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Pastor Tries and Fails to “Save” Prostitutes

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Television network A&E recently aired a short-lived series called 8 Minutes, in which a host attempted to save prostitutes by giving them resources to give up their job and find more rewarding work to feed themselves and their families. The only problem is that the prostitutes say they never actually got any of the promised resources. Oh, and they say the show misrepresented them, claiming that some of them were “trafficked” when in fact they were happy with their freely chosen profession (let’s leave aside for the moment the issue of how free a choice like that may be).

This isn’t altogether surprising when you know anything about how reality television is made, but it gets especially obvious when you realize that the star of the show was Kevin Brown, a pastor who has made a living “rescuing” women in the sex industry by pretending to be a john and then witnessing to them in seedy motel rooms.

Brown appears to be following in a long line of good-hearted theists who want to help people but unfortunately believe that the best or only way to do that is to let the person in question know about the existence of God. Much like organizations like World Mission raising money to send 2,000 Bibles to Nepal following the devastating earthquake, or Scientologists sending Scientologists to Haiti in the wake of that earthquake several years ago, Brown has mixed his religion with his charity and mistaken one for the other.

On a side note, there was a recent story making the rounds about the Gideons shipping thousands of Bible to Nepal. That didn’t happen and was actually just a very believable story from a satirical news site.

Often, these religious people do come bearing some kind of actual aid as well, which makes it hard to criticize since every bit of food, water, and medicine can help in a tragedy. But when the proselytizing becomes the primary focus, as with Brown, you can end up leaving the tragic victims you’re trying to help in a worse place than when they started, as with the prostitutes who stopped hooking and are now struggling to pay rent.

If you then combine that misguided religious fervor with the all-consuming ratings push of the average basic cable network, you end up with a superstorm of bullshit aimed to take out people in need.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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10 Comments

  1. May 12, 2015 at 3:14 pm —

    That’s so sad but not at all surprising.

  2. May 12, 2015 at 3:15 pm —

    On another note, your pink hair is back. Yay!

  3. May 12, 2015 at 10:45 pm —

    So he pretends to be a John and then preaches to them. Does he still pay them the agreed price for their time? If not, that is pretty crumby, and illegal (breach of contract.) If he does pay, it is more questionable – the activity is not the one agreed on, but most prostitutes probably wouldn’t mind being preached to instead of having sex, if it doesn’t take any longer.

    If one refused to be preached to, still demanded payment, and took him to court, that would be one fun court case. “Your honour, for sex I charge $50 for 15 minutes, but for theological debate I charge $150 for 15 minutes. For a price I can also arrange for identical twins to explain Chomsky.”

    • May 13, 2015 at 1:26 pm —

      The sad thing being, unless their pimp finds out, and is leg breaker, their is no “breach of contract”, unless they are willing to sue, or demand an arrest. How likely to you imagine either of those things are going to be for someone in sex work, given that, even in the one state it is marginally legal, the courts, and the cops, would probably laugh their asses off over the attempt (if not arrest them anyway, which seems to happen too, from what I understand, even where they should know better.)

      I would love to see such a thing happen, but just attempting to get some ass charged would be “admitting” guilt to something that either “is” illegal itself (sort of a, “He shot me while I was trying to steal from someone else’s house”, kind of thing.), or where the cops might try to claim you where doing it illegally anyway, even if you where in Nevada (“Well, gosh miss/sir, I hope this didn’t happen inside the city limits, where its not legal to run that sort of business…”)

  4. May 13, 2015 at 10:46 am —

    Rebecca Watson,

    I’m a bit shocked that AE didn’t at least get the girl’s consent before doing this.

    • May 13, 2015 at 1:17 pm —

      “I’m a bit shocked that AE didn’t at least get the girl’s consent before doing this.”

      Why would you ever do that? I mean, it’s not like she’s a person or anything. Just a woman, and a fallen one at that.

      /end{bitter snark}

    • May 13, 2015 at 1:19 pm —

      Yeah, like all these shows permission after the fact is all they need (and not even that if they blur or don’t show your face), just another joy of “reality” TV.

  5. May 13, 2015 at 1:18 pm —

    The main mission is “always” the religion for those seeking to “save” someone. Some of them just deem “worthy acts” to be worthy of their own salvation, while others are of the sort that deem saving “souls”, what ever the F that means (apparently ruining someone’s life, or destroying their future is OK, as long as they turn to god while losing it, for some of them), to be the most important. The exception is if that act is one that might “offend” their religion somehow (hence the ruining of some people’s lives in the process, when what they need is *not* the help being offered), they are just as happy to stab the person in the back as those who offer little, or no, aid at all.

    When you prioritize what you imagine a god wants done, over what people actually truly need, people get hurt, and/or sometimes killed. And, kind of by definition, if you are out saving souls, you **will** do precisely that, unless you are some strange mix of evangelical, and hyper-super-liberal.

    And, yeah criticaldragon1177, they did ask consent, the problem was, they lied about everything else, including blurring faces, when asked to do so. They lied about anonymity, they lied about the intent of the show, they lied about the help coming, and so on, right across the board.

  6. May 13, 2015 at 1:22 pm —

    apparently ruining someone’s life, or destroying their future is OK, as long as they turn to god while losing it, for some of them

    Including Yahweh.
    Just ask Isaac,
    or Lot,
    or Job,
    or Jonah.

    I’ll stop there or we’ll be here all day.

  7. May 13, 2015 at 2:41 pm —

    The point you made about it being difficult to criticize religiously based aid workers and missionaries is an important one. I remember Dr. Eugenie Scott mentioned this in an interview you did with her on the SGU a while back and it really hit home with me. Along with the aid comes the proselytizing and creationism and anti-contraception and anti-abortion rhetoric, and in developed countries which are already making it difficult for women to attain education and control their reproduction, a lot of bad comes along with the good. Look at what happened in Uganda with the legislation that would potentially target LGBTI people for execution. They had very strong ties to American evangelicals who I’m sure helped pump a lot of foreign aid into Uganda to help with hunger and education.

    Which is why we absolutely NEED prolific charity organizations that are secular in nature. People deserve help without having religion forced upon them in the process.

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