Creationist Voyeurism: Case #13

Creationist voyeurism

Creationist voyeurism

This is the latest in a series of posts about your Curmudgeon’s scientific hypothesis that there may be some heretofore unsuspected disorder which we call Creationism-Voyeurism Syndrome (CVS). Our hypothesis explores this question: Is there something deep within the creationist brain that causes such perverted behavior? Or maybe creationism isn’t the trigger; perhaps there’s some disorder that produces both creationism and voyeurism?

You can find links to the first dozen cases in Creationist Voyeurism: Update on Case #5. At this point in our research, because we’ve piled up so much evidence for the existence of Creationism-Voyeurism Syndrome, we believe that our hypothesis has been substantially validated, without the necessity of establishing that each new pervert is, in fact, a creationist. We can now assume that they are. That makes our work easier, because except for preachers, where the creationism is obvious, few perverts are asked about creationism, so that vital information is often overlooked in news reports.

In honor of the first case we learned about, CVS can also be called the McConaghie syndrome — see Creationist Suspected of Bathroom Voyeurism. As you know, we are even now awaiting the conclusion of McConaghie’s trial, which should be at the end of this month — see David McConaghie Trial Begins.

The latest case was brought to our attention by one of our clandestine operatives — code named “Omega.” It’s reported in the Journal & Courier of Lafayette, Indiana, the county seat of Tippecanoe County. Their headline is Church music pastor accused of voyeurism. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Craig Burden was fired Friday from his post as music pastor for Calvary Baptist Church in West Lafayette, a day after he was accused of voyeurism with a camera.

Here’s the church’s website: Calvary Baptist Church. The news story says that the website has been purged of all mention of Craig Burden. Their “About Us” page says:

The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth without any mixture of error.

They appear to be a creationist congregation, so this case is good data for us. Let’s read on:

The 28-year-old was booked about 8 p.m. into Tippecanoe County Jail, where’s he’s being held without bond on allegations of vicarious sexual gratification involving a victim younger than 14, according to jail records.

We’ve seen this pattern so often before. The news continues:

When and where the voyeurism allegedly took place remains unclear. “It’s not a one-time incident,” [Lt. Tom] Lehman [of the Tippecanoe County sheriff’s office] said.

Here’s more:

Daniel Berry, Calvary’s lead pastor since 2013, had placed Burden on suspension Thursday when allegations of wrongdoing were raised, said Cynthia Garwood, church spokeswoman. Burden’s employment was terminated in an emergency meeting at 6 p.m. Friday, she added. On behalf of the church staff, Berry issued a statement Saturday referring all questions to Garwood, an attorney who represents the congregation and has been a member for about a decade.

Hey, get this:

Burden’s arrest comes just shy of one year after former Lafayette pastor Robert Lyzenga was sentenced to prison for installing hidden cameras disguised as air fresheners in a women’s restroom inside Sunrise Christian Reformed Church in 2011 and 2012.

Lyzenga? We reported about that case when he plead guilty — see Update on Case #5. There seems to be a lot of creationist voyeurism in West Lafayette, Indiana. One more excerpt:

Burden – who has not been formally charged with a crime – was fired because the inappropriate behaviors for which he’s being investigated are at odds with the church’s interpretation of biblical teaching, Garwood said. “Any form of exploitation of a person is, we think, a violation of biblical principles,” she added.

Burden was hired as Calvary’s full-time worship pastor in 2013.

So there you have it — yet another data point to support our hypothesis. As we always do when reporting such matters, we’ll repeat our usual advice: Avoid using the bathrooms in any creationist location — that includes creationist politicians, creationist “think tanks,” creation museums and theme parks, and the church buildings of creationist denominations.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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28 responses to “Creationist Voyeurism: Case #13

  1. I suspect the syndrome is an artifact. That is, it’s found so often among creationists not because they’re creationists but because they tend to be religious fundamentalists, who in turn tend to have issues regarding sex, perhaps due to the severe restrictions imposed in that area by their religious doctrines..

  2. First Lyzenga, and now Burden? Ah — another horny holy Hoosier!

  3. Eric Lipps: “… who in turn tend to have issues regarding sex, perhaps due to the severe restrictions imposed in that area by their religious doctrines.”

    Similar to pediphile priests?

  4. @Pope RSG: Wonder if he (or they) were trying to spy on some of the lovely coeds of our alma mater?

  5. I forgot to add: Air fresheners are a great device for covert cameras for two reasons. One, they are a great concealment. You see them in bathrooms all the time. Two, they are typically plugged into an outlet, so that solves the power problem.

