A Spotlight on Abuse and Death of VCY America Founder Vic Eliason

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Here are some interesting articles that have been making the rounds:

If you have not seen Spotlight, I urge you to see it. It is about “Spotlight” a specific group of investigative reporters from the Boston Globe who uncovered the systemic sex abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church. This movie is very well done. The acting was superb. I left the movie absolutely fired up about doing what we do here:  spotlighting systemic abuse in churches and Christian institutions. It is powerful, and for me, very motivating.

 


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In Boz Tchividjian’s recent article“Spotlight”: It’s not just a Catholic problem, he urges Protestants to look inward at what’s going among their own as far as abuse is concerned:

Silence is not just limited to leaders. Just like in the Catholic Church, too many within Protestant congregations prefer to remain ignorant on the prevalence of child abuse within our churches, organizations, and mission fields. We consume ourselves with evangelism programs, pro-life activities, and other good causes, all the while ignoring the blatant reality that children and adult survivors are suffering in our midst. We convince ourselves that being ignorant gives us the excuse to be silent. Such toxic silence makes us complicit in this wickedness by placing children at risk, re-traumatizing survivors, and emboldening offenders. It’s not just a Catholic problem.


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Speaking of institutional abuse, The Truth About Moscow blog released a letter from Trinity Reformed Church (Pastor Doug Wilson’s sister church in which convicted sex offender, Jamin Wight, attended). This letter, written to the congregation about Jamin Wight in prison, reveals much about how church leaders quickly try to make light of an horrific crime against a child.

Jamin Wight: Update from North Idaho Correctional Institution to TRC
A Corruption of Justice Primer

Jamin says it’s a beautiful location. They occasionally play softball on Saturdays among other opportunities for recreation. There is plenty of time for reading, but the selection is limited.


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In his article, A Call for American Evangelical Leaders to Confront Evangelicalism’s Lunatic Fringe,  Roger Olson discusses two lunatic fringe groups:

  • Word Faith, Prosperity Gospel, Health and Wealth (think Benny Hinn,

and

  • Christian Reconstructionism, Dominion Theology, Theonomists (Doug Wilson would fit in this group.)

Roger doesn’t name names like I do, but kudos to Roger for calling leaders to start speaking out against these harmful groups and leaders.

What should be done about these evangelical extremists? First, evangelical “movers and shakers” need to publically distance themselves from them, even reject them as what Luther called “false brethren.” They are not “us.”


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Death of Vic Eliason

There’s a follow-up to the article I wrote last year: VCY America Founder, Vic Eliason, Sends Letter Threatening Legal Action to His Daughter, Ingrid Schlueter.

On December 5, Vic Eliason passed away after a long illness.  While Vic Eliason had a well-known Christian radio empire for many years (VCY America), surprisingly, the only place where I found an announcement of his death with any detail was at Vic Eliason’s own website.

In my article last year, I made reference to Pastor Bob Grenier who is currently suing his son, Alex Grenier. I noticed on Bob Grenier’s “About Pastor Bob” page, that he only referred to his wife, Gayle, but didn’t mention his own children or grandchildren.

Coincidentally, on Vic Eliason’s tribute, there is no mention of children or grandchildren, only the generic word, “family.”  I guess children are only a heritage from the Lord if you are not suing them?

It probably comes as no to surprise to many of my readers that celebrity Christian leaders can sometimes portray a public facade, hiding a different, and ugly side that only their family can see.

Vic Eliason’s daughter, Ingrid, recently left a comment on last year’s blog article, addressing an earlier comment.  I think it’s important to “listen” to Ingrid’s voice. I was deeply moved with sadness at the user name Ingrid chose for her comment:  DeletedDaughter.  What does that mean? Let that sink in a bit. DeletedDaughter!!  She was Vic Eliason’s daughter, but someone made the choice to “delete” her.  That is some heavy rejection. That’s like a stab in the heart.  😦

(In this comment, Ingrid aka DeletedDaughter is addressing another commenter by the name of “Milwaukee Class of 1970.” )

