Say it ain’t so Pastor Joe

A story I first broke back in August continues to gain momentum, with the Everett Herald devoting a large chunk of their front page yesterday to the plight of the residents of the Cedar Springs Bible Camp. The residents — mostly retired ministers, missionaries and church workers — built permanent homes on land leased from the Bible Camp, but now face eviction at the hands of Pastor Joe Fuiten, who recently took control of the board.

The politically connected Pastor Fuiten has become an influential player in the Washington State Republican Party, using his Cedar Park mega-church as a platform for promoting right-wing causes and candidates. He is a close advisor to US Senate candidate Mike McGavick, serving as an original member of his exploratory committee, and giving the invocation at his campaign kickoff. Fuiten is also a fierce opponent of gay civil rights, and promises another effort to repeal the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

Fuiten, who normally craves the media spotlight, seems a tad annoyed at the unwelcome and negative press coverage he’s been getting.

“That’s part of what fries me about these yahoos out there when they accuse us of not being interested in the poor,” Fuiten said. “We bless them with an inexpensive place to stay and they call us all kinds of names in the media.”

For the record, here’s one of those “yahoos” Fuiten is fried at:

Pastor Joe Fuiten calls this retired minister a 'yahoo'Pastor Fuiten called this 80-year-old retired minister a “yahoo.” Hmm. That’s not very Christian of him.

Well, at least he didn’t call her a “Christian-hating Jew and homosexual.” (I believe that particular epithet was aimed at me.)

The lease dispute centers on Fuiten’s refusal to include an automatic renewal, a provision the residents have enjoyed for the past 40 years, and without which their homes become worthless. If Fuiten truly is interested in the poor he would find some way to accommodate elderly retirees like Rev. Cohrs-Thackwell, who has devoted her entire life to serving the same Assemblies of God denomination that Pastor Fuiten claims to represent.

And he better come to an accommodation quick, because this story is not going away. The residents now have competent legal representation, and are prepared for a battle of attrition. And the further the local media delve into this dispute, the further they will delve into Pastor Fuiten’s tangled web of financial and real estate dealings.

So to all my friends in the press who haven’t yet looked into this slowly unfolding scandal, I encourage you to take a gander. There’s plenty of story here to go around.

Just follow the money.


  1. 1

    rhp6033 spews:

    I think perhaps part of the “lease” arrangement for these homes was an understanding that the pastors would be avoiding property taxes this way. Since most pastors have very modest retirement incomes, that is a serious consideration. If the camp is non-profit, and the lesae amounts are small, then would the lot leases not be subject to the property tax?

    Of course, playing such games comes back to bite you. They gave up their future security by investing in a home where the land itself is controlled by someone else. That’s always dangerous. Some of the tenants owning houses (but renting the lot) on the Tulallip reservation are finding that out. The tribe has decided not to renew the leases in the future, and now the value of those homes is virtually nill. The tenants can stay in them until the leases expire, but they can’t sell the houses or even mortgage them.

  2. 2

    stedman spews:

    re 4: The kicker is that the Red Chinese WalMarts are unionized!

    Although, the higher gas prices go, the more it hurts WalMart. Believe it or not, my Wingnut friends and neighbors, people only have so much discretionary cash. And if it’s all going into our gas tanks, then you’ll have to depend on the billionaires to spend their tax savings on cheap goods at WalMart.

    Smells like 1929 all over again.

  3. 3

    vancouver sucks spews:

    Yeah. Fruiten’s brand of Christianity…the dominionist “prosperity” type actually believes that maximizing profit is the way you maximize the Lord God here on earth.

    Talk about religious corruption, Joe hits all of the five warning signs of a corrupted religion:
    1. Absolute truth claims;
    2. Blind Obedience;
    3. Establishing and Ideal time (the Time is at Hand!”);
    4. The Ends Justify the Any Means;
    5. Declaring Holy War.

    “Joe took the Jesus out of Christianity, and Passed the Savings on to him!”

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “Pastor Fuiten … using his Cedar Park mega-church as a platform for promoting right-wing causes and candidates … is a close advisor to US Senate candidate Mike McGavick …”

    Mike?! McGavick is the problem, not the solution.

  5. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Wingnuts habitually tar liberals with their guilt-by-association gimmick. Well, turnabout is fair play! McGavick should be known by the company he keeps.

    Do you really want to be represented in the U.S. Senate by someone whose friends steal the homes of retired ministers and kicks old people out onto the curb — to make a buck?

  6. 7

    rhp6033 spews:

    As I’ve mentioned before, I am a Democrat and an evangelical protestant (yes, that’s not an oxymoran – it is possible). So I won’t get invovled in tarring all protestant pasters with a broad brush for the business or political affairs of one of them. And actually, I’ll choose to refrain from attacking Rev. Fulton, because I don’t think it will help any of the parties involved.

    But this sort of issue is exactly the reason why I don’t think pastors of churches, or the churches themselves, should be involved in politics, public schools, or business ventures. I say this not because it is detrimental to society, but because it hurts the churches themselves.

