|Georgetown Divide, near Placerville, California|
|P.O. Box 26, Garden Valley, Ca 95633|
The Church of the Divide is a church in the original sense of the word: a gathering of likeminded Christians. They do not have a building and they meet in the homes of their members. In other words, they're a house church. The closest thing they have to a pastor is Dick Otterstad. Their membership is small, likely around ten members. The "pastor" revolves depending on whose house services are being held at, but the pastor is always male due to their interpretation of scripture.
They have gained notoriety in Davis for picketing in front of First Baptist Church of Davis because the pastor, Glenn Snyder, refused to publicly rebuke Freddie Oakley, the Yolo County recorder and member of FBC at the time, for issuing "Certificates of Inequality" to homosexual couples trying to get marriage licenses on Valentine's Day 2007. What really peeved them was when Pastor Snyder said that Freddie would always be welcome at the church.
Outside of Davis, the Church of the Divide has carried out many other protests. For example, they routinely protest outside Wal-Marts because of Wal-Mart's donation of $60,000 to pro-homosexual organizations. Their ministries include GaymarriageNo, Citizens for Truth in Education, and probably others. A couple people have noted that TCOTD looks and acts very similarly to the Preachers with signs.
The church and its associates have had more than a few run-ins with the law because of their activities. Members have been arrested for things like creating a public nuisance, assault and battery, and blocking traffic during their protests. 1 The church has also been known to associate with Cheryl Sullenger, who attempted to blow up a San Diego abortion clinic in 1987. 2
Media and References
A long forum post from the perspective of a congregation member, Christian Anime Alliance, 2007-02-18
The following is Jerry Rafter's research. It should be rewritten and incorporated into the article above and the removed from this section
2007-02-27 16:31:31 The church of the divide is made up of five adults and three minor children. Dick and Luke Otterstad and Carolyn O'Connor are from Garden Valley. Todd and Beth Braun are from Auburn. The church of the divide is a umbrella for "save our slaves" "gaymarriageno" "citizens for truth in education" and a least one other that slips my mind right now. Church of the divide is not a church. It is only these handful of people and whomever they can recruit for their protests. Members of their group have been arrested for various things ranging from assault and battery 3 to blocking traffic. They associate with people like Ron Brock and Cheryl Sullenger. Ron has been arrested for several violations and Cheryl has spent about 2 1/2 years in the federal pen for conspiring to blow up an abortion clinic in southern California4 So as you can see these bible-toting idiots are not as playful as they may seem. —JerryRafter
News10.net — This ties Tim Bueler to the Otterstads. Tim is the past president of the High School Conservative Club of America. He has demonstrated along side the cotd many times. After high school Tim joined the "Minutemen" and became the press secretary for the group. Just recently Tim has been in a battle to keep control of the Minutemen away from it's board members. This is a developing story. The board members accuse Tim of the misuse of almost a million dollars in contributions. Tim says the board members have stolen his email list. Like I said, it is a developing story and should be interesting. . —JerryRafter
The Rudnick article is the eighth from the bottom of the previous posting. Robert made the same page as the murders of the gay couple from Red Bluff and the arsonists of the Jewish Temple in Sacramento. —JerryRafter
heartstrong.org — This website has pictures of Otterstads and the Brauns (Braun's minor children are present). Darling little children amongst such hate is very hard to understand. Pictured mostly on right hand side of page are Dick Otterstad(the devil made me do it), The elderly woman is Carolyn O'Connor, the family is Todd and Beth Braun and their three children. —JerryRafter
lawlibrary — This is a Minnesota Supreme Court case concerning Luke Otterstad and Robert Rudnick. The case has been presented and is waiting a ruling. I've often wondered how the Otterstads who have a brush clearing business in Albany, Ca (Oak Hills Brush Clearing @925 Adams St.-previously know as Otterstad's Brush Clearing of the same address) can afford to take seemingly minor cases all the way to the Supreme Court of Minnesota. Also take note that Luke's partner in this incident is Robert A. Rudnick. —JerryRafter
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Please try and focus comments on the Church of the Divide. General theological, free speech or gay rights arguments that do not specifically have to do with the topic of this entry are, well, off-topic.
