Christian School Confidential (or: “None Dare Call It Radicalization”)

January 6, 2021. The day the Capitol was sacked by fundamentalist Christians, cops, young guys who lived at home, some ex-military, and a vegan. It seemed humorous at first! I saw the mention on Facebook and just imagined a few supporters of 45 shouting a lot, but I was not prepared for the images of the mob invading the chamber of congress. Nor was I prepared for the marine who stood where the Speaker usually stands offering a word of prayer, and ratting out his conspirators, all at the same time by thanking God for the Capitol Police who let them in!

“Is this some kind of a religious activity?” I sarcastically thought.

Investigations proved that is exactly what it was. A loose association between evangelical churches and fans of right wing radio hosts and podcasters, with a little help from social media, became responsible for the moment of mass lunacy that we are still dealing with.

Where did they come from? Who was behind it?

All obvious questions considering there wasn’t an invisible elephant to hide anymore. It was a very visible elephant in front of us. The elephant party has traded the Messiah on a White Horse landing on the Mount of Olives for the Boss Hogg Messiah on the Motorcycle! Yeah, that’s the guy who will drive out all the democrats and destroy the satanic elite pedophiles.

Evangelicals once scorned political involvement.

Rick Perlstein, in his book, Reaganland, talks about Jerry Falwell’s crusade to get fundamentalist Christians involved in politics. Reaganland begins with Jimmy Carter winning the election and the Republicans lost without a center. It’s matter of fact style reminds me of Joe Friday on Dragnet. Perlstein leads us through the seventies with illustrations sure to score high with nostalgia buffs. Everyone from Jim Jones to Anita Bryant to the girl who didn’t like Mondays so she shot up her school makes an appearance.

Carter was President and Republicans were losing face with the public. It was Jerry Falwell and a loose association between fundamentalists and evangelical churches and Christian schools, who decided it was time for Christians to get involved in government. This came after years of believing it was wrong for religious leaders to involve themselves in politics.

Jerry Falwell once preached against ministers taking political stands. That sermon was directed toward Martin Luther King, Jr. Falwell changed his mind and called that moment a ‘false prophecy’. Christian fundamentalists shrugged it off.

Moral Majority, and other Christian conservative groups, began documenting abuses in the public school system. They frightened parents into sending their children to Christian Schools. Their goal appeared to be: defund the public schools until the only institutions left standing were Christian schools.

Christian schools had classes in Americanism Vs Communism, designed to keep the cold war going. ‘None Dare Call It Treason’ was assigned reading in more than one Christian school.

Falwell put together a dog and pony show called ‘America, You’re To Young To Die’. It began with a slideshow of a girl saying the pledge of allegiance. It shifted to gay men kissing. A few seconds of aborted fetuses assaulted the senses before the Jerry Falwell dancers took the stage and did their number.

Okay, they weren’t ‘dancing’. We called them ‘stage movements’. We were taught how to rename and rationalize everything!

Perlstein writes about the time Falwell came to Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida . After the big show, one of the teachers remarked that in his day they would have done something about the homosexuals. Or, as he called them, ‘faggots’. He revealed, in a classroom, that he and his friends beat up gays at Friendship Fountain, and, as Perlstein describes it:

“We knocked a guy’s head into the side of the fountain! He was bleeding like a squashed tomato.” When a student complained to another teacher about this un-Christlike behavior, the concern turned on him, not the teacher: “Are you thinking of turning gay, Dwayne? A gay person cannot be saved.” (Reaganland, p.722)

That student was me.

It was the first time the fundamental truth dawned on me: it’s okay to be hypocritical on some issues. Fundamentalists knew the theological loopholes. And I learned if you asked the wrong question, they can and will use that question against you.

Bob Gray, the founder of Trinity Christian Academy, would be arrested for multiple counts of child molestation in 2006. He apologized to the victims in private, but did that stop him from pleading ‘not guilty’ in a court of law? Not at all! We learned there are there are exceptions to the rule of law. It’s okay to disrespect the truth in public, or in a court of law, yet claim virtue in private.

