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May 11th, 2011
08:36 AM ET

Pastor admits lying about Navy SEAL service

CNN's Anderson Cooper reports on a Pennsylvania pastor who has admitted to lying about being a U.S. Navy SEAL.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Content Partner • Pastors • TV-Anderson Cooper 360

soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. hawaiiduude

    soo...jewish rabbis lie all the time about Palestinians...

    May 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  2. Frogist

    I guess when I hear people are ministers or pastors or priests I expect them to live up to a certain moral standard. After all, that is their area of expertise. That is their calling. They should do morality better than the rest of us. Sadly, this is rarely ever so. It's that kind of disparity that really causes people to question the point of religious following. Having said that, this is pretty minor as far as I'm concerned. He lied about being a navy seal. He didn't burn a cross on anyone's yard, bash a gay person or molest a child. He just succ-umbed to pride. He wanted to be something he wasn't. Of course that does tell us something about him and maybe about the personal worth of religion... Why wasn't being a holy man and leading people to god good enough? Maybe there are questions the pastor needs to ask himself. It's possible that religion simply does not have all the answers for him.

    May 13, 2011 at 9:18 am |
  3. ranacate

    I love how Anderson Cooper asks the guy if he's a pathological liar.... either way he responds – he's a liar!! LOL

    May 12, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  4. Jesus of Nazareth

    I don't believe this article. No man of clothe anywhere has ever lied for his own personal gain. It simply doesn't happen. And if it where to happen the church would move swiftly to expose the perpetrator and turn him over to the proper authorities.

    May 12, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Thanks for the chuckle...

      May 13, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  5. myklds

    As Pastor or as a decent human being, he shouldn't have lied.

    The forgiveness of sin he committed doesn't depend on why he lied but on what was the reason and the purpose of his admittance.

    If he admitted it because of conscience and guilty feelings rather than being caught or by pressure. He might receive forgiveness, otherwise however, he'll be held accountable for it in the judgment seat.

    May 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  6. CatholicMom

    Hello, David Johnson,

    You said, ‘Hmmm...maybe the good pastor has low self-esteem, simply because he is worthless. Even Freud admitted, that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.’
    No one is worthless! Maybe some will say that ‘that person’ is worthless, or ‘I am worthless’ but Jesus has love for the lowly and those that humble themselves before the Lord.. His Mother, Mary, pronounced her lowliness as the handmaiden of the Lord…and was exalted by Him.

    You also said, ‘More likely, the good pastor realized a Navy SEAL was more attractive to his audience, than were his own achievements.’
    It is a sad life when someone see his worth as relating to his personal achievements.

    David, maybe you can dismiss a lie if it furthers ‘your cause’ but the pastor couldn’t live with it any longer. Hopefully his congregation realizes this is his way of repenting.

    May 12, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • GOD

      Wrong again CatholicMom... you're worthless. If anyone knows this, it's me... and please stop acting like you know me.

      May 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  7. tallulah13

    It just goes to show you that the best way to gauge a persons character is by their actions, not by their religion.

    May 11, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
  8. Tribble10

    Let's give this guy a break. He lies for a living. It's such a small step from there's this all-knowing, all-powerful sky fairy that wants your money to hey everyone I'm a Navy SEAL too. He really can't sort reality from fiction.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Artist

      Tribble10

      Let's give this guy a break. He lies for a living. It's such a small step from there's this all-knowing, all-powerful sky fairy that wants your money to hey everyone I'm a Navy SEAL too. He really can't sort reality from fiction.
      ----
      I think you are accurate, think about what religious people say and believe, then look at this:
      .
      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
      • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

      May 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Following up on Artist's post:

      - religion is a mental illness and
      - ho.mo.s3x.uality is not a choice and not a mental illness.

      Believers: please seek the assistance of a mental health professional to begin deprogramming soonest.

      May 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Artist

      Imagine when religion is finally recognized as a mental illness. It is a seriousness sickness that affects majority of the world. I expect natives, sa va ge s and 3rd world people to suffer being majority are ignorant. However, there is no excuse for civilized man to still suffer from this illness. We must work to rid the Earth of this serious illness.

      May 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Artist, still babbling I see as you bash Jesus' wisdom. It amazes me how all of you non-believers egos are so full of yourselves, you can't see the forest through the trees. But, rest assure, Christians see you for what you are. Anti-social thugs, impressed with your own egos, refusing to join in harmony with community.

      Amen.

      May 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      Thanks for zipping in and proving Artist's point, HeavenSent! Tres appropos! Maybe Adelina will come flaunt her mental illness as well.

