Rev. Paul T. McCain, the obnoxious, festering Boil on the face of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod

The Reverend, Paul T. McCain
Publisher & Executive Director of Editorial,
Concordia Publishing House
official publishing house of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod
Ordained minister and a member of leadership in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod

I loved my approximately three years in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.  I loved being an orthodox Lutheran Christian!  I truly believed that I had finally found a Church that followed the true teachings of Jesus and the apostles.  And, to top it off, in what other Christian denomination can you boast of your unwavering belief in the inerrancy of the Holy Bible, while drinking a cold German beer with your pastor at the church Oktoberfest?  I enjoyed every minute of my orthodox Lutheranism.

Without a doubt, the overwhelming majority of LCMS Lutheran Christians are very kind, compassionate, and downright enjoyable people.  The teachers and faculty of my children’s LCMS school were absolutely wonderful.  The congregation of our local LCMS church was filled with wonderful, loving, caring, generous, non-judgmental, fun, people whom I and my family dearly miss.

Having blogged for almost three years as an orthodox LCMS blogger, under the blog title, Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals, I became familiar with and even conversed with a number of LCMS pastors.  I can’t say with complete accuracy, but my bet is that 80% of the LCMS pastors are good, conservative, but yet, very compassionate people.  LCMS president/bishop Matthew Harrison and Pastor Martin Noland are two outstanding representatives of this group of LCMS pastors.  Both are compassionate, good-hearted, and humble men.  I have the greatest respect for Pastor Harrison and Pastor Noland as men and fellow human beings.

Unfortunately, I cannot use this kind of complimentary language with approximately 30% of the pastors in the LCMS.  The pastors of The Brothers of John the Steadfast blog (excluding Pastor Noland) epitomize this group:  nasty, mean-spirited, judgmental, and quick to publically crucify anyone whom they believe has strayed even a millimeter from the fundamentalist/orthodox/confessional Lutheran playbook (Confessions).  Many in this group have expressed, anonymously and online, their contempt for the “wishy washy” (liberal/heterodox) comportment of President Harrison and other members of LCMS leadership.  But they continue to lose LCMS elections, so they remain a minority, a loud and obnoxious minority, but a minority all the same.

And then we come to Rev. Paul T. McCain, ordained LCMS pastor and Publisher of the Concordia Publishing House, the official publishing house of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.  I would place Pastor McCain in a class all to himself. 

It isn’t as if I just had the misfortune of running into McCain online in the last few days.  I have watched this man’s online behavior for three years now.  It is always the same:  “Agree with me or you are an idiot.  Give me a few minutes and will give you a new bodily orifice for daring to disagree with me, and, I let the entire internet world know just how much of an idiot I think you really are.  Hee hee hee. ”  I have never in my life heard such nasty vitriol come out of the mouth of any Christian pastor or priest, Protestant or Catholic, than the vile, self-absorbed rantings of this man. 

Paul T. McCain is truly a mean-spirited, vicious, sorry excuse for a human being. 

But let’s let Rev. McCain (Rev. McNasty, as I prefer to call him) speak for himself.  Below are comments found on the internet by the infamous, “Ass of the LCMS”, Rev. Paul T. McCain.  I present them as evidence that this obnoxious, rude, condescending jackass-excuse of a clergyman has no business whatsoever being in a place of leadership nor holding the title of “pastor” in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.  I call on the honorable, decent, LCMS Synod President, District presidents, and the 80% of LCMS pastors who actually practice the compassionate teachings of Jesus, to immediately remove from office and defrock this boil that daily sullies the reputation of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.  This pompous, pontificating jackass has dragged the name of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod through the sewage and mud long enough: 

Lance this Boil, gentlemen!
The REAL Paul T. McCain, aka, Pastor McNasty




    Comment by Pastor Magnus Nørgaard Sørensen on August 16, 2010 at 7:01am           

    Paul T. McCain, I have deleted your post because of its insulting commentary regarding Pr. Rake. You are welcome to defend your position and also to defend your lack of defense for your defenseless and selfcontradicting opinion about the Mission Province. But you can keep your uncontrolled and rude personal insults against those, who disagreew with you elsewhere.

    The rest of your comment can be seen here:

    “Apparently some people labor under the false idea that they have a right to use my blog site or Facebook page to grind their axes and argue ad naseum. I rarely ban anyone from participating on my blog or Facebook page, but when it does happen, it is because a person has determined that they are going to try to use my blog site, or my Facebook page, to push their agenda. You are free to do so, but you can start your own blog and your own Facebook page and have at it.”

    No one has, as far as I can see, claimed a right to push their agenda on your pages. But some of us have used our right to comment on your use of your blog, facebook page etc. Your right to moderate comments on your pages does not mean, that others don’t have a right to comment your rude behavior in using your right.

    This discussion shows, that your claim, that you rarely ban someone from your blog, isn’t true. In our private mail-correspondance about your blocking of me, you made quite a few accusations that you were not able to substantiate. I have seen more of this kind of accusations from your hand by looking a bit around. As far as I can see, you usually ban and insult people in stead of defending your position theologically, when they disagree with you.

    I also think that your accusations against the STLK in Finland, both privately and publicly are against the eight commandment, as long as you have not substantiated them. You should repent of your sin and make contact to the STLK.


    Source:  here


    Comment by Timothy Alan Rake on August 12, 2010 at 1:44pm
    Pope Paul (McCain) blocked a post that had the audacity to hold an opinion contrary to his own??? Shocking! Why, this is unheard of . . .

    Comment by Suzee on August 12, 2010 at 2:31pm
    Join the club. I didn’t disagree with him in the following blog link. I asked who the statue was of in a photo he posted with one of his blogs.

    You, me, and many others have been slighted by the dear pastor (McCain). They will know we are Christians by our love?

