“Ask reporters on the religion beat and they’ll tell you the most vicious e-mails they ever receive as journalists are from people of faith who feel their beliefs have been slighted. The passion behind religion magnifies any perceived mistakes, slights or bias.”
-- William Lobdell, former longtime religion writer for the Los Angeles Times, in Losing My Religion at p. 265
In my experience, Lobdell's words go ditto and double for people who speak out about clergy sex abuse and cover-ups.
I never imagined a world of so much meanness until I stepped onto the terrain of Baptistland with pleas for clergy accountability and for care of abuse survivors.
Worst of all . . . it’s a malignant meanness that masks itself as religion.
Most people seem to want to believe that clergy sex abuse is about the perpetrators. You know . . . the “bad guys.”
But really . . . it’s mostly about all the rest.
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Humming a little tune from church all those decades ago. The one that went "...And they'll know we are Christians by our love..."
The most vicious personal attacks I have received in my blog have been from people "defending" the church by trying to assassinate my character. If they went after pedophiles with the zeal they use to attack us we would live in a much safer world.
I will add that when I talk to lawyers and detectives who are looking into these clergy sex abuse cases, I have learned to warn them that people who will not cheat on their taxes, would visit their sick neighbors, will still lie like hell to cover for a child molesting preacher or deacon and will assassinate the character of any person who tries to confront such gross sin, including the children who are victims.
In reply, I have often had these lawyers, detectives, etc., express relief when I tell them this because they have already experienced it and it has stunned them that people who profess Christ could act this way.
The editor of the Culpeper Star told me he could not even print many letter from IFB pastor Chuck Shifflett's supporters because they were so vile.
I agree, Christa.. When I, along with another victim, turned in my perp, Emmett Hayslip, in 1996, I was immediately ostracized by those who worshipped HIM in his home town.
I use the phrase "worshipped HIM" as it was apparent that it was not God they were worshipping but a fallible human being who was their perceived connection to God.
I have always said that "christians" (little 'c' intended) are some of the worst people I have known on this earth..
It's a real shame that people don't stand up to ask the right questions, perform the best research, or think objectively (as opposed to subjectively or emotionally) when someone around them: 1) is accused, or 2) accuses someone, of abuse..
To all those naysayers out there:
Pastors, preachers, sunday school teachers, youth directors, and all other fellow 'christians,' and "Christians," are HUMAN, which means, they are FALLIBLE and SINNERS before God just as YOU and I are!
They DO abuse others - sexually, physically and otherwise! It happens EVERY DAY across the planet.
You may THINK you know these people well but, I can assure you, you do not and you are living in a world of self-initiated DELUSION if you truly believe your friend, or family member, is not capable of such acts!
The vast majority of us are capable of more than we can even imagine given the right circumstances and thus, if you are predisposed to molesting children, you will do so when the opportunity presents itself and if you feel you can get away with it.
THERE ARE 'Wolves dressed in Sheep's clothing' worshipping all around us AND guiding our spiritual lives!
It's time to worship GOD and not the men who claim to know God yet act in a manner which is abhorred by God!
A point of clarification...
This is not to say that ALL people accused of abuse of a child, or other, are guilty of the accusation - many are not.
However, many are and that group is who I am talking about.
We are a society of sinners on all levels. Turning a blind eye to the insidious problem of clergy abuse is, in my mind, one of the ultimate of sins against man (and child). For if we, as non-abusers, ignore the problem, it is, in my mind, tantamount to condoning the problem.
If that is what you choose to do, then wait until a member of your family is abused by a trusted clergy person or other. I'm thinking you will change your mind quickly.
God is our only connection to eternal life and for someone to damage that connection by their often subtle and manipulative methods of abuse, and under the cloak of righteousness and all that is good - this is beyond reproach in my opinion.
These are human LIVES, physically and spiritually, I am talking about. Humans DESERVE better treatment than this from predators operating as 'godly' men.
Last week the Youth Minister at Autryville Baptist Church, a rural community (population about 200) in eastern North Carolina was arrested and charged with "soliciting a minor over the internet for a sexual act, and attempted indecent liberties with a minor." He was caught in a law enforcement sting operation after meeting a "14 year old girl" on the internet and arranging to meet her for sex in Greensboro, a city more than two hours away from his home. Story in the "Sampson Independent" and the NC Baptist journal, "Biblical Recorder."
Thanks for the news, Jim. I hadn't yet seen this one. Here are the news stories on this Southern Baptist minister in North Carolina: Biblical Recorder and Sampson Independent.
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