July 3, 2013

When The Church Prefers Perpetrators (Mary DeMuth)

I just was reading another blog about The Southern Baptist Convention and Sex Abuse of Children Within

in the article there, Julie Anne linked to this fabulous piece by a lady named Mary DeMuth that we should all take to heart:
When The Church Prefers Perpetrators
Paul’s dealings with the Corinthian man who had sexual relations with his “father’s wife” is instructive here. “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you” (1 Corinthians 5:1-2, ESV). Paul did not ask them to coddle, to hear the man’s story. He didn’t ask them to protect the man or silence the victim. He mandated the man who sinned be removed from their midst because of his egregious sexual sin.

Yet some have settled for keeping the violator within the ranks of the church with no penalty, and even defending him or her. We have “protected” the integrity of the church by violating its integrity through hiding and evasion. Of course the goal of this kind of church discipline is restoration, but it must first be acknowledged as sin, openly. More than that, we must dignify victims, validating their voices. Our concern should be overspending ourselves, working feverishly toward the victim’s restoration and operating within the legal system to ensure justice is served.

The outcome of the Corinthian man’s situation was beautiful, surprising restoration. (See 2 Corinthians 2:5-11). As the church of Jesus Christ, we hope for no less. We long to see both perpetrator and victim come to a place of surrender. Jesus died for the sins committed against us and the sins we commit, so that we can all experience His profound grace at the level place of the cross.
And, as a case in point:

Blog: Pastor chastises abuse activist
Amy Smith, Houston representative of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has been active for years in trying to expose what she believes is a systemic problem of abuse and cover-up in Southern Baptists’ free-wheeling polity in which each congregation hires and fires its own ministers.

Because of that, she was surprised on returning home after a few days out of town to find phone messages from a pastor she does not know from First Baptist Church in Houston who urgently desired to talk to her.

Doug Bischoff
Smith said Doug Bischoff, “next generation” minister at the church she and her husband have attended for 18 years, took offense at her May 23 blog post announcing an “awareness event” outside the George R. Brown Convention Center when the SBC convenes its 2013 annual meeting June 11-12 in Houston.

Since she and her husband “don’t see what I am doing as a problem,” Smith said, they were told “that it’s for the best if we step down” from teaching in the church’s youth ministry. Asked how he found her blog, Bischoff reportedly told her husband that his boss, Pastor Gregg Matte, showed it to him.
Just unreal.  Shame on these pastors!

This is a very wonderful response from Patrick Stewart (especially at about minute 6 and following) regarding violence and abuse of women (and I'm sure he would say it applies to children as well). Would that any pastor would speak this passionately about abuse in the church. Christian men should have maybe just a LITTLE more spine and passion for treating people justly than Patrick Stewart, an atheist.  Just MAYBE some atheists would pay more attention if we actually demonstrated as much compassion as they do to real victims of real evil.