We were raised to cut our leaders slack for the worst crimes! Is it any wonder many who grew up in evangelical households became supporters of an abusive, insurrectionist ex-president? We were trained to ignore the crimes of our spiritual leaders for years! Ignoring scandals of earthly leaders who are giving you the country is a piece of cake.

Bob Gray, founder of Trinity Christian Academy, Jacksonville, Florida.

It isn’t such stretch to think of the education I received at Trinity Christian Academy as ‘radicalization’. I remember a few preachers who stomped and shouted, “I want you to be a radical for Jesus!

They appear to have succeeded. We were steered away from praising democracy. America is not a democracy, we were taught. It is a constitutional republic. God led our founding fathers to establish this nation. They wanted white male property owners to vote. We can amend the constitution, but let’s not.

History was seen through a supernatural prism. Someone asked, “Why did Hitler kill all those people?”

I remember the teacher replying, “He was demon possessed. That’s the only explanation.”

Nothing about stereotypes, or bigotry, or scapegoats. That was their favorite tool after all! Nobody gave it up then. Nobody’s giving it up now.

We pledged allegiance to the American flag. Other Christian schools pledged allegiance to the Christian flag. Some pledged allegiance to the bible. I heard Al Jennings preach at a Trinity bible conference, “When our forefathers talked about freedom of religion, they meant freedom of the Christian religion! Not Hindus or Muslims. Christian!

Many who engaged in the January 6 insurrection had ties to fundamentalist churches and schools. I now understand that Christian schools, intentionally or not, helped ignite and fan the flames that brought our nation to this moment. Perhaps we should investigate them with the same intensity they demonstrated when investigating and ‘exposing’ public schools?

Few call it radicalization, but none dare call it treason.

Dwayne Walker is the author of ‘Our Pastor Molested Me, Now What?

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Devil in the Baptist Church by Tim Gilmore


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(this review was first published at ‘The Last Fundamentalist’)

Bob Gray, the Jacksonville pastor seen in this photograph from LIFE magazine preaching against Elvis Presley, was connected with a number of top fundamentalist preachers like Jerry Falwell, Lester Roloff, and was a big supporter of Ronald Reagan.  He was arrested in 2006 for multiple accounts of child molestation. Gray’s trial was delayed for over a year but he died from a fall just before his trial was to begin.

When I went to Jacksonville, Florida to host a public awareness event on clergy abuse in 2008 (see video after this article), I met a number of people who said they were writing a book about the Gray scandal.  Well, eight years later, we have a book! Devil in the Baptist Church: Bob Gray’s Unholy Trinity, by Tim Gilmore, explores the world that made Bob Gray possible and how little they’ve done to make amends.

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You will notice that on the first page Tim Gilmore thanks those who survived the Bob Gray experience in addition to Jeri Massi and Dwayne Walker.  That would be me.

The appendix shows that he drew some material from an essay I wrote called ‘A Place to Submit (the saga of Bob Gray)’ which was in my book, Our Pastor Molested Me, Now What?  People have asked and even encouraged me to write a book about Bob Gray but ultimately I decided against it.

There were other people working on books! I could only go by what I knew, the depositions, and interviews and conversations with others who were affected by the scandal.  It’s not an easy thing to get abuse victims to talk about their abuse much less make their names public.  I could use pseudonyms but that could be a slippery slope as it would still be easy for those ‘in the know’ to identify the victims.

There is the issue of actually naming victims.  Most newspapers won’t even print the names of minors or victims of rape cases.  Now, if they come out on their own that’s a different story.  I’m not going to tell someone who is comfortable in their anonymity that they have an obligation to go public.  They certainly don’t and I would defend their right to privacy.

I had enough material for an article but not enough for a full blown book.  ‘A Place to Submit’ was the article that was added to a compilation of other interviews I did on a variety of subjects, some of them dealing with abuse and recovering from abuse. The compilation was called  Our Pastor Molested Me, Now What? (interviews and essays about clergy abuse). Outside of one Gray victim who sued under her own name, victims were given the bland names of V1, V2, V3, etc, in my essay.

