Church’s Illegal Fighting Match Results in Death

GUTS Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma has a youth program they call Sub30. (Because, you know, that name’s so hip, you *have* to join!)

One of the ways the group celebrates God is by having a regular Fight Night.

It’s exactly what you think it is…

They even celebrated their latest event on Twitter:

Ok, so they box for Jesus. The whole point is to do something catering to younger people so they eventually become tithing church members. I have no idea how it’s supposed to make them “better Christians,” but I’m not part of their target demographic, so what the hell do I know.

Anyway, what could possibly go wrong with fighting in the church?

Former Tulsa Golden Hurricane linebacker George Clinkscale died Wednesday night after participating in an unsanctioned amateur boxing match held at Guts Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

This was the sixth time that Guts Church had held a boxing event, billed on their website as “Guts Fight Night VI.” According to a tweet sent out by Guts Church pastor Bill Scheer, there were 12 fights set to take place during the event.

In order for an amateur boxing event to be held in the state of Oklahoma it must be sanctioned by USA Boxing, the governing body approved by the State Athletic Commission in 1999. USA Boxing is the only sanctioning body authorized to sanction amateur events in the state of Oklahoma.

Joe Miller of the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission said that after making contact with president of the Local Boxing Committee of USA Boxing Jack McCann, he was informed that the committee was unaware that the event was taking place.

So not only was it a dumb idea, it was an illegal idea… and now someone is dead because of the church’s negligence.

It’s not the only time the church glorifies violent “manhood” like this, either.

Every week, the church gives an award to the local high school football player who makes the biggest hit in a game. It’s called The Ultimate Hitman Program:

The Ultimate Hitman Program celebrates the “Hit of the week” in over 20 local high schools and 4 states around the country.

We send reps to each school every week to give the team a challenging word and award the Big Hitter with a Hitman t-shirt. Each of these teams have scheduled team nights at our GYC services and we culminate the season with the Ultimate Hitman Awards Show.

Over 2,000 people will be in attendance at this years Hitman Awards as we show higlights in 5 categories with over 25 schools in attendance. We are changing the culture of High School football — Hit Hard and Love God.

That’s really the message we want to send to young people. Don’t just tackle someone because it’s one way to help your football team — do it because it’s what Jesus wants.

I don’t get the obsession with violence, as if that’s the best way to bring young people together. Go to any high school in the country and you’ll find students doing amazing things while getting virtually no recognition for them. Celebrate those things, not “fighting for the lord.”

(via Apprising Ministries — Thanks to Beau for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Beau McElhattan

    The State of Oklahoma should come down hard on these folks.  Crazy.

  • Adam

    It’s not illegal if it’s religion, Hemant! Also, you might be a little biased against violence, growing up Jain and all. But you’re right, this is stupid and the Church should be held accountable for holding an illegal boxing club. If Edward Norton really did start a Fight Club, he’d be arrested. Why not the pastor?

  • Elizabeth Wenzel

    As an Okie, I’m not surprised.  It’s a beautiful state full of nice people who also happen to mostly be brain washed nut cases. 

    • Trina

      I live in Kansas, Elizabeth, and, of course, the same is true here.

  • Anonymous

    Hit hard and love god … problems? Beat the shit outta ‘em. That seems to be the billboard’s message. Sounds like business as usual for the neanderthals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Miles-McCullough/1026691196 Miles McCullough

    It’s not supposed to make kids into better Christians. It’s supposed to make the church look good by capitalizing on a popular activity. That’s what you get in a free market of religion like the U.S. has: churches evolve to reap greater market share much like organisms evolve to fit a niche better than their competitors.

    • Trina

      Yep.  It’s marketing.

  • The Captian

    I got to take issue with this, 

    ” as if that’s the best way to bring young people together” well it is one way to bring young people together. Or is it my understanding that the skeptic movement has no place for those that played sports in high school and LIKED it. Is it now some official position of the skeptic movement that our kids (or us) can not play and enjoy contact sports? I guess I can’t be a “skeptic” now even if I love science, read books, love Firefly, AND box at my gym? 

