Sunday, August 23, 2009

No Hope at Mt. Hope

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians.”
-- Gandhi

Remember Ben?

As an adolescent boy, Ben was sexually abused by pastor George O.A. Lowe at Mt. Hope Baptist Church in Stafford County, Virginia. About a year ago, Lowe was convicted on this crime, and last week Lowe was denied parole.

Since Lowe’s conviction, Ben has been trying to get help from the church for his psychological and spiritual healing. In January 2009 he met with church leaders and asked for help. He also asked for the chance to speak before the full congregation.

After waiting over six months to even respond, church leaders finally wrote back and rebuffed Ben’s requests. Although they expressly said that “the governing body of the church is the whole congregation,” they refused Ben the chance to speak to the congregation and to ask the congregation for help.

Here’s what the church did instead.

For “spiritual support,” the church made a “gift” to Ben of a CD entitled “When we are abused” by Rev. Charles Stanley. And the church proudly pointed out that it was gifting the CD to Ben “free of charge.”

It’s a CD that typically sells for about $7.00.

Then they asked that Ben “refrain from contacting” any member of the church.

So . . . because this looks so appallingly cold and callous, let me just make sure I didn’t miss anything.
  • As a kid, Ben was sexually abused by the pastor that Mt. Hope chose and hired.

  • As a kid, Ben was abused by that pastor on the church premises.

  • Now, church leaders won’t allow Ben to speak to the congregation.

  • Church leaders don’t want him to even talk with any church members.

  • Church leaders are gifting to Ben a $7.00 CD “free of charge.”

  • This is what church leaders call "spiritual support" for a clergy molestation survivor.

What did I miss?

Oh… here it is. Church leaders say they “prayed long and hard” and that they made this decision “centered on prayer.”

It almost makes a blasphemy of the whole notion of “prayer,” doesn’t it? Do they imagine that, if they purport to “pray” about it, they can pass the blame to God for such hard-heartedness? Do they imagine that, if they purport to “pray” about it, then they themselves are freed from moral responsibility?

If these are “Christians,” then my own prayer will be “Christ, please keep us safe from the Christians.”

And if the sick reality of Mt. Hope’s “spiritual support” isn’t chilling enough for you all on its own, consider this additional pathetic twist. The church’s gifted “free of charge” CD is by Rev. Charles Stanley, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and senior pastor of the prominent First Baptist Church of Atlanta. That’s the church where my own perp was children's minister for 19 years.

When SNAP tried to leaflet at First Baptist of Atlanta -- to inform people that their prior children's minister was known to have sexually abused a kid in Texas -- church leaders called the police on us and tried to run us off. Afterwards, SNAP wrote to Rev. Charles Stanley to make sure he knew how rudely we were treated, and we asked for the opportunity to address the congregation.

We were rebuffed. Apparently Charles Stanley didn’t care to have his congregation hear any talk from a clergy abuse survivor either.

So . . . given that Charles Stanley didn't give any indication of thinking a minister's molestation of a kid mattered enough to even be worth informing people in the pews, and given that Charles Stanley didn't offer even the tiniest bit of care to a person abused by one of his own long-time staff ministers, the notion that a Charles Stanley CD would give a clergy abuse survivor “spiritual support” seems a sad joke.

That CD is a coaster -- nothing more.

14 comments:

Lydia said...

This is so unbelievable that I am speechless.

This is like putting a bandaid on cancer.

And the church is the one with cancer.

Thy Peace said...

What good is Christianity when the Church itself does not practice what they teach?

I understand they are attempting to protect a "business" or "enterprise" and safeguard their incoming money.

But where is Christ in all this?

Anonymous said...

"Where is Christ in all this?"

Nowhere. Ditto for hundreds of other Baptist churches that are equally cold-hearted and barren and hateful. The example for such monstrous behavior is set by their highest leaders. It's no wonder so many in Baptist churches are so uncivilized.

Anonymous said...

They're inhumane. I'm not talking about the perverts. I'm talking about all the others.

Anonymous said...

