Pastor Blake Lorenz: Former Church Board “Demonically Possessed”

Cedntral Florida News 13 has posted online an audio of the meeting at which Pastor Blake Lorenz and his wife Beverly were relieved of their positions by board members of the Global Revolution Church. Lorenz, it will be recalled, was the pastor who arranged for 17-year-old Christian convert Rifqa Bary to flee from her Muslim parents in Ohio to his home in Florida; the board members (Brian Smith, Tom Sanchez, and Jeff Parker) complain that while he undoubtedly had acted with the best of intentions, (a) his way of doing it had been illegal, and his actions meant that the church and its board members were now liable to civil suits brought by Bary’s family; (b) his actions had put the board members in an uncomfortable situation, as their home addresses were on-line on the church website (and a promise to have them removed had not been honoured); (c) the Lorenzes had lied to the board, destroying trust, and they had lied to the authorities with the story that Bary had hitchhiked to the bus station in Ohio when in fact an associate had driven her there.

Lorenz responds to this with the claim that the board members are “demonically possessed”, “evil”, and “crazy”. Beverly Lorenz, meanwhile, expresses shock and disbelief that board actually has authority over them, and she points out that she and her husband are college educated.

More substantially, though, Blake Lorenz explains that he had to lie to protect a life; I’m not quite clear whether he means Bary herself, or Brian Williams, the Ohio pastor who drove Bary to the bus station. Inevitably, he asks the board to consider if they would lie if some Nazis had asked them where some Jews were hidden. Beverly also raises the Biblical example of Rahab, who protected Israelite spies in Jericho by lying to some soldiers. The board members are not convinced: unlike the situation with the Nazis, Lorenz was asking the same authorities to whom he had lied to protect Bary. He had also kept the truth from the board, and as a counter-example from the Bible they mention Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemene. Why didn’t Lorenz tell the truth and trust God?, they ask. It’s worth adding that even if Lorenz didn’t want to tell the truth, he could have refused to give any explanation. It’s also worth adding that Williams does not appear to have been molested by vengeful Muslims in Ohio.

However, the Lorenzes still have plenty of supporters, including the vile Pamela Geller, who with others has used the Bary story to whip up an anti-Muslim hysteria. Geller lashes out viciously against anyone who raises any question or urges caution regarding the Bary case, accusing journalists and bloggers of being in league with a Muslim plot to kill the girl. Geller has now turned her attention to the board members, whom she accuses of ousting the Lorenzes in order to purloin funds that had been donated to the church for Bary – lawyers have stated that they received no cash from the church.*

But once again, this looks like Lorenz failed to think things through properly: did he set up a separate account specifically to receive donations for Bary’s lawyers? Is there any paperwork recording the details of such a fund, and making clear the conditions under which it would be used? [UPDATE: See comment below for more details on this] If not, then those of Geller’s readers who took her advice to make ill-considered donations (donations that I suspect are now likely to be used to defend the church against civil suits) ought to be directing their complaints to her. And if Blake Lorenz has any decency, he would ask Geller to refrain from her abusive attacks on his former overseers.

*This sentence has been slightly amended.

18 Responses

  1. If this story was reversed and some Iman had taken an underage girl from her parents and took her across state lines, the Iman would be in some jail w/o bail, awaiting trial on kidnapping charges.

    But since it’s one of those Gawd fearing Christians who are pushing hate and lies to keep America fighting wars against the Muslim world for decades, then it’s OK to break the law to get a point across.

    Over 15,000 kids disappear each year in the USA and are never heard from again.
    Where’s the righteous outrage about those kids from these same clowns that are agitating the Bary story ?

  2. […] at Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion: Pastor Blake Lorenz: Former Church Board “Demonically Possessed” Cedntral Florida News 13 has posted online an audio of the meeting at which Pastor Blake Lorenz and […]

  3. A British blogger has been intimidated by the police. The Reverend Stephen Sizer didn’t like comments and criticism made on the Seismic Shock blog, so got the police to physically intimidate the blogger, to take down that mild criticism.