Milwaukee Class of 1970, the public can comment on the public people who work in ministry. They cannot speak with any knowledge about family matters. The fact that Vic refused any and all reconciliation as recently as this past Monday night and then lied about his two daughters who came in peace as soon as they left the room is something you are not qualified to weigh in on. People seem unable and unwilling to wrap their heads around the fact that public figures in ministry can and often do maintain one image while the substance behind that image is far different. Take away lesson from this is that ministry idolatry and workaholism ruins families. It ruins lives. You cannot create a family and then neglect their needs spiritually and discard them when they no longer contribute to your Great Cause. Yes, celebrate and remember the public figure whose ministry helped you so much. And then please respect the fact that a public figure’s family may have an altogether different and tragic reality they must grieve over.

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After reading that, I’m angry and so sad for the family. This seems to be what the Bible refers to as a hardened heart.


 

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And finally, an encouraging article about Elizabeth Smart: Elizabeth Smart says becoming a mom has been ‘the best thing ever’

Elizabeth is now a young mother and speaks out about what she has learned from her kidnapping and ongoing rape during the 9 months she was held in captivity. I find Elizabeth to be such an inspiration to survivors. She has a lot wisdom and has some very helpful ways of dealing with her pain.

“With that being said, I just have to say that no one can ever take away your worth, no matter what they do to you. You are always special. Nothing can change that.

“There’s only one of you in the entire history of the world, and there will only ever be one of you. Nothing can change that, and you don’t have to allow those events to control the rest of your life. It’s terrible and it’s miserable and nobody deserves it — but we can move on.”

 

21 comments on “A Spotlight on Abuse and Death of VCY America Founder Vic Eliason

  1. Re: Spotlight, the quote from Boz Tchividjian on remaining silent and distracted, and how abuse gets covered up. A framework many find helpful to talk about the people involved in a situation or system of abuse is: the bully, those bullied, and the bystanders. Often, it’s the bystanders who end up perpetuating the abuse, even if they’re not directly perpetrating it, because of their silence and inaction.

    I recently learned more about something called “Bystander Intervention Theory” from Christy Sim, who has a doctorate and whose main work is with survivors of domestic violence. She’s posted a great summary of this theory, which describes the dynamics of bystanders of abuse, and aims at moving them toward action. I found the four stages describing this process particularly interesting:

    a. Notice the event.
    b. Interpret it as a problem.
    c. Feel responsible for dealing with it.
    d. Possess the necessary skills to act.

    When I read this (and Dr. Sim provides some additional info on each point), what immediately came to mind was Jesus’ story of The Good Samaritan, and how the first men to pass by the victim saw the situation and could see it was a problem, but couldn’t get to where they saw it as their problem to address. Only the one man who likely could most understand marginalization — a Samaritan — had the conscience to see it as a problem and the compassionate empathy that moved him to action.

    That tied in to many things I’ve been studying the past few years on what character issues disqualify people from roles as leaders, overseers, and role models. I basically concluded it was lack of conscience, lack of compassion, and lack of congruence (i.e., failure to follow through in action what you say in theory you believe and value). And if that’s what is at the core of authoritarian leaders, then it makes sense that bystanders keep those systems of control going … unless/until they are moved to act and choose to resist.

    Anyway, here’s the link to her summary, which includes links to the professional article she summarized:

    https://drchristysim.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/bystander-intervention-theory/

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Spotlight is so good! I wish I had brought tissues with me. (Take that as a heads up.) I did okay until they showed lists at the end of all the cities and countries with scandals. There was an audible gasp from the people in the theater — all 15 of us. That’s when I started crying. I think inside I was reading those lists, not just as statistics, but as the enormous number of lives that have been traumatized.

    Consider that the Protestant church may have an even bigger problem with sexual abuse.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, Spotlight is an excellent movie. It’s a great cast and a great story. I don’t spend much money seeing movies in the theater, but this was so worth spending the money on and supporting.

    As far as “Deleted Daughter,” I have no words. Only a sad heart.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s worth noting that Mrs. Schlueter has posted a picture of her family’s reconciliation with her mother, if not her father. I’m happy for that, but of course sad that the “idolatry of ‘ministry'” didn’t allow her father to reconcile with his children. It’s kinda like the sad story of Gary Ezzo, who as of 2011 remained estranged from his children. Somehow I don’t know that this is the hopeful result of “Growing Kids God’s Way”, as Ezzo (rather presumptuously IMO) titled his program.

