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.
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.