The Broken Chains Biker Church in Taunton, Massachusetts, is not your typical house of worship. Fueled by its mission to “Reveal Christ to all people in a non-traditional way” and “Gather together in rockin’ worship,” the church is oriented around people who come from a variety of colorful backgrounds – especially bikers.
“We started this church on April Fool’s day 2011,” says Broken Chains Pastor Tom (‘Flathead Tom’) Iddings, “because a fool says in his heart that there is no God.”
After having moved only a few months ago into its new Taunton location (previously called St. John’s Episcopal Church), Broken Chains was targeted by an extremely disturbed man on Thursday, November 1. The man, 19-year-old Joel L. Davila, entered the church during the church’s ‘music team’ (band) rehearsal asking to be exorcised. He was wearing slippers. When the music team called the police instead of performing an exorcism, Davila locked himself in one of the church’s rooms, urinated all over the floor and destroyed various items in the building.
When officers arrived, Davila was sweating profusely and, according to reports, exhibiting a “thousand-yard stare.” When confronted by police, he started rolling his eyes back in his head, screaming, saying he was possessed by a demon, and declaring hatred for God and Christians. Police also said that he seemed to be “talking in tongues” and at one point “attempted to lure officers in, [saying he would] kill them and eat their bodies.”
Davila was handcuffed so that he could be transported more safely to the hospital, where he continued behaving erratically while simultaneously admitting that he had been wrong to vandalize the church.
Iddings, 61, made it clear in an interview with the Taunton Gazette that the church’s members would not allow anyone in the flock to be harmed.
“Our music team is extremely loving and thoughtful,” said Iddings, “but most of us (congregants) are armed and prepared to deal with command and control situations.”
“We will not roll over and become a victim; we will not allow it,” he added. “We’re the church that shoots back.”
Amen to that.