controversies, religion

Repost: Ernest Angley’s descent into scandal…

I’m reposting this entry from my original blog dated October 15, 2014. Ernest Angley has since died, and I’m leaving this as/is, because I don’t feel like editing it today. It’s being reposted because it was a very popular post, and I want to keep it for posterity.

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that I like to watch religious television programming sometimes.  It’s not because my soul needs saving.  I just find it hilarious.  Now that I’m in Germany again and have no access to the religious channels that plague most American satellite and cable systems, I’ve gotten away from watching TBN and the BYU channel.  I can, however, still watch Ernest Angley, because his show is on the Internet and available everywhere.

To be honest, I find Angley a pretty dull speaker and his toupee is annoying.  I watch his show because of the shitty musicians.  I mean, they aren’t bad musicians in terms of their skill.  It’s just that the music is so corny and lame.  It’s mostly country and bluegrass flavored and apparently written in house, no doubt so that Angely’s ministry doesn’t have to pay anyone royalties.  The songs are often kind of graphic, with lyrics about being “washed in the blood of Jesus”, as if Jesus Christ’s blood was some kind of heavy duty soul detergent.  Angley’s ministry is extremely protective of its “intellectual property” (and I use that term very loosely).  You’ll never find any critical videos of Angley on YouTube because they get copyright claimed at the drop of a hat.  But you can watch it on the Internet and cringe like I do. 

An example of the music on Ernest Angley’s show.
And it looks like one of the soloists in the above clip is also quite engaging on camera…

Until yesterday, I mostly thought of this “ministry” as kind of cornball and stupid.  But then a Facebook friend posted an article about a huge scandal erupting at Angley’s Cuyahoga Falls church in Ohio.  The article my friend posted was a rather slanted blog type thing, so I decided to go to the article it was based upon, one in a series on Angley’s Grace Cathedral ministry posted in Akron’s Beacon Journal.  Reporter Bob Dyer interviewed a number of people who had left the church, including a former pastor named Brock Miller who left the ministry on July 4th.  Miller contends that for seven years, Angley “violated” him by being sexually inappropriate.  Angley claims he was giving the man a “special anointing”.

Apparently, people who leave Angley’s church are shunned and criticized by name during worship services.  Mr. Miller is being accused of being a drug addict and liar by Angley’s associate pastor, Chris Machamer, who is a star of every telecast as a “guest host”.  I can barely stand to listen to Machamer speak because he’s so fake and plastic and has no charisma.  Angley himself claims that Miller is an adulterer.  Machamer claims that Miller just wants to take over the church once Angley finally kicks the bucket.

I don’t know what the whole truth is, but there are enough stories by people claiming that Angley was doing bad stuff that I tend to believe the good televangelist and his henchmen are simply engaging in character assassination and trying to discredit the victims by claiming that they have serious character flaws.  Miller reportedly didn’t initiate this expose of Grace Cathedral and its apparently toxic environment.  In fact, Bob Dyer writes that Miller repeatedly refused interview requests and had nothing to gain by accusing Angley of being highly inappropriate.  Think about it.  You’re a man who believes in God and has been taught to keep your dirty laundry out of sight.  Why would a guy like Miller want to speak publicly about allowing another man to examine his genitals, especially if he’s a conservative Christian?  I’m guessing that Mr. Miller is pretty humiliated by all of this, but finally felt he had to do something to preserve his dignity.  Indeed, Miller emphasizes that he’s not accusing Angley of homosexual behavior, but of “violating” him.

Because Miller lived in church owned housing, after he went public with his story, he and his wife had to move.  Miller and his wife were both homeschooled and neither got education beyond that.  They don’t have jobs or qualifications to work elsewhere.  Now they are living with another family member and this very embarrassing and personal news is being broadcast worldwide.  I think Brock Miller was brave to speak out.  It would have been easy to just wait it out until Angley finally croaks, but he couldn’t take it anymore.  And good on him.  He shined a light on his abuser.  Indeed, he’s not the first to say something.  Here’s another person’s account of what it was like to be raised in Angley’s “church” for 12 years. 

I can only guess that a lot of musicians attend Angley’s church because he likely gives them work.  Jobs for musicians can be hard to find and churches can be good places to find steady, gainful employment.  Angley gives these folks plenty to do, too.  There’s one guy who plays in the Gospel Five– good looking guy– who was probably a band geek in high school.  He plays drums and saxophone and sings pretty well, better than most of the other guys singing with him.  There’s a good looking bass guitar player who can’t sing very well, but plays his bass in the cornball rockabilly style Angley seems to favor. 

I notice some nepotism, too.  Chris Machamer’s relative (I assume she’s his wife, but I don’t know for certain), Maria, is a singer,  She’s very small and meek looking and seems to try hard to sound like Alison Krauss.  And I believe another relative is also involved in the church.  I’ve seen her on camera talking about fundraising for “missions”.