    Comment by Timothy Alan Rake on August 12, 2010 at 8:04pm

    Well, there you go! You should have known better than to ask Pope Paul (McCain) a question. Who do you think you are that he should deign to spend his time answering such trivia! LOL 😉

    Source:  here


    1. I was just informed that George is an ELCA Lutheran. What a tragedy!
    2. Paul, your past rudeness caused me to decide some time ago that I would not respond to your barbs. Now you can add false witness as another reason.
    Sources:  here

      (Gary:  Notice the moniker associated with the name “Paul McCain”?  Now, where have I seen that recently??  Hmm.)
    From today’s blog on Cranach:

    Well, well, well.  I’m sure its just a coincidence, right?  Or, just maybe, Rev. McCain and his minions over on Cranach have just been shown to be lying sons-of-bitches.
    Rev. Paul T. McCain says:

    Let’s be clear about one very, very important thing…far more significant than gossipy snark about a voting process.

    The “pulse” of the Synod and its “heartbeat” is most clearly heard and felt NOT at any conference, convention, gathering, event or any other such activity, no matter who is sponsoring it or doing it.

    The real “heartbeat” of the Synod is that of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose forgiving lifeblood pulses into and through His precious means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments, as the Holy Spirit gathers people around them in the congregations of the Synod.

    (Gary:  Yes, Pastor McNasty, trot out the corpse of Jesus whenever you want to pontificate, but then go back to your usual nasty, mean-spirited, snarking, self righteous behavior…which we will soon see much more of.)

    Source:  here


    Richard Strickert says:

    That wasn’t me, Susan, who made the “snark” comment to you.
    Paul (McCain) seems to think it’s cute to use my name on a blog he hasn’t been kicked off yet. Carl Vehse may be right.

    Todd Wilken says:

    Brad, we are all LCMS, but that means different things to different people. TW

    (Gary:  Todd Wilken?  Now…this isn’t the true identity of our sniveling little Toddler over on Cranach, is it??)

    Source:  here


    Rev. Paul T. McCain Says:

    Phil, I’d find your argument far more compelling if you would first go out and cancel all your insurance policies: home, auto, life, health, and also withdraw from any/all retirement savings plans. Let me know when you do that then I’ll consider taking your blog post more seriously.

    Source:  here


    John: If you do not think the distinction between a qualified and an unqualified subscription to the Lutheran Confessions is important, I now can more fully understand why you are cheering Matthew Becker on.

    I do hope Matt Becker will provide us with a list of all the errors in assertions that he has found in the Book of Concord, since now he has declared the Athanasian Creed to be in error in its assertion about the necessity of confessing God’s Word correctly.



    1. Pr. McCain – What I do not understand is why a professed “confessional” Lutheran would put so much emphasis on a teaching that is not found in the Confessions to distinguish himself from other Lutherans. It sounds very much like a self-contradicting argument because your “unqualified subscription” is very much “qualified” by the non-confessional dogma to which you have also subscribed.

      And, please note that I am not “cheering Matthew Becker on”. I do not know Dr. Becker except for conversations on this blog and some of his sermons which are on the internet – sermons which I find spiritually edifying and consistent with the LCMS theology in which I was raised.

      I am trying to better understand your criticism of him. I am trying to better understand why some LCMS pastors behave as though it is more important to use the light that we have been given to seek out every last leaven of doctrinal “impurity” under their basket, rather than to let it shine for the world to see. I am trying to better understand why some LCMS pastors are so focused on hounding their clergy brethren rather than tend to the flocks which they are called to shepherd. And, I am trying to better understand the evolution in LCMS’ theology that has occurred since my youth.

    Source:  here


    Anonymous said…

    Imonk (Internet Monk) is great, but definitely has his quirks.

    CPH (Concordia Publishing House/LCMS) must have just recently put materials on amazon, because I remember trying to order lsb and treasury there and not being able to. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen cph materials in a christian bookstore. Why is that?

    Finally, a pet peeve/hobby horse of mine is this: if cph’s mission is to spread the gospel, why not publish more public domain works at low cost?
    How about a best of tlh paperback for 2.50, kretzmanns commentary in paperback. or the confessions! 30 for public domain material that is free on the web is too much.


    Paul McCain said…

    Anonymous, can you please donate your income to us and then we can give things away for free?

    If you don’t do that, why not?

    Let me know please.

    ; )


    Rev. Jim Roemke said…

    Maybe it would also help if certain CPH employees were not snarky to customer suggestions 🙂
    (note: sine I put in a smiley emoticon its all good.)

    Paul McCain said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Paul McCain said…

    Jim, let me know when you start donating your paycheck from your congregation back to your congregation and donating your services for free so they can give away more money to the poor.

    : )


    Rev. Jim Roemke said…

    No one is asking you or CPH to “give” anything away. The Anon commentor was simply making some suggestions as to what he/she thought might be helpful. Despite it being a “ministry” CPH is also a business and a business does well to listen to its customers, not make smart-alecky comments when they present well-meaning, if not always realistic suggestions. I am very thankful that the CPH rep in our circuit has taken the time to actually LISTEN to my suggestions, comments and complaints about CPH products. Most of the time they are praiseworthy, which I am sure you enjoy hearing, but occasionally they are critical. I know that you are definitely NOT the person I would bring my critique of anything CPH does and as a consumer of CPH’s overwhelmingly fine product, there have been times that your “CPH knows best” attitude has been a real turn-off. You don’t need to be so rude when suggestions are made, that’s all 🙂

    Source:  here


    It seems that Rev. McCain’s impulse to finally mention me on his blog has something to do with a marked dislike of my person. On the same discussion thread (the next day) he “proclaimed”:

    By the way, this particular post and thread has set Dave “I’m a Roman Catholic apologist” Armstrong off on what can only be described as a temper tantrum becoming a three year old. It is however a very good illustration with the problem of most of this on-line “apologetics” work going on. Dave tried to bait me into an argument, one of his favorite tactics, and then failing to do that he didn’t take kindly to some observations I made about his blog site and his apologetics methodologies and then the mud really started to fly.