Devil in the Baptist Church names names on both sides! That’s braver than what I did.

It’s difficult for a book like Devil in the Baptist Church to please everyone, let alone those who grew up at Trinity Baptist Church during the late seventies/early eighties when most of these events took place.

There are some issues I have with portions of Devil in the Baptist Church.  I do not believe Trinity sent Bob Gray out of the country to avoid arrest.  I believe Gray came up with that idea all by himself!  No one had to send him anywhere, he knew what he had to do.

Gray did spend time in Germany during World War 2.  He did claim to be a correspondant for the military newspaper, Stars and Stripes, and covered the Nuremberg trials.  I paid a few visits to the offices of the Simon Wiesnthal Center, located across the street from the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. I put in a request, and didn’t find one Bob Gray byline in their collection of Stars and Stripes.

That doesn’t mean he didn’t write for Stars and Stripes. He could have been one of many soldier/writers who were probably not credited. And those who went to Trinity might find a few other points they might challenge regarding Gilmore’s descriptions of Bob Gray’s preaching style. I remember him shouting, but stationary, behind a pulpit, as opposed to prowling the podium like Jimmy Swaggart, as the book asserts.

Who actually called the police on Bob Gray?

One of my sources took pictures of Bob Gray’s arrest.  She saw Bob Gray taking luggage to his car like he was about to go on a long trip. She immediately called the police with the warning, paraphrased, “If you want to arrest Gray, now is the time!”   If Gray was evading arrest, who tipped him off?  One credible source told me the tip came from the media. A different credible source mentioned the tip came from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Maybe he was tipped off by both the media and the Sheriff’s Office?

One of these sources is mentioned in the book, but nothing about the theory Gray was trying, for a second time, to flee the country instead of confessing to the congregation his crimes against children.

Gilmore does a very good job of presenting the background that ultimately created the paranoid conspiracy laced subculture responsible for so many refusing to go to the authorities with the story of  how Bob Gray molested them as children. From the comic tracts of Jack T. Chick who promoted John Todd, otherwise known as Lance Collins, who claimed to have been a member of the alleged Illuminati, to the teen prisons started by Lester Roloff where some teenagers, who couldn’t keep their mouth shut about abuse, would be sent.

John Todd, in addition to other fundamentalists like Jack Hyles, predicted that preachers would be arrested on charges of child molestation.  A very convenient conspiracy theory!

Ultimately, I was impressed by how Gilmore created and portrayed the world of southern fundamentalism.  Impressed enough to give the book a qualified endorsement.  Qualified because of the naming of victims. If a survivor of Bob Gray abuse reads the book, sees their name, does not feel revictimized, then I am all in favor of the book and encourage people to ready Devil in the Baptist Church.

Those who are still in administrative positions at Trinity Christian Academy and Trinity Baptist Church may shortly be calling their lawyers. I would ask them to put the phone down.

I have a compromise.

Those who have read my novel,  The Last Fundamentalist, about a church scandal loosely inspired by the Bob Gray case knows that I have been critical of GRACE, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.  GRACE was founded by Boz Tchividjian, a professor of Liberty University. I do believe the late Jerry Falwell, the founder of Liberty University, might have known about Bob Gray’s predilictions toward minors as well as the exact reason that Bob Gray left for Germany, yet chose to remain silent.

When I inquired about this, this is what I received on my facebook wall:

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I have yet to hear GRACE condemn the abuses toward girls at the homes founded by Lester Roloff as well as silence regarding abuses that have been taking place at fundamentalist troubled teen camps, like Camp Tracey  (which is actually discussed in Devil in the Baptist Church).

In spite of all my skepticism and reservations regarding GRACE, I will admit a presentation they have been giving at various private and public schools regarding child abuse is actually very good, informative, and might go a long way toward helping Trinity deal with what went well beyond a ‘family squabble’.