Charles Stanley doing a dvd for abuse victims? After refusing to tell his own congregation they employed a sexual predator minister for all those years?

Anonymous said...

Charles Stanley is the worst. THE WORST! Mean, conniving, calculating and cold. He's all about image and appearances, and he's good at that. So most people don't see it, and Charles Stanley gets to make a lot of money that way.

john said...

Charles Stanley once preached that a "troubled marriage" forever disqualifies a man from being a pastor. Yet when his wife divorced him he not only refused to resigned but told his staff he was going to stay at First Baptist. This is the picture of power brokers at work, the rules do not apply to them nor their friends. Yet, people still follow this person!

Michael said...

Oh Hell!

I thought we Catholics had the market cornered on this level of stupidity and insensitivity.

Only the sheep that are not causing problems for the shepherd are allowed to be part of the show flock!

Dr. Bill Loney said...

Christa--I likes you and what yore doin'. Hope ya don't mind me sharin a lil happinen and a thought.

I's paintin fer my sister, and some stray dogs what had packed up got after this lil calf in the next door field...knowin cows, I figures I'd have to getta gun 'fore they kilt it. To my surprise, the mama cow started vocalizin and fore I knew it, there wuz cows comin out the barn, out the woods, and from all over the pasture and they descended on them dogs a snortin and stompin and mooing and they got that lil'un twixt them and didn't let up til them dogs wuz gone.

As I was ponderin on yore writins, I got to thinkin that them dumb cows showed more character n courage than this corrupt generation of cowardly higher primate sheeple who won't do the same fer their lil lambs.

From the lil backwoods wooden chapels to the big city mega steeples who worry more about money and yore good name--shame on you!!! Instead of yore big crusades,
revivals, and back-slappin glad-handin meetins prayin fer converts and large borders, ya oughtta be prayin fer mercy.

Keep on truckin Christa!

William T. Loney, MD

Christa Brown said...

"...them dumb cows showed more character n courage than this corrupt generation of cowardly higher primate sheeple..."

Dr. Bill: Welcome to the blog. And thanks for such wise words. (For a moment, I thought maybe you were fixin' to call me a "dumb cow." But even when I first thought that, given all the things I've been called by Southern Baptist leaders, I pretty quickly decided that "dumb cow" wouldn't be so bad.)

Michael: Did I meet you at the SNAP convention? I hope so, but I'm sorry I can't remember. Things wound up turning into a blur for me.

Anonymous said...

Charles Stanley once preached that a "troubled marriage" forever disqualifies a man from being a pastor. Yet when his wife divorced him he not only refused to resigned but told his staff he was going to stay at First Baptist. This is the picture of power brokers at work, the rules do not apply to them nor their friends. Yet, people still follow this person!

August 25, 2009 9:31 PM

He also told folks later that his church begged him to stay.

So much for his teaching applying to everyone. I guess after hearing how anointed the pastor is, his own teaching does not apply to himself.

Jawbone said...

Why am I not surprised?  Deflect and minimize seem to be the order of the day when it comes to Southern Baptists' taking ownership of clergy/staff/deacon child sexual.  Perhaps they are afraid of the legal implications.  Personally, I recommend they be more afraid of divine judgement on their inaction.  If these good folks read Matthew 18:1-6, they would be trimbling now.  Mt. Hope Church, forget your lawyers and do the right thing; act more like Christ and less like contemporary Christians.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

The only thing missing from their "care package" to Ben was a trespass warning.

Christa Brown said...

FBC Jax Watchdog: You're right - the only thing missing from their spiritual support "care package" was a trespass warning. Guess they need to go to the Pastors' Conference and learn some more advanced tactics from Mac, huh?

For those of you who don't know this story, Watchdog is the intrepid blogger who dared to criticize prominent Southern Baptist pastor Mac Brunson, and the church got the Jacksonville Sheriff's office involved, etc. How dare anyone criticize pastor Mac?!?! It's a good illustration of the extraordinary lengths some drunk-on-their-own-power pastors will go to. You can read more about it here.