by Travis Mateer
I posed the question about whether or not a chaplain should be begging God to kill people to my 13 year old over the holiday weekend, but before I get to WHY I posed this crazy sounding question, let’s just take a moment to define what exactly a chaplain IS.
Ok, with that established, let’s now delve into the fascinating world of Lowell Hochhalter, a many-hat-wearing guy who dreams of saving trafficked women with a Gianforte-foundation-funded cabin in the woods, but all that pressure of doing Godly savior-work might be fueling a professional freakout after career highlights that include an appearance on the STOLEN podcast, which my 13 year old HAD to listen to for a school project.
What my 13 year old ALSO had to listen to, thanks to Dad, is the clip that, in the video below, begins around 4 minutes and 20 seconds.
Context is important, so I suggest watching the full video here before someone has the presence of mind to remove it.
I suspect there is already some sensitivity on behalf of the church that platformed Lowell Hochhalter, considering the live feed was abruptly cut at 54:53, just as Lowell was getting going on his dream of saving trafficked women and taking them to Crooked Tree Ranch. Curious.
If you don’t feel like searching out the spot where the chaplain for the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department confesses to begging God to kill people, here is the exact language, as transcribed by me:
…that when we hate it’s equivalent to putting someone to death. And let’s just…let me be quite honest there are people in my life that I have begged God to end their life because it…it makes my life hard. And you don’t necessarily need to kill them, just…send them away somewhere, right? So I don’t have to listen to the ‘you know what you should do’ but…I know that God is tapping me on the shoulder…no, I’ve told you what to do…You’ve asked to finish strong! You’ve asked to finish excellent!
Reading this language is one thing, but actually seeing and hearing how heartfelt Hochhalter’s plea to God actually is, well, that’s something else.
One of the big themes in Hochhalter’s sermon was the idea of FINISHING. Also, the jawbone of a donkey played a significant role in getting Lowell’s blood pumping. I guess what Samson did with that donkey jawbone left a BIG impression on Lowell.
Am I disturbed by how excited the idea of killing a thousand men seems to be to Lowell Hochhalter? Yes.
Do I wonder WHO this chaplain is begging God to kill? Yes.
Do I wonder how many REAL jawbones this man has handled after listening to him fantasize about the flaps of fleshy skin he imagined met Samson’s hand as he took hold of this odd Biblical mechanism of slaughter? Yes indeed.
While my overall writing style is trending hard toward sarcasm, let me say something with unequivocal seriousness: victims of INSTITUTIONAL abuse need a REAL chaplain to attend to the trauma and RE-traumatizing that occurs when people like Lowell Hochhalter are allowed to be unchecked cogs of dysfunction (or worse) in a system that seems to fail the worst of them upward to larger spheres of influence.
Now that the holiday weekend is over, I hope cogs who have jobs like IDENTIFYING BODIES at state crime labs can FINISH the work that began two weeks ago when a 26 year old fisherman found a body by the river.
I guess only time will tell. Thanks for reading!