On January 28, 2015, our attorney Mark Goldowitz…lead counsel of the California Anti-SLAPP Project or CASP…gave oral arguments on our behalf before the California 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Bob Grenier’s appellate attorney Todd Baxter out of Fresno also presented oral arguments.
I was not present for a number of reasons…among them…I didn’t want to see my mom in the flesh or I thought it would start the grieving process all over again. Right now, she’s dead to me…she made her choice and I consider her deceased and have fully grieved that loss. Once a person gets sucked into a religious cult-of-personality that far, I have to accept things as they are and not keep wishing for things as they should be. I have calloused up in that regard and accept the loss and have moved forward. Fortunately my kids fill the void with love quite well.
Paul Grenier and Tim Taylor were present for the proceeding. Paul Grenier is my 10-year younger brother…we have the same mom, but different dad. Bob Grenier is Paul’s biological father. Paul attended the hearing and stood strong in support of his original testimony that he asked be published on this blog many years ago now. Paul Grenier still maintains that he was sexually abused by his pastor-dad. I continue to believe Paul and to support his overcoming that abuse. I was physically abused, I cannot imagine the additional weight of sexual abuse. Tim Taylor, the Calvary Chapel Visalia congregant who spoke out publicly about wrongs he experienced from Pastor Bob, has been strong in his resolve in speaking out against abuse and corruption in the church as well.
From conversations with Paul and Tim…the case seems to be hinging on whether or not Bob Grenier is a Limited Purpose Public Figure, an All-Purpose Public Figure or a Private Person. According to Paul and Tim, that seemed to be the main line of questioning from the Appellate judges.
It’s difficult to predict what is in the minds of the judges and I won’t try to do that here. I am happy it is a panel of three judges and I’m glad that it is in Fresno and outside of Bob’s very cozy Visalia/Tulare County turf where he has forged very deep political alliances in that community as well as having family members from his Calvary Chapel Visalia inner-circle in positions within the courts and legal justice system there. Human nature tells me it is “an” influence…it’s just how the world works. You give the benefit of the doubt to people you are loyal to, you support people that have helped you politically…and you tend to take their side.
That dynamic is completely removed, in my opinion, with regards to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Bigger venue, three judges, not in Bob’s backyard. I am confident the judges will view and apply the law as best they can and we’ll see what they decide.
This is a pivotal case.
Where does Clergy fall in the Public Figure spectrum?
In a case we’ll call “Gallagher”…the court ruled a priest of a particular parish was “not” a public figure. In Gallagher’s case he was very private and pretty much kept his Moral expertise inside the walls of his local parish. He didn’t seek fame, didn’t seek to spread his Brand, didn’t seek to reach well beyond his local church walls to claim his Moral expertise and to spread his Moral message and Moral opinion to a ton of others. Gallagher was public as Clergy…but only public to his small local congregation, inside the four walls of his particular church. As such, the court ruled him “not” a Public Figure.
OK. A small local priest or preacher who does stand up publicly and tells you how to live your life properly with their particular definition of Morality…but only does it within their own four walls to their local church….can be Private.
What about the Pastor/Preacher who makes a tremendous effort to be known…to spread his Brand and his Moral opinion into the broader public?
This seems to be one of the major issues of this particular case.
It will be hard, in my opinion, to call Bob Grenier “Private”…when I watched him for over 30 years do all that he could to interject himself into the public discussion regarding issues of Morality. Bob sought out the spotlight and the public platform with great lust…and he admired the bigger Gurus like Raul Ries and Greg Laurie and others…he wanted to be them.
Bob has his own radio program that is spread across the nation at a large number of Christian radio stations where his Brand and his message is disseminated to thousands and thousands of people well outside of his four walls of Calvary Chapel Visalia.
From his actively seeking paid speaking appearances at Mega-Churches in Southern California, to his actively pursuing speaking appearances at Bible Conferences all over the US, South America, Israel, Europe, Philippines, Japan and many other parts of the World…to being a speaker on “Ministry Cruises” for many years….to seeking the spotlight at Mega-Crusades like Franklin Graham and Harvest Crusade for opportunities to speak publicly to build his Brand and his credibility as a rising star in the Calvary Chapel Movement…to sending out press releases to media to be quoted on issues like Gay Marriage (and he’s been sought out as a self-proclaimed Moral expert many times in that regard and been quoted by media many times in opposition to Gay Marriage)…to his own book, “A Common Miracle” where he creates his own narrative about his life and times and his Brand of Moral authority (the book left a lot out about the rest of the story, which we filled in..and got sued for).
The Lower Court evidence presents a pile of examples after examples after examples of Bob Grenier intentionally, willfully and energetically seeking the Public Spotlight…to establish himself as an expert in Morality as well as an authority to be listened to…while he regularly solicits money from the public to support his “ministry” as an agent of Morality and God.
Bob Grenier demonstrates his lying and dishonesty in his court testimony by claiming he is just a lowly private quiet small-time preacher who doesn’t seek the spotlight…just like Gallagher.
What a crock of horse manure. Anyone that knows Bob Grenier in any capacity knows this is an absolute lie. Bob is about as private as a measles outbreak. He doesn’t sneak up on you. He wants the attention, he goes after the attention, he gets the attention…and I only scratched the surface of all the things he’s done over the years to grab the Public spotlight.
If Bob is confirmed by the Appellate Court as some form of a Public Figure, then Actual Malice has to have been proven in the Lower Court case…and it was not. We believed what we publicly stated then and believe our sources and know our own experiences…and have documented those credible real sources….and we believe those things now. That is the litmus test for Actual Malice and we are innocent.
Bob is clearly no Gallagher…but it is the court’s job to determine where the line is between Public and Private…and if Bob is Private…then that will send shockwaves through the Legal World…as it will raise the bar so high to be considered Public that those who seek to speak out against abuses and corruption in the Church and other organizations will be effectively silenced due to threat of Defamation lawsuits with a very low threshold to sue people into capitulation and silence of online criticism.
The Court has up to 90 days to issue their ruling. We hope for the best.