If I understand correctly the folks at Old Paths Baptist Church Roswell were portrayed as part of a national street preaching group called Watchmen for Christ in Sunday night’s story on KRQE; if such a group exists they don’t have much of a presence online.
The only online presence I’ve found is this blog [link] run by someone calling himself James Preacher. The blog title is “Watchman for Christ” and while its sidebars deal primarily with street preaching it hasn’t been updated since August. Perhaps the author has been too busy with his street preaching to maintain much of an online presence.
The Old Paths website [link] doesn’t mention any affiliation with any street preaching groups (see e.g. the Ministries tab) so whatever affiliation the gentlemen from OPBC have with a national street preaching group it must be coincidental with and not part of their affiliation with the church.
I guess the uncharitable alternate suggestion would be that the folks from OPBC aren’t actually part of a national group and the folks at KRQE didn’t do much fact checking.
As always I’m open to the possibility that I’ve overlooked something here, etc.
The Roswell church fight resurfaced on local television news tonight, this time from the perspective of Old Paths Baptist Church Roswell:
The Old Paths people successfully portray themselves as part of a national group called Watchmen for Christ, and there is no comment from Church on the Move Roswell. Local police appear only to define what constitutes disorderly conduct. The clip also fills in one gap for me: Jeremy De Los Santos and Joshua De Los Santos are brothers, both active in Old Paths and in the street preaching group. I had previously thought there was just one person, and his name had been variously and occasionally inaccurately reported in the press. Honestly it isn’t clear from the clip on KRQE who is at fault; it’s pretty tightly edited, and it’s hard to tell one party from another when everybody is wearing suits. It is clear that only one side (the Old Paths folks) is carrying handheld video cameras. See also coverage at God Discussion [link]. I get the feeling that this is a developing story, and we haven’t heard the last of the OPBC folks.
It may be my imagination, but they appear to be using the same typeface (not to say message content) we’ve already seen in various Fred Phelps/Westboro Baptist Church clips.
Second and unrelated, Los Alamos ELCA youth pastor Matthew Nichols entered a guilty plea back in October to one count of distribution of child pornography and attempted distribution of child pornography as part of plea agreement [PDF]. I don’t have much to add to the DOJ press release; the plea went largely uncovered outside of one article [link] in the Los Alamos paper. If there was any followup regarding other illegal activity involving children on the part of the defendant it went unreported. The whole thing sounds really sad; Mr Nichols is 58 and faces a term of not less than 15 years and not more than 40 years. My grasp of sentence term vs. parole eligibility is pretty poor, so I have no idea how old Mr Nichols will be when he is released from prison and registers as a sex offender.
I don’t understand the Nichols case at all; his past convictions were in another state and he wasn’t required to register as a sex offender when he moved to Los Alamos; a background check might have picked up on his criminal record, but neither a local school system nor the ELCA found out about his past. I can’t honestly hold the ELCA nor the local church responsible for his actions, apart from maybe being a bit more careful about their computer. The DOJ press release, apart from being a piece of PR for the program that caught him, just sounds really grim. The only piece of journalism I’ve ever heard that attempted to explain his tendencies, a radio documentary from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio National program 360 [link], I couldn’t listen to for more than a few minutes. It contains a frank first-hand description of methods and practices of child molesters, so listener discretion, as they say, is advised.