    This is a clear freedom of speech issue, the police should not be used to intimidate bloggers.

    I urge you to publicise this issue and support Seismic Shock, as “I too am Seismic Shock”

    For more information see http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/reverend-stephen-sizer-uses-british-police-against-a-blogger/

    And http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/anglican-vicar-uses-police-to-intimidate-blogger/

  4. Mr. Bartholomew–My recollection is that the church did not directly solicit funds to pay for Rifqa’s legal defense (and BTW, John Stemberger claimed to be representing her pro bono). A fund was established and the lawyers who claim not to have received money from the church are the lawyers who are responsible for the fund, not those who represented her. I’m not an attorney, so I have no idea if the church has any obligation to turn over unsolicited funds to any specific fund that may not even have been in existence at the time funds were donated.

    This looks to me to be primarily a means of casting aspersions on the folks who are dropping the dime on Lorenz at this point. Several of the other accusations being made by Geller and Jawa (mail fraud) rely on an interpretation of known facts (a letter from Rifqa to Lorenz mailed from her Ohio lawyer’s office made its way into the hands of Franklin County Children’s Services–and apparently the content raised some concerns, according to the FCCS attorney). The Jawa/Geller/Lorenz interpretation is that Smith forwarded the letter to Omar Tarazi. Seems equally plausible that authorities investigating a possible interstate abduction intercepted mail to Lorenz via the church mail box–or that Smith provided the letter to authorities. Based on this, Jawa has fantasized that Tarazi is facing a bar intestigation, federal charges and the three church officers are under investigation for embezzlement.

    • The church never solicited funds for Rifqa’s lawyers even though the pastors asked for money to pay lawyers the board said no way we didn’t want to be involved.

  5. If this story was reversed and some Iman had taken an underage girl from her parents and took her across state lines, the Iman would be in some jail w/o bail, awaiting trial on kidnapping charges.

    You’re not very clear on this. No one took Rifka across statelines. S he fled to Florida of her own free will and wasn’t kidnapped or forced into fleeing by anyone except the potentially violent members of her own family.

    The mosque frequented by Rifka’s parents has ties to radical Islamists and SOME members of its leadership may be investigated.

    The only people who could properly be accused of kidnapping her are her parents and the sleazebag lawyers they hired. Not to mention the Muslim Brotherhood front group CAIR.

    Even “islamonline” has admitted that there are grave problemes with “honour” killings among South Asia Muslims.

    Yes, Gregg, even THEY admit it.

    But since it’s one of those Gawd fearing Christians who are pushing hate and lies to keep America fighting wars against the Muslim world for decades, then it’s OK to break the law to get a point across.

    Britian is presently under an enhanced alert because of a potential terror attack. What are the chances the perps are GAWD fearing Christians?

    Like I said, you’re not very clear on some things

    • So is the board demonically possessed or not? You’re evading the main issue here.

    • “You’re not very clear on this. No one took Rifka across statelines. S he fled to Florida of her own free will and wasn’t kidnapped or forced into fleeing by anyone except the potentially violent members of her own family.”

      This is a real stretch of the facts. Based on current evidence, Lorenz, in conjunction with Williams, provided a bus ticket, a ride to the bus station, possibly a cell phone and the assurance that there would be a home for her when she alit in Orlando. As she is most likely not psychic, there was also some planning and conversation about where Williams could pick her up, what time the bus left, and so forth. This adds up to conspiracy. The fact that she was not dragged kicking and screaming, given her minor status, is pretty much irrelevant. Is that clear enough?

  6. Britain is presently under an enhanced alert because of a potential terror attack. What are the chances the perps are GAWD fearing Christians?

    considering the possibility that the problems in Northern Ireland could bubble back i say there is a possibility of terrorism by Christians in Britain as there has been in the past.

