A Kentucky pastor has flown far past the limit of decency. Pastor Michael Orten, if he should even be allowed to retain his pastoral title, defended a convicted sex offender by claiming that his victim is “just as guilty as he is.” The sex offender, Thomas Hopper, was convicted of the rape of a thirteen year old girl, whom he coerced with a razor blade. And Orten said of Hopper the following:
‘God changed him…The media and people are ignorant when they want to turn around and dramatize or hurt somebody.’
Ideas like this repulsive sentiment often stay in the closet. Christianity teaches ideas about ignoring the crimes of those who say they’ve asked for forgiveness because of a higher power supposedly taking care of things. That is why, according to their conservative style reasoning, little should be done in terms of positive social change because of “the invisible hand” there to sort these issues out. The reason this case is torn out in the open is because Orten hired the convicted sex offender to work in his church.
This case doesn’t just end here, however. Orten made statements to the press that are full of all sorts of victim blaming. At one point, he even compared rape of a child to stealing candy. When confronted with the simple question of “Aren’t the two very distinct?,” all he could say was “No, no, no.”
This incident indicates the often present nature of the “work of the church” in society. It literally amounts too often to a subversive movement that functions like an us vs. them group. Pastors proclaim that they have “no king but Jesus.” They preach against the government and society, saying that gays should be shunned and/or killed, people should be left to fend for themselves, and those sorts of practices.
The marvel of American democracy is that in most of the cases mentioned above, the Christians in question are actually allowed to carry on! You, in the United States of America, are free to think and talk about almost whatever you want. In other countries, like Russia, you can literally be arrested for thinking along certain lines. (Think terrorism and anarchy.)
The reason for this is that, by definition, behind big, outlandish talk hides people. People talk; words don’t talk. And the United States is built upon respecting people. Pastor Orten demonstrates this principle so sickeningly well in one of his statements to the press. When asked about Hopper’s apparent theoretical restriction from working with kids in the church, Orten had this to say,
‘I’m not protecting kids. I’m protecting his name because of people that get out and run their mouths.’
There you have it. The whole reason any of these vomit-worthy ideas came out about crime victims being responsible for the crimes committed against them was to try and protect somebody’s name. The reason this incident got as far as it did is because of the remarkable level of freedom that people have in the United States to do whatever they please – to a point. When an action begins to degrade others, then it becomes out of line. This point of degradation of every single child who came to “Truth Apostolic Church” was far crossed by the pastor’s hiring of Hopper.
But, this story actually ends on an appropriate note in line with Orten’s crossing of the line of decency. As far as can be ascertained, the church in question is closed. A Google search for “Truth Apostolic Church in Madisonville” turns up results, to be sure, but they all seem to indicate that the church is closed. The Google Maps listing has this qualification:
The Facebook page turns up the below notification:
And the actual website turns up this notice:
So, this story ends how it should. The church is closed, it appears. By definition, such churches and philosophy as they exist elsewhere must be kept out of functioning society and government.
You can watch a local news segment about this story below.
Featured Image is a Screenshot from the video.wa