    Come on Hemant, as much as everyone is always discussing how to bring new and diverse people into the skeptic movement, why do I alway get the felling that the “diversity” has to still be from within the same geek stereotype only. Are we back to this “only certain types of geeks” can be in the skeptic movement thing again?  

    Sorry, to rant, but some of us that consider ourselves skeptics love a good MMA fight.

    • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

      You’re singin’ my song Captain!!!
      Bravo Zulu!!!

    • GentleGiant

      There’s a huge difference between watching MMA fights and encouraging high school football players to “make big hits for the lord!”
      Have you ever played football? If you have, you should know that making big hits are:
      1) Not the best way to tackle an opponent
      2) More often going to fail than not
      3) Can result in serious injury
      So, again, don’t compare teaching kids to glorify violence in sports to adults fighting in a much more supervised manner.

      • The Captain

        I’ve played football, Lacrosse, freestyle, and collegiate rules wrestling among a few other automotive sports. So yea, I know how to tackle. And frankly the debate about big hits in football, while interesting and more nuanced than most people make it out to be, it is not a “skeptic” topic. It’s roots are really cultural and a different debate. And one of the least things I feel we should criticize a bunch of religious people for!

        • GentleGiant

          It is indeed largely cultural and I would also say that it’s a “skeptic” topic, insofar that it’s based on a cultural notion of “manhood” – thus it’s a notion that should be examined and rejected when there is no evidence found of it “making you more of a man.”
          Similar to the idea that we shouldn’t critizice religion for what some of its followers do (or commit, would probably be a better word), especially concerning violence, bigotry etc. But we should critizice religion for it, since it’s something that often justifies said violence, bigotry etc.
          Thus we should also critizice this kind of behaviour, no matter where it comes from.

          • The Captain

            Wait! What? How the hell is the different cultural definitions of “manhood” quantifiable? 

            Please, what measurable criteria do you use to determine whose versions of “manhood” are more valid than others? Is it the amount of women they bed? The amount of respect of their peers? What formula do you use to calculate the differences between the football, and chess club subcultures. What humanistic definition says guys who wear leather jackets and ride motorcycles  and the girls who like them, are not as “correct” as pocket protector wearing Jetta drivers? Can you also quantify which is better to like, BMW’s or Trans Am’s?

            Yours has got to be one of the most arrogant positions on subcultures around (because yes, you are arguing about subcultures within greater western culture). Unfortunately it’s far too common within the skeptics community. It’s the main reasons I don’t encourage the people I know to take part in the movement, this geek snobbery that looks down on anyone who is not exactly like them and their “chosen” clique, and declares themselves superior (such a religious idea, no?).

            I have a feeling that just like religious people do, your “scientific” conclusions of what are the only valid displays of manhood, are strangely the same as your personal presences. 

            Actually the only even close to rational way I can even think of within a naturalistic Darwinian frame to determine what versions of “manhood” are better than others would be the amount of genetic material each version allows you to spread. So unless your banging more chicks than (NY jets) Antonio Cormrtie, you loose.

            • GentleGiant

              I can tell you that you’ve completely misunderstood my earlier post (whether that was because I didn’t express myself clearly or some other pre-conceived notion you might have – you certainly seem to have a clear idea that I’m some sort of “geek” stereotype…*)
              The thing is, you can’t really say that this or that increases your “manhood,” since it’s so subjective and differs even within the same culture. Thus promoting some things as being “more manly” is basically an asinine endeavour.
              Thus we can reject all claims that such and such make you “more of a man.”
              And I’ve never declared myself superiour to anyone (although, naturally, I am in some areas, while others are more superiour to me in other areas – but that goes for everyone), so please lay off the stereotyping that you seem to rant against yourself.