  6. Gary: “Wonder if he (or they) were trying to spy on some of the lovely coeds of our alma mater?”

    Perhaps, but he caught a young ‘un instead:
    “The 28-year-old was booked about 8 p.m. into Tippecanoe County Jail, where’s he’s being held without bond on allegations of vicarious sexual gratification involving a victim younger than 14, according to jail records.”

    The article didn’t say where he placed his camera(s), but they may not have been in the church:
    “…although their investigation is incomplete, none of the evidence unearthed thus far indicates that any alleged offense occurred on church grounds…”

  7. Cardinal Gary appears to be very knowledgeable about the dark art of concealing cameras…

  8. Wait–he was fired “because the inappropriate behaviors for which he’s being investigated are at odds with the church’s interpretation of biblical teaching.” Shouldn’t he have been fired because his behavior was at odds with basic human decency? Or does this church believe that no one who doesn’t follow the strict teachings of the bible can be an honest and decent person?

  9. Tom Rowland

    I’d go with #2 if I were you…

  10. Megalonyx said:

    Cardinal Gary appears to be very knowledgeable about the dark art of concealing cameras…

    I’m trained in the light art of finding and removing such devices. Knowing where they’re likely to be located is the first step.

  11. Eric Lipps: wrote
    “… who in turn tend to have issues regarding sex, perhaps due to the severe restrictions imposed in that area by their religious doctrines.”

    retiredsciguy wrote:
    Similar to pediphile priests?

    [Satirical banter alert. Commentary on the light banter continues.]

    Considering the fact that rates of pedophilia rates are no higher among priests (and among ministers in general, including “fundamentalists”) than the general population of males of the same age, are you sure that your hypothesis holds up? If ministers/priests practice pedophilia because of rigidly imposed, sexually-restrictive religious dogma, what motivates the same rate of prevalence of pedophilia in the general male population which scientists/scholars have published in peer-reviewed journals for decades?

    I’ve found the “Celibacy Hypothesis of Pedophile Priests” very common and held with great certainty among the general public but far more nuanced (and denied outright) by the scientists who have published on this topic.

    Even so, the SC may be on to something significant here. Considering the creationist creed of “Were you there?” and their favoring observational science over historical science, one begins to wonder if voyeurism might naturally follow from that bias. After all, unless they actually see it happen, they will deny that it happened at all! So we can expect the defense attorney quoting “creation scientists” profusely and Ken Ham & Co. especially in his arguments before the jury. No doubt he will explain why all forensic evidence compiled against his client must be ignored. The defense will argue that, due to a terrible bulimia outbreak among the church’s young people, the music pastor installed the camera in order to identify the binge-and-purge sufferers and to get them treatment.

    [Please! Creationist readers, that was a joke. Honest. You will complain that this is another of my “ad hominem” arguments against Young Earth Creationism. So I once again encourage you to investigate the Argument from Ad Hominem fallacy in a logic textbook and discover how it differs from an insult. Not every insult is an Ad Hominem fallacy.]

    Yet, it would be interesting to see which denominations or people groups have been found to most skillfully hide their cameras in potpourri or air freshener devices.

  12. [Continuing from previous banter.]

    Collecting “anecdotal evidence” from news reports on a selective basis–where the greater shock value of a pedophile pastor or priest gets bigger headlines and more prominent positioning than the average pedophile–is obviously good fodder for the innocent fun and tongue-in-cheek levity of a very entertaining blog. But some readers who are less equipped and experienced in statistics and the sound scholarship and scientific methodology of the academy may be prone to misconstrue the “everybody knows that” factoids of such satire as the actual reality of the compiled data.

    I’ve been casually (and sometimes more seriously) tracking these kinds of “everybody-knows-that…” phenomena for many years because of my academic and publishing interest in how the public’s perception of some topic X versus what scientists/scholars actually know about X” can differ so radically–and in how correcting the public’s misconceptions can be very difficult once firmly entrenched, especially when linked to ideological controversies and the refusal to relinquish anything which is considered “powerful ammunition.” .

    Among those fascinating major contrasts have been historians’ published facts/realities about the Dark Ages, the Children’s Crusade [and the Crusades in general] and the actual “bloodiness” and bodycount of the Spanish Inquisition.** And when Hollywood has produced popular motion pictures on historical events, the list of “Fallacious Factoids of History Which Everybody Knows & Cites While the Scholars of the Academy Deny Them” gets longer and longer.

    I’ve had some very surprising conversations with historian friends on how much historical accuracy they expect in films. It left me quite undecided where I had formerly been adamant. It also left me very cautious about serving as “Consulting Scholar” to any more film projects–although I continue to play that role with several TV game shows. No joke. Long story.

