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According to relatives, Derrick Birdow had been acting strangely, claiming that people were trying to kill him. “’He’s been having some issues, and he hasn’t been himself,’ (Birdow’s cousin, Christopher) Henderson said. ‘This past week, he’s been going through some stuff.’” No one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition and no one expected Birdow to plough his Mercury Marquis into the Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church and unleash his inner Pete Townsend on the pastor . . .

[Forest Hill Police Chief Dan] Dennis said he believes the attacker chased Kirk through a side door and then beat him with an electric guitar in the music area of the church near the back classrooms. At some point, [the janitor, John] Whitaker tried to help Kirk, but was also injured.

Birdow, according to, beat the pastor to death before the police could get there.

When officers arrived, the attacker was still beating Kirk with the guitar, Dennis said. Officers used a Taser on the man, but he resisted even as an officer dragged him to a squad car. Later, emergency personnel found him unresponsive inside the squad car. (Birdow) was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Men (and women) of the cloth are no different than anyone else. They have the same right to armed self defense as the members of their congregation do. Some would claim they also have the duty to protect their flock. It seems someone snaps a guitar string about once a year, walking into a church during Sunday services somewhere and opening fire. Who better to defend them than the man wearing the collar?

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  1. I think the pastor should be the last line of defense. You have greeters, and elders/deacons and depending on the church/place of worship you could also have a security team.

    Usually pastors/priest are side tracked on having the service go smoothly. The group of other folks are there to talk with interact with others.

    I know of a few churches that have multiple people, not necessarily the pastor, who have a security team of sometime, who everyone on that team carry. I know of another church who “doesn’t think its the time” to have a security team.

    • Hard to tell for sure, but it looks like this took place on a Monday morning, when few people were at the church.

      • I am a member of this church and it was on a Monday morning. Only Pastor, the janitor, and the church secretary was there.

  2. When I was asked to become a trustee, I made sure that I told them I intended to carry. They put me over the security team, and there are others that carry now as well. Our pastor has received death threats and he is the chaplain for the local PD.

    • Maybe I’m misunderstanding you but if one goes to hell for protecting their (or others’) gift from god called life then everything is askew. I’ve absolutely no use for religion but I’ve read the bible and god generally treats the righteous pretty damn well. David and Goliath is an obvious example.

  3. Odds are we’ll learn about this pastor being on the DL and having molested Birdow for years. Or at least plying him with meth and money, just like famous anti-gay evangelist Ted Haggard a few years ago. Or any one of the dozens of stories since.

    Sexual abuse by the religious is so common, it’s not even much of a story anymore.

    • And if that doesn’t happen?

      It’s ridiculous to immediately assume that was the likely cause of why this guy was murdered.

      • If that doesn’t happen, then it’s a shame he was killed. The abuse angle (or seriously closeted gay) is just so standard with ‘men of the cloth’. Right up there with cheatin’ on the wife with the hot parishioner who runs the bake sale, being a serious alky, or living the high life on your followers’ cash(this one especially from Schuller, to Meyers, to Hinn, to….).

        Just like any other murder cops will start with the wife and move on to the “extracurriculars”. Somewhere in there is generally the motive. Not always, but it’s a really good bet.

        Who knows, this may be random, or Birdow may have been off his meds. But after seeing decades and decades of internal cover-ups for the usual groups that attract child molesters – scouts, church leaders, church groups – I know where to place my bets. Especially as the COGIC crowd takes a really dim view of them thar evil homos from satan.

        • Usually one finds facts before running off at the mouth about a man who lost his life and was quite respected. Try to give it a rest.

    • You won’t learn that about this Pastor. It is sad that people’s mind goes to this place. I’ve known the man for 13 years and my wife for 18 years. Her youth pastor and countless others who’s life he had a profound impact on their lives. I understand the point your trying to make but first, we are not cogic, and second like the previous comment said, have facts before you even put your mouth on someone you don’t know.

  4. I dont think sexual abuse is any more common in a religious context than anywhere else, you just tend to remember it better. Also, it tends to be more newsworthy than garden variety sexual abuse.

