Monday, 21 June 2021

Religion - Providing More Excuses for People Who Need Excuses

Pastor Lewis Clemons
Kingdom Awareness Ministries International, Columbus, Georgia, USA
$500,000 compensation for rape victim
Jury imposes $500K verdict on pastor accused of rape | U.S. News | The Christian Post

Pastor Lewis Clemons, Could have settled a claim that he raped a 15-year-old girl with a simple public admission and an apology, but he refused. So, the jury in the Superior Court of Muscogee County, Georgia, found in favour of the complainant, Lequita Jackson, and imposed a $500,000 penalty against him.

In 2017, Jackson and another of Clemons' congregants, Lakisha Smith, launched a civil lawsuit against Clemons, claiming that he had sexually abused them when they were under 16 years old. During the trial, Jackson, who is now 33, told the court that Clemons routinely sought out girls from troubled backgrounds and

gave them a position in the church so he could have regular contact with them. In her case, she had had a history of abuse and had turned to religion and the church to seek solace.

She said that Clemons took advantage of her when she began 'speaking in tongues'. In fundamentalist Christian churches, this is often an excuse for abuse when the pastor tells the girl that the gibberish she is talking is a communication from God that only he can interpret. He then claims that the messages are giving God's divine command for a sexual relationship, or other sexual abuse.

In Clemons' case, he told Jackson that he needed to anoint her body, with special attention to her breasts and buttocks and quoted the Bible to her to justify his claim. He then said he needed to lay on top of her naked body to keep the 'holy spirit' in. He claimed he had once cured a woman of cancer by anointing her breasts. Jackson told the court that he twice paid for her to have the resulting pregnancies terminated while posing as her legal guardian.

Her attorney, Jeb Butler of Butler Law Firm, had explained by email to Clemons that Jackson was not interested in money so would probably settle the claim for a recorded apology which she would then be free to distribute in any way she wished:
Ms. Jackson would probably settle the case for zero dollars – it really is not about the money for her. To seriously discuss settling this case, you would have to be willing to make a video statement that:
  1. acknowledged all of your sexual misconduct with Lequita Jackson, Lakisha Smith, LaTreyvia Sharpe, Asha Tinsley, and [Redacted]; and
  2. genuinely apologized for that sexual misconduct; and
  3. acknowledged that you have seriously harmed many, many women who trusted you as their spiritual leader.
Ms. Jackson would then watch the video. She would then decide, in her sole discretion, whether the video sufficiently met the requirements above. She would have sole control over the distribution of the video. She would be authorized to share the video publicly and with anyone that she chose.
If you are willing to do that, please let me know by noon tomorrow, June 5, 2021. If you are willing to do it, I will discuss the matter with her and see if settlement is possible.

Jeb Butler
Clemons' reply was a peremptory (and very expensive):
We will not agree to Ms Jackson request. Thank you
This, of course, is just another example of how religious clerics abuse their position of trust and authority to control young and vulnerable victims, naive enough to believe the claims of Biblical justification, and even to believe they have some sort of obligation to God to participate in the abuse, as Clemons used in this case.

These are not people who really believe the superstitious nonsense they sell to their credulous dupes. There is no fear of a watching god who will one day call them to account for their actions. Where is this famous 'Moral compass' that allegedly makes religious people the moral superior of Atheists? And where is this famous 'love of Jesus' that fundamentalists claim to be full of?

All they see is a gullible and vulnerable child, imbued with religious superstition and ripe for exploitation. Clemons was a sexual predator, taking advantage of his position and of the vulnerability of his victims. Showing, once again, how:

Religion provides excuses for people who need excuses

Thank you for sharing!

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