    Yet, when one considers the potential legal liability as well as state and federal Standards & Practices laws, it makes sense. I developed a first name familiarity with quite a number of Assistant Producers who tediously compile the questions and answers you see on TV. Most of the game show questions which I rejected–and sometimes rewrote depending on the show–was due to some ambiguity making more than one correct answer possible. But sometimes I flunked the question because it is a “everybody-knows-that” fallacious factoid. We are all vulnerable to their appeal and “obviousness”.

    I once considered writing a syndicated newspaper feature that would serve as the “anti-Ripley” factoid of the day, where a popular “truth” would be debunked. But newspaper editors at the time were concerned that many of them would anger one group or another and their staff would have to waste time on the protests. (And the 1960’s had no shortage of people ready to protest.) So it never went any further.

    ** FOOTNOTE: Many are sorely disappointed to learn that by any comparative standard, the Dark Ages weren’t all that dark, there were few actual children in the Children’s Crusade, and the Inquisition was more boring than bloody and utterly fails to live up to its ghastly reputation–though it does represent one of the most successful propaganda (anti-Catholic) campaigns in western history. [Yes, I know that I’ve grabbed a bull by the horn with that one. So for those agitated by these topics, I’ll be engaging them on the Bible.and.Science.Forum blog in the coming months–and we do have a comments section for critics and angry mobs who wish to storm the castle. Please bring your own torches and pitchforks.]

    Obviously, I’ve often dealt with this kind of “knowledge perception gap” in my academic study of the history and strategies of the “creation science” movement. However, what I hadn’t fully anticipated was my surprise at so many of the same types of logical fallacies and failed factoids commonly found in YECist propaganda also appeared in the rebuttals hurled by their opponents. [Again, I’m referring to the same types or categories of fallacies and factoids, not the same particulars, obviously.] Of course, I should have expected this because most of their critics most of the time were pontificating outside of their fields of training and experience. We all take that chance and there’s nothing wrong with that, although we do well to weigh the risks and perhaps temper our expressions of certainty.

    Because there are so many scientists, scholars, and well-educated students/alumni of the academy reading this blog, I’ve assumed that most participants are sufficiently well read and methodologically experienced in the handling of statistics to recognize the tongue-in-cheek banter of SC (interesting be he) and many of the commenters. But it’s probably worthwhile acknowledging that simply collecting anecdotal cherry-picks from news stories does not tell us much about trends unless we also collect the crimes of other people groups–including those which appear on police logs but never get any news coverage.

    It would also be interesting to use one of several “registered sex offender” map websites and compile a database of various tags/descriptions for particular zipcodes in order to look for patterns–and no doubt forensic investigators use them in that manner every day. Unfortunately, it would be difficult to identify and tag the creationists. (I’m especially interested in breakdowns: YEC, OEC, Gap Theorist, Framework Hypothesis. Word on the street is that literalists always do it literally–but nobody can determine exactly what that means.)

    From what I recall of various published papers on the topic, priests and ministers have pedophilia rates no different from the general population. (Some studies have shown lower rates for various types and denominations of ministers, but I think the general consensus overall was rates consistent with the associated general male population rates.)

    The kinds of trends I do recalling reading were that teachers had pedophilia rates higher than the general population. Left-handed and ambidextrous men were also more prone than the general population to be pedophiles.

    I don’t have my old database at hand but the first website to come up on my Google search was this Psychology Today article which includes six common myths about sexual crime incidence among Catholic priests. I’ve seen very similar myth compilations for Protestant ministers in the relevant sources.

    I compiled the following Bible.and.Science.Forum article in recognition of my own susceptibility to pontificating outside of my fields of expertise. We are all vulnerable, which is why I published The Laws of Presumptuous Pontification:

    And that is enough of my stream-of-consciousness for today.

  13. Laurette wrote:
    Wait–he was fired “because the inappropriate behaviors for which he’s being investigated are at odds with the church’s interpretation of biblical teaching.” Shouldn’t he have been fired because his behavior was at odds with basic human decency?


    Laurette, the statement was probably carefully prepared by the church attorney who is identified as being a member of the church. The attorney is exercising due diligence in protecting his client, the church. I’ll explain.

    Suppose that in the trial there is some error by the police or their investigators which causes key evidence to be thrown out. Sometimes the accused in such cases actually gets a not guilty verdict and walks free as a result. Then, his defense attorney will look for any possible excuse to sue the church on account of his firing and lost wages. He will say, “My client wasn’t convicted of any crime yet he was terminated by the church on the basis of hearsay and a flimsy case which the judge throw out.”