2007-02-20 22:47:20 I saw the video file posted. It's disgusting... these people have little respect for human dignity and remind me of the Westboro Baptist Church that picketed the Episcopal Convention in Minnesota calling other Christians hurtful derogatory remarks. —CarlosOverstreet
2007-02-21 00:35:02 That sucks, but as long as it stays nonviolent and doesn't infringe on private property, that's free speech, right? —KenjiYamada
2007-02-21 18:51:24 The video is poorly shot, these guys remind me of preachers with signs. The fact that they protest Wal-Mart also disappoints me. —SteveOstrowski
2007-02-21 20:31:56 video is poorly shot, editing is rather comical. Whole thing smacks of propaganda. —StevenDaubert
lol, that's because it IS propaganda. I think the best way I've ever described these guys is 'religious bullies,' they claim Christianity for the sole purpose of twisting it so they can lord over people and hurt others. Also, should this page get linked to preachers with signs? —JamesHaile
2007-02-23 10:50:46 Judging by that video on their site, First Baptist Church in Davis seems pretty hateful and intolerant of visitors coming in to worship. If they welcome Freddie Oakley, they should welcome these guys too - isn't that the loving thing to do? —DanStanford
FBC did nothing hateful or intolerant. Also, those "visitors" didn't come to worship; they came to protest. There is a big difference. If these people had come to worship, they would have been welcomed. —WilliamLewis
I would bet dollars to dimes that if TCOTD brought it's congregation to FBC without the signs, and without trying to force there message on others and just went in and enjoyed the service and worshipped FBC would have welcomed them like they welcome everyone. —StevenDaubert
2007-02-23 22:40:10 There's a little comment battle going on in the YouTube page for the video. Unfortunately The COTD requires "approval" of all comments before they get posted. Very confident in their stance arn't they? —JamesHaile
2007-02-24 13:24:17 I'd imagine they get quite a lot of hatemail... I'm suprised they allow any comments at all. —DanStanford
2007-02-24 13:27:56 They have a disclaimer that states anything sent to them becomes there property and they can post it on the site if they want to. —StevenDaubert
2007-03-01 10:38:58 So as long as I shred Luke Otterstad and COTD, I'm good, but to biblically address issues like them gets my comments canned? —MarieGruca
No, to discuss them is fine... support them if you'd like. To debate their message is what doesn't really have a place here. Tell us what they've done that's good, what they believe in. That's discussing them. To put it another way, on an entry about the local high school football team, you could discuss their budget or their new uniforms. When the discussion is over, the facts are picked out and incorporated into the entry and the discussion deleted. You could even state an opinion or review about the football team. But discussing football in general (if grass or astroturf is better or talking about the Superbowl) is not related directly to the subject at hand... it isn't about the actual high school football team. I (and others) would love you to support CotD by telling us what they have done or provide more information about who they are. To put it another way, the CotD makes signs. But debating here about the best way to paint and construct signs would be off-topic. In the same way, debating the biblical support (for or against) their message is off-topic. That debate isn't about them, it's about you and the people you're debating with, and has nothing to do with the actual Church of the Divide. I hope you understand. —jw
2007-03-02 09:59:32 Jerry - thanks for all the background. Do you have anything more specific about their activities in Davis? —JabberWokky
2007-03-02 10:27:59 Nothing you don't already know about Davis and Woodland. Don't be too surprised if the cotd doesn't show up in town some day with 500 Russians and Ukraines as they did in Sacramento. That's a whole other story. —JerryRafter
2007-03-04 11:58:31 http://nutritionalprograms.com/NSP_Testimonials_MorerFromClients.htm This one made me laugh out loud. Dick Otterstad is so concerned about the sanctity of gay marriage but his own marriage seems to be a failure. If you run into Dick at one of his protests on gay marriage, ask him why he lives in Garden Valley and his wife lives in Walnut Creek. —JerryRafter
2007-05-08 11:30:47 COTD is at it again, a principal in sac suspended students who were wearing shirts with the bible verse that states homosexuals go to hell. Go go principal, as those shirts are designed to intimated others, and shouldn't be allowed in the school. Also those kids are under 18 and don't have the right to free speech. The bee article briefly touched upon COTD anticts in Davis. —StevenDaubert
2007-05-08 11:45:31 I sat in Ronald Brock's anti-gay truck while he explained to me that he "of course" had homosexual feelings when he was young. Then he offered me a bagel.