Trinity can only repent in public, not private.  If public repentance is good enough for their backslidden members, Trinity needs to apologize to the city of Jacksonville for exposing children to a pedophile through their city wide bus ministry.  I would challenge Trinity Baptist Church and Trinity Christian Academy to invite GRACE to give a presentation at Trinity Christian Academy about child abuse and how to prevent it. Trinity should put all the rage they might feel about this book or about me even endorsing this book and put it into promoting such an event. And not just anyone can present this.

Only Boz can go to Trinity!

Now that is something even I would endorse!

(Click the book cover to order your copy of Devil in the Baptist Church)

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Welcome to the Vegas Apocalypse!

(note: this article originally appeared at vegasapocalypse.com)

Welcome to Vegas Apocalypse!  You know, just because apocalypse means the end of the world doesn’t mean it’s all bad.  Apocalypse also means revelation!  That which was covered up will now be uncovered. 

We’re going to uncover truths about Las Vegas.  There might be revelations about the city, an attraction, or uncovering secrets about yourself that you would never have known unless you came to Vegas. 

Las Vegas does have a way of bringing out the honesty in people.

dominionlv2The name ‘Vegas Apocalypse’ came to me when I was in the Philippines back in 2016.  I was watching a bootleg copy of Dominion, a TV series from the Sci Fi channel about angels who take over the world and guess where they base their capitol at? None other than good ole’ Las Vegas!  I saw that show and the words ‘Vegas Apocalypse’ suddenly came to my mind.

There have been many movies, books, and stories where Las Vegas features prominently in many end of the world scenarios.  Such as Stephen King’s The Stand, where Randall Flagg, the bringer of disease and destruction, makes his capitol in good ole’ Sin City. 

Resident Evil had Las Vegas is overrun by zombies, and of course many science fiction movies like Mar’s Attacks, Independence DayThe Amazing Colossal Man, , Honey I Blew Up The Kid, where Vegas features prominently in semi end of the world scenarios.

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It might seem that many writers have it in for Las Vegas, but in many Vegas asked for it! When you think about it, scenarios that would scare many of us to the core have actually become amusements that you can experience right here in Las Vegas?  Afraid of being invaded by an outside force? At Apocalypse Vegas, not to be confused with this blog ‘Vegas Apocalypse’ you can be a part of an invading army and drive your own tank! 

Zombies are big in Las Vegas!  When they’re not mindlessly shoving dollars into slot machines, you can look for them at the Zombie Scavenger Hunt!  Afraid they’ll chase you into a room from which there is no escape?  Try the escape rooms then!  There are a number of escape rooms where you can be trapped and attempt to escape by looking for clues to get out of the room.  Or, you can watch trained zombies entertain you at David Saxe’s Zombie Burlesque.

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Looking for signs in the sky? How about dragons flying over Las Vegas?

Dragons flew between the waters of the Bellagio fountain during their tribute to Game of Thrones? If flying dragons aren’t a sign of the Apocalypse, I don’t know what is.

One might think this is the result of many apocalyptic books and stories that keep putting Vegas in harm’s way, but that has always been the case with Las Vegas.  Our apocalyptic obsessions goes back to the days when atomic bombs exploded while people dined on the top of the Fremont Casino and watched with amusement. 

If there is boredom in your life, experience the Vegas Apocalypse!   The world may be falling apart, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time. After all, better to enjoy a simulated apocalypse than to experience the real thing.

Memoirs of a Pimp by Jimi Starr

Jimi Starr is a pimp turned politician.  He has written his book, ‘Memoirs of  a Mack’, which will soon be available at his website, jimistarr.com.

I had the opportunity to help him put together a trailer for his book, which is based on real life experiences.   Jimi hearkens back to the days of ‘The Mack‘, the 1973 movie about a pimp and the temptations he faces after getting out of prison.   Jimi’s story has the twist that he became a union chairman for transit workers.

His story is fascinating and you can read more in this article from SF Weekly.

