Apocalyptic Pastor Claims to be Protecting ex-Muslim Teenage Runaway

A blog at Christianity Today sounds a note of caution over the case of Fathima Rifqa Bary, a Sir Lankan teenager living in Ohio who recently fled to Orlando claiming that her parents planned to kill her for converting to Christianity:

“They [my parents] threatened to kill me,” Bary says tearfully in a YouTube video …posted Tuesday. She goes on to explain the logic of honor killings: “They have to kill me. My blood is now hallal, which means that because I am now a Christian, I am from a Muslim background. It’s an honor, they love God more than me. They have to do this.”

…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.”

Bary headed for Florida after contacting Pastor Blake Lorenz through Facebook. Video footage and photos of the two together show her hugging the pastor for protection.

The girl gives a rather strange interpretation of what an “honour killing” is for; rather than being the remedy for a perceived dishonour suffered by a family, she tells the journalist that to kill her would be an especially “great honour” because she is the the first Christian in her family for “150 generations” and it would show her family’s love for Allah (Lorenz concurs with a “yes” at 5:03). This seems to me to be a garbled “Christianized” understanding of the phenomenon, making it into something like a human sacrifice. Her claim that Muslim converts to Christianity in Sri Lanka (where Muslims are a minority) are confined to a mental hospital is not one that I have seen reported anywhere else.

Lorenz used to pastor the Pine Castle United Methodist Church, but he now runs the Global Revolution Church, which has no apparent links to any other church or grouping. He believes that he receives special personal messages from God about the imminent end of the world:

Recently God gave Blake a new call to share with the church, Israel, and the Gentile nations that the return of Jesus Christ is imminent. After 24 years as a United Methodist pastor and evangelist, Blake retired from the Methodist Church in obedience to Jesus Who told him to separate himself and serve only Him. This led to the founding of Global Revolution Ministries and Global Revolution Church, based in Orlando, Florida.

Blake has written many articles, tracts, and pamphlets on Jesus and His salvation. He also authored “Visits to the Gate of Heaven,” and has begun a weekly television ministry to share the word that Jesus is coming and to teach how one can be ready for His return.

Some of his sermons can be seen here; his wife introduces them, telling us that God gave him a “new calling” one day while he was out jogging.

The girl’s parents and brother can be seen in the news report below; they do not give the impression of wanting to kill her. However, Robert Spencer – fresh from scrubbing details of the bogus “mass paedo wedding in Gaza” tale from his website – assures us that this is undoubtedly a “slow-motion honor killing“.

Young female converts have been “rescued” before for the purpose of religious propaganda; in the 1950s in Northern Ireland, a young Catholic girl named Maura Lyons joined Ian Paisley’s fundamentalist Protestant church. According to the story, she said that

Her father beat her and called in three Roman Catholic priests who ‘seemed determined to force me into convent life’, she said later. She escaped by jumping from a bedroom window. Free Presbyterians smuggled her into Scotland – a criminal offence. Irish newspapers, north and south, went wild. The Royal Ulster Constabulary searched for the girl, and found a wall of silence. Two months later, Paisley publicly played a tape-recording of Maura Lyons describing her conversion. He was laconic with the truth: the tape, he said, had been found among milk bottles on his doorstep. He also showed his talent for playing the beleaguered hero. ‘If I knew where the girl was I would not take her to the police,’ he said. ‘Very well, I am committing an offence. I will do time for it. I would be proud to do time for Protestant liberty.’…Most Ulster Protestants were embarrassed.

Name variations: Global Revolution Ministries; Pastor Blake William Lorenz