    Armstrong is a convert from what he calls “Evangelicalism” though admitted to be a member of an ELCA congregatio[n] at some point or another. Now, as is so often the case, he must breathlessly, with near desperation, “defend” Romanism against any perceived slight. The funny thing is that he can’t see that the very things he finds as faults with others and how they express themselves, are all precisely the same way he conducts his “apologetics ministry” only at about a multiplying factor of ten.

    It finally gives me a good case of the giggles.  (Gary:  Grow the hell up, McNasty!)

    Pray for this man. He is a pastor and presumably guides his congregation in the pastoral sense of spiritual oversight. God used Balaam’s ass and frogs (one of the plagues on the Egyptians), so I’m sure He can and does mightily use Pastor McCain and blesses his ministry, but hopefully, juvenile expressions and “thinking” like this are the exception to the rule in his discourse and counseling and preaching. But it may not be, for all we know. Pray! Ask the Blessed Virgin Mary and other saints to intercede before God for this man, that he may cease providing scandalous example of the behavior of a man of the cloth. It isn’t just a “Protestant problem.” Divisive, overly-sectarian, propagandistic-like antics of any Christian has some adverse effect on all Christians insofar as those who read him project his attitudes onto all of us. It’s not good (least of all for the one doing it).

    —Paul McCain has been banned from LutherQuest, ALPB’s Online Forum, and now the Intrepid Lutherans.

    The strangest part of this is my obvious distance from the Intrepid Lutherans. I have no role in its management, no suggestions for anything they cover. I do not link them on my blog. Meanwhile, McCain pops up on various forums and tells people they cannot link Ichabod, etc. I heard that happened at least once on Steadfast (sic) Lutherans (sic). I only read those if someone gives me a link to a post differing from the predictable instant mashed potatoes rah rah for Holy Mother Synod and its infallible ruler.
    I would define a psychotic as someone who puts “The Word of God Remains Forever” on his pistolero collection and teaches against the Scriptures, full-time. I teach at three institutions of higher learning, including graduate school. They frown on employing psychotics.  Sadly, McCain cannot teach at a college or university. He is not qualified. His writing and editing skills are on display every time he posts something original, such as the incoherent rant above.

    Source:  here


    …Reclaim News has reproduced Rev. Paul T. McCain reflections on the election of a gay bishop in the Episcopal Church.  McCain is the interim President of Concordia Publishing House, a subsidiary of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

    We appreciate McCain’s clear thinking on the subject but do no share some of his optimism about the LCMS.  Of course, McCain is in a difficult position. He is the Interim President because LCMS President Gerald Kieschnick will not agree to McCain’s appoint as President of CPH.  However, the current Board of Directors of CPH refuses to offer Kieschnick another choice for President.  Hence, McCain remains the “Interim” President in a Mexican Standoff between the LCMS President and the CPH Board of Directors.

    McCain has to be careful about what he says.  It takes a cast iron intestinal track to be part of a meeting of LCMS District Presidents and University Presidents knowing that most of them would like to take communion with ELCA sodomites.  Most of the LCMS District Presidents will not support any LCMS Pastor who refuses to serve communion to ELCA sodomites.

    After you read this article you will know why Kieschnick will never approve McCain’s appointment.  McCain simply insults too many of Kieschnick’s friends.  We can expect McCain to be out of office the moment Kieschnick’s COP cronies help elect new CPH baord members at the 2004 LCMS Convention.

    Concordia Publish House Paul T. McCain,

    August 8, 2003

    Greetings Cyberbrethren:

    Where This Begins . . . And Ends

    Some reflections on the week’s events at the Episcopalian Church USA’s

    The one very important thing to note that has not been clearly pointed out is that the ECUSA headed down this slippery slope when they approved the ordination of women years ago. And of course this was all made possible when they embraced the higher critical method of Biblical interpretation decades before. When the binding authority of the Sacred Scriptures is rejected, the result is nearly inevitable. The ECUSA has given aid and comfort, for decades, to heretics like Bishop Spong.

    Therefore, the level of “shock” at the most recent turn of events in the ECUSA is really not justified, given their history over the past several decades. Why any church that calls itself “Lutheran” would even think of full communion with the ECUSA is simply beyond my ability to comprehend.

    The ordination of women as pastors has led, yes, even demands, the ordination of homosexuals. If Scripture’s clear statements that prohibit the ordination of women as pastors can be ignored, or reinterpreted, so  also every verse that speaks negatively about homosexuals.

    What’s next? One shudders to think. What is there in Scripture that would prohibit a loving, consenting relationship between boys and men? Or who can now judge the love shared among multiple couples of various genders, all sharing a group marriage? Who dares to impose their interpretation on such things? Who can say such things are sin if love there is enjoyed and expressed? As the homosexual bishop put it, who could say all these expressions of love are not gifts from God and hence sacramental? What about bestiality? Can we say that this is not also an avenue for God’s sacramental love expressed between his creatures? The same thinking, the same principles, the same presuppositions and logic, require all these things to be accepted as well. Otherwise, how could they avoid the charge of being close-minded, treating Scripture as a rulebook, practicing “proof texting” and the like.

    The ordination of women in the church is a failed experiment of monumental proportions. It is responsible for the importation into the church of alien doctrines of theology (the doctrine of God), anthropology (the doctrine of man) and Christology (the doctrine of Christ), etc. It has introduced a feminist world-view that twists and distorts the Biblical text. The qualification for the pastoral office, that the office holder be a male, is very clear. Discarding this Biblical mandate has led to a whole host of other theological distortions, errors and heresies…

    Source:  here

    (Gary:  That’s right, Pastor McNasty.  Once we allow gays and lesbians to love one another with the blessing of God and Church, all hell will break loose:  Before you know it, everyone will be having sex with little boys and sheep! 

