America's religious nutjobs from Jimmy Swaggart to Jim Baker and many since have acquired a reputation for indulging in seamy pecadillos but this one may take the cake.
Ever heard of Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at Chapel Hill Harvester Church of Decatur, Georgia? No, I didn't think so. Until recently CHSCHHC was just another American megachurch, but now it's become so much more.
It all began when the church's now 80-year old "Archbishop", Earl (naturally) Paulk (I hope that's not pronounced "poke"), and CHSCHHC got sued by former church employee Mona Brewer, who says Earl Paulk manipulated her into an affair from 1989 to 2003 by telling her it was her only path to salvation. Earl Paulk admitted to the affair in front of the church last January.
After confessing to his parishoners about putting it to Mona, Earl swore that she was the only woman he'd ever slept with except for his good wife. Earl also said the same thing, under oath, in the course of a deposition in the lawsuit.
For reasons that are unclear, somehow the Cobb County District Attorney and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation got to investigating Earl's evidence and even got a judge to issue an order for paternity testing.
The subject to be tested? Why, Earl's nephew and the current head pastor of CHSCHHC, 34-year old D.E. Paulk. Even Maury Povich doesn't get anything this good. The results? You guessed it, D.E. isn't Earl's nephew. He's Earl's son. Seems Earl must've plumb forgot about banging his brother's wife way back when but, then again, wouldn't anyone?
By the way, D.E. stands for Donnie Earl. Maybe he'll start going by Earl Junior. He's pictured below in a moment of utter rapture.
Here by the way is the skinny on Donnie Earl from Atlanta's own, Creativeloafing.com:
Most in the congregation don't doubt that Donnie Earl Paulk has the Holy Spirit. He's heir to men who've had the Holy Spirit before him. This -- the plush office, the church academies, the television broadcast and the cathedral -- is his legacy, handed down from 10 generations of preachers and, ultimately, his uncle. Donnie Earl is a megachurch bishop in the making, a creation of the kingdom in which he was reared, and he's got all the right marks: the charismatic stage presence, the devotion of his followers, the eye for Versace suits and the heart for society's outcasts.
But there are other things about Donnie Earl that don't fit. And in the end, those qualities might make him more unimaginably successful than pastors before him. Donnie Earl is progressive where his predecessors were stodgy, young where they were old, hip where they were square. He aspires to host a spot on MTV, produce films, launch a record label and invite Lenny Kravitz to guest preach at his church. Once Donnie Earl takes over the south DeKalb kingdom of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, with its multi-million-dollar operating budget and its 7,000 members, he plans to extend his reach into a secular entertainment empire.
Praise the Lord and pass the collection plate.
As an ex-member of this church who left in 1992, the half has yet to be told. But even what is known so far is enough to pack a Jerry or Maury show. I have yet to figure out how it is a woman's fault that a man can't keep his pants zipped, no matter what the woman wears or does. To blame the woman is the same logic that has been used on rape victims -- she looked so good or wore revealing clothes and made me want to do that. Oh, please. It sounds silly enough coming from a non-believer, but these men are supposed to be ordained ministers who should have had classes teaching them how to avoid sexual harassment situations. Being a minister is not a license to take advantage of someone looking for help and guidance.
I hear you, Anon. Power corrupts or at least it can. The scandals that have wracked the Roman Catholic church show how willingly even "men of the cloth" can abuse the trust and authority vested in them. I wasn't aware that Earl had played "blame the victim" with this woman. I suppose he was seduced by his sister-in-law.
Mankind is a sinner by nature. That means there needs to be a reformation, but not a change of doctrine- Come back to The Lord's Church! - The Holy Roman Catholic Church. Amen.
Interesting. When I met Earl Paulk in Columbus at an AG church, I instantly felt the presence of evil, so much so the hair on the back of my neck stood up. It is interesting that Jimmy Swaggart's son is also a "Donnie."
It is so sad that religion has "progressed" to this point. This is enough to stop even the best Christian from going to organized churches, but then again, what a wonderful opportunity for forgiveness and prayer.
Deacon, you actually "felt the presence of evil" in Ernie Paulk? That is not just a bit creepy.
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