              * While I’m certainly geeky in some areas, I don’t think most people would judge me as such at first glance. I’m 6’6″, have played semi-pro offensive lineman for many years, yet have a professionally tested IQ in the genius range.

              • The Captain

                I didn’t mean to imply that you (or I) fit any of the examples I was giving. I was just attempting to show that the idea of bringing social criticisms of western subcultures within the realms of the skeptic community is fraught with the danger of just becoming an arbitrary exorcise in clique superiority.

      • Shemararae

        And they arnt telling them to “make hit for the lord” the writer of this artical has taken liberties and wrote on something he knows NOTHING about!! Again…why cant the church have fun? Why is ok for others to do this stuff , but when the church does they are attacked? The man didnt die as result of or during the fight….the city knew about the fight and has supported everyone of them, these evnts raise money for charity…..But I guess people like you think that the church shouldnt be relevent or fun and should just sit in hard pews singing hyms!

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      And some of us oppose violence.

      Me? I’m grudgingly okay with violence in self-defense, using the least amount of force possible. Anything outside of that… notsomuch.

      (Yes, I do enjoy some violent entertainment, however, I know that what I am watching or playing is not real.)

  • gski

    I wonder if they give an award for academic achievement.  Or would they not want to encourage thought.

  • Miko

    How is the church negligent?  No one was being forced to fight.  Accidents happen sometimes and sometimes people die as a result.  If someone wants to make the choice to engage in risky behavior, that’s their right.

    I congratulate the church on their courage to ignore an unjust law and offer my condolences to those who knew those who died, but there’s nothing here to blame on the church.

    • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

      Negligent under the law, not negligent under Miko’s concept of negligence.

    • Anonymous

      In case it escaped your notice, this didn’t happen in a country that encodes nothing but your naive libertarian ideals.  In the real world, we’ve accepted that people can not be expected to have full and perfect information about a thing before being exposed to it, so we have laws that attempt to protect against the grossest abuses. 

      These ‘fight clubs’ are illegal specifically because people die in them for stupid preventable reasons, not because there is a desire to have government act as a nanny for adults.  I hope they throw the book at the fight organizers.

    • TheBlackCat

      I assume you are against building codes, then?  Isn’t it your responsibility to know if every building you walk into has been constructed safely?  Lets go back to the days of ancient Rome where several-story apartment buildings collapsing was a routine occurence.

    • http://fred5.myopenid.com/ fred5

      Miko,

      The church is negligent because it couldn’t even go and get this form (pdf)  and submit it to the proper authorities as required by the laws of Oklahoma.

      You might also want to read this document (pdf)  and try and figure out how many of the regulations concerning these events the church ended up violating.

      The churches decision to not follow the law directly led to the death of a person. The pastor and all involved in any of these illegal fights should take responsibility for the death of another person and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    • Anonymous

      The Church is negligent because we live in a society where we have given up personal responsibility for state oversight.  Part of the state’s oversight is to put rules in place that ensure our safety in situations that would be overly onerous for us to do individually.  One of these rules is to ensure that any boxing event is sufficiently staffed by competent people to minimise the risk of serious injury.  They didn’t, they were negligent.

      Now you can argue that we are wrong to have outsourced our personal responsibility in exchange for our freedom, but that doesn’t change the fact that we have.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    And then some fellow atheists are shocked when they find out some of their own are armed to the teeth and train with firearms frequently (guilty as charged).
    If (when?) these assclown Christian maniacs start acting on their bloodlust fantasies, what are the rest of you going to do…use harsh language?  You can’t stop a bullet with hand-wringing and whiny debate.  There’s a strong pseudo-macho subculture of violence in many of these sects and we ignore it at our own risk.
    YES, I recognize that the long-term solution is to educate future generations in logic and secular humanist values, but until this current generation of hateful, dangerous idiots dies out…lock and load.

