(Mark Duke, House of God cult founder and Freedom Foundation president)
Of all of the recording of Mark Duke’s sermons I have listened to, none was stranger than the message that he preached to the House of God cult on July 10, 2005.
In typical fashion, Duke was using his sermon trying to make comparisons between the American Civil-Rights movement of the 1960’s and his group’s warped “spiritual rights movement.” But there was something frightening about this message, something that made me wonder exactly what I had stumbled upon. This was something that sounded much, much darker than the false doctrine and hate that Duke normally spews from the pulpit of his separatist cult.
In this sermon, Duke is talking about the infamous bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church on the morning of September 15, 1963. It was a disgusting act of racism; a bombing that took the lives of four young African-American girls and injured twenty two others.
Somewhere near the middle of the sermon Duke’s demeanor briefly changes and the tone of his message takes on a somber note as he talks about the murder and rape of two young people on a piece of property he owned – a day that he and others vacationing at the beach called “Black Thursday.” After mentioning it, Duke goes right back into his sermon without missing a beat or offering more explanation of the events of “Black Thursday.” This is beyond creepy.
Who were these two little lives that Duke said “had been murdered, had been raped?”
Note, near the end of the clip Duke says “what was murdered and killed that day was not the breath of their life but the breath of their soul.” I believe that Duke is saying that there was not an actual murder, but rather a spiritual death.
What actually happened on a “piece of property” that Duke owned, and where was that property?
In another one of Duke’s outrageously racist sermons, he said that those in the Church “…shouldn’t have to worry about child molesters” and immediately mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Perhaps this was prophetic, because I firmly believe that people who are involved in one of Duke’s “churches,” should indeed worry about child molesters and those who rape children.
I believe that the two young lives that Duke speaks of in this sermon were two young African-American girls who were related to Mark Duke’s spiritual mentor, Bob Stewart.
I have heard from a credible source that these two young girls were molested and raped on a piece of property that was used by the Church of Faith Grace and Truth (CFGT)– the cult Bible study of Bob Stewart, Mark Duke and others in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.
In fact, Mark and Becky Duke owned the house where the CFGT met, and Bob Stewart lived in his motor-home in the driveway. The house was at 1230 Izod Court in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Other members of the cult lived in the house commune-style.
During this time, two other prominent members of the CFGT, who are now very active members of the House of God (Selma Community Church) and the Freedom Foundation were aware of these criminal acts. Did they report them to the authorities?
Duke uses the mention of this horrible event(s) to tell his cult how he felt about hearing the news – it almost sounds as if he is seeking sympathy, and it certainly shows how he uses other's misfortune to elevate his supposed spiritual stature. He and others on vacation at the beach called it “Black Thursday.” One wonders what these innocent children felt about being sexually abused and taken advantage of by “church” leaders they thought they could trust.
From the beginning the House of God and the Freedom Foundation came to Selma with stated goal of working with Selma youth. Are they safe? Who is watching the youth workers; who really knows what is going on behind closed doors?
We know that there is a blatant disregard for marriage and family within the House of God cult and the Freedom Foundation. They have paid for divorces that have torn children from their parents; husbands from their wives.
And, who are the leaders within the House of God and the Freedom Foundation working with the youth in Selma? The very women Duke has taken into his marriage with his “legal” wife Becky Duke to be his “spiritual partners.”
Mark Duke and his ilk have lied repeatedly (even when the truth would do); most recently to the city of Selma; the mayor, city officials, the fire department, the police department and its citizens over “Project Dance.”
They have used racially charged dialog to tear the city apart in the good name of freedom. Yet are their members really free?
It’s time to send a message to this group that Selma does not need their lies, their false hope, and their way of life.
WAKE UP SELMA!
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