I tend to focus on pastors who abuse their flocks, but there are larger cases. I'd like to comment on these cases too, but I seldom have the time. The Friendly Atheist has a story up about systemic hypocrisy at Salem Baptist Church in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.
What officials of the influential Salem Baptist Church in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania did to contractor Walter Logan was more longterm and insidious. The gist of it, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, is this:
The church’s lawyers accused Logan of a crime they knew he didn’t commit. Then, well-connected church members used their power and political pull to see to it that Logan got arrested, cuffed, and perp-walked, destroying his reputation and his business. They carried out this dishonesty and venality in an effort to gain the legal upper hand in a contractual dispute between Logan and Salem Baptist.
What I find most interesting is the level of cognitive dissonance involved. How does a church hold the message of Christ and screw over a contractor without outright lies and the deliberate infliction of harm?
I have a theory. Let’s call it tribalism. These churches behave as if they are an individual and the position they take is often at odds with what we think a church should be. I hold no such illusions these days. I’ve talked to too many pastors to believe that the status quo is anything other than deceit and self-interest.