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August 6, 2008

Set Free Ministries bikers charged with attempted murder *

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/set_free_ministries_charged_with_attempted_murder_20080806/

Photo
Set Free’s leader Aguilar

Bad news today for the Christian biker gang. Set Free Ministries. Six members, along with three members of the Hells Angeles, were arrested in a handful of raids across Southern California. The reason: A July 27 barfight in which members of Set Free allegedly stabbed two Hells Angels.

Among those arrested was Phil Aguilar, Set Free’s founder and leader. Details from the LA Times:

Aguilar’s MySpace page says he is a resident of Anaheim who is also known as the pastor or “the Chief” of the group. Next to his photo is the statement: “Sinner or Saint you be the judge!”

Authorities said the gang has a religious ministry that recruits people discharged from parole, state prison and county jail and has an outreach program for convicted felons.

“It just seems they have a lot of people that have run into law enforcement and the court system,” Schmidt said.

On its website, Set Free Soldiers describes itself as “a group of men who love Jesus and love to ride hard. We are not your normal motorcycle club. Some say we are too good for the bad guys, and too bad for the good guys.

“We don’t argue that,” the statement says. “All we Soldiers know is that we take care of our own and help plenty of others along the way. We try to live right in this wrong world and let our light shine wherever we may go.”

I met a number of the Set Free guys when I was out in San Bernardino. They hosted a weekly Bible study in Rialto that began inside Heroes and Madmen tattoo shop and had grown out onto the sidewalk. I once watched them wash each other’s feet out there as an act of humility.

They were a fellowship of Christian misfits who I thought served a really important niche, though I imagined it was one that often toed the line of lawfulness. Innocent until proven guilty, but things don’t look good today for Set Free.

After the jump is the short vignette I wrote about the group for a package about alternative Christian ministries:

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