which has been a great headache for the ACLU, a parish where teachers and school authorities have refused to understand the inappropriateness of prayer in the public school which grants especial privilege to those of the Xtian faith, who are unable to separate education from religious agenda, who confuse free speech with coersion as a fundamental American right. Because this contempt for boundaries and willingness to coerce and humiliate, is nothing but abusive. And it’s distressing that many individuals don’t recognize how this is so, that it isn’t love of deity motivating but the imperative of exercising personal will over individuals deemed subservient. The faith they profess has nothing to do with it.

Right now Republican David Vetter of Louisiana is speaking on C-Span. He’s saying that Luisianans have asked him to get government moving and not involved in obstructionism, political games, saying they tell him they want political fairness. He’s saying of the judicial nominees that…

their lives have been disrupted…attacked…many charges have been leveled against them that are patently untrue…and they don’t even get an up or down vote on the senate…we don’t get to vote…that’s not fair…not fair in the minds of any ordinary Americans…we can have differences of opinion, but then at the end of the day we need to have resolution, we need to have an up or down vote…we have an historic opportunity in the Senate right now…I ask that we all come together…it’s the right thing to do for the American people, the citizens of each of our respective states…I make a plea to…Senator Landreau to do just that…

But to continue. The Daley Times Post, “Your Answer to Liberal Media Correctness and Political Bias” posts the following story by Sher Zieve on the ACLU and Tangipahoa. Sher Zieve is a broadly posted rightwing commentator, published at mensnewsdaily.com and conservativevoice.com to name just a couple. The arguments he offers for prayer in the school and against the ACLU are fairly standard, I’ve heard them many times over the years. His views may be characterized as wingnut but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous than if they had a veneer of reasoned rhetoric. Many people have never thought out their faith and religious beliefs, which they were probably fed from an early age, and grew up believing them to be universally right because that is what they had been told. The kind of arguments Zeive employees are dangerous because they talk straight to the child in the adult who is unable to deeply consider his or her beliefs if any questioning would mean unsettling the entire foundation of their being.

ACLU FILES ANOTHER LAWSUIT AGAINST GOD

The ACLU is still hot on the trail of those who would dare offer any prayer, whatsoever, in public schools. But, as has become its norm, the ACLU’s campaign against God is relegated only to ‘Christian prayer’ and Christianity. This “great protector of our civil rights” (all sarcasm intended) has yet to challenge any Muslim prayers that have now been mandated by many California public schools. For the ACLU, Islam is allowed but, Christianity is forbidden.

Zeive may be referring to the lawsuit concerning Excelsior School near Oakland, California, where, post 9-11, as part of world history instruction, which includes teaching on all major religions, a course on Islam was being taught as one of eleven units of a social studies class called World History and Geography: Medieval and Early Modern. The class is included in the state curriculum, and parents are given the opportunity to choose to keep their children out of the class in which children learn about the Five Pillars of Islam. The parents who did keep their children out of the class were not those involved in the suit. Zeive lies when he says Muslim prayers have been mandated in the California public schools, but the lie doesn’t matter to Zeive, he wants his Christian conservative readers to believe that anything not Christian conservative is the arm of Al-Qaeda.

In its recent lawsuit against Louisiana’s Tangipahoa Parish School, the ACLU is calling for the fining and imprisonment of the school’s Board “for their calculated un-American and immoral conduct to embarrass, hinder or obstruct the court in the administration of justice.” To the ACLU, God is now “un-American” and “immoral”. The first reason for this latest ACLU contempt charge is due to Shane Tycer (not a school employee) broadcasting a prayer (Christian of course…not Muslim) over the school’s public address system, before a basketball game. This flew in the face of a prior ACLU obtained court order (it’s easy for the ACLU to get these ‘court orders’ when judges are in its pockets), which disallows Christian prayer anywhere and anytime at the schools.

