Pennsylvania Pastor Charged for ‘Terrorism Raid’ in Church

Pennsylvania authorities just charged the Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church and youth pastor Andrew D. Jordan with counts of “false imprisonment, a felony, and simple assault.”

What the hell did they do to deserve that?

They conducted a mock terror raid on unsuspecting teenagers in the church… to show them what some Christian missionaries have to deal with:

four men — one carrying an unloaded but real gun — rushed into a room full of youth-group participants, put pillowcases over their heads and forced them into a van. The children didn’t know the raid was fake. One was injured.

After bursting in on the youth group, the raiders prodded the hooded kids into a church van and drove across the parking lot to the pastor’s house. They led the teens through the garage, past the pastor’s motorcycle with crucifixes painted on its gas tank to an interrogation room in a dark corner of the musty basement.

A single-bulb painter’s light was suspended from the ceiling. It illuminated a lone chair. The men questioned each teen for 30 seconds in the room, raising their voices to invoke fear, before releasing them, Lanza said in March.

Good judgment: Another thing we can cross off the list of things the church teaches you.

(Thanks to Paul 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.

  • Valerie C.

    Is this the raid with the real but unloaded AK-47 Assault Rifle?

  • houndies

    wow, that’s unbelievable….no wait, it’s christians. i hope they get sued as well.

  • Guest

    This isn’t new. In the past, they pretended to be atheists staging mock raids:

    http://skepticism.org/timeline/august-history/8212-presbyterians-fake-atheist-raid-youth-camp.html
     

  • jdm8

    An obviously needless spectacle, just telling a story isn’t enough?

    • Ken

      Nope.  They gotta taste the fear, smell the danger, pee their pants.  God said so.

  • snoofle

    Seriously, I could totally see my mother (now deceased) going along with something like this, so long as it was justified by a priest or religious person.

  • Lamocla

    Christians idiot! Enough said.

  • Lurker111

    Criminy.  Suppose one of the teens had been armed?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Then said teen would have been charged. I don’t know many church going teenagers that carry concealed firearms.

      • 3lemenope

        I think the concern is more along the lines of, what if one of them had been armed and reacted like a person who is being kidnapped might react, grievously wounding their would-be attacker? And “armed” is certainly not restricted to firearms, and I know that many teens carry a pocket-knife. (I know I did.)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

          You carried a knife to church?

          • Dan

             I carried/carry a pocket knife almost everywhere, including Church when I was a Christian. Maybe things are different where you live, but it’s really common in the Pacific Northwest for people to carry pocket knives.

          • 3lemenope

            In my much younger days, I attended a UU church at the behest of my parents, but that ended before I started carrying a knife. I don’t think I would have seen any sort of fundamental conflict between the two activities (attending church, carrying a knife) had they overlapped.

          • machintelligence

            I don’t feel completely dressed unless I have  my Leatherman tool (with two knife blades) on my belt. I can’t wear it to airports or government offices, though.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078695333 David Kopp

            I carry a knife all the time. Never really think of it for protection, it’s more just a damn handy tool to have on you. You wouldn’t believe how many people I know that come looking for me because they know I always carry a knife and they happen to need one.

          • Isilzha

             Yeah, because churches are “safe” benign places, right?

            Why do atheists insist on upholding the view that churches are someone great places (safe, good, open, kind, etc)??  That, to me, just proves how insidious religious privilege is in our society.

            • 3lemenope

              I’d say probably because a majority of them are actually rather pleasant places. I agree that assuming the default (that all churches are pleasant places until definitively demonstrated otherwise) is unwarranted and is probably reinforced by privilege, but most people’s experience with actual churches isn’t negative. The religion they are associated with, sure, but not the actual human, brick, and mortar incarnation. If it were, it would be even more of a mystery than it is why people keep going to them every week. 

              Most churches, in my personal experience, are pretty-to-actually-beautiful buildings with decent music and people generally on good behavior, perhaps slightly milquetoast and/or bored, but at worst generally just taciturn. Honestly they remind me most of libraries, vibe-wise.  Obviously there are exceptions, with fire-breathing pastors or poisonous social atmospheres, but they aren’t exactly the rule.

              • Isilzha

                I guess many people have never really seen beneath that thin, fragile veneer.

                • 3lemenope

                  Are you really actually trying to say that most churches are dens of social iniquity papered over by cheap sentiment? Come on. Churches, by-and-large, are no more corrupt than any other comparable community of like size and importance to its members. 

                  Look, both of my parents served as the lay president of the congregation of the UU church I attended as a child. They both gave up in frustration from the sometimes-nasty politics and their perception of the place as having slid far from its original mission. So I’m amply familiar with how churches can go wrong “under the veneer”. But that’s the nature of people, not the nature of churches. My experiences dealing with local government and school administrations matches theirs exactly, and those are secular institutions. 