    Damn to hell those Sodomites and Feminists for destroying Jesus’ Church!  But, there is no prohibition or limitation to self-righteous, vicious, mean-spirited speech by Churchmen like yourself, McNasty, pridefully calling to arms the “true faithful” to come to the rescue of Jesus’ reputation and to crush the filthy scum of modern Enlightened thinking with your “I’m-holier-than-thou” preaching of the Law and Gospel. 

    I’m gonna puke.  What a pompous, self-righteous braying ass this man is!)


    A Public Apology from Paul McCain

    May 29th, 2012 Post by

    It is important that I publicize an apology I recently made to the Synod’s Commission on Constitutional Matters for a comment I posted on the Brothers of John the Steadfast site on April 18, 2012.

    Here is my original comment, posted on BJS on April 18, 2012.

    I believe when there is a less than partisan and agenda-driven CCM in position after the next Synodical convention we may find resolution to these issues. As it stands now, the present CCM is issuing opinions that are based on idealogical loyalties, not balanced, objective opinions, such as their latest position that a pastor who communes at an ELCA altar is not participating in the rites and ceremonies of a heterodox body as long as he is not participating in the sense of being involved In the liturgical observances, that is, vested and involve directly in the worship service. Yes, I know, plainly absurd, but this is the kind of vacuous opinions we are getting at present from the CCM, so do not look to them to sort through these issues in any helpful way.

    Here the apology I sent to the CCM.

    Thank you for your letter of May 15 offering me brotherly reproof and admonishment, sent in the spirit of Matt. 18. I’m humbled by it and confess my sin against the Eighth Commandment, and all of you, as you rightly point out. You have my apology and request for forgiveness, and I ask you to share this letter with the members of the CCM.

    (Gary:  Yes, Pastor McNasty. You’ve pissed off your bosses; they have called you out; your job may be in jeopardy; so by all means grovel in a pious act of repentance.  But, why don’t we find such mea culpas splattered all over the internet, following your many, many online excoriations of your fellow Christians and skeptics?  Let me guess:  no consequences, right?)

    Gary:  And there are more comments by Pastor McNasty hovering out their in the blogosphere, just waiting for someone unfamiliar at all with the Christian Faith, to read one of his nastygrams and wonder, “That is the religion of Jesus?  …not interested!”

    If you find any McNasty comments that you would like to add to the list, please copy and paste them in the comment section below.  I will do the same.

    In conclusion:  Are the DP’s of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod all nonagenarians?  Bedridden, nursing home residents who have never seen a computer or ventured onto the Internet?  How can these “men of God” not know about this prick’s obnoxious behavior, present on the internet for years, and yet they have done nothing to force this idiot from office?  It is mind boggling.  This is why Christianity is in decline.  The younger generations just do not buy this hypocrisy:  Attacking and demonizing harmless gays and lesbians while allowing this internet Bully (troll??) to roam the World Wide Web, launching personal character attacks at will in the name of Jesus Christ, with the name, Official of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, attached to his lapel.

    Pathetic, Gentlemen.  Absolutely, pathetic.




    32 thoughts on “Rev. Paul T. McCain, the obnoxious, festering Boil on the face of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod

    1. I'm surprised by you, Gary. Really, I am. This kind of vitriolic muckraking is beneath you. Calling people names, calling them sniveling or “lying sons of bitches”–is this reallybthe behavior you want associated with your name on the net? Aren't you the one who is supposed to have the moral high ground in your mind? This is petty.


    2. “The veneer of civility must be dropped in our War on the Purveyors of Hate.

      They must not be allowed the courtesy of sanctuary behind their fluttering black robes; their cross and icon shaped tom toms and voodoo dolls; their fancy sounding but worthless educational degrees in nothing more significant than PhD's in the Occult and Superstition.

      They must be seen for what they are: the scorn of Enlightened Society. They must be metaphorically brought kicking and screaming like the rabid, vicious, dangerous dogs that they are to the Court of Public Opinion, where they deserve our scorn and ridicule.”

      They are Evil incarnate. They are the Enemy.”


    3. Gary, you need to talk to someone about this. It's clear you won't listen to any Christians anymore, so ask your friend DagoodS. Ask him what he thinks about your behavior. You're only getting angrier, and you're not headed in a good direction.


    4. As much as I like DagoodS I really could care less what he or anyone else thinks about this issue.

      McCain and Veith started this fight; they have been allowed to peddle their fundamentalist hate-speech for far too long, in my opinion, without any significant repercussions, and I am now fully engaged at war with them.

      Other peddlers of hate, discrimination, bigotry, and arrogance be warned.


    5. Tu quoque is not a valid defense against accusations of error. It is, in fact, a logical fallacy.

      I don't think you'll find much, if any, support for McCain's behavior–at least, such as you've listed above. It has been remarked on and decried by not a few Lutherans, as even your excerpts demonstrate.

      Still doesn't mean your behavior is excusable. Or that you have any idea what you're talking about. You're deeply mistaken about McCain's role on Veith's blog, but you're so anger-driven right now that you won't listen to anyone tell you otherwise.


    6. So you're going to fight the problem of “hate peddling” by…peddling even more hate? That's your solution? To stoop to their level and be like them? If so, you no longer have any principle to defend. You're just trying to win at all costs.

      Of course, you're still deeply wrong about things. The fact that you're trying to implicate Veith in this is so laughable that it shows how out of it your hate has made you. And McCain may have done something to upset you (it's been known to happen to a few people), but you're wrong about his role on the blog.