God is un-American and immoral? Zeive knows he’s twisting the truth of the situation, that “immoral” and “un-American” clearly refers to such as the conduct of teachers who pressure children to participate in bible study at school. But he sacrifices the truth and chops out the middle, knowing that many Christian readers have probably already chopped out the middle, martyring the school board at the dastardly hands of the liberal ACLU (which used to be Commie but is now instead insinuated to be pro Al-Queda, whatever is the anti-American flavor of the time). This is followed with the complaint of liberal judges in the pockets of the all-powerful ACLU, leading one to assume that anyone against prayer in the schools must be anti-Xtian, and ignores that Xprayer is not disallowed anywhere or anytime at the schools, that it is legal as part of a club meeting on school grounds at the initiation of students, not during class periods.

The initial ACLU lawsuit against the Louisiana school, which was precipitated by one parent complaint (no doubt an ACLU “plant”), included a suit against an elementary school student for reciting the Lord’s Prayer before a school board meeting. Guess it’s time for our children to spend a stint in jail, for their disallowed Christian religious beliefs! Note: I wonder how the ACLU will react when Muslims begin to heavily populate the Louisiana public school system, as they have successfully accomplished in other states.

Zeive presents the complaint as coming from an ACLU plant, leading the reader to believe that the school serves only Xtian individuals. In fact, Louisiana may be the last bastion of Xtianity and Democracy in America, Islam (and thus Al-Queda) presented as having completely taken over other states.

If the ACLU follows its “hands-off” attitude (as it has in California and Florida) toward Muslims, we will see Islamic prayer allowed. But, Christian prayer will remain taboo. Does anyone still really think that the ACLU is non-partisan in its ‘no-religion-in-public-schools-or-public-places’ stance? If you do, read what the ACLU had to say about its suit against Tangipahoa Parish School when one of its representatives stated that the school was engaging in a “pattern and practice of disobeying the law in order to promote Christianity over other religions in public schools.”

Well, then, Zeive, is Islam worship permitted in Tangipahoa parish schools? Pagan practices? Hindu? Buddhist? Are all these religions and more represented in daily worship in the schools?

The ACLU never has liked truth and uses all the weapons and ammunition in its arsenal to destroy it. In its 5 April press release, the ACLU writes: “The lawsuits include a challenge to the promotion of the biblical faith-based story of creation as opposed to the scientific theory of evolution.” Scientific theory of evolution? Not even close. Human evolution is one of the secular community’s “faith-based” tenets. It cannot be proved. Thus far, each and every attempt (over many years) by the scientific community to present a human “missing link” has been a failure. All of the potential missing-links have been apes. Not even close and, certainly, no cigar.

Sigh. Conservative Xtians for years have tried to turn Secular Humanism into a religion. Forget Tangipahoa Parish, Zeive is just using it to launch into the ACLU=Used to be Commie=Anti-American knee-jerk response that wherever the ACLU inserts itself then fundamental rights of Americans must be at risk. Which they are. Just not in the way Zeive would have his readers believe.

So, in its continuing and unrelenting efforts to destroy the United States, the ACLU will continue its jihad against Christianity. The Judeo-Christian message and ethic were what founded this country and have sustained it through multiple challenges to its sovereignty and its very right to exist. But, if the ACLU finally wins its war against the United States of America, neither our existence nor our independence will any longer be an issue. The USA will be gone. This is the predominant reason that Congress’ appointment of truly strict constructionist judges is imperative. Our survival as a nation and a people depend on it.

We have a Conservative Xtian Republican president. The House and Senate are Conservative Republican. But Zeive wants it all. He wants Conservative Xtian Republican justices. Any minority voice is too much, and always has been for Conservative Xtian Republicans.

It’s heart-rending listening to the speeches on the Senate floor today. Progressives and Dems question how it’s “good politics” with the Republicans’ hammering away with the same lies over and over, but with every blow Conservative Republican listeners can ignore the truth, can suspend disbelief, placing faith and authority in the actor over the reality. There’s a certain hypnotic quality to the repeated lying. I don’t believe, am repulsed, yet comprehend it as hypnotic and imagine the response of those who have every desire to believe, and do, who sigh relief and submit.

