The web site of Victory Fellowship Church in Council Bluffs, Iowa, has much in common with conservative evangelical churches that host fraudulent “ex-gay” ministries:
- It sells “sexual purity” to people who have been trained to feel “broken.”
- It preaches an emotion-driven pentecostal outlook which is not held accountable to history, science, or the constitutional rights and freedoms of minorities.
- Its leaders and school have few apparent credentials or certifications.
- Its youth ministry and home fellowship groups have no listed safeguards to protect participants.
- Its sole political objective in the 2010 elections was to prevent LGBT people from marrying by hijacking the state supreme court. The church expresses no concern whatsoever about the Iowa GOP’s growing fiscal mess, health care, racial prejudice, rising child abuse, Iowa’s rising and costly prison population, corporate pollution of Iowa’s air and farm water, the energy crisis, or any other moral concern.
Victory Fellowship’s pentecostal good feelings, its disinclination toward accreditation and accountability, its desire to harm LGBT couples, and its obliviousness to the consequences of its political actions, all made the church ripe for exploitation by an antigay sexual predator whose idea of curing homosexual men was to molest them, much like other antigay thugs practice corrective rape to “cure” lesbians.
In the wake of the arrest of Brent Girouex, 31, on 60 counts of suspected sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist, the church’s confession leaves much unsaid:
Submitted by Teresa Nichols on Wed, 03/16/2011 – 2:09pm
Most of you are probably aware of the sad news concerning Brent Girouex who had been a trusted volunteer, Youth Pastor, and Elder at Victory Fellowship Church for over six years. This is a very difficult situation, and we are doing our best to do the right thing for each person involved.
Once the allegations were made known to us, it was with a heavy heart for the victims that we immediately demanded that Brent turn himself into the proper authorities.
To our knowledge, none of the crimes that were committed occurred at Victory Fellowship or during any church-related events. Regardless, our hearts still go out to the victims and to Brent’s family. We have secured and are providing a licensed counselor for these victims and have encouraged them all to undergo any necessary counseling. Thank you to everyone who has expressed their kindness and prayers for the victims as well as your generosity toward the family. We will continue to pray for the healing and restoration of each victim.
We are cooperating fully with the police in this case and recommend that any person having any information about this case should contact the Council Bluffs Police Department.
Thank you for your sensitivity and prayer for the victims.
LONNIE AND ELDER BOARD
The church was directly involved in Girouex’s “sexual purity” ministry, and it owes the public clearer answers.
- Action was not taken until at least four alleged victims came forward. How much time passed between the first report and the fourth?
- What safeguards were lacking, and what guidelines will the church enact to police its leaders and to protect congregants and area youth?
- What has the church learned about ex-gay sexual predation — anything at all?
- What donations were received by the church since 2007 on the basis of Girouex’s “sexual purity” ministry?
More broadly, the public should ask whether Girouex’s “sexual purity” ministry is substantially different from that of ex-gay guru, author, and former PFOX president Richard Cohen and his full-body “touch therapy” ministry, or the nude-encounter weekends that have been promoted by ex-gay think-tank NARTH.
Like other conservative churches that house antigay counselors, Victory Fellowship Church did too little to prevent abuse, and thus far has done too little to prevent further abuse in the future. Is the church’s ultimate goal the safety of its community — or political bluster and plausible deniability?