Pastor Was a Navy Seal… Or Not

“Rev.” Jim Moats has been deceiving his congregation for five years. He’s been telling them he was a Navy SEAL, when in fact he was nothing but a lying pastor:

After deceiving his parishioners for five years, and the rest of the world for one day, the Rev. Jim Moats’ recently revealed that he was never a Navy SEAL.

Immediately after the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden on May 1, the Navy SEALs rose to celebrity status. They had successfully raided bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan and killed the world’s most wanted terrorist. On the quest to reach out to a former Navy SEAL and find out more about their life, The Patriot-News, known for their interviews with veterans, wrote a story on Saturday on Rev. Jim Moats after hearing he had been a former SEAL.

The next day, Moats shamefully confessed his story was 100 percent fake.

In fact, he said he never had SEALs training, nor was he accepted in the program.

He told The Patriot-News, “I never was in a class; I never served as an actual SEAL. It was my dream. … I don’t even know if I would have met the qualifications. I never knew what the qualifications were.”

The Patriot-News reporter, Dan Miller, heard about Moats because he had been telling his congregants at Christian Bible Fellowship Church in Newville, Pa., for five years that he had been a Navy SEAL and proved it with a gold Trident medal, only given to those who have completed the training. The medal can be bought at any military store.

But it’s okay, because he’s sorry and Jesus will forgive him:

“I bring a shame and a reproach upon the name of Christ, I bring a shame and a reproach upon my church, and I bring a shame and a reproach upon my family,” Moats confessed.

He wasn’t sorry enough to resign, though.

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  • Yoav

    It was my dream. … I don’t even know if I would have met the qualifications. I never knew what the qualifications were.”

    So it was his dream but he was too fukcing lazy to even look up the requirements for the program, what did he do, preyed that god will make him a SEAL?

  • Larian LeQuella

    As a retired military officer, this type of story makes me angry. But then again, if a pastor has spent his life telling tall tales of some magic man that came back from the dead, what’s one more lie about being a SEAL?

    • Ty

      I’m there with you. Politicians love to inflate their soldier credentials, too. And when I think of my 90% disabled Korean war vet uncle, who’s spent his entire life suffering from the massive injuries he received while serving the the military, I just want to strangle all these armchair warriors.

      • Custador

        But remember, if you’re running for president it’s fine to bad-mouth the creds of your decorated war-hero opponent, especially if your daddy was the governor of Florida and got you into the Air National Guard and had you posted stateside, doubly so if you spent most of the ‘Nam war AWOL from your stateside posting.

        • Trey

          (sigh) What is with the love affair of combining worship of God with high-powered assault rifles? I’m sure the congregation thought it was a *total* selling point that their pastor was a former SEAL and helped him secure the job. God, America, Apple Pie, Military.

          At least, that’s what I have found in my experience – conservative christian traditions sure love their guns. I bet Jesus could have totally mixed it up with the Romans if only he had had a .45 semi-auto…

          • trj

            “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for… ah, fuck this!” *BLAM BLAM BLAM*

  • Reginald Selkirk

    And how many preachers lie about being former atheists?

    • Ty

      Only the ones that don’t like about being former satanists, wiccans, or drug abusers.

      • Nzo

        Or Atheist-Demonologists!

      • Peter Cross

        From the Fundy perspective, there is no difference between atheist and Satanist.

  • claidheamh mor

    Lying fer Jesus!

    I second the motion for him to be sorry enough to resign.

    And for all the other cluster-fundies to stop using forgiveness as a way to be an arsehole.

  • Robert

    What does the bible say about liars?

  • Robster

    The man(?) is a professional liar. He and his ilk are ALL professional liars. Every time they open their mouths to tout their invisible fairy “friend” they lie. They know they’re lying, just look at how they respond when their belief system is questioned. Look at how they answer when the nonsense is questioned. Accusing those of who are doing the questioning of “persecution” deflects the potential criticism back to the questioner, so they avoid having to dig an even bigger hole for themselves.

    • zach

      Despite now being an atheist, I have a whole lot of respect for my pastor. He is intelligent, honest, and respectful. In all seriousness, you aren’t going to get anywhere with this gross generalization. You aren’t doing anything for yourself or for Christians who want to have a sense of integrity as they question their beliefs.

      Also, I know what it is like to try and be a spiritual leader for a group of people. Even on a small/temporary scale, there is a hell of a lot of pressure. Chill out and stop being so self-righteous.