      May 11, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Heavensent.. what wisdom did jesus give you that you did not know already? Why did he not give you really practical solutions like cures for disease etc..The bible is full of wisdom that humans had already developed..there is nothing in there that was unknown at the the time.

      May 12, 2011 at 6:35 am |
    • wipe0ut

      Heaven Sent you said and I quote, "Anti-social thugs, impressed with your own egos, refusing to join in harmony with community."

      Exactly! they're:

      Anti-social
      Treacherous
      Hell bound
      Ego-centric
      Insolent
      ThugS

      And they stand, behave and act by their name.

      The more their egos bloated like space blob, the more their brains shrank to the size of a quark.

      They fail to realised that the more they try hard to invalidate, discredit, and mock both Bible and God, the more they cemented the truthfullness of what is written in their specially in the book of Revelation and Apocalypses, likewise, the more they become the ultimate fulfillment of what is prophesied in it, regarding the coming of the marked beast and its (Atheists) minions.

      Wipe0ut all the Atheists before they'll be fortified with the coming of their (marked beast) boss.

      It would not be a tedious job, there's only a handful of them anyway.

      May 12, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • wipe0ut

      Oh! I forgot the S... which stands for Satan(ic), nevermind, he has yet to come anyway.

      May 12, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • dorkrock

      @wipe0ut: Wow, man... you sure showed us. You are clearly sane and coherent. I mean, if you had unleashed a rant composed entire of psychobabble endorsing violence against those who choose to concentrate on what is real and what can help humanity as a whole (Humanists, which most atheists are), then I might have thought that Artist had a point.

      ...err... wait, nevermind...

      :-P

      May 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • wipe0ut

      This world would be a better place without them.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:31 am |
  9. David

    Let's stop being walking contradictions...

    http://sightlikeaconstructionworker.blogspot.com/2011/05/steven-seagalthe-pastor.html

    May 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  10. Ron

    Lying always carries a price. For some, it's sooner than later.

    May 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  11. Doc Vestibule

    Further proof of why shamans should not be trusted.

    May 11, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  12. PraiseTheLard

    Perhaps he should just keep his lips sealed...

    May 11, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  13. HotAirAce

    What's one more lie on top of the crap these charlations push?

    May 11, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • JohnR

      Good one!

      May 11, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Ted Peterson

      Exactly. If you've been running around saying "There is an invisible man in the sky who is going to punish you for the rest of time if you don't obey everything I tell you", then "I was a Navy Seal" is pretty small in comparison.

      May 11, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  14. CatholicMom

    When I hear about people who lie about their life, I feel sorry for them because I as-sume they have low self-esteem. Then I start wondering who made them feel inadequate…Mom and Dad? The pastor should have known that Jesus loves him even in his lie…this alone should help him to repent and to draw closer to the One who loved him first.

    May 11, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • Reality

      CatholicMom,

      Jesus lies a-mouldering in the ground outside of Jerusalem so there is no way he knows anything about this pastor. And if there is a thing called a human soul, Jesus' soul is no different than the other souls that may or may not occupy places called Heaven, Purgatory, Limbo or Hell.

      May 11, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • CW

      @ Catholicmom,

      I'm with you on that.

      @ Reality,

      Blah blah blah blah blah....by the way don't you have other things to do than to bash on a christian? such as sacrifice your goat or whatever rituals you have for worshiping the books you read? ooooo...let me guess you have graven image of yourself for worship since your superiority is in your own mind...or...whatever author made you think "just like them".

      Reality....I know I'm sounding mean...I don't mean to be so forgive me....I really hope you change and get a relationship with God.

      @ HotAirAce,

      Hope you repent...one day your going to need God...just hope you do it before its too late.

      May 11, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Thanks, Reality, for bringing up ‘souls’; God bless yours!

      May 11, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Hitch

      @CW,
      ‘sacrifice your goat or whatever rituals you have for worshiping the books you read?’

      In Bronze Age religions, the OT bible too, the acts of human & animal sacrifice & offering a burnt offering were quite common. YHWH loves the smell of burnt flesh apparently.

      I don’t recall any books in humanism describing the need or utility in offering sacrifices of animals though, I think you have Reality confused with a Pagan or something else.

      May 11, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • civiloutside

      I think the idea of worship is so ingrained in CW's worldview that the idea of living your life without worshipping *something* just can't seem to penetrate. He's just projecting this worldview into a situation where it doesn't apply.

      "Not worshipping god" does not equal "worshipping something else." This seems to be a difficult concept to get across to some people.

      May 11, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Magic

      civiloutside,

      Well said. The emotional high of worship is very seductive and addicting.

