Monday, April 5, 2010

Sweeping it under the blood rug

David Darr emailed to say that he liked my book. I felt so honored.

David Darr was one of the participants in the film, All God’s Children. It’s a documentary about missionary kids who, when they grew up, sought to have the truth told about abuse at the Mamou Academy, which was run by the Christian and Missionary Alliance, an evangelical group that shares a lot in common with Baptists.

I feel a sense of identification with the Mamou survivors. People like David Darr are my heroes.

With David’s permission, I’m sharing his email below. I know many of you will likely feel some connection to his words.

“Before I was sent to Mamou Academy, I was sexually abused by a missionary man whom I’ll call ‘Don Smith’. Years later, I filed a lawsuit, but not surprisingly, it was thrown out because of the statute of limitations and the fact that the abuse occurred overseas.

As soon as our parents learned of the sexual abuse, they immediately tried to have the man defrocked. When the missionary board refused, my parents resigned and joined a new missionary sending agency - Gospel Missionary Union.

My parents were routinely accused of being 'non-forgiving' therefore less spiritual because my father made it a stipulation to GMU that this man would be barred from the GMU compound -- he did not want my siblings and I to have to see him. We have all the correspondence from my parents concerning our abuse.

I also have the letter that Don Smith signed admitting to the fact that he 'had touched the son of Mr. Darr.' All the council members signed this document which included these words: 'I have been forgiven by God for my actions, which are now 'under the blood', and are never to be brought up again.'

I call that 'sweeping it under the blood rug!'

In correspondence with GMU years later, I made it clear that those signatures show that GMU was in collusion/collaboration with the perpetrator. There are reports that this man abused again, and was promptly forgiven by the parents. He also ran an orphanage in Senegal. YIKES! Makes one want to scream.

Anyway, I had to get that all off my chest (which I realize is only a temporary state - I can never fully 'get it all off my chest'). Here is the comment I wanted to make about your book. I loved your Chapters 46 and 47, titled 'The Hurt of 'God's Love' and 'Heart of a Missionary.' I too cringe at all the platitudes, verses and spiritual advice thrown my way. Just can't go there anymore.

In addition to my being a chemist, I am also a musician/pianist. As part of my healing, I made a piano arrangement of pieces that captured my journey. I included in that medley an arrangement by Fred Bock of 'Jesus Loves Me' based on 'Clair de Lune'. It starts out hauntingly lovely, innocent, childlike but then there is the middle section that is discordant and agitated. I put my whole body and soul into that part -- it's visceral the way I attack the piano -- the physicality of playing that part exhausts me physically, mentally and spiritually. I HATE IT THAT 'JESUS LOVES ME'. What is THAT about?

Don't tell me that ‘Jesus Loves Me’!”

For more on David Darr’s lawsuit, see the Charleston Gazette. Note that the accused is described as “a Baptist minister.”

For more on abuse of missionary kids in the Gospel Missionary Union, see this April 4, 2001 article from the Christian Century, “
No Longer Silent.

For more on abuse of missionary kids in the Christian & Missionary Alliance, see “All God’s Children.”

For more on the faulty forgiveness theology of evangelicals, see
“The F-word.”


New BBC Open Forum said...

"It's under the blood" is exactly the same phrase Steve Gaines used to not deal with the Paul Williams case. Do they teach this stuff in seminary?

Christa Brown said...

To some degree, I think they actually did teach the cover-up part in seminary. Consider this quote from a 2002 editorial in the Baptist Standard on clergy sex abuse:
"For years, Baptist college and seminary professors taught ministers to maintain confidentiality at all costs... We were told to deal with the guilty but maintain silence as much as possible."

And how did they "deal with the guilty"? From the same article ... "by passing perpetrators to other churches."

So, given that some Baptist officials flat-out acknowledge that, "for years," Baptist churches have been "passing perpetrators to other churches," why don't they now try to plug that hole and create a system to track down some of those perpetrators who were passed on?

Christa Brown said...

For those of you who don't know what the Steve Gaines / Paul Williams case is, here's a link.

Not only did senior pastor Steve Gaines know about minister Williams' sexual abuse of a kid, but at least 10 other church officials and leaders also knew. And it was all just "swept under the blood rug."

Indeed, it is STILL being "swept under the blood rug" because the church chooses to retain in positions of authority those who covered up for clergy child molestation.

John said...

To those who use this perversion of the Word, please understand "under the blood" does not mean above the law! Anyone who beaks the laws of "Ceaser" must "render unto Ceaser".
Also,these perverted people hold that any "ex" anyone can pastor except one.Ex drug users, excons, expredors, and the list goes on. However, according to their twisted theology, ex-married men can never again stand behind the pulpit. Their inconsistancy is amazing and does a lot of damage to those who suffer. SHAME!

Lydia said...

Under the blood is a negation of what is taught in Hebrews 10: 26-31

John said...

Your presentation on the home page, "Collusion & Cover-ups" is outstanding and very well presented. I have served on several jouries and it is always important after the presentations by both sides that the facts be put into a simple easy to undestand conclusion. You did that in a very cnvincing way.