      • Reginald Selkirk

        “Despite now being an atheist, I have a whole lot of respect for my pastor.”

        You’re an atheist and you have a pastor? I think we have identified another liar.

        • Brian M

          Be nice! Be Nice! :)

          I’m sure zach is talking about the church he used to attend. Or perhaps he still attends church for family/social reasons. My mother is definitely a skeptic “How could He die for my sins…I wasn’t even born yet) but she attends church for social reasons.

        • Custador

          Zach is a recent deconvert who goes to a Bible college. Some slack please, Reg.

        • Mogg

          I’ve been in the same place as Zach, and in fact I still greatly respect the pastor who I would consider to have been my pastor while I was deconverting, but still going to church for a whole variety of reasons. It’s entirely possible to be an atheist and have a pastor.

      • Robster

        Hey yes, perhaps the “generalizations” were a wee bit over the top. However, when spruiking nonsense, which these people do, one has to wonder just how intellegent these people are, why they are in a position that could be referred to as “a leader” and why, whatever they say could be considered “the truth”. As an atheist you would know it’s completely untrue and is nothing more than superstitious nonsense. Sure stand up for your friend. How about, to twist a whoary old xian saying: “love the believer, hate the belief”.

  • Duke Taber

    Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.

    Just sayin

    • Ty

      Let him who doesn’t give a rats ass about bible quotes ignore your silly rebuttal.

      Just sayin’.

    • Nzo

      Ohh, another pastor. You gonna lie for jesus Duke?

      Looks like you already have:

      Divine Healing
      I believe that divine healing is the power of Christ to heal the physically sick in answer to the prayer of faith (James 5:14-16). –

      Ever been to a doctor? Ever been to a pharmacy? Taken something for a headache? Ever had a documented case of a limb being regrown from prayer?

      Nah, you’re just joking on this one, right?

      • Nzo

        WTB edit button – was it the link making it wait for moderation? Beh

    • Daniel Florien

      So no one can point out the failures of public figures unless they’re perfect? Yeah, that makes sense…

    • zach

      @Duke Taber—We can get pretty bitchy on this forum sometimes LOL.

    • Sunny Day

      Because I know that sin is an imaginary curse invented to make people afraid and sell your magic Jesus-Juice I’m not having any of it.

      I am without sin and according to your laughable beliefs, I can throw as many stones as I want.

    • Sunny Day

      I wonder if “Blogging with Integrity” includes not trolling forums you have no intention in taking part in?

  • WMDKitty

    Well. Color me not surprised.

    • Mike

      My astonishment meter didn’t even twitch off the needle..

  • Rich R

    Call me a glutton for punishment, but lately I’ve had my car radio tuned to “family radio”. Once you get past the hysterically self serving and pretentious name, you realize it’s just syndicated preaching and sermonizing. It’s really struck me how I find myself doubting everything they say. Not just the big whoppers about magical beings, but the little colourful stories. They talk about what they said to their wife today or the trip to the vet or what their mechanic told them. I am almost certain that at least some of these stories are complete affectations without any care for reality. I worry that I am too jaded. But why do people afford them such credit just for claiming knowledge that they can’t possibly possess?

  • Tee

    I thought it was a crime to pass oneself off as a soldier. If this clown said he had some medal he got from SEAL training isn’t it a crime?

    § 704. Military medals or decorations of the same title:
    (b) False Claims About Receipt of Military Decorations or Medals.— Whoever falsely represents himself or herself, verbally or in writing, to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States, any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration, or medal, or any colorable imitation of such item shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

    • Peter Cross

      Constitutionality issues.

      Federal appeals court hears fake veteran case

      The case is the second test nationally at the appellate level — one rung below the U.S. Supreme Court — for the Stolen Valor Act. The act, passed in 2006, makes it a crime to lie about receiving military medals. The federal government argues the law is needed to protect the honors’ integrity.

      But attorneys for Rick Strandlof, a Colorado man who falsely claimed to be a decorated Marine Corps veteran, say the law is an unconstitutional violation of free speech.

      Strandlof did not deny his lies — he never served in the military — but instead argued that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn agreed and tossed the case. The Constitution does not protect fraudulent speech, Blackburn wrote in his ruling, but fraud must have a victim.

      Strandlof’s case has drawn extra attention because it could help decide whether the Supreme Court ultimately takes up the Stolen Valor arguments. Last year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled the act unconstitutional because of the same free-speech concerns.