Twice Abused: The Church, Women, Children, Abstinence and Covering up of Dirty Acts
Taking a Look at the Molestation of Children by Religious Figures and the Church's Response
As the battle wages in Afghanistan and other sections of the world, so does the battle of abuse rage on in our churches, and more directly in the lives of many professed Christians.
The evidence of this ever so often comes to light when news of the molestation of children who were placed in the care of "trusted" religious figures make it to the air waves. The frequency with which these offenses are committed against children by proclaimed devote Christians is no doubt cause for concern within our society.
The church by nature adopts a code of silence where certain behavior of members of their congregations is concerned. It might even be likely that it can be proven that there has been, and continues to be an unbiased support for the less than desirable acts committed by the male populace of the church.
No Particular Denomination
Let me establish here that the church referred to in this article is not limited to any one denomination. There are many denominations whose behavior towards certain sins mirrors the behavior discussed in this article. Throughout Christendom, in spite of the era, women always seem to gain more chastisement from the church for their 'undesirable' behaviours. These include adultery and fornication.
Could it be that this practice over the years have given fuel to the molestation of a minor by men who proclaim to be of the cloth?
If there is protection in the arms of the church and forgiveness waiting to be extolled upon he who slips, then what is the deterrent?
Is it the threat of hell fire, and is this fire more for adulterous women and "wayward" children than it is for the men?
The actions, or lack thereof, of the church against men who abuse children has not helped to stem the tide of hurt that sweeps over our children. This is a tide which springs to life at the heart of the church and is vibrantly, yet in a manner of denial, carried to shore by the code of silence exercised by the church.
It is a denial, which manifest itself even as heads are turned in another direction, and the Christian body await the ebbing of the tide of scandal and shame. Many such tides have over the years arisen, and gained momentum with such ferocity it seemed as if it would have finally broken the church, but only to make its way to shore and die a slow and natural death.
Abstinence is a Difficult Topic to Explain
The preaching of abstinence by the church can be seen as a questionable practice, not wrong but questionable.
So many children who grow up in the "arms" of the church are denied the chance of abstaining, as they are abused by religious authorities, a parent or an adult member known to them. The church proposes that it will deal with the matter internally, but somehow it ends with the abused being told to forgive and keep quiet about the matter as it is God's will that the name of His church not be tarnished.
The perpetrator might be reprimanded in some way, but the main focus seems to be on restoring that person to faith. This special attention usually entails a bit of spiritual pampering through seemingly incessant prayer and/or confession sessions. The arms of the church is opened wide to receive such a fallen brother while the violated child feels even more guilty and violated.
Imagine them sitting through a sermon on abstinence while they are in full view of the individual who robbed them of the chance to abstain. Imagine what they go through while the words of rebuke and condemnation come pouring from the lips of someone who did very little to help them. Twice abused.
Carrie Underwood - Jesus, Take The Wheel
A Change in Behavior is Desirable
As I write this, two incidences come to mind. In one incidence, two young girls were molested by a very prominent evangelist. A paying off of the jury (as it was reported) saw him escaping imprisonment. I continue to search my mind for the voice of the church and its widespread condemnation of the entire act, but I can't. I have to search my mind because perhaps my own bias caused me to have heard, and maybe pushed aside their stern response.
No, I am not that bias. The silence was deafening.
In the second incidence, a young school girl (early teens) was molested in the presence of who turned out to be a well loved member of his church. As I understand it, he was the designated driver to take some kids to and from school. The girl was molested by a few of the boys in the vehicle while this elder looked on. The story made the news after a tape was released.
That was several years ago, but until this day I cant help but muse at the strong support this man received from his church members. They seemed so angry at the media or any one else who seemingly tried to "tarnish" their brother's character because he was a well loved deacon (or whatever he was).
It would be good to see more churches and the members owning up to the error of the practice of maintaining a code of silence on certain matters. The innocent ought to be protected, and the guilty brought to book.
Leann Rimes Singing Amazing Grace
Using the Bible as a Biased Whip
What right does the church have to bring the whip (condemnation from the bible) down on some people, but then turn around and try to use the same bible to hide and shield a brother who blatantly beats his wife or use minors to satisfy their lust?
Isn't God being mocked by the church when they do this?
It is nothing but pure hypocrisy when the church agrees with the punishment of a non-Christian for a crime similar to that committed by one of their own, yet they shield their own from receiving the same punishment. Justice is justice.
Can it not be said then that the church is helping to spread crime, violence and corruption?
Throwing a Righteous Fit
There are many who will get angry, and throw a fit when the church is questioned in this manner. Since I was raised in the church, and continue to hold to some of the things I learnt from the bible, it is my belief that everything must be thoroughly questioned before you accept or become a part of it.
The church protects certain members under the guise that everyone sins and needs forgiveness. That may be true, but how does forgiving a rapist and abuser while shunning, shutting up, and adding to the stress of the victim counts as righteousness in God's eye?
Since we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), I think we ought to acknowledge that sin cannot cover sin. Many church leaders and members need to get off the high horse they ride as they parade themselves as God's true servant.
In my view, anything or anyone in this life (the church, politicians etc.) who are presented as being above scrutiny are the first, and largest set of sinners here on earth. Self-righteous, holier-than-thou christian are some of the most repugnant people one will ever have to displeasure on encountering.
Humility and an Unbiased Whipping
Jesus rode a donkey, and when he decided it was time to do some whipping he applied it to all who deserved it. It was the church leaders and members of prominence who were no doubt at the elm of the church being turned into a market place (John 2:15). That was not the work of the lowly, the children or the women.
Situations of child abuse and molestation as well as spousal abuse require love, understanding, rebuke and yes forgiveness. Forgiveness does not cancel the need for rebuke, and this is where many err. As a matter of fact, rebuke is applied, but often it goes to the one who is already the victim. Twice raped/abused.
Those placed in a position that affects lives so strongly really need to learn to let go and let God. Christianity is about helping each other to a better way of life, not controlling and steering people as we see fit.
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