                  And, pointedly, nobody involved in the politics is generally all that affected. The building was still pretty, the music was still good, the people were still friendly. The church was still, by-and-large, a pleasant place to be.

                  The nature of humans organized in societies and communities is that hierarchies and power dynamics spontaneously form as people try to find their place in the structure. Sometimes (much of the time, really) those dynamics stabilize into a generally healthy and functional equilibrium. Sometimes, of course, it can go badly wrong, due to personality conflicts, hidden agendas, and power struggles.

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

            My teenager always has her mini-Leatherman tool on her.  It’s got all sorts of gadgets that could be used in self-defense. 

            • Noadi

              Same here, I never go anywhere without my Leatherman. I haven’t attended church since I was about 12 but my brother did as a teen and like me he never goes anywhere without his. I think we each got one around age 13 or so. Pretty typical in rural areas.

    • Luther

       Worse, suppose several of the decide they need to be armed when they go on their mission and are hyper alert to anything that looks suspicious…

  • Stev84

    Cries of religious persecution in 3…2…1

  • Onamission5

    According to the article, and another article linked in that one, they didn’t tell the parents this was happening, and the youth pastor who approved this atrocity is still gainfully employed.

    Shameful.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

    My sister was going to a missionary training camp in Missouri and they did the same thing. I’d say that’s slightly better since these people were actually training to be missionaries in possibly dangerous places, not just teens at a youth group, but still…really weird.
    She said she knew it was fake right away because the men were shouting “Allahu Akbar!” in southern accents. It really scared other people though.

    • Isilzha

       It’d be terrified even with the Southern accent considering that religious nuts can REALLY get carried away when they have a point to prove.  Seriously, how did you sister know that didn’t want to prove how dangerous it would be for a woman to put herself in that situation and give her some “extra-special” treatment??

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

        Sorry, but I’m confused by your grammar and don’t really know what you’re asking.

        • Isilzha

          Many xians don’t think women should be putting themselves in dangerous situations.  Even if she knew that she wasn’t abducted by REAL muslim extremists (or whoever), she had no idea that she was actually SAFE with the people who did abduct her even if she knew them.  She’s lucky they didn’t set out to show her just how easily she could be kidnapped AND sexually assaulted.

  • PA Year of the Bible

    The district attorney, Marsico, when interviewed, implied that he would go easy on the defendant, due to the religious nature of the event.

    • Stev84

      As Hitchens said, there is nothing you can’t get away with if you call yourself a Reverend, Imam or Rabbi.

      • Isilzha

        And don’t forget…Pastor!

        I wish even secular folks would remember that this titles are SELF imposed and don’t mean FRAK!!

  • Elerena

    *Again*?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joelpalmer Joel Palmer

    assholes pure assholes

  • Dloubet

    There was a story exactly like this a few years ago. Exact same bone-headed move.

  • dantresomi

    about time.. i remember this case too. 

  • Keulan

    I cannot fathom how anyone would think that this was a good idea.

    • Annie

       Correction:  “I cannot fathom how any RATIONAL person would think that this was a good idea.”

      People do the craziest things for Jesus. We can just throw this incident on the huge pile of abusing children for religious purposes.

      I’m glad this got some press.  I wish all of the instances where children are scarred in the name of religion would get noticed.

    • Isilzha

       This it the logical result of someone’s willingness to LIE FOR JEEBUS!!

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt E

    Interesting. In the wake of the Aurora shooting and the NRA and other right-wing groups calling for people to be armed to prevent such tragedies, if their advice was followed, we would now have four dead youth pastors.

    • CanadianNihilist

      Some people would see that as a good thing. Considering how they acted.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    They wanted the kids to know what it’s like to be a Christian missionary in places where sometimes rival religions resent and ‘persecute’ the poor Christians?

    It takes a special type of person in this day and age not to know that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a potential outcome from a stunt like this. Maybe most of them suspected it wasn’t real. Maybe some were taken in and now face flashbacks and all the other wonderful symptoms of PTSD that will be a gift that keeps on giving for months or years.

  • Jkaye1964

    These kids, despite the supposed “lesson” they were supposed to be taught during this, could easily be suffering from PTSD as a result of this action. This man needs to go away for a long time.

  • http://northierthanthou.com/ northierthanthou

    Gotta wonder what goes through some people’s minds when they come up with this kind of stuff. …I suspect a strong sense of entitlement is in there somewhere.

  • HughInAz

    I always find it staggering that fundagelicals, by far the most powerful and privileged group in the US, are constantly wallowing in their deranged persecution complex, and are hell-bent on brainwashing their children with it. It must be projection. They are acting out how they would behave towards atheists, liberals, gays and other hated groups if the few remaining restrictions on their power were removed.


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