"Exodus 20:16 says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Meaghan Varela and Julie Anne Smith have given “false witness” against our church and families for four years. The statements and videos on this website tell our story of suffering and surviving their assault. We are the TRUE BGBC SURVIVORS."
Charles (Chuck) O'Neal – the Beaverton pastor who sued Julie Anne Smith, her daughter, and others for defamation – together with other church leaders, has launched a website called True BGBC Survivors: Surviving Four Years of Hate, Reviling Accusations, and Criminal Slander. If you've been reading here, you will remember Chuck as the pastor who sued former church members for $500,000. The story went viral and was covered by news outlets around the globe. Here is one of those reports.
The plaintiffs were ordered to pay the defendants' costs and attorney fees, according to The Oregonian. Here is an excerpt from that article:
"A Washington County judge has dismissed a Beaverton church's libel lawsuit against a former congregant who blogged about her experience there.
The Beaverton Grace Bible Church and its pastor, Charles O'Neal, sought $500,000 in damages in their suit against former church members Julie Anne Smith, her daughter, Hannah Smith, and Meaghan Varela.
The church claimed the women had defamed it and O'Neal in Google reviews and Julie Anne Smith's blog about the church.
Their attorney, Linda K. Williams, said the church practices "Old Testament shunning" and her clients were all eventually ostracized by the church. Their negative comments, which they published online, were protected free speech, she said.
Circuit Judge Jim Fun announced his decision in a letter he mailed to the parties Monday.
Fun granted the defendants' special motions to strike and ordered the plaintiffs to pay their costs and attorney fees."
That decision was made in late July. On December 2, True BGBC Survivors was launched. The web address is bgbcsurvivors.org, while Julie Anne Smith's web address is bgbcsurvivors.blogspot.com - extremely similar and very confusing…
You may find it interesting to read the About page. At the present time the website features a number of videos (five of Chuck O'Neal, two of his wife, and three videos of a married couple at the church) along with some select information.
Here is the title of the initial post, along with Pastor O'Neal's explanation.
OUR PURPOSE IS TO PROTECT
Posted on December 2, 2012 by admin
"The PURPOSE of this website and the videos on it is to protect Beaverton Grace Bible Church and our families from ongoing slander and criminal accusations of the worst kind. Meaghan Varela has lied to her family, friends, pastors, the police, the Department of Human Services (Child Protection), the court, and the world. Julie Anne Smith has joined her in her lies and heralded them forth to the world on her blog (BGBC Survivors) dedicated to the destruction of our church and families. Exodus 20:16 says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Meaghan Varela and Julie Anne Smith have given “false witness” against our church and families for four years. The statements and videos on this website tell our story of suffering and surviving their assault. We are the TRUE BGBC SURVIVORS."
Take a look at Chuck O'Neal explaining the purpose of the website.
The website also features O'Neal's wife, who has been terribly distraught over what has occurred.
Even though the judge rendered his decision over four months ago, O'Neal and his followers are determined to tell their side of the story. Interestingly, each blog post ends with the following blurb:
" *This statement and the following video reflect the opinions of the author based upon the facts as understood by the author. "
I have watched ALL of the videos (posted on December 2) and read through the comments (all dated December 11, 2012 and later at the time of this writing). It appears the only comments that are approved are those which affirm Chuck O'Neal and the church. On the other hand, Julie Anne Smith has alerted her readers about this website, and she is allowing all comments as far as I can tell, including critical remarks (link).
I do wonder whether Chuck O'Neal and the BGBC leaders have contemplated the long-term consequences of their actions. Had they allowed a few negative Google comments to stand, we in all likelihood would not know anything about Beaverton Grace Bible Church or its pastor. Now the negative Google comments are exploding. In addition to paying the attorney's fees and defendants' expenses, the church has lost close to half of its members. It will be interesting to follow Beaverton Grace Bible Church in the New Year.
In the meantime, we'd love to have your feedback regarding the information Chuck O'Neal and his colleagues have posted on their website. If your remarks are in any way critical, it is highly doubtful they will ever be published on the True BGBC Survivors website. Looks like we're right back where it started – no criticism allowed!
Lydia's Corner: Leviticus 27:14-Numbers 1:54 Mark 11:1-26 Psalm 46:1-11 Proverbs 10:23