The teachers who refuse boundaries and insist on exercising personal will over their students, demanding communal prayer, if they are a certain brand of Christian, all have in common their own submission to what they would believe is the will of god, extinguishing, they believe, their own will in favor of it, thus reborn in their Christ. The mystic concept of rebirth is an ancient one and sad that Xtianity treats it in a shallow manner that essentially asserts the will of the pastor over the individual. But if a teacher is not one “reborn”, and is simply blindly exercising what he or she was taught when young, then there’s not much difference. The person believes they are acting as an agent for a greater power, regardless, one bigger than themselves. They don’t have to accept responsibility for what they do, are not responsible, because they are only agents for the greater. And there is a certain hypnotic quality to that as well, ceasing to pay attention to the physical reality, to what is external the inerrant bible as interpreted by a higher authority acting as medium, accepting the story as the reality. The child can relax in the lap of the father or mother and rest secure in their seeming omniscient knowledge, trusting all that is future and incomprehensible is understood by them, even managed by them, is as neatly ordered by them as the habits that keep the days and nights from chaos.

Suspension of disbelief is what’s floating the government. A fragile consensual truth script that must have absolute control over all parties lest the theater door open and the world crash the party. Which is why anyone not seated in the same theater, absorbed by the same movie, is the enemy.

Go back to sleep, say the Republicans. Wake up, wake up, the Democrats are finally yelling.

Something like that.

Comments 11

  1. The Confederacy also justified slavery as biblically sanctioned. For some reason, people assumed that with the cessation of organized armed combat, the American Civil War came to a close. Now we know it simply changed venues.

  2. Jay – Slavery was bible-sanctioned as well. Some time after the neo confederates realized Civil Rights was here to stay, they adopted for themselves the same arguments of oppression, frequently expressed in the Justice Sunday speeches and the Ten Commandments battles. Neo confederates have also used these same arguments of oppression in an attempt to return confederate symbols to the schools.

    Steve – Ha. No doubt the Alliance Defense Fund considers itself to be god’s lawyers. James Dobson was one of its founders. I read their argument seems to be that over 70 percent of Americans want God acknowledged in government and laws and that the judiciary “does not honor the wishes of the American people when it comes to the separation of church and state.” In the next breath they say, “To be sure, Americans do not believe in a union of church and state. However, they do not believe that school prayer, the Ten Commandments or the acknowledgment of God violate the Constitution either.” But I think their views are probably most clearly illuminated in the above statement on the judiciary. This group is also preoccupied with preserving the sanctity of marriage through keeping it male-female.

  3. The dominionist folks are about a half-inch from convincing members of their congregation to strap on a vest of C5 and set out for the local mall. Since we’re past the point at which some of them have been compelled to assasinate physicians for performing abortions, it’s really not much of a stretch.

  4. Thank you for noting in your post that sexual abuse occurs in protestant denominations possibly to the same degree as it has in catholic circles.

    There is historic precedence for putting the spotlight on catholics going back to the early days of the United States and the virulent anti-catholicism of some of our Founding Fathers.

    The most famous incident is the burning of an Ursuline convent in Charlestown, Mass in the 1830’s because a mentally unstable young women, with the help of a protestant minister, authored a tract that accused the nuns of engaging in “perverted” sexual practices. There was no truth to this, but many lost their lives because of it.

    Many people assume that protestant ministers are not as “powerful” or are not held to the same standard as catholic priests might be. This, however, isn’t quite the case. Minsters are expected to be sexually constant and not engage in the sexual abuse of others. Because sometimes the “abuse” is considered a “seduction,” many victims keep quiet about it. Much has been written about this in publications that circulate among protestant denominations, but the MSM ignores it because it is not quite as sensational–until it reaches Jim Baker-like proportions, or the proportions that you comment on in your post.

