Pensacola, Fl - For almost ten years Charles Winters has been a familiar face on Public Access Cable in Pensacola. The "fire and brimstone" Pentecostal Holiness preacher, affectionately known as "Brother Charlie" is known for his impassioned church services that air on Friday nights at 7PM. His services, filled with "miraculous healings," people being "slain in the Spirit" and an abundance of speaking in tongues, generally runs in excess of two hours.
But as of late Brother Charlie has found himself the target of a lawsuit that threatens to ruin his ministry if he is found liable. The trouble started when a local Pensacola man, Terry Farnsworth, accused Winters of slandering him in one of his sermons while speaking in tongues. Farnsworth is now suing Winters for $1.4 million dollars. Farnsworth, who lives in a small two-room trailer with his mother, girlfriend, half-sister, his three children, seven dogs and a rabbit, commented on the situation.
"I was sitting here last Friday with my mamma and my daughter Bo Raylene, and we was watching Brother Charlie" said Farnsworth. "We really like to watch him because he just will gets so excited and start all that tongue speaking. Well, about halfway through the show he starts that business. I believe that some people speaks in tongues and some is supposed to understand what they saying, that's my gift. All of a sudden he says something and I know what he's saying. I hear him say 'Terry Farnsworth is no good trash. He don't do nothing but drink beer, and he ain't got no job. Terry Farnsworth is a lying thief.'
Upon hearing the alleged "slander" Farnsworth stated that he told his mother what he had just heard.
"I told my mamma what I just done heard and she said that I needed to sue this man" said Farnsworth. "I talked to my neighbor who's got a brother who's a lawyer in prison and he said I could sue this man for slander."
A court date for Farnsworth's case against Winters has not been set yet. Farnsworth further stated he hopes to settle out of court with Winters. But Winters is determined not to budge.
"I said nothing, nothing of the kind against Mr. Farnsworth" stated Winters. "I've never met the man, nor do I have any idea about who he is. When I speak in tongues I say that which only the angels can understand. That's what tongue speaking is all about, saying something that's only between you and God. It's not supposed to be understood by people. Just the angels."
"If we go to court I'm suing for $1.4 million" said Farnsworth. "But if he don't want to go to court I'll just take $50,000 in cash. I feel bad suing a preacher and all that, but he don't need to be saying stuff like that on television.