      But then, you no longer seem to care about the facts. You apparently won't listen to those you consider allies.

      This is only going to end poorly for you, Gary. Stewing in your own seething anger is simply not a good idea.


    7. Your passivist nonsense was told to all social revolutionaries: Don't stir the pot. You will only make things worse and end up bitter.

      Thank goodness these fools were ignored then, and should be ignored now. Justice is worth fighting for. You will soon see why I include Veith in this war.


    8. Hey, Fundamentalist Prick: Who gives a shit what McCain's official role is on Cranach!

      What matters is that he is a paid official of the LCMS who censors speech that offends his fundamentalist viewpoints and sensitivities but then actively or at least passively condones and permits hate speech regarding other people who he judges as “sinning” and evil, by the definition of those terms in your disgustingly ignorant, violent, and vile ancient Voodoo Holy Book, but in actuality are not hurting anyone else. He and you are moral fascists and the Thought Police. You disgust me. I am at war with you.


    9. Your damn right, Fundie: I hate the Haters. I am intolerant of the Intolerant. They must be exposed, scorned, and pushed to the fringe of society to be ignored.


    10. Gary, a wise green muppet once said “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.” Tu quoques, snarling, cussing out people…really, this is bad, and you of all people should know this. You're just digging yourself into your hate deeper. I mean, what kind of example is this for your children? You always talk about how other people (especially Christians, in your mind) dole out hatred, and now you're doing it. And to add to this, you sound like a madman. Have you gone so far that you will no longer listen to reason? Or have you sold your soul to your emotions and hatred toward men you have never even met?

      I pity you, and will pray that you come to leave your hatred.


    11. Why do you assume that everybody who responds to you is a bigot, Fundie, or a Hater? For all you know we're not bigoted, non-fundamentalists who just don't like vitriol? Or fellow agnostics for that matter who just don't bother with making Blogger accounts? Are you really that angry that you're going to bite anyone who talks to you, even your potential allies who feel that your emotions are harming you?


    12. I'm pretty sure most of your fellow atheists even won't follow you on your yelling-at-the-sky quest there, Cap'n Ahab. Not sure, then, how you're going to actually get the whole of society on board with your witch hunt.


    13. so anon (anons? plural? wish you anons would choose some sort of moniker or screen name to make it easier to reply)

      you accuse gary of lying, claiming that the person(s) that he thinks banned him did not. why can't the blog in question clearly articulate who exactly runs the blog, and who decided to ban gary? are you personally asking the blog in question to for transparency in that regard? from the evidence presented, while it may not be a fact, it's a reasonable assumption given that gary was in fact banned, it it correlated with the person in question's comment to that effect.

      also, given you say that the person(s) gary thinks banned him is/are well known by others on the blog as being a bit obnoxious, have you personally asked the blog in question to ban those people? if not, why not? don't you think consistency and lack of hypocrisy is important? don't you want to improve the atmosphere of the discussion?

      in other words, why do you dump the entire problem on to gary, and do absolutely nothing to (a) make the banning process more transparent and accountable, and (b) ban to other people who are well-known for being obnoxious also?

      in particular, given that gary will not be commenting there any more, that leaves the forum to you and your ilk. why not improve that forum by getting rid of some other troublemakers?

      i suspect the reason why is that you give a “get-out-of-jail-free” card to anyone that believes like you do, and dump all the blame onto the people that do not agree with you, as is amply demonstrated in this episode. in fact, your entire theology reinforces this psychological defense mechanism, as anyone who is not a christian who has observed christians arguing will attest. between “not perfect, just forgiven”, and “jesus said people would hate us for telling the truth”, you have a built-in excuse for ignoring anyone who doesn't agree with you, and ignoring any evidence contrary to your preconceived ideas. anyone who has observed christian apologetics can see this plainly, while anyone still a “true believer” is entirely oblivious to this.

      except, the cognitive dissonance of trying to hold on to your inerrancy in the face of actual facts means you have to retreat more and more from the world, and all disagreement is contorted into persecution.

      however, it's not fooling everyone any more, eg, see the book unChristian for survey of what non-believers and the unchurched actually think of christians — it's not flattering. and witness the declining attendance at most churches these days too. in short, while you can ban gary and “win the battle”, you appear to be losing the war, and i see little effort to even understand why.

      so, while i personally am not going to hold up gary as the personification of diplomacy, and his argumentation style is not my own style, i think it's clear that you anon's have dumped the entire fault onto him, and continue to hold the other forum completely blameless. in other words, par for the course for anyone who has observed christian apologetics.


    14. Hi Anonymous,

      Gary stated early in his post that he thinks that 80% of LCMS pastors are loving persons who genuinely attempt to show the compassion of Jesus to others. So Gary is NOT consumed with hate for most LCMS pastors.

      He is opposed to those LCMS pastors that are abusive in their internet writing.and I don't blame him.

      Anonymous! Are not compassion, healing-mercy and loving-kindness among the most important things that Jesus is said to have taught his disciples? Why have you honed in on what you perceive is Gary's anger without also acknowledging his generous acknowledgement of the love he has experienced from many LCMS pastors?

      Doesn't Gary have a right to critique those 20% of obnoxious LCMS pastors? I am sure that you would disagree with some of them. I just hope that you will try to understand Gary's point of view, even as it differs considerably from yours.


      John Arthur


    15. “why can't the blog in question clearly articulate who exactly runs the blog, and who decided to ban gary?”

      Up until now, it's never been an issue. Gary is the first person to accuse anyone other than Dr. Veith of moderating. And given that Amsdorf – the person Gary believes is the moderator – has had several of his own comments removed, it's safe to say that he is nothing more than a commenter, same as everyone else. According to Gary, though, he doesn't really care who the moderator is. As he said, “Who gives a shit what McCain's official role is on Cranach!”