  5. The abuse I know of in ultra conservative and liberal protestant churches has almost all been pedophelia. A couple of stories told me privately by adult survivors of childhood abuse, cases which never made it to the police. And two others which involved abuse that went on for several years. One was finally prosecuted but not publicly (involved the abuse of several youths over a period of years), and one, more extensive, eventually made it to court. Both were covered up by the church. In the second case, the church knew the extent of the abuse, that a number of youths were involved, and did nothing about it, simply dissociated the perp from the church. A fear of scandal. And no one went to the police. None of the ministry, none of the parents. Years later one of the survivors learned where the abuser was then living and that he was in police custody, having been charged with abusing children in that area. The survivor went to the police and offered to testify, which was worked out so that the underage children didn’t have to take the stand. The evidence that the adult survivor provided, from his own childhood, was such that the abuser is now in prison for life. Another individual who had also offered to testify, abused during the same time period, committed suicide a week before the case went to court. And still it was not talked about. There was only a very small item in the press about it. The denial is incredible. As far as I can tell, the usual way of handling it is the church will simply let go or dissociate a person from the church, present some excuse that they’ve been called to service elsewhere, and the veil of secrecy is so tight that things continue on as before, as if nothing had ever happened. There’s no responsibility felt for the children who will certainly be abused in the future by the perpetrator, and devotion to the church and one’s faith is such that it’s God and church first and the survivors are expected to eventually understand that this should have no effect on their relationship with the church, that Faith is above and beyond.

    Based on these cases, and a few other things I’ve heard third-hand, I have no reason not to assume that the problem is a broad one, taking a terrible toll.

    A problem is the church puts itself in the position of virtually replacing the family. Absolute trust is placed in authority figures, people of faith of course never doing any wrong. Faith instruction is such that the children are taught from an early age to deny their feelings, to deny their intelligence, their intuition, their observations. And their experience. They are taught they count next to nothing, that the church is all. And of course, if the abuse is learned about and the perp simply dismissed, this confirms it for them and they’re left to struggle the remainder of their lives with the knowledge that their church “family”, and their parents, thought so little of their welfare. Further, they are taught that they must forgive.

    Thanks for commenting on this. I’m surprised at the number of people who do assume this is largely an RC problem.

  6. Lloyd deMause’s book The Emotional Life of Nations exposes just how widespread child abuse is in our country, as well as its relationship to our culture of violence.

  7. Jay, I’ve not read “The Emotional Life of Nations”. Have read “Thou Shalt Not be Aware” by Alice Miller, an Austrian psychoanalyst, and it has a preface by Lloyd deMause. Another work by her I highly recommend is “For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence”, in which she grapples with the question as to why the willingness of so many Germans to carry out Hitler’s Final Solution.

  8. It’s amazing our country can be so divided; but its no longer surprising. The article I just read “Thats some consensual suspension of disbelief” is left leaning in regards to seperation of church and state. the ACLU should be disbanded; it serves no purpose for those Americans founded on Christian beliefs. Amazingly most of the people in America who are Christians do the right thing and don’t allow scum like the author if this article and the ACLU to force them to act any differnetly than they would in any other situation; peacefully…That’s why the ACLU and it’s chroanies are able to do what they do; they spend their time on earth in “Folly”. We all die sooner or later – Good luck Adjusting in the hereafter!!!

    JH

  9. Well give ME the ACLU ANY DAY !

    These Southern, right-wing Christians are Nucking FuTz!

    I’d rather batter-up all the neighborhood kids and deep-fat fry ’em (like the Lord’s Holy Bible ordains in Kings II 6:28-29) than pack ’em off to the local church to be raped, abused and made to drink the blood of random household puppy dogs, kitty cats and what-not. Between THIS STORY and that anti-choice crusader from Operation Rescue named “Horsely” admitting (on FOX News) that his first girlfriend was a mule, I’d say that the Bushpublican Christo-fascists have all gone *Mo0n-Bat SpArKle-SqUiRreL PiG-NuTz CRAZY*!

    The diet of absolute, unchecked power, the ‘culture of life’-long corruption and the constantly repeating “Mighty Wurlitzer”

  10. In response to Plaid the Invaler – you can’t judge all Christians by the acts of others, just like we can’t judge all non Christians by the ignorant remarks that you are making. Give me a true Christian that walks, talks and tries their best to be a genuine Christian than anyone connected with the ACLU anyday. No one is appalled by the behavior of people using God as a cover up more than true Christians. I do not condone the acts of any of these people, but do I blame God or true Christians for the acts of them? Certainly not! In fact, these people are not CHristians – who more than satan himself would enter into a church and abuse children? THis is not an act of God or an act of true Christians. By the way – I am a southern Christian, which by the way is no different than any other Christian and I am appalled at being put in the same category as these people!

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