The Classic Sunbuggy Ride

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Why do they come to Las Vegas? To gamble away their retirement? To drink in the streets and engage in behavior that would get them thrown in the slammer back home? When within a few short miles from the strip, lies the mighty desert. Filled with mysteries that have baffled generations.

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Mysteries like the Anasazi, an ancient prehistoric people who left behind these petroglyphs which can be viewed at the Valley of Fire. Wildlife like the ancient desert tortoise, known to live for hundreds of years, to the big horned sheep. And of course, the silent dunes.

Places you can’t get to by car, but you can with off road vehicles, like those offered by Sunbuggy, an off road adventure tour company located at the Las Vegas Speedway.

sbr5I took a Sunbuggy into the interior of the Nevada desert. It was a ride with guide meaning someone else was driving while I observed and looked at the scenery. It was a mini-Baja Chase which means the people behind us were trying to keep up. As we twisted and turned in the dunes to give our friends the chase of their lives, it was amazing how they were able to keep up.

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We drove through small canyons, dried river beds, sand dunes, and eventually found ourselves far from the highway where there was nothing between us but the dunes, the mountains, and far off in the distance, the skyline of Las Vegas. It was a tough but exhilarating ride. A true adrenaline rush.

cropped-4thofjulyvegas1.jpgIt can be fun on the strip, but there comes a time when you must heed the call to venture beyond the highway to see what else is out there. And there are many mysteries to explore. Explore them on a sunbuggy.

The Cover Up that Scandalized Jacksonville!

Bob Gray was the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, and the founder of Trinity Christian Academy, both located in Jacksonville, Florida. He was also a pedophile who preyed on the children of his congregation.

Gray was arrested on multiple charges of child molestation and died just before his trial was to begin.

Tim Gilmore, a professor at Florida State University, has documented the history and lore of North Florida. He turns his eye to an unforgettable story that some still wish would be forgotten.

Dwayne Walker, a former graduate of Trinity Christian Academy, reviews Gilmore’s book, and also offers some personal insight based on his experiences at the scandalized Christian high school.

Read my full review of Devil in the Baptist Church:

https://thelastfundamentalist.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/devil-in-the-baptist-church-bob-grays-unholy-trinity-by-tim-gilmore-a-review/

Buy Devil in the Baptist Church:

https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Baptist-Church-Unholy-Trinity/dp/1511681837/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476326296&sr=8-1&keywords=devil+in+the+baptist+church+bob+gray%27s+unholy+trinity

Eternal Vampiricus

Eternal Vampiricus.

Vampiricus was an experience that occured at NAGA, a club near the docks in Long Beach, California. It was produced by Blade Rhino.

George Metivier was a photographer who spent quite a few evenings at Vampiricus capturing the happenings and, on occasion, some of the attendants became his models. Eternal Vampiricus is a slideshow featuring  the scrapbook George kept from that era of the late 90s. The music is from Babylonian Tiles.

Metivier has since passed away. There was not one obituary in the Long Beach Press Telegram. The only notice was this mention in the Panama Canal Society newsletter:

George Metivier of Long Beach, Calif., recently passed away. He graduated from BHS in 1951. He owned his own photography business which allowed him to use his art training. He authored several books and exhibited his works widely. He was a member of the Panama Canal Society.

Outside of hereticsofhollywood.com, none of the links in this slideshow are currently working.

Use E-books to promote your business or capture Family History!

Do you have a story to tell? Wonderful scrapbooks and useful catalogues and marketing tools can be had by using ebooks.

Hello, my name is Dwayne Walker and I have helped authors and companies edit, format, and produce textbooks, memoirs, novels, and oral history compilations in both traditional paperback form and in e-books that can be read on your Kindle or tablet.

Your ebook can be sent to customers, clients and friends where they can not only read what your business is about, but can also experience the history of your company or family. Links to your company’s shopping carts, webpages, or, if this is a family history to videos and facebook pages.

You can reach me at 702-937-5804. Or send me a message at walkertown.com Thank you very much.