Jun 4, 2015

Gender construction (in two fundamentalist tracts)

Jack Hyles, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist who pastored a "superchurch" of more than 20,000 in Hammond, Ind., wrote and published 49 books. These two, about Jesus' masculinity and the evils of homosexuality, are here paired in one volume.

Hyles was known for his bus ministry and his emphasis on Sunday school. He also had a reputation as an authoritarian, exercising extensive control over the lives of members. The environment fostered abuse. There were scandals involving money and, of course, sex.

A Chicago Magazine report tracked a dozen men with ties to Hyles church "who fanned out around the country, preaching at their own churches and racking up a string of arrests and civil lawsuits, including physical abuse of minors, sexual molestation, and rape." Consistently, the church protected the abusers, maintaining its reputation and image however it could.

Hyles died in 2001. The Indiana church was taken over by his son-in-law, Jack Schaap. Schaap is currently spending 12 years in federal prison, convicted of transporting an underage girl across state lines in order to have sex with her. The girl's father told the court "The rule of our house was that the pastor was God's representative on Earth. Always do what the pastor says."