“The Mighty Cross” Church in Taunton, Massachusetts has developed an innovative program, teaching a strange concept of what Pastor Masciantangelo calls “traditional Biblical morality”.
Young people are expected to abstain from sex and living together until they enter into a very serious covenant contract called marriage. Many in the younger generation have never heard of or witnessed anything like this. What they are used to is this: Couples usually start having sex right after they meet and then start living together just weeks after meeting so in their observation nothing is really all that different after they get “married”.
The couple tries to save up money for a “wedding”, which is essentially a big, expensive party with lots of food and drink, often held in a barn. Some vaguely recall a brief ceremony with some religious-sounding words they had to endure before the real party began with all the food and drink. After this the couple goes on a two week vacation known as a honeymoon prior to resuming living together no differently than before they got married.
Pastor Masciantangelo has a wedding service that includes a brief challenge to the couple on faithfulness, responsibility and putting God first. He actually uses some “vows”, which are brief challenges from an ancient ceremony he found that include phrases like “for better or worse”, “in sickness and in health” and “till death do us part”. He even suggests the radical notion that the wedding ceremony could be held in the church building.
The pastor counsels the couple prior to the wedding with innovative ideas such as being faithful exclusively to each other, practicing lifelong love for one another, being a good role model for their children, providing for their needs, living responsibly, etc. He teaches that a good marriage is built on obedience to God and consideration to one another. He counsels them to see raising their children as a solemn duty. The pastor expects the couple to see their marriage as a lifelong commitment which some brides are upset about since they had expected to have numerous big expensive parties through their lifetime with themselves being the center of attention.
One of his most controversial assertions is that if the couple abstains from sex till they get married they will not have children till after they’re married. This has researchers at Harvard University baffled; some saying that this is impossible. However the researchers have applied for a $10,000,000 government grant to test the premise academically.
John Smith, a sociologist who manages the family services department in Bristol County calls Masciantangelo’s ideas “outdated and dangerous”. When pressed to clarify in what sense they were dangerous he pointed out the devastating effect it would have on his department of 155 county social workers if the pastors ideas were actually implemented. “We would face major layoffs as our workload would most certainly decrease” he stated.
Mary Lee Sanders, a divorce lawyer also expressed concern that if these ideas ever caught on she would see a decrease in her business as well as Fred Hodkins, owner of “The Wedding Barn” in Norton, who foresees a decline in business if people aren’t married multiple times. “A key part of our business plan is repeat marriages from satisfied customers”, he stated.
Melissa Hervey who teaches sex education to kindergarten and elementary age children said she was amused by the notion, informing that she has a Master’s Degree in early childhood sex ed and what possible qualifications does the pastor have anyway.
Dr. Allison Jones/Harper/Smith/Brown, an esteemed professor of feminist, transgender and transpecies studies at Wellesley College asserts that Masciantangelo’s teachings are an example of the “abuses of the patriarchy or something like that”. Jones/Harper/Smith/Brown, who is a transpeceite who identifies as a cat and insists on being greeted with a “meow” scoffed at Pastor Masciantangelo’s views as being “just plain weird”.
However 94 year old church member Dorothy Mayhew recalls that when she was young this was considered the proper pattern of morality and was even taught in the public schools. The ACLU has proactively written letters to each school district in the area warning against allowing the pastor to have any influence on the young, reminding them of the amendment somewhere in the Constitution that states there must “separation between church and state”.
John Hughes is a thirty-three year old millennial who has attended college off and on for the last fifteen years. He is still undecided about what to do with his life and racks up college debt for which he is confident others will eventually pay. He identifies himself as a “Social Justice Warrior” and saw a post by Pastor Masciantangelo on Facebook with the Meme “True Love Waits”. He claims he was triggered by the post and has reported it to Facebook as “hate speech”. Facebook spokesman, Cory Arnold confirmed that they had received the complaint and stressed they take these matters seriously.
Planned Parenthood of Southeast Massachusetts also expressed alarm at Pastor Masciantangelo’s teaching, a spokesperson stating, “Expecting young people to abstain from sexual activity is cruel and unusual punishment and that’s against the constitution. After all, we have ‘solutions’ for any consequence.”
But the pastor is undaunted, referring to a Bible verse that speaks of teaching the whole counsel of God and states he will be accountable to God rather than man.