    Also worth noting is that the obituary published by the funeral home names the children. Something interesting is going on, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that extended to VCY eventually.

    I’m happy for Elizabeth Smart, too. Amazing she’s recovering so well from a period of Hell.

    Like

  5. I used to work at VCY America…..I know Ingrid and Tom Schlueter,Russ and Lisa and and Freda personally…I used to co produce the daily Talk Show Crosstalk…..I know Jim Schneider and Randal Melchert personally as well…..I was used, sent to prison and then dispensed with by Vic Eliason…..I will not share my personal knowledge of the family he left behind…..

    I just found out Vic died….and to be frank…the world is a better place. This confused, opportunistic, viscious, and ungodly man was not who he appeared to be in public.

    I will say that Vic Eliason did affect the remainder of my mortal existence since 1994…..in ways you cannot conceive…..none of them good. Fundamentalism of his kind is lethal to any expression of true humanity….and I am proof of what happens to those who expose the likes of Vic Eliason.

    Love ya Tom and Ingrid….you are the real thing.

    Used and Kicked to the Curb

    Like

  6. Thank you, David, for sharing a bit of your story. I’m sorry to read that you were affected and harmed so deeply. I’ll make sure that Ingrid sees your comment.

    Like

  7. Thanks Julie ….I have been out of circulation for about a year……Everything Ingrid has to say about her dad is unfortunately true.

    Like

  8. David, I am so sorry. There are no proper words to express that. There is nothing worse than knowing a Christian leader is really evil but no one believes you because they believe the persona that was crafted for them. You paid an extremely high price to be used. I pray you can rebuild.

    Like

  9. David, Ingrid has been speaking out about spiritual abuse, sharing from her heart for years. Her voice has been so validating for us who have also experienced this great harm. Spiritual abuse is what I call rape to the soul. It’s a violation of one of the most intimate areas of our life. I just hate it. 😦

    Like

  10. Ingrid and I have known each other for over 20 years…..We both understand rape…and in my case…Vic’s actions led to not only a spiritual rape but and actual physical rape for me…in prison…by prison guards…..I wonder how Vic “squares” that now that he cannot escape the Presence of his Creator?

    Like

  11. That event occurred in 1997….chained to the floor…hands and feet….stripped naked while 12 other guards watched….honestly…I still don’t remember it all…I had been in isolation for several days before and after….it is part of me and always will be….I have embraced it….and it had its way….

    The trauma subsided after a few years…as did my questions and asking “Why?”….others are suffering greater more horrific things….I have moved on.

    Being a convicted felon as its real world realities with which I deal daily still….

    But I am free…I have nothing….but I am free.

    Like

  12. “There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness.
    We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of living.
    “Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget that until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words,—’Wait and hope.’—Your friend, Edmond Dantes, The Count of Monte Cristo.”

    Like

  13. Sometimes…..art imitates reality…

    “Jacob’s Ladder”

    I met a fan dancer
    Down in Southside Birmingham
    She was running from a fat man
    Selling salvation in his hand

    Now he’s trying to save me
    When I’m doing all right
    The best that I can

    Just another fallen angel
    Trying to get through the night

    Step by step, one by one
    Higher and higher
    Step by step, rung by rung
    Climbing Jacob’s ladder

    Coming over the airwaves
    The man says I’m overdue
    Sing along, send some money
    Join the chosen few, hey

    Mister, I’m not in a hurry
    And I don’t want to be like you
    All I want from tomorrow
    Is to get it better than today

    Step by step, one by one
    Higher and higher
    Step by step, rung by rung
    Climbing Jacob’s ladder

    All I want from tomorrow
    Is to get it better than today

    Step by step, one by one
    Higher and higher
    Step by step, rung by rung
    Climbing and climbing

    Step by step, one by one
    Step by step, rung by rung
    Step by step
    And step by step
    Step by step

    Like

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