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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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After the Rader guilty plea: 'Take note of what we do with evil,' urges pastor

Michael G. Clark, pastor of Christ Lutheran, Wichita, Kan., “wanted to get up and leave” several times during the June 27 court appearance in which a former church council president, Dennis Rader, gave a grisly account of 10 murders he admitted committing beginning in 1974 ("Images of Hope," May, page 32 in the print edition).

But “I had told Dennis I’d be there,” he told The Lutheran, so he felt compelled to stay and listen. In response to questions from the judge, Rader—utterly void of emotion—described how he used a “hit kit” of guns, rope, handcuffs and tape to kill his victims. He called the killings “projects” and the victims “targets.” Rader gave himself the name BTK—bind, torture and kill—in correspondence with the media and lawenforcement.

One detail that shocked Clark and parishioners is that Rader brought one victim’s body to the church—the old Christ Lutheran building that has since been torn down—to fulfill sexual fantasies. “I asked Dennis [the morning after his court appearance], ‘How can I explain to members what you did in that church building?’ ” recalls Clark.


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