Book and Movie Reviews

Religious Addiction: Mental Illness or 20th Century Inquisition? (1992)

I produced this video within months of learning the pastor of my megachurch had been accused of molesting children. Since nothing happens unless a victim reports the story, I was forced to remain on the sidelines until victims founds the courage. Realizing this was a matter of importance, but also understanding fundamentalist resistance to even talking about child abuse, I made this video utilizing the equipment at Long Beach Video Annex.

A few months after shooting this video, I began producing programs at Long Beach Community Television. It was there when my programs began to look a bit more professional and continued to follow themes of abuse and recovery. To view more of these programs:

I have always had mixed feelings about my video, Religious Addiction: Mental Illness or 20th Century Inquisition. The points in this video are very important. The execution of the video could have been handled a little better. Having Steven Arterburn and Bob Bartosch facing the same direction during their interview was a major mistake. After my former pastor was arrested, I took elements of this interview and put it on YouTube cut in a manner to avoid this technical embarrassment.

There have now been a number of fundamentalist preachers caught abusing children and minors, and only recently has an organization devoted to this issue (G.R.A.C.E. Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) began taking on the task of independently investigating these claims. There’s still a long way to go!

But. . .back in the days of 1992, nobody talked about this! If there were professional programs featuring experts talking about religious abuse, do you think I would even have attempted anything like this?

Since I knew that fundamentalists wouldn’t naturally warm themselves to abuse issues, I framed the program to reflect their deepest fears. Namely, the loss of their freedoms. There have been fundamentalist preachers warning about how accusations of abuse would be used to curtail their freedoms, but this usually came with the assumption that abuse charges were bogus.

There’s nothing bogus about abuse. My warning in this video was that if fundamentalists didn’t acknowledge these charges and take steps to address them, their freedoms would be at stake.

There are now blogs and articles from the fundamentalist point of view arguing this very point. So, I’m bringing out this program, warts and all, to give another point of view. Yes, your freedoms are at stake. No, it’s not the pornographers and the atheists of the world that are responsible for this. It is you and you’re continued resistance to take seriously the accusations of abuse victims.


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