      As for the moderating policy itself, Veith explained it all at the beginning of the year – three people flagging a comment puts it into moderation, though the comment still remains on the blog. Veith then exercises his own judgement in deleting any offending comments (Gary has had only one of his comments removed; compare this to another individual who has had every single one of his comments removed from the blog).

      Finally, as to your point about clearing out the other troublemakers, there really aren't any, although that will require some explanation.

      Perhaps the best example of someone who regularly deserves to be flagged would be Carl Vehse. Carl is probably the most extreme right-wing individual on the blog, and a fair number of his comments are racist or otherwise offensive. Yet people generally just ignore him. Why?

      Well, two reasons: first, he is a known quantity. He's been on the blog longer than just about anybody, and everyone's used to the things he says. I've heard people compare him multiple times to a crazy, racist uncle – you don't condone what he says, but you learn to put up with and ignore it. Plus, there are the rare moments when he provides genuinely interesting and insightful information. Secondly, while he may post some offensive things, he doesn't do so, and then go back and defend them, and then argue some more, and then keep on at it, and so forth. He posts his comment and then stops. He doesn't try to hijack entire posts in order to preach his perception of Truth. In this respect, he's not a troll, and so no one flags him. Instead, as I said, he's just ignored.


    16. what, exactly, did i misunderstand? since you give no specifics, it's clear you really don't want to have a conversation, you just want to bash gary, and anyone that disagrees with you, you give some sort of thought-stopper reply that's not really adding to the discussion at all. not really a surprise, i've seen this same pattern repeat multiple times, particularly on religious topics.


    17. so gary has only had one comment actually removed (altho multiple comments flagged for moderation), and yet has been banned, without any further explanation of the specific reasons why he was banned. while it is certainly within their rights to ban whomever they want, should they provide a bit more explanation of the specific reasons why?

      and is it unreasonable to assume that mccain, despite perhaps not being the official moderator, is a regular and influential commenter, and perhaps had something to do with the banning behind the scenes? and given that mccain himself, is seemingly known by some/many, as being a bit abrasive himself, and yet he remains un-banned, is a charge of hypocrisy that far-fetched?

      now, add in the many anon snarky commenters by christians on gary's blog over the months since his deconversion, can you at least understand why he might get his hackles up? (in fact, i'd suggest you and pastor mahlon are about the only 2 christian posters on gary's blog that disagree with him, and yet are still civil in the tone of your comments.)

      so, an anon a couple posts back called gary a liar (twice) ( )
      for (perhaps) naming the wrong person as the one who banned him. does it really matter much who banned gary, or who he thinks banned him? why chase him over to his own blog, and call him a liar? aren't you rid of him now? isn't that what everyone wanted? what is it really that everyone wants gary to do?


    18. I would actually welcome some sort of statement from Dr. Veith on Gary's banning – who was involved, how long Gary will be banned, etc. – but I don't think such a statement would actually help anything right now. Gary seems to have moved beyond that issue, and he now appears to have some deeper complaints about the blog. That's my impression based on his last several posts and comments, anyways.

      I will not try to defend McCain's past online behavior in any way; it is sadly very well-known in LCMS (Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) circles that he can be nasty online. I will say, he has gotten much, much better over the past year or so, and I hope this trend continues. He himself has recognized that his past behavior was wrong and has apologized for it.

      If what you say is true – that there have been only two civil Christians commenting on this blog, while the rest have been mean-spirited (such as the indefensible comment you linked to) – that is a scandal; I give my apologies to Gary; and I hope the offending commenters come to repentance. (I think you may at least be forgetting about Abby, though, as I know she's commented over here in the past, and I've never seen a mean-spirited comment from her.)

      I will say that I don't think Gary is blameless in his behavior over at Cranach, but neither are the rest of the commenters. As happens so often in blogs, the conversation quickly descended into tit-for-tat bickering. It didn't help in this case that Gary's departure last time was less than amicable on both sides. It also didn't help that the people on Cranach are generally pretty snarky to begin with, even amongst themselves, which can come across as mean-spirited if you're not used to it.

      “aren't you rid of him now? isn't that what everyone wanted? what is it really that everyone wants gary to do?” I don't think anyone would be upset if Gary came back and had something to contribute besides “I am here to evangelize on behalf of atheism.” To that point, I'd like to offer up the example of Brian Bowman, who had a similar agenda this time last year – he had an obsession with the Thomas Jefferson Bible, and he hijacked every post to talk about it. In the past, this is what Gary has done with regards to atheism, and, right away, he starts at it again. I can see how Gary could be upset that he was banned, but I hope you can also see how exasperated people over at Cranach might be to see him come back and begin the same behavior over again.


    19. These three posts show the progression of the moderating policy:
      These lay out the moderating policy Veith was forced to put in place to deal with people who were trolling. I also think Veith's comment to Brian (Brian subsequently deleted all of his own comments) has some application to Gary:


    20. re: “I think you may at least be forgetting about Abby, though, as I know she's commented over here in the past, and I've never seen a mean-spirited comment from her.”

      you're right, i did forget about her. while many/most of her comments were not mean-spirited, a few of her comments were snarky and passive aggressive. (google doesn't appear to search the comments, so i can't find an example.) so she's certainly quite a few steps above most of the others, and should be commended for that, but she did have the occasional mean streak (as do most/all of us.)

      re: “I will say that I don't think Gary is blameless in his behavior over at Cranach, but neither are the rest of the commenters. “

      i don't follow that blog, but i suspect you're right. however, at the end of the day, gary is still the only one that was banned. some people might interpret that to be different standards of acceptable behavior depending on whether you agree or disagree with the blog owner. some might even go so far as to call that hypocrisy. particularly in light of mccain, as you state: “I will not try to defend McCain's past online behavior in any way; …”

      who has also never been banned, and i'd guess that because he's high profile, is much more of a trendsetter for the tone of the blog that gary. and yet, gary is still the only one banned.