    • Nick Andrew

      For each armed to the teeth atheist, there are 10 Christians armed to the teeth. You will lose, so your best bet is to prevent the situation escalating into violence.

      • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

        “You will lose”.
        Not unless all Christians are members of Seal Team 6.
        I’m ex military, worked as a private soldier in the Middle East, am a former small arms instructor as well as a course developer and instructor for unarmed combat.
        I’ve seen how most “armed to the teeth” Christians shoot as I’m at the range at least 3 times a month, expending thousands of rounds downrange with state of the art weaponry that I have a high degree of proficiency with. 
        Most (not all) of the Christians you refer to are used to killing paper targets,  defenseless deer and would shit themselves if confronted with a skilled and equipped opponent that was actively looking to kill their ass. Those that are skilled combat vets would have a fight on their hands, nonetheless.
        99.999% of the fight is in the head anyway. If it’s not won upstairs before the conflict even occurs, then you may as well put your own weapon to your head and pull the trigger.
        You knew nothing of me, yet made some pretty bold and inaccurate assumptions.

        • Doggy

          I think you’d lose regardless of your training.

          • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

            Nobody really gives a fuck what you think.

            • GentleGiant

              No reason to reply like that. Take it down a notch, please.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                TGM was in the right, though. Language policing (as you have done) is far more offensive than “Nobody really gives a fuck what you think.”

                • Rich Wilson

                  Well, to be pedantic “Nobody gives a fuck what you think” is at least factually incorrect, since at least the speaker probably gives a fuck what he thinks.

                • Rich Wilson

                  (damn, when getting pedantic, you have to make sure you get your quotes right)

                • GentleGiant

                  Language policing? I was just asking him to be a bit more polite. His reply isn’t constructive in any manner.
                  And could also be demonstrately false, someone might actually care about what he thinks. So he should have written “I don’t really give a fuck what you think.”
                  It would still be non-constructive, but at least it would be more correct. ;-)

        • oli kenton

          You’d lose because you’d never even get into a gunfight. They wouldn’t turn up at your house in pick up trucks and siege you. It’d be a lone nutter walking into somewhere and opening fire. You wouldn’t be targeted directly, it’d be people in a place where atheists gather. A better way to stop this kind of violence would be to outlaw firearms. Yes, yes i know, constitution and all that. I’m from the UK where gun crime is infinitely less common and firearms are illegal, i’ve never understood this desire to own guns or to be willing to use them against others.

          • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ Jdmakled6

            You really have no clue as to what you are talking about. As far as what scenario and/or when, who the fuck knows when something…ANYTHING…might happen?
            What, are you omniscient?
            Ay any rate, I’m armed wherever I go and I don’t congregate where other atheist go. Where the fuck do atheists congregate anyway?
            Outlaw firearms? This place is too far gone for that.

            • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

              You are absolutely correct. Hopefully you have a permit to carry?

      • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

        “You will lose, so your best bet is to prevent the situation escalating into violence.”
        Do tell, Nick.
        Exactly HOW do you prevent a situation like this? I’m all ears.
        If they were still alive, I’m sure about 6 million Jews and who knows how many Bosnian and Rwandans would like to know this prevention secret of yours as well.
        I’m dying to know…what’s your secret to stopping monsters?

  • The Captain

    Oh and @Miko
    Ahh the gold old libertarian social darwinist position again. Sorry bud, but the organizers of events are responsible for the results those events. It’s funny how “personal responsibility” goes to all those but the people who organize and run things to some people. No the law is not “unjust”, it’s there to prevent deaths! And if you think preventing deaths is unjust, then well, your really not made to be in modern society, or frankly society at all. The church had every right to run the event, but they needed to comply with the law that says there should have been medical personnel there. 

  • Conspirator

    Did they have qualified medical personnel on hand?  A sanctioned match likely has people there that are familiar with the kinds of injuries that are sustained in such an event and can respond in kind.  Also, it is important to recognize the signs of someone who has sustained a significant injury and should not continue fighting.  Yes the people volunteered for the event, however they probably thought there was some level of safety involved that was likely not there.  Was safety equipment used up to par?  We do not know, but again, in a sanctioned match it would be. 