      May 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @CatholicMom

      You said: "When I hear about people who lie about their life, I feel sorry for them because I as-sume they have low self-esteem. Then I start wondering who made them feel inadequate…Mom and Dad? The pastor should have known that Jesus loves him even in his lie…this alone should help him to repent and to draw closer to the One who loved him first."

      Hmmm...maybe the good pastor has low self-esteem, simply because he is worthless. Even Freud admitted, that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

      More likely, the good pastor realized a Navy SEAL was more attractive to his audience, than were his own achievements.

      A little white lie isn't bad, if it furthers the cause. This last sentence is best said, with an Irish brogue.

      Cheers!

      May 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • JF

      At least he's not gay. Right?

      May 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @CW

      I am not a participant in your fantasy role playing game and your imaginary shaman has no power over me, therefore I have nothing to repent for.

      May 11, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • ScottK

      @Hitch – "you have Reality confused with a Pagan or something else." Sadly, most Christians consider anyone who doesn't believe the way they do as Pagan's nowadays, even though it's typically used to refer to polytheists. But then again, you can't expect many Christians to do much more research even into their own beliefs than spending Sunday morning trying to stay awake in the pews.

      @CW – You know you would be "bashing" away at any articles or comments that were promoting Islam would you not? We atheists and agnostics are the minority and get just as frustrated at the pervasive influence Christianity has on our country as you do when faced with the supposed threat from Islamist extremists. An article like this that points out another liar in your midst is consistant with what many of us know, that religion breed's liars and hypocrites to run their churches, not intentionally, but as Lord Acton once said "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." Handing these simple humans the "power" of God, letting them teach their parishioners right and wrong, is just too much for most of them if not all of them to handle.

      May 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Hitch, God is Jehovah (Yehovah in Hebrew from which we get YHVH. Not YHWH. That's why it is important to read the King James version of the Bible so that you can refer back to the ancient scrolls.

      As far as any sacrifices, Jesus died for all our sins to wipe out death (aka evil). Jesus is our passover.

      Amen.

      May 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      HeavenSent, Jehovah derives from YHWH, not the other way around. It's an attempt to pronounce YHWH.

      It is silly to argue that YHVH is actually correct as the letters are Hebrew and do not correspond to the Latin alphabet. The most common in use are YHWH and JHVH.

      May 11, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Hitch

      @heavensent,

      ‘As far as any sacrifices, Jesus died for all our sins to wipe out death (aka evil)’

      Such a pity to quarrel over a minor misspelling rather than the substance of if yaweh/jevoha according to the OT bible and the Torah ‘loved the smell of burnt flesh’, not to mention all the passages regarding how to offer up such sacrifices & therefore welcomed animal & to some extent human sacrifices. By not contending that point I take it that you’re conceding that it does contain such references.

      As far as some guy dying for all of humanities sins to wipe out death (evil). If it did wipe out evil, why do we have so many evil things still occurring today?

      May 12, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • NorCaNative

      Reality, here is a promise I make you. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. You will do it in heaven or in hell. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior today, for now is the appointed time. One day you will glad you did or wish you had.

      May 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Bob

      @NorCaNative Yadda yadda yadda...

      May 15, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Julie

      @ CatholicMom, well said. I hope he takes this as an opportunity to make a fresh start in his life, and use this as a way to reach other people struggling with insecurity and poor self-image. His past mistakes do not define him, and I hope he leans on his faith in Jesus Christ to move forward in a way that will glorify God.

      @ Reality, your opinion is noted and respected. While I disagree wholeheartedly, I hope that you respect my right to do so. My faith in Jesus Christ is a choice I have made for myself, and has brought me much peace and hope in my life. We all have the free will to decide what it is we will or won't believe in, and that is a glorious thing. It is that very freedom of choice that has strengthened my faith, because I know I am following my heart, not forced to be a Christian, or anything else. I apologize for my response to you being so long-winded, as this is meant to speak to everyone, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist.....or nothing at all. I read a lot of the messages on CNN and other sites, and it seems to be a universal trend (even with some of us Christians) to take what could be an excellent opportunity for people to maturely discuss their opinions and beliefs, and instead turn it into an opportunity to showcase how "superior" and actually, close-minded they can be. We all need to learn to respectfully disagree, state our opinions without getting personal, and keep the belittling, teasing, and cruel mockery back in the 3rd Grade schoolyard. Being rude and judgmental doesn't make anyone look more "right", only more juvenile, and that goes for everyone, no matter what you believe. I struggle sometimes with wanting to respond sarcastically, and rudely to some peoples post's at times, but I make a concerted effort to be polite and respectful, even if the person I respond to is not. Kindness goes a long way, and that is something I think we can all agree on!

      May 16, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
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