Failure of Religion: Pastor Barron

Plano, TX minister jailed in child sex sting. Pastor Joe Barron of the Prestonwood Baptist Church, 52, was arrested after he drove to Bryan to hook up with a 13 year old girl.

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.


7 Responses

  1. Very well said, very well pointed out. It frustrates me to no end when a religious person says ‘oh, they’re not really christian’ – when to all intents and purpose, yes, the really are, you just don’t want to own up and admit that fact.

  2. It is sad to hear about what religious orders being Christian, Jewish or any other religion have done so far. I disagree that a religion is supposed to stop a person from committing sin. In Christianity, religion is a relationship between a person and God where the person seeks God by continue living according to His commandments. By obeying the commandments and having a relationship with God, a person will have a life change to its best. It is our choice to sin. Religion will not automatically stop us from doing that because if it does then we will lose our free choice. And sin is a choice, because everything that God created is good. Of course the persons who carry religious title has greater responsibility because they are expected to preach what they practice. But they are still humans and can sin. Don’t you think that our society -that we are shaping- is the reason for all what is happening. Sexual pressures and pleasures from the media, ads, friends and sometimes from inside the family itself is a big reason for what is going on? We all struggle against these forces and the priest or rabbi is also struggling but some of them/us are weak to continue the fight.

  3. ylooshi wrote:

    > To any rationally-minded person, this is an example of the failure of religious belief.

    Being the same kind of “rationally-minded person”, one might conclude that the failed democracies of Egypt, Russia, Uzbekistan (three examples, as opposed to ylooshi’s one) are examples of the failure of democracy; the existence of such a thing as malpractice insurance and it’s occasional usage are examples of the failure of the medical profession and accrued medical knowledge; Enron is the example of the failure of the corporate capitalism and so on.

    Obviously, rationality is lacking in some even though they claim to be rational.

  4. I think I echo the thoughts of many who would read abcd’s comments in wondering, “what the heck is his/her point?”

    I don’t recall ever defending any political ideologies or implying that democracy was more or less capable than religious superstition in providing a successful lifeway.

    Perhaps abcd could elucidate his/her position somewhat more.

  5. ylooshi wrote:

    > To any rationally-minded person, this is an example of the failure of religious belief.

    Where “this” is one specific case of one specific person, who happens to be a pastor, committing an atrocity. From this one specific case, ylooshi extrapolates and concludes that religious belief is a failure. I merely illustrated what other conclusions one could draw from similar “rational-minded” reasoning.

  6. Just out of curiosity, how many specific cases would be necessary to conclude that there is a general failure of religion to inform human morality?

    I’m not contending that religion *does* fail at being a successful basis in human morality and ethical behavior, but I think I *am* contending that being religious doesn’t automatically mean you are either righteous or moral. Indeed, I think I’d also go so far as to say that religion can create a *reason* for one to behave badly within society.

    Moreover, I think I can show many, many examples of where individuals have done despicable things whilst using religious superstition as a reason or excuse for the behavior.

    Now I see that your comment that I provided a “single example” was in regard to Rev. Barron (I thought, perhaps, I had inadvertently implied some nation or political ideology). That was because he was the topic of the post, but I could easily provide countless other examples of both clergy and adherents who have committed atrocities, crimes and heinous acts against humanity either because of or in spite of their religious superstitions.

    So I close this comment with the opening question: how many examples would suffice to show that there is a failure of religion to inform moral and ethical behavior?

  7. > how many examples would suffice to show that there is a failure of religion to inform moral and ethical behavior?

    Infinity wouldn’t be enough. I can provide thousands of cases of medical malpractice but that wouldn’t prove that the medical profession was flawed. I can provide the infinite set of even numbers but this wouldn’t prove that odd numbers do not exist.

    If one can prove that religion systematically causes atrocious behavior that would be worth considering. Until then it is useless and unscientific.

    > I think I *am* contending that being religious doesn’t automatically mean you are either righteous or moral.

    This is absolutely true. One must also add that *not* being religious doesn’t automatically mean you are either righteous or moral. In other words, righteousness or morality are independent of religious conviction (or lack thereof).

    For every negative example of religion one can easily find positive influences. Scientists and self-avowed rationalists don’t have any claim to being more moral than the rest of the population. One can give numerous examples of oppression and discrimination of people done by scientists in the name of science.

    In short religion, like science, is a neutral vessel.

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