  5. Certainly Pastors do occasionally commit crimes of a felonious nature, but they have serious risks either way. Unlike most politicians, some Pastors actually take a stand for Biblical truth, which is risky business in a world like ours. Crazy and violent people react strongly to authority figures, and those reactions can certainly be violent.

    Our church has a security team also, and our members and guests know it.

    • Oh I do so LOVE ‘Biblical truth’. Let’s share some of this bronze-age-illiterate-goat-herder-primitive “wisdom” shall we?

      “When you go out to war against your enemies and the Lord, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive’s garb. After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, you may have relations with her, and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife. However, if later on you lose your liking for her, you shall give her her freedom, if she wishes it; but you shall not sell her or enslave her, since she was married to you under compulsion.” Deut 21:10-14

      You should not let a sorceress live. Exodus 22:17

      If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. Leviticus 20:10

      They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. 2 Chron 15:12-13

      A priest’s daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. Leviticus 21:9

      “If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” Leviticus 20:13

      The Lord then gave these further instructions to Moses: ‘Tell the people of Israel to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you forever. It helps you to remember that I am the Lord, who makes you holy. Yes, keep the Sabbath day, for it is holy. Anyone who desecrates it must die; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community. Work six days only, but the seventh day must be a day of total rest. I repeat: Because the Lord considers it a holy day, anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death.’ Exodus 31:12-15

  6. This incident happened on a Monday morning, so having a volunteer church security team would not have helped (though I think they are a good idea). Note the picture above with the police on scene — the parking lot is entirely empty except for the church van.

    It is not entirely clear, but the story implies the pastor, janitor, and secretary were the only people in the building — one of them would have to have been armed to make a difference.

      • Very true. Down here it is not uncommon for church secretaries to be carrying because 1) they are often alone or nearly alone during the week in a large building; and 2) some strange people come in off the street looking for assistance in churches and not all have good intentions.

  7. In college, the minister of the church that sponsored our campus ministry(he had a Ph.D in psychology) was asked why there were so many “weird people” in/ around the 1000+ congregation, He replied, “Because many people with mental problems see the church as their last chance before the asylum.”
    We’ve also known since 1998 that radical Islamists have targeted U.S. schools,sporting events, and churches for Beslan-style attacks using firearms(not explosives). Consequently, anyone who understands the definition of the word “emergency” should encourage their church staff to be armed at ALL times.
    Some of the churches in my area realize this, and I train their armed security teams on state law and the myth of Christian pacifism,showing that the Bible commands us to help folks in trouble. With arms if necessary.
    I pray for Mr. Kirk, Mr. Birdlow, and their familes. I hope churches will start wising up and begin training/arming their staffs and employing armed security teams.

    • “the myth of Christian pacifism,showing that the Bible commands us to help folks in trouble. With arms if necessary.”

      Citations please.

      • My book ,to be published soon. Entitled, “A Time To Kill:The Myth of Christian Pacifism”,by MindBridge Press. Website(under construction) But for an example, see Psalms82:4;Prov.3:27&28;24:10-12 for starters.

        • Judeo-Christian pacifism is a neat idea, too bad there isn’t much in the Torah, Bible, or those “disappeared” Gnostic texts…

          From there Elisha went up to Bethel. While he was on his way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him. “Go up baldhead,” they shouted, “go up baldhead!” The prophet turned and saw them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty two of the children to pieces. (2 Kings 2:23-24)

          As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the Lord your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the Lord your God has given you. (Deut 20:10-14)

          When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11)

          All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9)

          A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death. (Leviticus 20:27)

          There’s just sooooo much more, it’s good you’re writing a book. I did a 40 page semester assignment in high school on it, and though the ex-bro (knocked up a nun) running religion class gave me an A+, the administration was “less than pleased with the scope and content”. Not the validity or the conclusions, just that I had the audacity to write it. A lovely multi-hour convo about ‘scrutiny of the full academic scholarship program’ (of which I was 1 of 2) and that the ‘absolute truth is not always what’s best for the masses, they need guidance’ were the topics at hand.

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