Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Anne's Story

I am not sure what the moral of this story is, yet. One, at least, is why people are walking away from churches in droves. The younger generation, especially, can’t stomach the hypocrisy, hatred, and vindictiveness. There are several object lessons to be learned here. So sit back and read a sad tale about not one but two churches, apparently vying for the title of the Bluegrass’s own jr. Westboro Baptist Church wanna-be as they heap their “Christian love” on a Jewish widow with a developmentally disabled child – Bethel Presbyterian Church and Woodford Christian Church.

If the word "presbyterian" sounds familiar, it should. The leaders of the Presbyterian church recently instigated an anti-Israel divestment campaign in order to attempt to force Israel to give up even more land (how much more does the reservation need to shrink, exactly? apparently to nothing!).

This tale starts some years ago when a nice Jewish girl fell in love with a man whose family is Christian. Well, they profess Christianity, anyway. The future father-in-law only “found Jesus” seriously when he was caught having a 10 year affair with another woman. We can’t help but be skeptical that his new-found enthusiasm was far more rooted in an attempt to save his reputation and his marriage than any genuine repentance. But I digress. They were not amused at their son’s Jewish fiancĂ©e. They were also not amused that he did not take their backward beliefs seriously enough to marry within their faith. They were especially not amused when later, after he had been married some time, he decided to convert to Judaism.

His conversion was finalized days before their first and only child, a son, was born – in what should have been weeks before the boy came into the world. The baby’s premature entrance into their lives, and the health problems that followed, were all her fault, they whispered. She enticed him to convert, that evil Jewess. Their grandson was struck down because of their son’s conversion. Of course, I use the term “whisper” loosely. They made sure she knew their feelings. When their grandson was older, they told him confidently that his mother was going to hell.

Infidelity was not the only problem in the in-law's family, however, her husband's mother had health problems, too. Specifically, she had a hereditary heart disease that caused her to have a quadruple-bypass when she was only 38. Anne knew this, but did not know that her husband had inherited the same disorder. No one told her, her husband not wanting her to worry. When her husband died suddenly of a heart attack at a very young age, just 3 weeks past his 40th birthday when their child was only 7 years old, she was caught unprepared. Having lost his job in this bad economy some time prior, he had no life insurance. Anne was left with nothing. You would think this would be the point where the good Christian people of her in-laws church or the church who rented the house to her would show the world their quality. Well, they did alright.

It began at the funeral, which had two officiants, one being the pastor of the in-laws church, at their insistence. The other was a dearly beloved community Rabbi of a Lexington synagogue. The Rabbi's words were kind, compassionate, and endearing. He reached out to the family and offered hope, healing, and peace.

The pastor of the in-laws church, not so much. He basically said that the deceased Jewish man was in hell, and if the rest of the attendees didn’t want to end up there, too, they had better give money to his church. Not to the widow and the disabled child, mind you. They were not offered anything. To the church. They took up a collection. For the church. At the funeral. Anne became physically ill listening to this garbage and was then berated by these good church people for throwing up in the hallway. After all, it was all her fault, you know. As ill-bred and tacky as all that is to the rest of us, it gets worse.

The in-laws, afterward, apparently with the encouragement of their church, continued to heap psychological abuse on the child, trying to shame him into hating his mother and Judaism, and telling him hell awaited all Jews. The child, confused and frightened, regressed in his therapy and did not do well in school. Though Anne does not now have health insurance, she did not take her son out of his essential therapy, either. The bills are piling up. As you can guess, the in-laws were certainly not interested in helping to pay the treatment costs for a therapist trying to undo their perverted mental warfare against the child.

When it became clear that their proselytizing efforts were not going to cause the Jewish lady to suddenly convert to their heartless and hateful church, the Presbyterians decided to evict the widow and her child from the home they had been renting, which was owned by the church. Anne was asked when she and her husband first rented whether or not she was a "Jew for Jesus." That probably should have set off some alarm bells. Fast forward to after the funeral, now claiming they had never agreed to wait each month until her social security death benefits arrived, they said she had not paid her rent on time and ordered her and her child out with no recourse. They wanted another month's rent from her as well, even though she was being evicted, but of course she had to use her limited available funds to put a deposit and pay the first month's rent on a new place. They are now claiming she owes them over $1000 dollars for a month's rent on a home she was forced out of and could not occupy during that time.

So, the widow and her son packed up, and moving day was stressful and traumatic, especially for a developmentally disabled child. Worse, the child’s pet kitten escaped during the move, ran out of the house and could not be located. Though the child was upset, at last they had to leave without the kitten. They simply didn’t have hours to continue looking for it. The church had demanded they leave, and the move had to go on schedule.

Then, the church appeared to relent somewhat of their vindictive and hateful behavior, and said the widow’s sister-in-law, the daughter of her in-laws, “fine” Christian people (but not Presbyterian), could finish out the lease. As she was moving in, however, they changed their minds and ordered her out, also, and sent a notice to the widow indicating their intent to sue her for “damages” to the property. You will notice from the pictures below, there is no “damage” to speak of, other than perhaps normal wear and tear of living there for 5 years.

The church, of course, did not maintain their property in any significant way during that time. An outside outlet that caught fire due to their failure to repair it in a timely manner was removed only after Anne was forced out, since they apparently did not want any new tenants to realize how lackadaisical their stewardship actually is. Here are pictures of a missing smoke detector, a missing outlet, and an electric box which failed inspection that the Presbyterian church refused to repair from the time Anne and her husband first moved in, as well as accumulated water damage along a roofline that they were apparently not sufficiently concerned about to fix.

Nonetheless, Anne spackled the nail holes in the walls to prepare the place to be painted for the new tenants and cleaned everything thoroughly as they prepared to move. (Hoping to buy the home from the church at some point in the future, Anne and her husband had actually installed some beautiful tilework and put in a patio at their own expense before he died, too. It was actually in nicer shape when she left it than when they arrived, except for the church's own deferred maintenance issues.) In an apparent attempt to extort even more money from the widow, they are suing anyway.

And for good measure they called and filed a complaint with Animal Control, claiming the widow and child had “abandoned” the kitten on the property and left it in a shed.

So now the Jewish widow has hastily decamped to a rental home that is far away from the school where the special needs child was receiving remedial services and therapy, thanks to these wonderful Christian people whose hatred of Jews and Judaism, whose spite-filled hearts and corrupt spirits, give decent people a bad vibe, to say the least. And they wonder why she didn’t want to join their church!

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