Just in case Southern black church members weren't already worried enough about racist holy warriors dropping in for Bible study and arsonists burning down their churches, now at least three female pastors in South Carolina have received threatening letters explaining to them the simple Biblical Truth that women shouldn't be preachers, so they need to die. Religion does so much to bring people together, doesn't it? We'll grant that it's a lot better when they're gathering for a potluck than for a meeting to plan out increased security for their pastors, churches, and congregations.

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The clumsily typed letter refers to a whole bunch of woman-hating Bible verses, and warns that women have no business heading a congregation, as well as reminding the pastors that all of God's prophets were men, as were Jesus's disciples, and no, the BVM and Mary Magdalene do not count, because they just don't. The letter is signed by someone calling himself "Apostle Prophet Harry Leon Fleming," and claims that "the woman cannot be head of the man in church, home and the world.”

The first copy of the letter was found by Pastor Mary Rhodes on June 10, on the front door of Society Hill AME Church in Clarendon County, South Carolina, a week before the Charleston shootings on June 17. A second copy was left for Pastor Valarie Bartley at Reevesville AME Church four days later. Clarendon County sheriffs said a third copy was left at another church with a female pastor, but didn't say where or when. The fact that at least two of the letters predated the murders in Charleston is weirdly reassuring to Yr Wonkette -- this "Apostle Prophet Harry Leon Fleming" guy -- who has no online presence that anyone seems to have found -- may be a violent-minded loon, but at least he's not a copycat. Yes, that is grasping at straws in a terrible story, but give us what we can find, OK?

In addition to the generic "Eve ruined the world in the Garden and women shouldn't be preachers ever" stuff, the letter goes off into some End Times crap that suggests that either God is about to do some smiting, or worse, that his self-appointed "apostle prophet" is planning on taking care of the job himself:

The Lord went on a long journey but know [sic] he's back and the church is'nt [sic] ready for him, therefore he must set things in order, are [sic] the blood of the people will be on your hand, and the women must repent and turn away from what you are doing in the church, home, and the world are [sic] you and your children will die. Revelation 2 v 20-23 Come under full submission are [sic] you will not be save [sic] in child bearing. 1 Timothy 2 v 15 woman can not be a pastor in a church or shepherd over God's people.

We've added links for you godless heathens who don't keep a Bible at hand every moment of the day; the Revelations 2:20-23 is especially bloodthirsty if you use the King James version, which every truly committed fundamentalist kook knows is the only true version:

Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

Pastor Rhodes, the first to receive the letter, is worried that the sender "has taken the time to find out who I am which means you may know my children, my grandchildren," but also says that outside of the threats, it's nothing very new to her:

“A lot of people do not respect female pastors,” Pastor Rhodes said. “Sexism in the church has been around for the longest time and it always gets, to my opinion, sort of hidden under the other issues that are there.”

Pastor Bartley is concerned about the churches' safety, since all three are in rural areas; Clarendon County Sheriff Randy Garrett has posted deputies to watch each of the churches, and says that his office is making every effort to find whoever's responsible for the letters. Yr Wonkette is fairly sure that Garrett's move will provide considerably more real security than publicity-seeking Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio did with his get-on-TV promise to step up security at black churches in the Phoenix area, whether they wanted it or not.

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Here's hoping that the "Apostle Prophet" is found quickly, and that he gets the help he clearly needs -- in jail of course. We're betting that any of the women he's threatened would be willing to teach him a few things about how Christianity really works, starting with Galatians 3:28:

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Somehow the idiot skipped that one. He should feel really bad that an atheist had to point that out.

[WIS-TV via RawStory]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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