    Therefore, it is important for the church to have made an official statement that says WHY they fired him: “because the inappropriate behaviors for which he’s being investigated are at odds with the church’s interpretation of biblical teaching.” Notice that they identity the REASON for terminations as at odds with the church’s interpretation of biblical teaching.” The defense attorney now has an extremely difficult task in declaring “wrongly termination”. Courts of law have a long history of precedents of not trying to second guess or interpret religious dogma in order to make “religious decisions”. To do so would obviously run into trouble with the Bill of Rights of the Constitution concerning religious freedom.

    So “common decency” is rather irrelevant in such cases. Also, “common decency” can be a very slippery and subjective concept. For example, in the USA, going into the restroom of the opposite gender is usually considered a violation of “common decency”. But in many other countries, all restrooms are “unisex”, open to all. So “common decency” is quite different. One must be prepared to see both men’s and women’s shoes visible at the restroom stalls.

    Termination grounds are probably stated in the church’s founding documents and the pastor would have been required to affirm those founding documents in order to be employed by the church. The statement you quoted simply declares the grounds of termination as clearly stated in the pastor’s employment contract.

  14. Professor Tertius says: “From what I recall of various published papers on the topic, priests and ministers have pedophilia rates no different from the general population.”

    Think about that. It tells us something, because according to all the preaching we hear, it ought to be significantly lower. I don’t suppose you have any data on the rates of such behavior for scientists. I don’t recall hearing about any such cases, but even if it were the same as the general population, that tells us something too. The Ken Ham types claim that the rates for such people should be far higher than the general population.

  15. Prof. Tertius
    You mention “Dark Ages”, which touches on one of my hobby-horses, the meaning of the word “dark”.
    For example, the dark side of the Moon.It refers to the side of the Moon which is not seen from the Earth. And it is not based on the misunderstanding that the Sun does not shine there. It was dark because it was unknown.
    Just as a dark horse in a race is not called because it is black or brown, but because it is unknown.
    Just as darkest Africa is not called because the Sun does not shine through the jungle, or because of the skin color of the inhabitants. But because the Europeans didn’t know much about it.
    And, just as Dark Ages are an era which we don’t know much about. Often, that is because there is a lack of written records, which can be a sign of widespread illiteracy, or lack of writing materials and leisure time, because of poverty or wars or disease.
    Something is dark because of our ignorance.

  16. Thank you, Prof T, for giving me the inspiration for a wonderful line:

    “No, I did not commit an ad hominem fallacy. I actually think your argument has merit. It’s just that you’re a jerk.”

  17. TomS wrote:
    And, just as Dark Ages are an era which we don’t know much about.
    …. Something is dark because of our ignorance.

    Correct. Many people assume that the Dark Ages were “dark” because of the Catholic hierarchy burning down libraries [even Carl Sagan promoted that rubbish] and because the Church killed all of the scientists. (I’ve heard some really bizarres ones over the years.) But as you said, the Dark Ages–a term few historians use in general reference to European history–was so called because (1) there was a time when historians had little to draw from in order to study and describe those centuries, and (2) there was the natural corollary of that lack of knowledge: “Nothing of importance happened in those centuries and it was a time of long stasis.” Now we know that there were important inventions–some adapted/applied from elsewhere [e.g., China] and some invented by Europeans–which helped the society prosper.

    So both of those definitions of “dark” applied to those centuries.

    I must confess that despite a two semester course sequence, I can no longer remember much of that history. I often have to rely on Wikipedia to nudge my brain. The saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” and that goes for teaching as well: “I you don’t teach it, you lose it.”

    It gets very frustrating as the infrequently used neurons go dim.

  18. Mark Germano, I’ve actually explained it in nearly those terms. When dealing with a Young Earth Creationist evolution-denier, I will speak bluntly about the ignorance of their argument and they complain that I’m using an ad hominem fallacy. I post a link to where I explain proper uses of the ad hominem argument fallacy….and then tell them, “So I wasn’t using an ad hominem argument. I was simply insulting you for your ignorance of science.”

  19. The Ken Ham types claim that the rates for such people should be far higher than the general population.

    Yes. I’ve found it interesting how Ken Ham will deplore the dangers of “materialist scientists” but all of his “tragic consequences” example focus on young people being taught evolution (especially after prayer was removed from the public schools by SCOTUS) and the usual ills: teen pregnancy, STDs, etc. But he carefully avoids getting close to direct, testable declarations such as “Because materialistic scientists leave out God, they are more often convicted of sex crimes and are twice as likely to have served time in prison.”