      so, as is typical, the in-group has a “get-out-of-jail-free” card, and the out-group gets burned in hell. orthodoxy vs orthopraxy. salvation via proper belief, not proper works.

      all this despite admonition to love your neighbor as yourself. despite the parable of the good Samaritan to emphasize that “neighbor” means everyone, not only the people with the same religious beliefs. despite jesus hanging around tax collectors and other undesirables. despite the sermon on the mount that emphasized proper action not proper belief. despite the claims that the holy ghost is supposed to make you a new person, and yet so few appear to change.

      it all looks suspiciously like simple tribalism. and that, to me, as an outside observer, is the most interesting point.

      re: “I don't think anyone would be upset if Gary came back and had something to contribute besides “I am here to evangelize on behalf of atheism.” “

      well, given that in fact he is atheist, what exactly do you think he has to contribute then?

      re: “… I hope you can also see how exasperated people over at Cranach might be …”

      yes, i can certainly understand that. a year ago, back when gary was still a believer, he was banned for a while from an atheist blog that i frequented. (the blog owner had/has numerous health problems and therefore limited energy.) gary's style is still the same in many ways.

      however, unlike many people, he does actually engage with what people argue. many people on highly contentious issues do not.


    21. “while many/most of her comments were not mean-spirited, a few of her comments were snarky and passive aggressive”

      I tend to make a distinction between snark and mean-spiritedness, though I realize it can be difficult determining when one turns into the other. As long as everyone's on the same page, I think snark can actually be very fun. Unfortunately, I think the snark level over at Cranach may have part of the problem. Many of the commenters have known each other, at least online, for years, and as such they feel very comfortable picking on each other, (usually) without any malicious intentions. To someone not used to that, it can be a bit off-putting.

      “gary is still the only one that was banned”

      I think this is due to two different reasons. First, it takes three people flagging a comment to put it into moderation. Even if Gary flagged every single comment on the blog, he couldn't put anything into moderation. On the other hand, it only took three of the regular commenters finding Gary's behavior offensive to put his comments into moderation. In that respect, I suppose you could make the argument that tribalism was a factor.

      However, more importantly, what I saw, and what everyone else saw, was trolling. Gary has been on this blog before, and he has a bit of a history of trolling. He very quickly started off with the same exact behavior. As a result, everyone started flagging much, much, much more quickly than they would have if he had been someone new. It also didn't help that his first comment in several months was on a post entitled “Professional Trolls.”

      As for Amsdorf, I would say his recent behavior has been by and large perfectly fine. From what I can tell, Gary didn't quote anything from this year in this post, and some things he quoted are from as long ago as 2003, if Abby is to be believed. Amsdorf hasn't said anything worth banning over the past several months that I can remember.

      “well, given that in fact he is atheist, what exactly do you think he has to contribute then?”

      Recent topics on the blog include police brutality, economics, North Korea, politics, government corruption, abortion, Richard III's DNA, young people, the new Star Wars movie, the Ferguson riots, etc. Surely atheists have opinions on those topics as well? The Christians who comment there certainly do, and at least a few atheists comment on these and other non-religious topics from time to time without feeling the need to take the opportunity to evangelize. That is Gary's problem: he wants to talk about nothing but religion in a topic which has absolutely nothing to do with religion. There's a time and a place, you know?


    22. This blog received over 1,000 views today, most viewing this particular post, and many “source” of views, coming from Lutheran pastors' blogs on

      A lot of orthodox Lutherans are now aware of the inappropriate, un-pastor-like behavior of Paul T. McCain. Let's see if they actually do something about him.

      I will keep you updated.


    23. my understanding is that having individual comments put into moderation is a separate issue than being banned outright and prevented from making further comments. is that a correct assumption?

      i think having multiple individual comments put into moderation but not truly deleted is less of an issue that outright banning him.

      i didn't check the timestamps of all the other postings. certainly if all those posts are stretched out over a long period of time vs being concentrated, that would certainly change people's perceptions.

      re: snark
      i agree it can be done without mean spiritedness, and i definitely have snarky streak myself. i have no idea about the general tone on the other blog. i know i've read 2-3 posts over there before, and perhaps scanned a few comments but don't recall. however, on gary's blog, my opinion is that abby would occasionally cross that line. alas, i don't have any examples from abby, and she's certainly subtle about it, not the in-your-face snark of many, and it's quite possible that i misinterpreted her, it being mostly anon and text only. so sans a specific example, and due to the fact that she's not really the problem anyway, and i generally think she's a decent person most of the time even when i disagree with her, i suggest we let her as an example rest.

      re: topics
      wasn't aware of the breadth of topics. whatever few posts i checked out in the past led me to the impression that it was primarily religious, and/or religious in ways i don't find interesting or useful, so i haven't been back. certainly atheists have opinions on all those topics. whether one can find people with countering views that one can have an actual conversation with, rather than stating talking points or scripture back and forth, is a different question.