  7. June, aren’t you due for your Rapture fitting of your thermonuclear proof robe?

    As for your fraudulent claim that Bary was escaping a violent family, maybe you need to go back and read what the Columbus police said:

    Sgt. Jerry Cupp with the Columbus missing persons bureau disputes Bary’s claims, telling The Columbus Dispatch that Mohamed Bary has known about his daughter’s conversion for months and appears to be caring. And today, the attorney for Bary’s parents issued a statement that they have never threatened Bary: “If this case is perceived as a clash of religions, it is because Mr. Lorenz recklessly and without authorization put someone else’s child in front of television cameras to publicly renounce her previous faith,” McCarthy said in the statement. “The parents who love Rifqa are in the best position now to protect her from the mess that Mr. Lorenz has made.”

    http://barthsnotes.com/2009/08/15/apocalyptic-pastor-claims-to-be-protecting-ex-muslim-teenage-runaway/

    Britian is presently under an enhanced alert because of a potential terror attack. What are the chances the perps are GAWD fearing Christians?

    Pretty damn good, I’d say, since the Brit investigation into former PM Blair’s lies about Saddam and his involvement in pushing for and help start an illegal war are heating up, so it’s time to bring the fear and scare the hell out of people.

    Who would do such a thing? The same liars, thieves, con artists and mass murderers behind the inside job of 9/11.

    “Ain’t that right, Mr. Cheney?”

  8. Fascinating turn of events to be sure. But it’s interesting that Saddam Hussein said in an interview to a reporter from FOX news (not sure this is the correct station) that he did have WMDs– at one time. Loook back in history, and you’ll find that Iran and Iraq have just been through an horrific war. In the 1990’s Saddam complied with UN Inspectors and had almost all WMDs destroyed. But the fellow couldn’t go around saying THAT. That would be suicide, inviting a country you’ve been fighting to invade, letting them know you have zilch defenses.
    So, predictably, Saddam kept up the bluster and wouldn’t back down. He ruffled a few feathers and made the US mad. But then, history also tells us he supported terrorists and had camps set up on the border.
    Don’t take my word for it, go do some research on your own.

  9. […] Aside from “call the police immediately”, the rest of this is useless: “avoicefortheperscuted.com” is the website of a Christian writer named Nikki Arana, who lives in Idaho. Arana is the co-author of Through the Eyes of Christ, which presents strategies for persuading Muslims of the truth of Christianity; she doesn’t even claim to have any useful practical advice for ex-Muslims fearful of honour killings. And what exactly do Geller and Spencer know about running a “safe house”? Again, if a “safe house” is needed, that should be a matter for the proper authorities – and not for a pair of publicity hounds more interested in using ex-Muslims as trophies than in offering discrete assistance. The Rifqa Bary case, with which Geller and Spencer have been involved, quickly degenerated into a circus and something of a fiasco. […]

  10. […] received an award. In the case of the Lorenzes, a year ago Geller wrote a typically vitriolic post defending them from censure by their church board, whom she heaped with her usual abuses and wild […]

  11. […] Notes on Religion: Rifqa Madness; Fathima Rifqa Bary Custody Case Becomes Anti-Muslim Circus; Pastor Blake Lorenz: Former Church Board “Demonically Possessed”; Apocalyptic Pastor Claims to be Protecting ex-Muslim Teenage […]

  12. “The attorney for an Ohio runaway [Rifqa Bary] who said her Muslim father would kill her for converting to Christianity said Monday that THE REAL DANGER IS HER FATHER’S MOSQUE”: the notorious Noor Islamic Cultural Center, which has proven terrorist ties: three Noor Mosque members are currently “serving federal prison terms for conspiring with suspected terrorists to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge, a Columbus-area shopping mall, and unspecified targets in the U.S. and Europe.” Certain Noor mosque members “contacted the girl’s father and pressured him ‘to deal with this matter immediately.'” —
    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/orl-rifqa-runaway-mosque-090109-story.html

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