    Ham and friends focus on the emotive language but keep it vague enough that they don’t have to worry about someone testing their claims. Instead, they blame Darwin for eugenics and everything Hitler, Stalin, and Mao did.

    I used to make them mad whenever they used “the Supreme Court ruling ended prayer in school” and claimed that their were “obvious trends” in the years which followed. I told them, “Yes, that’s true. The Jim Crow laws which oppressed millions of citizens came to an end and the number of lynchings of African-Americans dropped to zero.”

    One rarely hears specifics about “we do fewer bad things”, even from the Holiness Movement people. Of course, they are less likely to have big ministries and TV/radio outreach. But if you talk with them individually, both the ministers and laity will casually say, “No, I haven’t sinned since 1949.”

    Traditional fundamentalists will speak of being a “former prolific sinner” and being saved from it–and implying that they do much better now–but if one would ask for statistical data on congregational or denominational evidence, there’s rarely much to draw on.

    The areas where the data is available and quite clear involves charitable giving and volunteering to the poor, disaster relief, and international assistance projects. Fundamentalists at all income levels (but especially impressively at low income levels demographics) significantly outpace the general population and virtually every other group except Mormons. This is quite remarkable when most fundamentalists also donate significant portions of their income to their church. The stark contrasts are even more impressive when compared with high income Americans in general, but especially with high-incomes who self-identify as atheist or humanist. Most evangelicals don’t score quite as impressively but they do outpace the rest of the general population significantly.

    Of course, the biggest problem with statistics involving criminal records is that “Everybody declares themselves Christian” on their admission survey during prison intake. (That’s the old saying because they’ve been told or soon learn that atheists are less likely to be granted parole and “Christians” are often eligible for special privileges, such as “chapel release time” and meetings with chaplains who can often help with family needs, arrange family visitation transportation, presents for kids at Christmas time [a huge perk!], etc.) Obviously, self-declaration doesn’t make for clean statistical analysis.

    Some of the most impressive research which pursues “religious demographics” tends to utilize the same government data that political campaigns utilize. The zipcode based data is a gold mine for all kinds of studies which were impossible a few decades ago. I’ve been amazed to see how some of the mega-churches combine that data with their own surveys/investigation in their zipcodes in concert with the government database as a starting place. As a result, I’ve heard some political campaigns team up with the megachurches in order to exploit that data to maximum political advantage.

  20. Prof. Tertius
    they blame Darwin for eugenics
    I find it particularly ironic to blame Darwin for eugenics.
    When Darwin is particularly reviled for saying that natural selection, rather than intelligent design, can account for the appearance of complexity, rather than things falling apart by a natural tendency to disorder.
    And eugenics is based on the premise that purposeful intervention is needed to avoid deterioration of “mankind”.
    The creationists insist that they accept “micro-evolution” within a “kind”. And they say that without intelligent design, micro-evolution inevitably leads the kind downward.
    And they blame Darwin for that?

  21. So the American voyeurs hid their cameras in air-fresheners? I suspect a transatlantic conspiracy as the pot-pourri used by the Irish suspect is a natural air freshener made from herbs and dried flowers.

  22. “Any form of exploitation of a person is, we think, a violation of biblical principles,” – Garwood

    No one’s irony meter exploded?

    I do however salute the other leaders of the congregation for not invoking some form of exceptionalism to protect their assets and having the courage to face this issue head on.

  23. michaelfugate

    yes – eugenics is more akin to theistic evolution than to nontheistic evolution

  24. michaelfugate
    And, I think that this is significant, it is more relevant to micro-evolution than to macro-evolution.
    That is not only “theistic evolution”, for many YECs insist on there being evolution within “kinds”.
    Eugenicists are not interested in designing a new kind, but in averting deterioration, or, at most, enhancing the “best” already in us. I don’t think that any eugenicist is thinking of growing wings, for example.

  25. michaelfugate

    You will more likely “enhance” your children by outbreeding as much as possible – so-called “hybrid vigor.” “Racial purity” would lead to deterioration rather than the opposite – just look at dog breeds. The intelligence and purpose behind them hasn’t really led to improvements.

  26. A tragic example is the Hapsburgs of Spain, whose intermarrying resulted in Charles II, and then the War of Spanish Secession.

  27. michaelfugate

    Not to mention the hemophilia running through European royals….

  28. Eric Lipps is spot on in my opinion. You have people who would seek a variety of sexual experience, but their religion prohibits it. They are stuck and thus seek illegal channels because the church so shuts down legal but considered immoral avenues. If only they could see life outside the church and find others who would indulge their fantasies, either paid or free.