Except the “girl” wasn’t thirteen. And “she” had a badge.
This loving Christian was found hymn book, a box of condoms, and a web camera. Pastor Barron was looking for love in all the wrong places.
To any rationally-minded person, this is an example of the failure of religious belief. Here’s a man that devoted his life and livelihood to the Christian God. A man that probably believed that all his morality and “goodness” comes from his god. A man that was probably considered by those that knew him to be a very good person, likable, trustworthy, and dependable -all because of his religious delusions. And yet, he was a sexual predator that was willing to take advantage of a child by raping her and taking away her innocence. The ability of a religious lifestyle actually produce a morally stable and trustworthy member of society is a resolute failure in the case of Joe Barron.
But the rationally-minded person above wouldn’t apply this failure to all religious adherents. There are numerous cases of religious nuts who are very good people. Joel Olsteen seems to be one of the nicest people on the planet, based on the few interviews I’ve seen of him. I couldn’t imagine Olsteen in Barron’s shoes. But I suspect that if Olsteen were a Budhist, a Muslim, or even an atheist, he’d be a good person. So the rationally-minded person is left to conclude that personal character runs deeper than religious delusion. Religion doesn’t fail in its ability to inform right from wrong or provide a basis for morality, rather, it fails because of its ability to provide an excuse and a “way out” for nuts who have much deeper character and mental flaws.
Religion didn’t make a Texas woman cut off her baby’s arms, but it gave her the rationale for the mental illness that motivated her -supernatural voices in her head. And loads of crimes have been committed by those deluded by religious superstition who heard “voices” of their gods.
But religion probably didn’t fail Barron by providing him with a voice that whispered to him to get an online hook-up with a child. In fact, religion probably didn’t fail Barron at all. Instead, it failed the rest of society. Had Barron’s religious convictions prevented him from seeking out sex with a child on the internet, then we could actually say it failed him since it prevented him from fulfilling his “need.” What happened instead is that Barron’s religious beliefs may have actually given him the green light since all could be forgiven simply by asking after the fact. Tonight, condoms and webcams, and sex with a child. Tomorrow, ask forgiveness from imaginary agents. Next weekend, start all over again. Rinse and repeat as often as needed.
So, in watching reports of the pastor of pedophilia unfold in the local news, I’m expecting harsh criticism from his fellow clergy and members of his congregation. Perhaps even some sort of apology to the public that may have been at risk by his lewd and dangerous behavior. The asshole was found to have records of similar chats with 25-30 other females on his mobile, so it’s very possible he may already have raped some other child in the past. In none of the news reports on local television that included sound bites from members of Barron’s church did I hear anything that resembled remorse. I’m sure -very sure- there are members of the congregation that are disgusted, ashamed, and pissed. But the ones that made it on television were nutjobs.
A church official for the cult stood in front of followers and announced that Barron was no longer a member. But then he said they had been “dealt a blow by the enemy.”
Enemy? What “enemy?” The police? The undercover officers that found a guy who was willing to travel 3-4 hours from his own home in his wife’s car to meet up with a child so he could fuck her? Who probably already did this in the past?
An earlier interview with a member of the cult stated that she was relieved and happy by the news of Barron’s arrest. Not because a child predator was now off the streets, but because she had “prayed” that anyone in their cult that was evil be “exposed.” You see, she was happy that her “prayer” was answered, confirming her delusion.
Until his arrest, Joe Barron taught a leadership class at his church called “Connecting the Dots – A Guide to Connecting the Word of God to Daily Living.” One is left to wonder how he connected the word of his god to his daily routine of chatting with children on the internet, trolling for sexual satisfaction. When he went on a mission to Bogata, Columbia with his church in August 2007, did he find time in his schedule for his young tastes? Remember, he had 25-30 different females on his mobile phone with whom he chatted and that’s here in the U.S. where laws and oversight of the sex industry is much stricter. Sending this guy to Bogata would have been like sending him to Thailand. And the best this church cult has to offer the D/FW community is that they’ve been “dealt a blow by the enemy” and that they’re prayers were answered.
I’m reminded that the BTK killer was the president of his congregation council. I’m not suggesting that religion is responsible for inspiring either Barron or BTK, but clearly religion failed to stop their behavior. It may even have made their evil acts possible by providing that all-too-easy escape route of simply asking for forgiveness from their imaginary god. If an evil person thinks they can be absolved of their crimes just by asking, what’s to keep them from acting on their darkest fantasies?
And lest you think most of the child sex-abuse is from Catholic priests, think again.