Saturday, July 31, 2010

Truth isn't easy

Sometimes truth isn’t easy, and that’s sure true about clergy sex abuse.

The truth doesn’t always set you free. Sometimes it binds you tight as you try to learn to live with it.

Truth can shred all that you ever knew or believed. It can make a mockery of everything you ever held dear. It can rend asunder relationships, and it can pulverize the simple ability to live at peace.

Truth can be hard. It’s why so many people choose the softness of lies.

The lies comfort. When you believe them, they feel easier. They don’t challenge or confront.

People rationalize and justify. They rush past the real rawness of clergy sex abuse while spouting platitudes about “precious children” and “church autonomy.”

But their platitudes don’t protect anyone other than themselves. Their platitudes give them something to latch onto so that they don’t have to see the ugly reality of kids being molested and raped by clergy.

So who has more moral courage? The abuse survivors who step into the abyss and allow themselves to see the full horror of their own helplessness when they were groomed, molested and raped by a trusted minister? Or the Baptist leaders who shield themselves behind their safe wall of platitudes and who never confront the reality of clergy colleagues who rape kids?

People often wonder why abuse survivors don’t speak up sooner. But why do they wonder when they themselves lapse so easily into denial and minimization?

We did nothing wrong. We were raped because we were young, vulnerable, faith-filled and trusting. We were raped because the pastors held power and they used it against us.

Church and denominational leaders have a responsibility to know this truth and to confront it.

They can’t change what was done to us in the past. But if they will muster the courage to see the truth, they can change what will happen to others in the future.

But first, they must stop pushing away the truth with excuses, denials, minimizations, rationalizations and victim-blaming.

Those are all lies.

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