I’m learning that there is an unwritten “Good Old Boys” rule in some circles of clergy. It’s not limited to white, southern clergy as you might expect given the “Good Old Boys” moniker, it exists all over the United States. There are unwritten rules to the Good Old Boys’ Club, one of which is that you never criticize each other, no matter how despicable the actions of the other might be. To be honest, I find that more than a little curious, given that Christian clergy, at least, are supposed to imitate Jesus and Jesus had no problem speaking out against injustice – and most especially against clergy who contributed to the oppression of the people.
So, for example, Bishop Eddie Long – before he got himself crowned a king of Israel by a Goy pseudo Rabbi – gets caught grooming young men to become his sex partners and nobody speaks about the abuse of power inherent in such a practice. While I wrote and spoke about the sad practice of Christian cannibalism, I also talked about the truth that we Long did was inappropriate. High profile pastors either came to his side or abandoned Long, but nobody spoke about the devastating effects of such practices. Those who abandoned him did so on the basis of his homosexuality, but were silent on the issue of abuse of parishioners.
Yet more evidence of the Good Old Boy network is Ted Haggard, who got caught doing methamphetamine and having sex with a male prostitute/drug dealer and, after some therapy, claims he was “confused.” Again, some rush to his defense, others abandon him on the basis of his sexual orientation, but nobody addresses the absurd claim he continues to make that (1) he isn’t gay, and (2) that homosexuality is sinful. Can anyone but me say, “self-loathing?” Apparently, not if they are part of the Good Old Boys’ Club.
If I was more cynical, I would say that the reason these Good Old Boys fail to call something that is inappropriate or just plain wrong for what it is may well be because they all claim to be perfect while hiding more than a few skeletons in their closets. While I am sure that is the case with many of them, I don’t believe it’s the case for all of them. The real reason is that, despite the appearance of being in competing ministries, most if not all of the high-profile television and/or mega-church pastors who regularly appear on television are fast friends behind the scenes. They are also unprincipled political climbers who long ago traded in the Gospel of Jesus for personal wealth. They know each other well enough that whatever their weakness or their kinky little freak might be it isn’t any secret within the Good Old Boys’ Club. Jim Bakker was doing the mattress mambo with Jessica Hahn while swindling the elderly of their retirement savings, Bennie Hinn knocks boots with Paula White (who, interestingly, got herself anointed Queen of Israel by the same Goy pseudo Rabbi, never mind that Israel never had a Queen) in Rome, Jimmy Swaggart masturbates while sniffing the panties of a $20 hooker and calling her dirty, Eddie Long grooms young boys to be his sex toys, Ted Haggard spends a lot of time on his knees doing poppers and begging for mercy, and on and on – and not one major player in that sick, twisted circuit expresses surprise! ”Oh, yes, we knew Eddie was gay…” but of course nothing was said, because it’s a Good Old Boys Club. If one of the members of the club calls out another for any reason, that person will surely turn around and expose them – because it’s an inbred little den of iniquity. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, but they are few and far between. It’s time for this edifice of lies and deceit to come tumbling down. Whatever it started out as, it has devolved into an ugly get rich quick scam that has nothing to do with Jesus and swindles people in his name.
You see, it isn’t about forgiveness. I am all in favor of forgiveness. What it’s really about are consequences and the Good Old Boys’ unwillingness to see any of their scurrilous colleagues be held responsible for their actions. The truth is there are some thing that people do – say, groom their underage parishioners, male or female, for sexual relations – that reveals deeply seated pathology that disqualifies them from doing ministry and being placed back in the position to harm others. Not in the Good Old Boys’ world, where telling the truth “never gets you anywhere” and “you just have to go along.” You simply cannot simultaneously be doing deep knee bends onto a penis and declare that homosexuality is a sin. You can’t be sending pictures of yourself all buffed out in a muscle shirt to young men in your congregation and while leading anti-gay marches. You can’t patronize and disparage a $20 prostitute and still be considered a paragon of moral virtue, and you certainly can’t bankrupt the elderly while claiming to build a retirement complex that doesn’t exist and ever work for a non-profit again – and it’s not because you can’t be forgiven. It’s because you can’t be trusted, and trust – once broken – is very hard to restore, no matter how hard the Good Old Boys Club wishes reality was different.