Thou shalt not bad-mouth your former church on the Internet. That’s the message a pastor in Oregon is apparently championing in a lawsuit against former members of th Beaverton Grace Bible Church, claiming their statements online amount to defamation — equivalent to $500,000 in damages, according to reports. Church pastor Charles O’Neal filed the suit March 1, citing words such as “creepy,” “cult,” and “spiritual abuse” as defaming his house of worship outside Portland, said local TV station KGW. The suit sets up a May 21 hearing with freedom of speech at the forefront. “It would be extremely difficult to determine that wording or posting caused that tremendous $500,000 worth of damage,” Linda Williams, an attorney for defendant Julie Anne Smith, told KGW. “It just didn’t.”I hope they ask for the church to pay for the court costs. This kind of thing would never, or rarely, happen in a loser-pay court system. Though I am sure there are also abuses in that sort of system. Here is the poor lady's blog. I am heartened to see the support she is getting. Praise God there are some people with sense in this world yet. http://bgbcsurvivors.blogspot.com I enjoyed this comment on the NY Daily News site:
bronkowitzsamuell 07:56 AM:-) Even Westboro Baptist isn't so foolish as to sue their critics. Who woulda thunk they weren't the bottom of the barrel as far as legalism goes? I guess Mark Driscoll's legalism is infectious in the Northwest. But so far as I know Mark hasn't sued anyone... yet.
May 14, 2012
Jim Jones used to shut his critics up with the threat of lawsuits. I'm not saying that this church has a Jim Jones in it, of course, but.... you have to wonder, don't you?
As I commented on Julie Smith's blog, "cult like" is the kindest description I can come up with for this pastor. So sue me. Here's a Screen Shot of the pastor's "review" of his own church, counter-"defaming" Julie-Anne:
Pastor Chuck wrote:FBC Jax is talking about it and this comment by one Keith Farmer was rather disconcerting:
DEFAMATION IS A CRIME: Pastor Chuck O’ Neal, his wife, his children, and Beaverton Grace Bible Church as a whole, have suffered JulieAnne’s hateful lying slander for well over three years. After seeking counsel from a pastor on staff with Grace Community Church (under Pastor John MacArthur) and reading him several excerpts from JulieAnne’s endless defamation, he recommended that we FILE A LAWSUIT in an appeal to Ceasar as the Apostle Paul did when falsely accused of crimes against God and the state. The lawsuit has been filed in the Washington County courthouse.
Keith Farmer said... I received correspondence back from a member of the GTY team regarding this issue. It is sad that the Church is publicly embarrassed by such acts. I do not wish to divulge what the GTY staffer wrote to me but I am disappointed in the response. Praying for all involved... May 15, 2012 9:35 AMMore details at The Wartburg Watch here: Pastor Makes International News by Suing Blogging Critic-Is John MacArthur’s Church Involved? Also in this post's comment thread, Phil Johnson offered her an official statement by the ministry.
Phil Johnson on Mon, May 14 2012 at 09:53 pmI am still trying to locate such a statement.
I just learned about this story for the first time at noon today. I couldn’t locate your e-mail address, bit if you’ll e-mail me, I’ll send you an official statement from Grace Church and John MacArthur that you can publish. If you want to talk further by phone, I’ll tell you what I learned about this situation this afternoon. I’ll give you my cell # by e-mail.