    24. [Part 1/3]
      re: “First off, let me apologize for my own slightly snarky answer in my last paragraph of my last comment.”

      no problem. i actually got a bit of a chuckle out of “Surely atheists have opinions on those topics as well?”, altho if the entire tone of our conversation had been antagonistic, or one of not paying attention to what the other person actually says, something like that may have been irritating or inflammatory.

      re: “I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed talking to you.”

      likewise, i enjoyed having a civil discussion with you. sadly, such a comment should be the assumed standard and a statement of the obvious, rather than a rare compliment.

      re: “Secondly, I would encourage you to go over to the blog and just skim through the titles of his recent posts “

      i just did visit again and skim 2-3 pages worth of posts, and read a couple, including comments. however, i'm not likely to return, given time constraints.

      why? eg, the article on ferguson: “Since postmodernists believe there is no objective truth, …”

      many fundamentalist christians claim that they have the unchanging moral truth on their side, and that anyone who disagrees with them, or their interpretation of the bible, is simply wrong, because god said so.

      and yet, an honest review of history and the bible would show there are quite a few biblical injunctions in leviticus that are no longer followed, slavery is no longer condoned, and the new testament admonitions against divorce are similarly ignored today. and the flat earth and/or geocentric vs heliocentric models of the universe have also changed over time.

      and yet they will still argue with a straight face that the bible is “object truth.” or that “moral truth” is unchanging and that they have it, and the only alternative is pure chaos and “everyone according to their own opinion”, and thereby try to exempt themselves and their interpretation of the bible from scrutiny. if you've ever watched such arguments, they tend to run in circles and become pointless rather quickly. whether it's because god changed his mind, or it was misinterpreted before, the end result is the same — “objective morality” or “objective truth” changes over time.

      reading the rest of the comments, i see similar patting themselves on the back, rather than honest attempts to understand differing perspectives.

      i realize this may sound like reading quite a lot into a single comment, so let me step back to my broader view.


    25. [Part 2/3]

      [repeated from prior part: i realize this may sound like reading quite a lot into a single comment, so let me step back to my broader view.]

      the housing bubble was obvious to me way back in 2003. in fact, i'm surprised that they could keep expanding it for another 3 years after that. so our current economic problems have been a long time in the making.

      and yet, during the run-up, the issues were simply never discussed in the mainstream. so for the past decade, part of my time has been trying to understand why people have been so oblivious to what is rather obvious to me.

      i think the biggest issue facing the country right now is the ongoing bailout of wallstreet, and ongoing and likely to get much worse financial fallout from that. still lots of pain ahead, and very little of the pain will fall on the people that caused the problems. and both parties of the political class are owned by wall street.

      millions of people have been foreclosed on and evicted, millions more are upside down on their mortgage, and many other millions have lost their jobs. at most, a few thousand people are directly affected by the riots, and many of those could avoid them by leaving if they chose.

      i don't think our problems are caused by consumerism, or lack of god in schools, or gay marriage, or illegal immigrants/undocumented workers, or global warming, or putin/russia or china. our problems are caused by an out-of-control, above-the-law financial system, and a political class unwilling or unable to reign them in. quadrupling the base money supply since 2008 will eventually cause even more pain for the middle class and the poor than it already has. in short — you ain't seen nothing yet. and it's a marathon, not a sprint.

      and yet, i see people puffing themselves up with righteous indignation, expending a great deal of emotional energy, all on these (to me) tangential issues, or symptoms of the problem not the problem itself. i strongly suspect this is a strategy of divide and conquer, so ably practiced by elites everywhere.

      if you watch the people concerned about global warming, they seem to gloss over the fact that climate has varied in cycles over very long periods of time, and tend to concentrate on the “hockey stick” increase in just the current cycle, ignoring all the others. and watch the vitriol when someone challenges them on it. and yet, one one blog i saw someone post that they were going to fly to visit grandma, despite the carbon footprint of that, but they felt a little guilty for it. people came out of the woodwork to tell them it was ok, grandma's are important. similar to the free pass that al gore is given for his 30k/yr utility bill. it's a religious belief: bible => inerrant computer model of the climate, despite the fact that the computer model doesn't explain prior cycles before industrialization; salvation thru proper belief (which is easy), not thru works (ie, giving up your car, giving up flying to visit grandma); and tribal attacks against anyone who dares to question you.

      you can see a similar dynamic among Keynesian economists, who view the solution to every economic problem was printing more money.

      and so that one comment about “objective truth”, and reading the other comments, tells me that these people are not in general trying to solve the problem by changing their own behavior, they're trying to pat themselves on the back for being “right”.


    26. [Part 3/3]

      in case you're interested, one of the few religious blogs i read is
      while i'm not religious, and i don't agree with him all the time on his politics, and rarely comment, he strikes me as someone serious about overcoming his innate tribalistic instincts. and he usually makes me think.

      what i find interesting about gary's blog is, that i watched him starting about a year ago, after he started visiting an atheist's blog. between that blog (since removed), and gary's own blog, and a couple other blogs where gary also commented, i got to watch a real-time deconversion, a real-time process of someone changing their world view. it was/is fascinating, both to watch his views change, and to watch the reaction of fundamentalist christians in the comments, egging him on back when he was a christian arguing with atheists, and then trying various good cop/bad cop and fear-based tactics after he became a deist.

      in practice, there are very few people that change their minds on various topics based on arguments presented by other people, regardless of whether it's economic, religious, or political views. we tend to disregard any data that doesn't fit our preconceived notions.

      so, i spend my time watching the financial system, as that's the harbinger of problems. and also watching various “tribes” and their squabbles, as those are the fault-lines that are dividing our society, and where the problems will likely surface.

      unfortunately, reality is rearing it's ugly head, and our erroneous preconceived notions are about to bite us in the butt as a society. as Robert Louis Stevenson said: “Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.” bon appetite!


    27. @ anon re: “I apologize for posting that comment calling Gary a liar”

      thanks for the apology, (altho i'm not the one offended.)

      i don't know that your comment was any more/less inflammatory than any of the other anon comments since the banning, it was just the one at hand that illustrated my point. so sorry to seemingly single you out, when there are certainly other comments worthy of being highlighted for inflammatory rhetoric. (unfortunately, given that many of the comments are anon, it's not clear even which comments are made by the same person, and which made by different people, making it even harder to call anyone out for their behavior, particularly repetitive bad behavior rather than a single instance.)

      and your comment is one in a long line of relatively abusive comments gary has received over the last 6 months or so, since he deconverted, and hence some of the reaction was really due to prior transgressors.


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