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It is probably reasonable for us to reveal something now that may not necessarily be called a "hoax" as I have done in the title, but which has certainly enlisted the support of people who had no intention of giving us support. And it all relates to the trial that happened in Long Beach last October.

There was a great deal of discussion amongst ourselves before the decision was made to go through with the "trial" for Joe's family. We shared openly with each other and with others who showed some interest that there were many and varied reasons for what we finally decided to do. We had no misconceptions about the fact that the trial would have the effect of shocking people, and even making them think that we had finally cracked up or gone off the rails. We were not particularly keen to have this happen, and yet it was better than what has happened for many years, which is that people have simply turned away from us and pretended that we were not there.

Witness the fact that, despite a huge profile in Australia for a quarter of a century, only one religious publication has ever featured a report on us and what we stand for. This is not accidental. They know that we exist. They know that we have a high profile. They know that what we are saying is radical and yet solidly based theologically. Yet they say nothing. Why? Because (a) they disagree with what we are saying; but (b) they have no solid answers for it.

This "excommunication" has existed amongst religious organisations, the media, many friends and loved ones, and even angry ex-members. Malcolm left us twenty years ago, saying that we would hear from him when he succeeded in finding something with which to nail us. We heard virtually nothing from him for twenty years.

And then came the announcement that we were going to hold a trial for four people who conspired together to savagely attack Reinhard, with a whipping being prescribed as the punishment. It had heresy written all over it: violence, revenge, even racism (considering that the offenders were African Americans). The fact that we ourselves were going to take the punishment on behalf of the offenders, of course, did alter the heresy a bit; but we were pretty sure that the media, the churches, our enemies, and ex-members would be so excited about the implications of the first part that they would not even HEAR the second part.

Sure enough, that is exactly what happened. In the space of just a few months, there were more than a thousand postings on the Rick Ross anti-cult forum, with over 50,000 visits from people interested in hearing about the awful Jesus Christians. And that is only one cult-busting site. (We haven't bothered checking any others.) Fox News couldn't help but come and do a documentary on us, making sure, of course, that they did not include any of the trial (even though they attended it), or any explanation that would relate to why we ourselves were actually taking the place of the offenders. And ex-members? Well, if the Rick Ross forum is any indication, more anonymous ex-members have turned up than actually exist! They were each pushing and shoving to raise their hands and say, "I knew all along that they were evil."

Remember that these are the same people who have said nothing for as much as twenty years. Finally, they had us!

So we set about answering their questions and asking a few questions ourselves. As things quieted down, it became clear that, while what happened was controversial, there really was nothing hateful, vengeful, or even un-Christian about it at all. They had been caught in the hoax that coaxed them out of their holes. Everyone was out in the open, but no one had a clear understanding of what it was that we had done wrong.

One by one, we Jesus Christians were banned from even answering the complaints that were being made on the Rick Ross forum, because our answers were causing too much embarrassment. Without us being able to speak up in our own defence, they were free to let their imaginations run riot with false charges to make up for their over-reaction to the Long Beach trial. We were accused of sympathising with pedophiles, holding hostages, fighting against the teachings of Jesus, claiming to be one of the Two Witnesses, getting rich on child labour, theft, fraud, unspeakable actions that were "worse than mass murder or serial rapes", and so on and so on. The list continues to grow, and (surprise, surprise!) each new accusation that is added to it, goes on without the slightest hesitation from the mob that is calling for me and the rest of the Jesus Christians to be "taken out". No lie is too extreme to be added to the list. Any semblance of fair play has slipped off the table.

Well, from our perspective, we have them right where we wanted them all along... out in the open and embarrassing themselves with false and unproveable accusations. Yeah, sure, we are not allowed to speak up in our own defence on the Rick Ross forum, but we have the right to READ it now, and that was something we were never allowed to do when they simply whispered their lies behind our backs. And we have the opportunity to respond on our own forum and through our own web site (as evidenced by this article).

It is significant that they have virtually all fled from our forum, even though they are allowed to post there. While they continually accuse me of being a control freak, and accuse Jesus Christians of having no freedom, we leave our forum wide open, and they hide in a forum where only people who agree with them are allowed to post. It says a lot, doesn't it?

Recently Malcolm posted (over at the Rick Ross forum) an explanation for why he has never posted on our forum. Listen to it:

I must vouchsafe Apostates (sic) point that David "toys" with debate, purely with the intention of "displaying" his acumen, and that any position one might take (even where you are abashedly "recasting" his own teachings to him) would be "bettered" by him in some "clever" riposte....humiliation (sic) of others (.."they (sic) could never be the leader I am, can't you all see that" (sic)..) in order to better cement the postion (sic) he holds, is the "hidden agenda" behind any "open dialogue" with him....there's (sic) just too much at stake!!!

What does it all mean? It is Malcolm's flamboyant and rambling way of saying that Dave only allows free speech because he has better arguments than the opposition; so don't be lured into actually speaking to him directly... there is too much to be lost by doing so.

So, in summary, the Jesus Christians are now reaching many more people than we did before the Long Beach trial. And the reason is simply because so many of our critics have come out in the open with their complaints now. It's not nice being so cruelly and unfairly attacked, but at least we have the opportunity to respond now, and with or without bans on the Rick Ross forum, the issues are being debated. We thank God for that.

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