BEAVERTON, Ore. - A church pastor is suing a mother and daughter for $500,000 because they gave the church bad reviews online.
The family being sued left the church a few years ago and Julie Anne Smith says she and her family were shunned and couldn’t understand why. So she went online and wrote Google and DEX reviews of the church and then started a blog.
“I thought, I’m just going to post a review,” Smith said. “We do it with restaurants and hotels and whatnot, and I thought, why not do it with this church?”
Never did she think Beaverton Grace Bible Church and Pastor Charles O’Neal would slap her with the lawsuit.
“I’m a stay-at-home mom. I teach my kids at home, and this is just not the amount of money that normal moms have.”
When the family left the church, Smith says friends were told to end all contact with her.
“If I went to Costco or any place in town, if I ran into somebody, they would turn their heads and walk the other way,” she said. “All we did was asked questions. We just raised concerns. There’s no sin in that.”
Dissatisfied, she went online to write reviews. Other church members counteracted them with church praise. So Smith started a blog called “Beaverton Grace Bible Church Survivors.”
But the pastor claims in the lawsuit he filed that her words, “creepy,” “cult,” “control tactics,” and “spiritual abuse,” are defamation.
“What somebody does in the church is one thing, but when you get out into society we have the right to free speech, and it may not be what people want to hear, but we absolutely have that right,” Smith said.
The lawsuit didn’t just target Smith. Her daughter and three other commenters are also being sued.
“He can say what he wants in the church and say, don’t talk about this or don’t talk about that, or don’t talk to this person, but when you’re out in the civil world, you don’t do that anymore,” Smith said. “And he’s not my pastor anymore. He does not have that right to keep people from talking.”
The Smiths filed a special free speech motion to dismiss the lawsuit. It goes before a judge later this month.
KATU News called the church, went there, went to the pastor’s home and spoke to his wife. KATU News also called the pastor’s attorney. All of them declined to give their side of the story.
Paige Sultzbach must be one hell of an athlete because she’s scaring away the competition.
Her school, Mesa Preparatory Academy in Arizona, doesn’t have a softball team, so she decided to try out for the boys’ baseball team. To no one’s surprise, she made it. They went undefeated all season (with a 9-0 record) and were excited to play for the Arizona Charter Athletic Association state championship on Wednesday night.
Sultzbach’s team won the state championship, but not in the way they would’ve liked to. Meanwhile, the athletes on the opposing team didn’t even get a chance to play in the game they had worked toward all season.
Justin Griffith, an atheist in the US military, tells the story of how he ended up with ATHEIST/FSM on his dogtags. It all started when he enlisted as an atheist, only to have his recruiter record his religion as “Baptist.” Even switching recruiters didn’t end up with the error corrected. At boot camp, recruits were only allowed one “holy book” from their stated religion, so he brought The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which became the most-loved book in camp, much-borrowed and re-read by the other recruits. Even his drill sergeant liked it. Kinda.
The wife of a North Carolina state senator reportedly told poll workers during early voting Monday that an amendment sponsored by her husband was intended partially to protect the Caucasian race.
Jodie Brunstetter is the wife of state Sen. Peter Brunstetter (R), a supporter of Amendment 1, which would change North Carolina’s Constitution to permit only heterosexual marriage.
According to the alternative Yes! Weekly, writer and campaigner Chad Nance spoke to a pollworker who told him that Jodie Brunstetter said, “The reason my husband wrote Amendment 1 was because the Caucasian race is diminishing and we need to uh, reproduce.”
lol, what? Oh, Christian Conservatives, why is everything you do so hilariously stupid?
“I didn’t cease to know everything I knew before and I didn’t forget everything I learned about evolution or all of a sudden lose interest. I was [just] aware of how limited it was, how it could not answer man’s deepest needs.”
First: What the what is a “Dawkins atheist?”
Second: This is a prime example of the “god of the gaps” argument, only it’s even weaker and stupider, because it involves a guy on the internet.
Atheists, freethinkers in uniform standing up for themselves in the face of Evangelical oppression.
SEVERSON: In 2010, Colonel Sicinski, at the urging of base chaplains, approved and supported a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association event called Rock the Fort to boost morale and, in the colonel’s words, “bolster the faith.”
GRIFFITH: We were “treated” to a just massive festival, and they were actually very successful. They converted hundreds of soldiers onstage.
SEVERSON: And when Sargent Griffith asked for a similar event for atheists and humanists, Colonel Sicinski declined at first. Months later he changed his mind, and that set the stage for this event called Rock Beyond Belief. The keynote speaker was the British biologist and famous atheist author Richard Dawkins.