Church Accused of Running Abusive Internship Program

Last week, a gentleman by the name of Branden Palesano left a strongly worded note about church internships on his Facebook page. Check it out:


That’s scary. Internships and organized religion are emotionally and mentally abusive enough on their own, so just imagine what type of preachy, coffee-carrying, file cabinet organizing hell church interns must go through on the reg. Oh well, at least they’re not interns at the State Capitol.

The place of worship that Brandon was apparently referring to is Church of the Harvest. I, admittedly, don’t follow the OKC church scene all that closely, but based on its website, I guess it’s one of those LifeChurch.TV-style places where everyone puts on their nicest jeans to gather and dance to shitty live Christian rock music while washing away their Saturday night sin.

Brandon’s post at one point generated over 4,500 comments. In many of them, people openly accused the church’s leadership of enabling, allowing and conducting multiple forms of abuse, while others shared their own terrible experiences working in the church’s internship program, which apparently had a lot in common with Oklahoma’s slave labor drug rehab centers.

 

That’s just .01% of the comments in the thread. You may notice the last one start’s with “No sexual assault but…”

Well, that’s because some comments in the thread did allege sexual misconduct by individuals at the church. Some of those comments appear to have been deleted or hidden, and without proper vetting I’m not sure if I could share them either way for legal reasons, but you may be hearing more about that stuff very soon.

In the meantime, if you have any horror stories to share about a church internship or church experience in general, I guess leave a comment on that Facebook post. If you want to leave a negative Yelp! review, you can do that here.

Update: The victims have put together this collective statement.