    Someone who has sustained a serious concussion might not be aware of the danger they are in and try to continue, but a qualified ref can DQ the fighter and stop the match when they recognize the signs.  

    The reason for sanctioning is to provide some level of safety.  Without it accidental deaths and serious injuries are far more likely to occur.

  • Conspirator

    Sorry, I’m trying to reply to Miko, but replies don’t seem to be working.

  • randomatheist

    Am I the only one thoroughly annoyed they used an awesome Metallica song for the promo? What a disgrace to music!

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Thanks for the heads-up, now I’m definitely not watching.

  • Newavocation

    They should stop boxing and start wrestling. They could have a battle between their golden boy and the angry atheist. Of course the atheist would have to be the one fighting dirty. 

    • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

      How about George Rekers (of Rent Boy fame) and Ted Haggard all greased down, sweaty and rolling around on the floor?

      • Nick Andrew

        I’d pay good money to see that! Add William Lane Craig and Kent Hovind, and you’ve got yourself a customer!

        • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

          Very hot…

          • oli kenton

            ……cannot….be….unthought….euuurgh.

  • SeniorSkeptik

    A kid died from a boxing match held in a church? I can’t believe it!  It could only have happened if those boxers, coaches, referees and the crowd had forgotten to pray, otherwise everyone would have been safe. Oh, someone did pray? Satan must have crept into the ring and done this dastardly deed (my condolences for the kid and his parents for what they are going through).

  • Melody Hollis

    Is it just me or does there seem to be a trend with churches having events for men to prove how heterosexual they are?

    • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

      Yeah, it’s probably just you.
      I’d write more, but the Baptist church down the street is having a gladiator film festival and I don’t want to miss a second …

    • Melody Hollis

       “Driscoll comes closest to imagining Jesus as the model of maleness when
      he argues that “latte-sipping Cabriolet drivers” do not represent
      biblical masculinity, because “real men”—like Jesus, Paul, and John the
      Baptist— are “dudes: heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose
      dudes.” In other words, because Jesus is not a “limp-wristed,
      dress-wearing hippie,” the men created in his image are not sissified
      church boys; they are aggressive, assertive, and nonverbal.”

      Nonverbal? Does that mean too ignorant to form a sentence?

      • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

        So what he’s saying is that Jesus would have truck nuts?

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

          In his day, it would have been chariot nuts.

      • GentleGiant

        “In other words, because Jesus is not a “limp-wristed, 
        dress-wearing hippie…” Wait, I thought that was exactly what he was. So all those people who have depicted him over the centuries have it all wrong?
        The enclosed picture is then how Driscoll apparently sees Jesus…

        • TheBlackCat

          You need to cut his hair.  Long hair = hippie.  And he’s still wearing a skirt.

        • Shemararae

          Jesus didnt wear “girls” clothes, it wasnt a dress…historicly all men wore “robes”, they were VERY differnt from the clothes worn by women, also he wasnt a hippi, he didnt do drugs, and yes he did fight and get angry…(remember when he tore up the temple). He also said that men should act like men, and women like women, as well as saying that men shouldnt wear womens clothing…truth.

      • Trina

        We must have forgotten all those things Jesus said about not turning the other cheeck – lol.

    • Nick Andrew

      They wish to perpetuate “traditional” gender roles; I see it here in AU. Hillsong has men’s conferences and women’s conferences. I assume they teach different things, else there wouldn’t be a need to segregate the attendees.

      • Trina

        So true, Nick!  That’s a very key point – not with every church, but certainly among those of this ilk.  

        (Oooh, fun! I just used ‘ilk’ in a sentence lol)

    • usclat

      The right pastor Driscoll is a big hairy asshole! And most likely a big fucking coward! 

