719: THE WORLD’S MOST EVIL CHRISTIANS #1: LESTER ROLOFF (TEXAS 1960s)

The world’s most evil Christians, a new Zingcreed series by Peter Turner.

Whether in the Vatican or the Ku Klux Klan, the guilty will be named and the victims will be mourned. No original research has been involved, as all the information is in the public domain already. I shall simply be bringing together the facts I can uncover into a series of short clear Posts with suggestions for further reading.

This can be considered as a follow-up to the two recent Posts on Sado – evangelicals, or indeed to the earlier series on Christian atrocities, (in the index.)

What precisely is meant by evil? I don’t think there will be a problem identifying evil in practice. Hypocrisy is evident in each case – we will see Christians who preach high standards for the rest of us to follow then set about tormenting and killing the weak and the vulnerable. Why do religious institutions attract such people? Hopefully the psychology of these people will become a little clearer, as will the sociology of the institutions concerned.

What is conscience and how is it formed in a growing child? Are sociopaths born that way or are they formed? A glimpse at some answers may become possible as Zingcreed runs through a few recent ‘case histories.’ I’m not going back to the Middle Ages: there’s enough dirt to dig through in the past hundred years. If you want to delve into the Inquisition and the Crusades check out Zingcreed’s Christian Atrocities series in the Index (accessible on the title page under the butterfly.)

Let’s move on to the first case, which is linked to Post # 717 on the Alabama Saving Youth Foundation.

Name: Lester Roloff

Denomination: Independent Fundamental Baptist (US)

Occupation: Radio Preacher and founder of Rebekah Home for Girls, Corpus Christi, Texas

Background: “Today there is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States for residential treatment – one that sells an illusory promise to desperate parents: Your children’s addictions and mental health problems can be cured with a relatively quick (and usually expensive) fix. Yet the danger of abuse and neglect is a real threat for many of the 200,000 to 400,000 young people trapped in poorly monitored secular and religious “group care” facilities and “troubled teens” residential schools and unlicensed treatment programs. Too often, critics say, these programs profit off the misery of emotionally troubled kids, substance abusers or just rebellious youth. “These are throwaway children,” says Jodi Hobbs, president of the nonprofit group Survivors of Institutional Abuse. “They are looked at as dollar signs, not as individuals.”
…..Unregulated religious schools, many of which push fundamentalist Christian beliefs and employ violently harsh discipline against enrollees. ” (Newsweek, 10 march 2017)

Roloff’s role: Fiery Baptist  radio preacher Lester Roloff is charged with inspiring the purveyors of these programs which stand accused of whippings, beatings and rapes. The numerous boarding schools cite the biblical importance of breaking the will of the child. “If you’re not bruising your child,” a pastor declares in a 2017 sermon captured by ABC News’s 20/20, “you’re not spanking your child enough.” Roloff created the template for all these reformatories with his Rebekah Home for Girls in Texas in the 1960s. “Treatment” involved vicious corporal punishment and locking kids in isolation rooms where his sermons were played endlessly. Over more than 2 decades, the preacher was arrested a few times and his school relocated to various states to sidestep any state laws mandating oversight. Yet Roloff faced few consequences, even though one lawsuit had affidavits from 16 girls who said they were whipped with straps, severely paddled and handcuffed to pipes. “Better a pink bottom than a black soul,” Roloff declared at a 1973 court hearing.

Do you think he’s bad? You ain’t seem nothing yet!

Source:
“The Jesus gulag” Newsweek 10/03/2017 by Art Levine, abbreviated and edited by Peter Turner. Copyright Art Levine.
Adapted from “Mental health Inc.: How corruption, lax oversight, and failed reforms endangered our most vulnerable citizens” by Art Levine, Overlook Press 2017. All rights reserved.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: