Church Sues Former Member for Online Criticisms

Oregon woman's blog alleges her former church commits spiritual abuse.

An Oregon woman's online critiques of her former church could cost her $500,000.

The pastor of Beaverton Grace Bible Church (BGBC) sued Julie Anne Smith, her daughter, and three other former church members for $500,000 in damages, alleging that Smith's blog, Beaverton Grace Bible Church Survivors, amounts to defamation.

Smith and her family left the church a few years ago and were subsequently shunned by their church friends, she told KATU News.

"If I went to Costco or any place in town, if I ran into somebody, they would turn their heads and walk the other way," she told KATU. "All we did was ask questions. We just raised concerns. There's no sin in that."

Smith posted critical reviews of the church on Google that were later removed. In February, she started her blog, which accuses BGBC of spiritual abuse and its pastor, Charles O'Neal, of "narcissism in the pulpit," ABC News reported.

Within days of starting the blog, BGBC filed its lawsuit. The suit goes before a judge later this month, ...

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