Tonight, KIRO-TV reported on the unfortunate predicament of community of retired ministers, missionaries and lay people who Pastor Joe Fuiten is seeking to evict from the Cedar Springs Bible Camp. This is a story I first broke a couple weeks ago, but have reluctantly sat on since… not because I don’t want to stick it to Pastor Fuiten, but because the residents asked me to hold my fire so that they would have the opportunity to work out a mutually acceptable lease. I even had the residents scheduled to come on KIRO radio with me, but cancelled their appearance after Fuiten’s attorney requested a truce.
Twice the residents extended the deadline, and twice Pastor Fuiten refused to negotiate in good faith. And so today the media truce was canceled, leaving me free to post.
Indeed, rather than negotiating a fair lease, Pastor Fuiten spent much of the past few weeks intimidating and disparaging the residents, threatening a local community newspaper with a libel suit, and personally telling one retired minister that his neighbors were conspiring with “Christian-hating Jews and homosexuals.” (I suppose he was referring to me.)
Of course, Pastor Fuiten has a documented history of duplicity and hate speech. As I’ve previously written, Pastor Fuiten was not only one of the most vocal backers of Referendum 65’s failed effort to repeal our state’s gay civil right’s legislation, he knowingly lied about R-65 to his parishioners. So it comes as no surprise that Pastor Fuiten and his spokespeople would lie about the lease dispute at Cedar Springs.
On KIRO-TV, Fuiten representative Ben Waggoner tried to deflect attention from the Pastor’s role in the controversy, claiming that he was “just one board member” out of many. But that’s not how Pastor Fuiten described his takeover of the camp in a sermon delivered at his local mega-church, the Cedar Park Assembly of God:
One of these days I hope to get in some fields on our north property and to develop the ballfields we already have into first-rate, all-weather surfaced fields. That will take a pile of money, but I personally think it is money well spent.
We are going to get a chance to do some of this work up in the Lake Stevens area. We were looking for land up there, and had found some which we pictured for you in the bulletin, when we were approached by Cedar Springs Camp about hooking up with them on their 153 acre campground just a mile down the road from where we wanted to buy. We have come to an agreement with them. Our board will become the official board of the camp. With that change, we will continue to strengthen the camping program while at the same time accommodating the development of day camps, youth sports, a school, our existing church and more.
And one of the ways he’s going to accommodate all that development is apparently by kicking retirees out of their houses.
I’ll have much more on this story as court documents are filed and become public record… unless of course, Pastor Fuiten changes his mind and chooses to do the right thing. I also intend to delve deeply into Pastor Fuiten’s close relationship with Mike McGavick, on whose exploratory committee he served, and for whom he continues to be a close advisor.
Sound like a threat? Damn right. And don’t think I don’t have the goods to carry it out.