Monday, December 08, 2003
Answering Rafael Martinez: One of (perhaps) a series
In a post to AR-Forum, Rev. Rafael Martinez of the "Tennessee Valley Bible Students" makes the following statement in response to one of my comments:
"Only the paranoiac mindset of a litigious cult group seeking lots of $ to float it's abusive, authoritarian and antichristian backside out of the red ink of desolation it's brought upon itself through shoddy PR that failed miserably would resort to that kind of thinking you seem to be defending." (Spelling and punctuation as in original.)
Mr. Martinez is rarely without opinions. This one, however, is rather astounding. From what I've seen in visiting their facilities and meeting with their leaders, the Local Church, Living Stream Ministry and associated groups are doing well enough, financially, without having to raise outside capital. But even if they did, the longshot of a libel suit seems a stunningly ineffective way to make money, given the up-front costs and no guarantee of success, or even of collecting money from the "losing" side.
Is it possible that the plaintiffs in this case -- having been pre-emptively sued by Harvest House first -- are merely trying to defend their good name? Or would that be too simple an answer?
A clarification re "Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions"
In a post to AR-Forum, one of the AR lists, I mistakenly said the following in reference to the "Encyclopedia of Cultus and New Religions," a controversial book written by John Ankerberg and John Weldon and published by Harvest House.
I had posted the following:
"As mentioned in the Christianity Today news article that I wrote, the concern is that the Ankerberg/Weldon book could be used as justification by government agencies and officials to prosecute (or persecute) members of the Local Church on the grounds that an 'authoritative' publication has deemed them a 'cult.'"
Ron Henzel of Midwest Christian Outreach questioned whether I was referring to the United States as the place where such prosecution would take place and if so, to name the jurisdiction. I wrote back and said no, I was thinking of nations such as China, which has already cited France's "anti-sect" laws as justification for prosecuting members of the Falun Gong sect.
However, in reviewing my CT article about the Local Church and the ECNR book, I found that the point cited above was NOT mentioned in the CT piece. My apologies to all concerned.