“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea."
Mark 9:42 (NASB)
Greenwich, CT Millstone (from Wikipedia)
Unless you've been living under a rock, you're all too familiar with the following headlines:
"It (the video) shows a Texas County Court-at-Law Judge, William Adams, who mainly presides over cases involving children, sadistically beating his 16-year-old disabled daughter Hillary, for downloading music files from the Internet. The video was secretly shot by Hillary, who suffers from ataxic cerebral palsy, back in 2004, but not released until October 27 of this year, seven years after the act."
Preaching Virtue of Spanking, Even as Deaths Fuel Debate (New York Times 11/6/11)
"The pastoral mood in the hills of Tennessee offered a stark contrast to the storm raging around the country over the Pearls’ teachings on child discipline, which advocate systematic use of “the rod” to teach toddlers to submit to authority. The methods, seen as common sense by some grateful parents and as horrific by others, are modeled, Mr. Pearl is fond of saying, on “the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules.”
Debate over the Pearls’ teachings, first seen on Christian Web sites, gained new intensity after the death of a third child, all allegedly at the hands of parents who kept the Pearls’ book, “To Train Up a Child,” in their homes. On Sept. 29, the parents were charged with homicide by abuse."
Penn State Scandal: 'Nice Guy' Pedophiles Groom Their Victims, Experts Say (ABC News 11/7/11)
"His ('nice guy') profile resonates in the case of Penn State former football coach Jerry Sandusky, who has been charged in connection with the molestation of eight boys over a 15-year period, all of whom he met though an underprivileged boy's program that he founded. Police claim one 10-year-old boy was raped in the football locker room shower in 2002.
Sandusky, 67, has refused to answer questions, telling ABC News that his lawyers told him not to discuss the case.
The university has barred Sandusky from its campus. The college's athletic director and vice president have stepped down after being charged with allegedly covering up the abuse.
Pedophiles come in many forms, but the one who often gets away with sexual molestation and is least understood is the "nice guy" — not the abusive father or the stranger who kidnaps a child, but the trusted doctor, teacher or coach…
Frequently, the "nice guy" molester is a babysitter, next-door neighbor or a Boy Scout leader or parish priest or minister, he said."
How unconscionable and heartbreaking that the most vulnerable members of society — children — are being subjected to horrible abuse, often at the hands of their own parents or those who cunningly gain their trust. Shame on anyone who would harm an innocent child!
And to make matters worse, there are individuals who are willing to help hide child abuse in order to preserve the outward appearance of a marriage, a church, a "family of churches", a denomination, a university, etc. What is wrong with this picture?
We are grateful that the secular media is calling attention to these newsworthy stories. Where are those in the Christian community who are speaking out against such criminal behavior and helping the victims? As Christians, doesn't God call on us to get involved with those in dire need?
Instead, we have pastors such as John Piper who counsel women to put up with verbal abuse for a "season" and physical abuse for a night, we have a family of churches (SGM) that purportedly deals with spousal and child abuse in-house instead of involving the authorities, and we have the largest Protestant denomination in the country (SBC) refusing to set up a database of convicted pedophile pastors. The list could go on, but you get the picture. If you've been reading here for any length of time, you know our hot-button issues, and so many of them deal with some form of abuse.
As we have said over and over and over again, we MUST keep our eyes on the victims instead of protecting the guilty. Shame on any professing Christian, especially leaders, who will not speak out against known abuse, whether it be emotional, physical, or spiritual. We believe Mark 9:42 applies to perpetrators as well as accomplices. Incredibly, the secular media is boldly doing what the Christian community should be doing.
Praise God there are a few voices in Christendom that are speaking out, mostly in the blogosphere. We are grateful to Kris and Guy over at SGM Survivors, Jim at SGM Refuge, and Tom Rich at FBCJaxWatchdog who are speaking up despite criticism. The "Dawg" provided some excellent advice in a post regarding the Penn State debacle that we want share with our readers. Here is what Tom had to say regarding sexual abuse: (link)
"Church members, let this be a lesson to you: don't ever, ever, report sexual abuse at your church or by a member or minister, to the pastor or to a minister or deacon or trustee. They cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Any person, whether it is a head football coach or a minister or a school administrator, who has a vested interest in the institution that is somehow connected to the victim or perpetrator, can't be trusted with the information!! As William Thornton wrote today about this, there is only one thing to do when you hear of sexual abuse: stop, pick up your cell phone, and call your local police department. Report what you saw or heard, and let THEM investigate. If they need to tell your pastor, they will…
And so it is with the institutions of government, religion, and education.
Report sexual abuse to the police department, don't go to the coach, the preacher, the teacher, or your boss.
Go straight to the cops."
We are grateful that the secular media is headlining these awful cases of child abuse, and we pray that Christians will take notice and stop being so fearful about speaking up. God is watching and expecting us to intervene on His behalf. May He give us the courage to confront crimes perpetrated on innocent children.
Lydia's Corner: 2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23 1 Corinthians 1:1-17 Psalm 27:1-6 Proverbs 20:20-21