Looks like someone got his frock in a bunch …
When the [Smith] family left the church, [Julie Anne] says friends were told to end all contact with her.
“If I went to Costco or any place in town, if I ran into somebody, they would turn their heads and walk the other way,” she said. “All we did was asked questions. We just raised concerns. There’s no sin in that.”
Dissatisfied, she went online to write reviews. Other church members counteracted them with church praise. So Smith started a blog called “Beaverton Grace Bible Church Survivors.”
And then that’s when they were sued by Father Charles O’Neal for half a million dollars for slander and defamation. Now I initially thought to myself that in a situation like this, I have no compelling reason to take one side over the other, since I don’t know any of these people, nor do I know the church itself.
But, if Smith’s description of her former friends’ reaction is true, then it sounds like Friar Chuck is running a cult, not a church. That’s the kind of behavior former cult members are given when they finally decide to leave the flock, if they’re allowed to leave at all. That, and suing a stay at home mom for $500,000 instead of taking a somewhat less butthurt-Scientologist approach to the situation raises a red flag too. From the looks of her blog, she’s not the only one with horror stories about the church, it’s tactics, and its pastor.
But the pastor claims in the lawsuit he filed that her words, “creepy,” “cult,” “control tactics,” and “spiritual abuse,” are defamation.
That sounds like church in general, but that’s just my opinion. Anyway, the point is that it’s theoretically possible that all of these people are friends who are trying to take down someone they don’t like. I saw the same kind of thing in high school and actually had it done to me in college. But, given the number of people involved and the similarity of independent stories among the “shunned”, it’s more likely that there’s something to it all and that this church is just downright creepy.
Well, creepier than most.