Meritless Lawsuits and Spiritual Abuse

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A little over a year ago, Pastors Glende and Skorzewski and two of their staff members brought four meritless lawsuits against a former member of their congregation.  All four lawsuits were either dismissed or thrown out of court for having no merit.  Here are some links to articles about the issues:

However, unanswered questions remain.  This article asks just one of those questions:  Will Pastors Glende and Skorzewski ever express contrition for bringing these meritless lawsuits?  Or in other words, will there be any fruit of repentance?

Pastor Skorzewski made repeated unwanted sexual comments toward another man’s wife.  Pastor Glende also made a rude sexual comment.  Then when her husband complained at an “informational meeting” about the matter, they took him to court.

They asked the court to issue a restraining order because he had been complaining about them.  Put another way, they wanted a secular court to potentially throw a man in jail, because he had complained about them and their inappropriate sexual comments.

Jail.  Think about that for a moment.  When someone violates a restraining order, they often go to jail.  Jail.

So this was not a little thing.  This was not two pastors gossiping behind someone’s back.  They and their staff filed four (4) restraining order petitions.  Disobeying a court restraining order is called contempt of court, and a remedy for contempt of court is jail.

Glende took his case right to trial, however, his case was so weak the court threw his case out before the defense even presented any evidence.  For example, on the witness stand Glende complained that the layman had asked his family and friends on Facebook for prayers and support.

Think about that for a moment.  A WELS pastor complained to a secular court that a layman asked his family and friends for prayers and support.

Here is Pastor Glende’s testimony under oath:

A:   Okay, I received this.  I received it yesterday.  It was dated yesterday at 2:29.  I believe that would have been from Wednesday.

THE COURT:   What is it?

WITNESS [Glende]:   It’s a Facebook post that was made by [Jonathan] and then there are several comments that follow below.


Q:   Could you read them to the Court?

A:   The comment that was Jonathan’s posting was,

“If anyone would like to support Mara Rose and I Friday at 9:30 to noon at the Outagamie County courthouse, that would be amazing.  There’s currently four temporary restraining orders against me for alleged harassment by me from four petitioners.  They are the former pastor of The CORE church, his assistant, the senior pastor at St. Peter and his assistant.  They were filed after I attended the meeting on August 13.  I was allowed to speak at it, too.  I’m thankful to get my day in court.  Mind you, this is the same church where their leadership caused repeated sexual harassment against my wife, drinking on the job, and using an AK-47 as a church prop, ‘lapse in judgment.’  They are in the process of potentially reinstating one of the pastors that was ordered to resign.  I hope and pray that many others will too see the potential pitfalls they are creating with others and past and current decisions.  Thanks for your prayers and support, Jonathan and Mara.”

— Court transcript, pages 19-20.

Does that sound like harassment?  Does that sound like the sort of behavior that should potentially result in time spent in jail?

This is serious.  Would you like your pastor to treat you like this?  Why does the WELS tolerate this sort of behavior?

The danger here is not just that two litigious guys can bring spectacularly bad lawsuits against innocent people and threaten to have them thrown in jail, but that two pastors, with impunity, have wronged a layman.  This is not just secular abuse, it is spiritual abuse.

This is one of the ways that faith is destroyed:

Satan gets another Christian to sin against us in deed or word.  It pleases Satan if a person with spiritual significance or authority, such as a parent, pastor, spouse, or leader in the Church sins against us.  Their spiritual status, their office, magnifies their offense and intensifies the damage that it does.  This is a kind of ritual abuse, the misuse of holy things against us.

Grace Upon Grace, by John W. Kleinig, page 234.  Emphasis added.

Can we do better?  The WELS must do better, for the sake of the Lord’s name.


One thought on “Meritless Lawsuits and Spiritual Abuse

  1. This happens because of the way some in the WELS teach objective justification. Since Christ has paid for man’s debt, therefore a man’s sins are forgiven past, present and future. This is true objectively. The rub, however is that some make forgiveness mandatory regardless of a perpetrator’s willingness to repent to a victim; Gospel is made into Law.

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