Angelia Oborne, a woman who was a member of the church with her husband, claims that Angley encouraged followers to have abortions and vasectomies.  My heart goes out to Oborne, since she and her husband can’t have kids.  He had a vasectomy at Angley’s urging and now she’s 35 and doesn’t think she can conceive.  Since my husband also had a vasectomy and it was later reversed, I understand her sorrow.  My husband’s reversal was done for free and I was 31 years old at the time.  We didn’t conceive, and I was sad about it for awhile.  Now that I’m older, it matters less.  But she’s still young enough and it is heartbreaking that they made this poor decision while under the influence of cult thinking.  And now they have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives.  Angley claims the world is going to hell, so his followers are encouraged to avoid having children.  ETA: In 2023, two links from the original post no longer work. I have unlinked them.   

I will be watching for updates on this story.  Seems like sooner or later, these televangelists get exposed somehow.  This has been a long time coming.  ETA: Indeed, there was more to the story, which I posted about later. I will probably repost my comments about the scandal later.


Is Ernest Angley circling the drain?

Some of my regular readers might know that I sometimes like to watch the Ernest Angley Hour. I started doing it when Bill and I last lived in Virginia. He was in Iraq, and I was left with a lot of time to fill. So I would find the most bizarre stuff on the Internet and watch it… Back in 2007, Ernest Angley had a “girl” group called the Sign Singers, who would cheerfully dance and sign along to homemade songs written by Angley’s stable of musicians. I stopped watching so much when Bill got back, since we had to pack up and move to Germany the first time.

In 2009, when we moved back to the States, I started watching again. That time, I got hooked on a “boy band” called The Gospel Five. I noticed the musicians in Angley’s groups were rotated into other groups. It was kind of cornball, although I did notice that he had some talented musicians working for him. I wonder how many of them actually believe in Angley’s version of “the gospel” and how many just want to be employed as musicians.

Anyway… regarding the title of today’s post. I happened to watch a snippet of Sunday’s service. For the first time I have ever seen, Angley was NOT preaching. In fact, the Reverend Chris Machamer, who always introduced himself as an “associate pastor” and “guest host” of the program, was now calling himself a “pastor” and “host”. I wondered when he got his promotion, so I watched part of the program from July 7th. Angley was preaching that day, but he was barely coherent and hard to hear.

Angley is 97 years old, so I would certainly expect him to be less coherent than he was at an earlier time. I mean, everyone has to die at some point, and I would imagine his time is coming soon. Still, it was surprising to find him not behind the pulpit, offering his usual monotone sermons. I can never stand to listen to more than a minute or two, although some people must be enchanted by him. He’s been preaching for many decades.

Ernest Angley when he was a much younger man… Now, I guess I can see why people were taken in by him. He’s very insistent. He reminds me a little of the sneaky snake guy on Mad TV.

I was actually kind of impressed by Machamer’s sermon… what little I heard of it, anyway. He’s always struck me as a bit wooden in his introductions to the show, but he was much more alive when he was preaching. Frankly, I think I would rather listen to Machamer than Angley, anyway. Actually, I think I’d rather listen to uncontrollable diarrhea than either of them. Like I said, I really only tune in to catch a few seconds of the musicians, who are usually hilariously cheesy.

Brock Miller being interviewed… Poor guy. His story is sad.

A few years ago, there was a huge bombshell in the news regarding Ernest Angley and his Grace Cathedral. Supposedly, he was encouraging members to get vasectomies or have abortions. There was also some discussion about how Angley had “violated” one of his former pastors, a man named Brock Miller. Miller was later painted as a drug addict and a liar by Mr. Machamer, who said Miller was only making his claims because he wanted to take over the ministry once Angley finally croaks. And yet, I see Machamer is the one preaching. I’ll give him credit where credit is due. He’s not a bad speaker behind the pulpit. If I were inclined to listen to sermons, I’d probably pay more attention to him than Angley, anyway. I kind of wonder how Angley got in the position he’s in anyway, since he really isn’t the most eloquent speaker I’ve ever heard.

Whoa… Here’s a link to the news article about this. It includes a recording of Angley talking to another pastor about his sexual activities with men. If you’re in Europe, you’ll need a VPN to access it.

I posted about the sex scandal on my old blog and got some interesting comments from people who actually attend the church. I also posted about a scandal involving labor violations at Angley’s Cathedral Buffet restaurant, in which Angley got people to work in his for profit restaurant for free or for less than minimum wage. A third story was about how one of Angley’s musicians conned an elderly woman out of her fortune, convincing her to donate six figures to the church. All of this is somewhat old news, although I’m sure there are many stories out there about this church and how people have been either blessed or cursed by it. Brock Miller is apparently going through some rough stuff now, as he recovers from the scandal and his divorce. He moved to a new state and is or was in counseling.

Ugh… nightmarish!

It’s no secret that I’m not much a fan of religion in general. I especially dislike predatory religious organizations like Angley’s. So many people’s lives are ruined by them.

In any case, it doesn’t look like Mr. Angley will be around that much longer, based on his most recent shows. He looks like he’s barely functioning. I’m sure his church will carry on regardless. I wish people would wise up.