Here's a clip:
Brock said the message is simple: If you claim to know God, you must fight your homosexual tendencies.
"Especially in our youth, we've all gone through that floundering around," Brock said. " (But) just because you have a weakness, do you give in to that weakness?
"You may like it at the moment, but there are consequences." —JoshFernandez
2007-07-13 15:21:39 Sacramento Bee article 7/13/07 http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/270787.html
Florin Ciuriuc was the Director of the Slavic Community Center in Sacramento. Read his quote.
for the past several years the COTD has been furnishing the Russian/Ukraine group with signs and shirts denouncing gays and lesbians. These people have been showing up, along with COTD members, at virtually every event put on by gay and lesbian organizations in the Greater Sacramneto area. —JerryRafter
2007-12-03 00:03:37 Luke Otterstad of The Church of the Divide has tabled at American River College the fall semester of 2007. Their "Christian Civilization Club" lost it's license after comments characterized as inflammatory against Muslims. See:
The controversy helped elect eight candidates campaigning for "Christian values" and against "humanistic bias" to student council seats in the fall 2007 elections. —schultkl
2008-02-16 15:26:27 For what is going on out at American River College please see http://www.savearc.com. There is a compilation of information regarding the Church of the Divide. Save ARC owes this site a very appriciative "THANK YOU" for giving us an idea of who and what these few individuals represent in our community.
It should also be reported that the ARC Inter-Club Council performed symbolic marriage ceremonies for any couple who wished to marry as a fund raiser during "Club Day" on Feb 14, 2008. It was closely observed and video recorded by at least nine supporters of the COD's philosophy. —saveARC
2008-05-24 23:42:45 Luke Otterstad from the Church of the Divide is up to the same things this semester. He has again used the picture of a trans-gender student to fan the flames of intolerance and has motivated a conservative majority to get out and vote. Luke Otterstad defends their actions before the ARC Board of Justice. See www.savearc.com for all the latest links and information. —saveARC
2012-03-21 11:38:26 I actually had to work with Luke Otterstad at the SCC school newspaper back in 2009. He seemed alright at first, but holy crap, once I found out about all this lovely stuff, I was absolutely horrified. Plus, he and his cronies in the student government stirred up a lot of controversy that same semester; I guess much like what happened at ARC. It was all very crazy, but fascinating at the same time. Luke seemed to be such a balanced and smart young man. But with all of this... the only thing I can call this and what he does is hate. I'm sure the SPLC would label this group as a hate group... —CecilioPadilla
- 1Anti-gay message stirs ire in town, Placerville leaders have declared a hate-free zone in response to religious group's campaign. (via Newsbank, must have campus IP, or a subscription) "Otterstad said a member of the church group was arrested on battery charges, which have been reduced to creating a public nuisance." Sacramento Bee 2005-2-13
- 22 in clinic bomb plot sentenced (via Newsbank) San Diego Union Tribune 1988-5-6 "An East County couple, described in federal court as "good people who did a very bad thing," were sentenced yesterday to jail terms for their roles in a plot to bomb the Alvarado Medical Center abortion clinic last July. U.S. District Judge Earl B. Gilliam imposed the heaviest penalty, three years in custody, on Cheryl Sullenger, 32, who pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to bomb the clinic."
- 3Anti-gay message stirs ire in town, Placerville leaders have declared a hate-free zone in response to religious group's campaign. (via Newsbank, must have campus IP, or a subscription) "Otterstad said a member of the church group was arrested on battery charges, which have been reduced to creating a public nuisance." Sacramento Bee 2005-2-13
- 42 in clinic bomb plot sentenced (via Newsbank) San Diego Union Tribune 1988-5-6 "An East County couple, described in federal court as "good people who did a very bad thing," were sentenced yesterday to jail terms for their roles in a plot to bomb the Alvarado Medical Center abortion clinic last July. U.S. District Judge Earl B. Gilliam imposed the heaviest penalty, three years in custody, on Cheryl Sullenger, 32, who pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to bomb the clinic."