    Churches and their pastors need to deal with the spiritual affairs of men and women. Its not like there isn’t enough work to do in that area, and they have lots of excess time. The numbers relating to divorce, suicide, drug and alchohol addiction, sexual preditors, etc. all show that there is a spiritual need which isn’t being met. Perhaps we should focus the attention of our paid clergy to those areas, instead of to politics generally?

    But it’s easier to blame the politicians, or the courts, or the “liberal media” for our failures to make a bigger impact in this area. “Take away the easy sex from TV and movies, some argue, and our teenagers won’t be so inclined to have children out of wedlock”. But there will always be temptation, as there was before TV and movies were ever invented. We need to change people’s hearts, before we can change their conduct. And only they can choose to change their heart.

    When a church, or a pastor, takes an overtly political role, then it sends the message that those of other political beliefs are not welcome. That is exactly the wrong message a church should be sending.

    In the 1960’s, “activist liberal clergy” who spoke out against the Vietnam War were roundly criticized by the conservative politicians and commentators. But beginning in the late 1970’s, some conservative evangelicals decided that this was a mistake, and that by failing to be actively involved in politics they had surrendered to much territory. So the “Moral Majority” and other groups were formed, and they have provided a reliable base for Republican electoral victories over the past quarter-century. But even so, their own agenda has hardly been advanced. Gay rights have advanced far more than they were in the 1970’s. Abortion remains legal, and polls indicate that the right to abortion is more favored than dis-favored among the American public. The Bible is still not taught in the public schools. So I have to ask those who want Christians to be actively involved in politics: How is that working out for you?

    Of course, few of my fellow evangelicals would agree with me that the Bible should not be taught in public schools. The reason for my departure from that “orthodoxy” is simple. I wouldn’t dare to want half the teachers who taught my children ever try to teach them the Bible. Its not that they were bad teachers (well, some of them were), but I don’t want someone who doesn’t believe in it themselves to try to teach it to kids. I would think that anyone who thinks about this a bit would agree on that point. Also, if the Bible can be taught, then it will only be a couple of years before a teacher wants to offer a course in Wiccan, or some other religion which I would rather not have my children exposed to. So I think the Bible teaching should be left to the churches and the parents.

    As for business affairs, I think the current issue shows a tendency in the mega-churches to expand too far from their central focus. If the finances are available, they tend to want to create an entire community system which will be seperate and apart from the community at large. I knew one pastor who barely had a hundred people in his church, and was making plans to open a retirement center/nursing home to cater to Christian retirees. My opinion was that if he wanted to devote his time to that, he should turn over the ministry of the church to someone else, and go with that vision seperatly. He didn’t seem to like that advice.

    But we aren’t in the ministry to create our own little empires. We are supposed to be in the ministry to convert souls.

  7. 8

    busdrivermike spews:

    I’m Mike McGavick, and Ted Stevens approved this message.

    Now, where is the bar, and my car keys.

  8. 9

    ChimpPatrol spews:

    What? Another Holy Roller Wingnut with a lack of understanding of Christianity? He must be related to the Welsher and jch.

  9. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I think this “church”‘s tax-exempt status should be revoked. It may be a profit-making business or a political party, or a combination of both, but it sure-as-hell isn’t a “Christian” church or any other kind of church. It’s a CINO (church in name only).

  10. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    Wal-Mart, under fire for years because of its anti-labor policies, has dumped GOP consultant Terry Nelson, who created the racist anti-Ford ads in the Tennessee Senate race. Even Wal-Mart can’t take Nelson’s sleazy campaign tactics.

  11. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Hey Fuiten! I hope you’re reading this. Want some kinky animal sex? Go to Frank Blethen’s house. There’ll be a pig farm next door shortly, run by the folks who provide Republican yahoos with equine stud services in Enumclaw.

  12. 13

    busdrivermike spews:

    I’m Dave Reichart, and I would have captured Ted Bundy if DNA had been around.

    Then, we could have talked about raping and killing all buddy buddy style. Like I did with the GReen River Killer. Who I apprehended single-handedly. Well, with some help from my girlfriend…Morgan Fairchild…yeah that’s it, Morgan Fairchild.

  13. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Thank God we live in America, where even a psychopath can make a good living, thanks to our freedoms that allow reptiles like Fuiten to bottle and sell snake oil as “religion.”

    Take this bastard down, Goldy!

  14. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Wal-Mart’s anti-union bullying of employees isn’t the only reason the world’s biggest retailer has a public image problem. They’re also sending shiploads of American money — and millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs — to our good friend Red China; and they’re freeloading on American taxpayers by dumping their employee health care costs on Medicaid and state health programs.

  15. 16

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    The easiest way to spot a crook, a pedophile, a con man or a hypocrite is to find a pastor.

  16. 17

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Yep, that’s the state of fundamentalist Christianity these days. Spend your entire life serving your flock, doing good works, sacrificing much of what the secular world has to offer, and what do you get for your troubles? You get your home taken away from you so the landlord can put up a strip mall, or find some other, more profitable use for the land. I’ll never rank on any religion, or any person’s choice of faith (unless of course they use it as justification for things such as this), But would Jesus even be able to comprehend this, saying ‘You would do this and call yourself a man of God?”