  • Anonymous

    “Hit Hard and Love God” 

    man i went to the wrong church

  • BrentSTL

    Yet another WTF-SMH moment. What point are these Christian Nationalist “churches” trying to make with crap like this? Anyone…anyone…Bueller…Bueller…

    And yet that’s almost nothing. Two years ago, a church in Arnold, MO – a bit south of St. Louis city, in Jefferson County – did an MMA-type service: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/article_8f388a89-e01d-5597-8a7a-22a82bff8942.html

    Personally, I think pseudo-”sports” like MMA are sad, sad commentary about how fall society has fallen. The only story about MMA I want to see is the one about its’ demise (though I do NOT want to see a ban on it – that would only drive it underground). Again, strictly my opinion.

    But what does that say about us, as a society, when these mega-”churches” promote crap like what happened in Tulsa and and in Arnold, MO (and, no doubt, elsewhere)?

    I may not want to figure out what the answer is on that one…

    • Anonymous

      As a result of the strict church-state separation churches have to finance themselves completely. The country is also ultra-religious with a ridiculous amount of churches even in small cities. So the competition for the finite amount of believers is very fierce. They’ll literally do anything to attract followers

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        …ANYTHING?

        Hmmm… that has possibilities.

        • Anonymous

          Except running gay bars maybe

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

            Still…

            *evil laugh*

    • The Captain

      Well since gladiatorial fights used to end in the death of one or more combatants, I’d say that MMA is a huge step forward for society.

    • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

      How is MMA a psuedo-sport?  That you don’t like it doesn’t make it invalid as a sport.  I don’t like it either, nor do I like football (either version), baseball or much of anything except for rugby – but I accept that they are all sports and that they all require skill.  Please, explain why it isn’t a sport.

    • Nick

      MMA is probably the safest fight sport there is, today. The fights are shorter than boxing, and the fighters take significantly fewer blows to the head. There is also wider ranger of skills the competitors must learn before than be effective, making it (in my opinion) a more interesting pursuit.

      The fact that you think it’s barbaric, or stupid, or a sad reflection on our society today is because you are ignorant of what the sport is actually like.

      As the for the fighting death that occurred at this UNSANCTIONED event, well, that’s what happens. The reasons fights are supposed to be sanctioned is because when they are not, people who should not get in the ring get in the ring, and people who don’t know what they are doing monitor the fights.

      To be honest, if you pursue fight sports in an intelligent and mindful manner, they are often safer than ones that involve chasing a ball around a field, especially in football, where one version of it gets your head smashed by a 250 pounder charging at you head first from across the field, while the other version gets you killed in a parking lot because you’re wearing the wrong team jersey.

      • http://fred5.myopenid.com/ fred5

        To be honest, if you pursue fight sports in an intelligent and mindful manner, they are often safer than ones that…blah blah blah

        Tell that one to  Muhammad Ali

        • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

          Nick isn’t making a claim that the fighting sports are free of debilitating injuries and Muhammad Ali is just one person. Not an incredibly good argument if you use just one example to make your point. And “blah blah blah” isn’t an argument at all.
          All contact sports are risky. We all accept that and I didn’t see anywhere in Nick’s response that he denied it. As far as his assertion that they can often be safer than football or soccer, he has a point.

          • http://fred5.myopenid.com/ fred5

            I apologize. I posted without thinking  about what was being said. Of course, your correct to say that when proper safeguards are taken then these types of sports can be safer than others.

            • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

              It’s all good. Read this blog or mine long enough and you’ll catch me making some comments that are way off base. :-)

        • Rich Wilson

          That’s an old article.  I think the more recent opinion is that he has Parkinson’s.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ali#cite_note-39 says that’s related to boxing but then 
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dementia_pugilistica says:

          but Ali’s own physician Fredie Pacheco MD states in his book ‘Fight Doctor’ that Ali’s condition is often misquoted and that Ali in fact hasParkinson’s Syndrome. However, this sort of dementia is precisely diagnosed only in autopsy

          I think it’s safe to say that getting hit repeatedly in the head is probably not good for you.  But I’m leery of Ali as an example, because I think it detracts from the bigger picture of Parkinson’s.

        • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

          Muhammad Ali was a boxer.  Nick was discussing MMA.  One of the things Nick pointed out is that MMA has improved safety over boxing because it has eliminated things like the standing count, which results in MMA fighters taking far fewer blows to the head than a traditional boxer like Ali.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t tell.  Do these people know what hitman actually means?  Or is it another one of these incidents where no one dare mention it for fear it marks them as too “worldly” in the eyes of their peers.

  • Rich Wilson

    Anyone know why there are always more bronze medals handed out in the Olympics than gold or silver?  It’s because once you lose a match you’re not allowed to fight another match for a fixed amount of time, so they have no way to decided 3rd and 4th.

    That’s another safety rule that can get skipped if you’re not sanctioned.

  • Burger

    Update us when you hear more about it, Hemant? I’d like to know what measures are being taken, and who is being punished for this. Or, if the state chooses to do anything at all.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      If I hear updates, I’ll post them.

  • Rich Wilson

    If they’re handing out awards for the biggest football hit, do they have anything for the girls?  Or the boys who don’t play football?  Or who don’t play football in a position that’s likely to do much hitting?  Does the church also hold a swimsuit contest for the girls?

  • Elerena

    “The medical examiner will determine the cause of Clinkscale’s death. The athletic commission says the Attorney General’s office will handle the state investigation of the boxing match and determine whether the church that promoted it should face prosecution.”

    … what the hell?  Even IF by some coincidence the actual death was unrelated to the boxing- illness beforehand, pre-existing medical issue, whatever- of COURSE they should be facing prosecution.  They were flagrantly and apologetically violating non-trivial laws.

  • Anonymous

    Let us hope that they now feel the full weight of criminal law as well as a large civil suit.    Does anyone know if a charge of corporate manslaughter against the church is likely or even possible?

  • http://fred5.myopenid.com/ fred5

    It’s amazing that if you got to this churches website you don’t find any mention of the fact that these fights even occurred. Their website has been thoroughly sanitized.

    However, through the miracle of Google cache (all praise Google) we can see what was removed from their website. Click here and be amazed. 

    This was the sixth time that Guts Church had held a boxing event, billed on their website as “Guts Fight Night VI.” According to a tweet sent out by Guts Church pastor Bill Scheer, there were 12 fights set to take place during the event.,/blockquote>

    Looks like there were a few more fights sponsored by this church than they are admitting to in the article. I count at least 15 fights that occured in 2009. I wonder if any of them were properly sanctioned or if the sanctioning organization even knows about the fights that occurred in 2009. Would be interesting to find out the truth.

    • http://fred5.myopenid.com/ fred5

      Evidently they are a little bit sloppy when trying to erase the history of their illegal fights. There are a number of videos still posted of the fights from 2009.

      Videos such as this and this.

      • oli kenton

        Well, the first rule about churchy fight club is: Don’t talk about churchy fight club.

  • oli kenton

    This makes me sad. I’m into martial arts myself (although not competitive ones such as MMA) and i train in the same gym as an MMA club (who are lovely people, scary and hard as nails, but lovely). Illegal fight clubs like this for the purposes of chest banging and feelin’ manly give a bad name to the fighting sports out there that are properly run with safety in mind. I’ll tell you this too, anyone who goes into MMA with a bullshit macho attitude like this group seems to promote tends to get put up against the hardest woman in the group in sparring, to knock a little sense into them. Most of the martial arts groups i’ve trained with experience periodic new intakes but the macho ones never last long. I’ve always thought that long term training requires a degree of humility, at least in the dojo.

    • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

      Bullshit macho gets people hurt in sports…or worse., however humility has no place in combat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mason-Law/124300894 Mason Law

    TU fan here. this is especially sad, because TU’s former coach Todd Graham(sleezeball) was most likely getting money to push this church on his players. there were GUTS higher ups on the sidelines of all the TU games. I think there were also football camps and stuff sponsored by GUTS. Graham left TU for more money after last season.

    • Shemararae

      He wasnt getting paid, and neither is the pastor….not everything is about money. And he didnt push church ont he players, most of them were allready Christians, the pastor was showing his support for his school and his state.

  • Alexis

    “The Ultimate Hitman Program celebrates the “Hit of the week” in over 20 local high schools and 4 states around the country.”

    Do I read this wrong, or are they using this program as entree into the public schools to spread their religious message?

    “We send reps to each school every week to give the team a
    challenging word and award the Big Hitter with a Hitman t-shirt. Each
    of these teams have scheduled team nights at our GYC services and we
    culminate the season with the Ultimate Hitman Awards Show.”

  • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

    I think this church is confused.  It’s “Judeo-Christian” not “Judo-Christian”. 

  • Shemararae

    Lets get the facts straight…First he didnt die because of the fight or the church, it was ruled a comlpetly different cause, he had a heart condition that NO ONE was aware of. And really!! Its ok for everyone else to like fights..ie; boxing, hockey games and hard hits in foortball, but when a church does then it wrong?? No, you are wrong, whats wrong with Christians or the church enjoying sports and boxing etc..whats wrong with church being fun? What is it that makes people so angery when the church enjoys recreation etc..makes it automaticly something to “lure”?
    You shouldnt write about something you dont know!
    Guts church uses the funds from these events for charity and outreach, they help thousands of people in Tulsa and Haiti with these outreaches all while having fun….and they have had many of these events with FULL knowledge from the city and paramedics and police depardtment who are allways on hand for these events, just becuse they didnt know they needed permission from some stupid group ( that would make money from the fight-and that is there only aim) doesnt make them wrong or “illegal…they were doing a event that supports charity and they are a church so I dont believe they should be subject to a bunch a fines from some money grubing group…and the Hitman awards are NOT encouraging violence but good team plays and team work…

  • Kingshuskerldy

    I just stumbled across this piece today.  It is thought provoking to say the least; however, it fails to point out the GOOD this church does every single week.  They provide free clothing and a food pantry every Friday.  Unlike most churches, GUTS does not limit the amount of trips per year.  You can come every week.  They only ask for your name and address once and they do not hound you with unsolicited mail or email or calls.  They provide a wide variety of dry food goods as well as fresh produce, usually eggs, cheese as well, sometimes frozen items such as pizza crust, and sometimes meats.  Meats are always hard to get at church handouts because of the refrigeration problems. All they ask in return is that you sit through a 10-15 praise session.  I hate boxing and do not like the idea of the “hitman” contest either.  That will take care of itself but I do wish someone would concentrate on the good this church does with their social services as they feed thousands every month that other churches turn away.  I know because I am one they serve.  I lost a job I had for 22 years, not been able to find another one yet unemployment is $100 a month too high to qualify me for food stamps.  Without this church and another one, I would be starving and I am very grateful for their help.  I have yet to find an atheist organization here in Tulsa, OK, that is doing the social work that the churches such as GUTS are doing.  When they do, I will be sure to take advantage of them.  In the meantime, you might try to find something positive to report on other than the constant badgering of Christian enterprises.

    • Tulsan

       Well, my friend…  I will not sit through a 10-15 minute “praise session” just to get a hand-out.

      There is a secular humanist association in Tulsa that does community work on a routine basis. 
      Fact is this: In Tulsa, there are a vast number of Christians.  And there are very few Atheists.  So to think that there would be some huge Atheist humanitarian hand-out building is silly.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        You might be surprised with what you’d be willing to do if you have a child depending on your.


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