Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Religious Sexual Abuse News - #ChurchToo is Revealing an Epidemic of Routine Sexual Abuse in Christian Churches

A 'washing line' of women’s' dresses donated by sexual assault survivors from Amish and other plain-dressing religious groups beneath a description of each survivors' age and church affiliation, on Friday, April 29, 2022, in Leola, Pa. The exhibit's purpose was to show that sexual assault is a reality among children and adults in such groups. Similar exhibits held nationwide aim to shatter the myth that abuse is caused by a victim's clothing choice.

AP Photo/Jessie Wardarski
#ChurchToo revelations growing, years after movement began

Far from routine sexual abuse being the preserve of the Catholic Church, the #ChurchToo movement is revealing a culture of routine sexual abuse in America's fundamentalist Protestant churches to equal anything a Catholic diocese can produce.

About the only thing they have in common is hypocritical pastors pretending to act with God's authority and so having a hold on superstitious and gullible people, conditioned to accept that 'men of God' act from the purist of motives and would never knowing harm anyone or exploit their vulnerabilities.

In a video which has had well over 1 million hits worldwide, pastor, John B. Lowe II, of an independent church in Illinois, confessed to years of “adultery,” moments before his victim, Bobi Gephart, who was 16 when the abuse started, went on stage with her husband and took the microphone because Lowe was being 'economical' with the truth.

Lowe subsequently resigned from the New Life Christian Church & World Outreach in Warsaw, Illinois.

This has encouraged many more abuse victims to come forward in much the same way the #MeToo movement encouraged abuse survivors in other walks of life to come forward and talk about their abuse.

The Amish, of course, whom many people assume are gentle, kind and sincere followers of Jesus in all they do, if a little fanatical, are not immune to accusations of sexual abuse, as this documentary shows:

Possibly motivated by concern for the damage these abuses do to the survivors, although the damage they are doing to the Christian churches in the USA where church attendance and affiliation are now dropping at the rate they did in Europe in the late 20th century, can't have gone unnoticed, ministers like Jimmy Hinton of the Church of Christ in Somerset, Pennsylvania are becoming active advocates for abuse survivors and see the #ChurchToo movement as a good thing which will help expose the "absolute epidemic of abuse in the church, in religious spaces". He says that “Survivors have far more power than they ever think imaginable", on his Speaking Out on Sex Abuse podcast.

Hinton turned in his own father, then a minister, now serving jail time for aggravated indecent assault.

Although 'liberal' churches have had their share of abuse cases with the Episcopal Church releasing details of abuse allegations during its 2018 Conference, and an Anglican Church of Canada archbishop, Mark MacDonald, resigning in April following "acknowledged sexual misconduct", the majority of abuse cases are coming from the conservative Protestant churches - the very churches that saw no problem with Donald Trump's serial adultery, sexual assaults on women, using the services of prostitutes and criminal conspiracies.

Duggar Family, 2004. A highly sexualised, conservative Christian 'purity' culture which advocated male authority and female modesty and subservience and a "Don't tell" code of silence.
In these churches there is a 'purity culture' which advocates male authority and female modesty, where dating is discouraged in favour of traditional courtship and marriage.

It was from this background that the reality TV star of 19 Kids and Counting, Josh Duggar, came. The Duggar family were the darlings of American conservative Christians and advocates of chastity, home-schooling and traditional courtship. Josh Duggar is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for child pornography offences. As a teenager, he is alleged to have molested his younger sisters. Prosecutors said he had a 'deep-seated, pervasive and violent sexual interest in children'. Among the images on his laptop were videos of toddlers being raped.

This unhealthily sexualised culture of male authority and female subservience, coupled with a reluctance to complain or inform the law enforcement authorities, and a willingness to 'forgive' and stay silent, creates a culture where the men feel entitles to sexual relations with women and the women feel they don't have the right to refuse or a right to redress, but should just forgive and move on. And all with good biblical authority in God’s Holy Word. An ideal culture for sexually predatory men to find and exploit vulnerable women and children.

Give these men the title ‘pastor’ and put them in positions of even greater authority as God’s personal representatives, over the women and children in their congregations and the temptations to abuse are too great to be resisted, and anyway, she won’t tell, and if she does, no-one will do anything and all will be forgiven. The result of this is the current deluge of abuse allegations coming out under the #ChurchToo movement.

As good an example as you could wish for of how, far from providing a decent moral compass and a decent, kind, caring and compassionate society:

Religions provide excuses for people who need excuses!

Thank you for sharing!

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