“Molesters do not wear an ugly mask. They wear a shield of trust.” Patty Rase Hopson Link
I believe that this will be one of the more hopeful posts that we have written in 3 ½ years. It looks like our TWW readership has made a difference for one neighborhood of hurting children. If you have not read the Don Cameron story, I refer you back to the post that we did on Wednesday. Link
Last evening, a friend sent me Don Cameron’s email address. This morning I wrote him the following note.
I am a Christian who writes a blog. I have been following your situation, including the recent events, which indicate you are now in residence in your old neighborhood where some of your victims live.
I am most curious about the trajectory of your life and your current choices. I would be very interested in doing a post on your thoughts and actions. I would be happy to pre-submit all questions and would present your responses verbatim with no editing on my part.
I would imagine that, being a Christian; you have great remorse for your actions. I am hoping that your thoughts might prevent others from going down such a road.
Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, both of my daughters had Eileen as their math teacher at NRCA and loved her very much.
Thank you for your consideration.
Exactly two minutes later I received Cameron’s reply
“I respectively decline. And out of consideration for my neighbors, I have moved out of my house.”
A small victory?
Wow! I immediately notified one of his neighbors and also learned that WRAL news will be covering this development today.
I am firmly convinced that Amanda Lamb of WRAL needs to be given recognition for her persistence in this matter.(Applause). I also believe that the thoughtful comments by our readers which demonstrated a consistent sentiment that this was an untenable, unchristian situation added to the pressure. I think you are all to be applauded for responding in the way that you did. I would not be surprised if Don Cameron learned something from all of you. At the minimum, we could have embarrassed him into doing the right thing. His answer to me reflected his understanding that he needed to be more “considerate.”
Of course, there is no guarantee that this is true and we will have to verify this over the weekend.
First and foremost, always remember the TWW prime directive: keep the victims the number 1 priority. Some day, I would love to see a media story that shows a church reaching out to the victims instead of having their sole focus on giving “grace” to the predator. Do churches not understand how this might feel to those who were abused? Could the abused perceive the pedophile as being more worthy of attention? I think I might if I were in their situation.
Let me make a point at this juncture. I am anticipating people saying that victims might want to be left alone. Not always. In fact, that is sometimes (and I have done this myself) used as an excuse not to reach out because this is such an uncomfortable situation. I know one woman who told me that she was not interested in speaking out in a pedophile situation because "God did not call me to do so." It is so wrong to use God to excuse your discomfort. It is better to try, and fail, than to ignore.
My dear friend, who accompanied me to Cameron’s neighborhood, had a son who was affected by a pedophile. She wanted support but did not get it from the official church. But she got it from my small group of friends.
Take our experience in the Cameron matter. All we had to do is get out of the car in his neighborhood and those who were upset came out of their houses and surrounded us. They wanted to talk. Go to the victims and sensitively feel out the situation. Yes, it’s uncomfortable but since when is living our faith supposed to be comfortable?
I am tired of this simplistic statement. “I serve a God who saves pedophiles. “ Of course, pedophiles can become Christians. But just because someone is a Christian does not mean that they will be able to overcome their sin addiction. It also does not mean that they are really a believer. For the sake of the children, act as if the pedophile will re-offend and put in place inviolable measures with harsh consequences.
Pedophiles are master manipulators. They can be charming and convincing. One only need to look at how many people still cannot believe that Sandusky did it. You are not stupid if you are taken in by such a person but you are stupid if you don't act when you discover the deception.
Pedophiles love churches. It is important to understand that they believe that church people are all too trusting and so they target churches. It is not a sin to find a pedophile in your midst. It is a sin to ignore the signs. Churches must notify their membership if there is a pedophile being allowed to come into the church.
Anyone is capable of serious sin and I mean anyone. We must preach the grace side of the Gospel but it is important to preach the sin side of the equation, as well. We continue to get emails from people who are absolutely convinced that Tom White of Voice of the Martyrs did not, and could not, molest a young girl. Some even say his suicide was a “martyr’s” death. If I hear one more “he couldn’t do it, he was such a godly man” I swear I will tie the person up and make them listen to a recording of the entire Bible with two repetitions of the David, Bathsheba and Uriah incident. Folks, this attitude is not Biblical. We do not know what is going on inside a person, only God does.
Be willing to take a hit to your reputation if it means standing up for victims and their families. We live to serve God, not men. There are more and more people standing up to abusive church situations. You are not alone and fellowship can be found via the blogosphere. We are in this together. In fact, TWW is here for you if you are in pain.
There is a strange belief running around Christian circles that it is important not to air our dirty laundry in public because it hurts “our witness.” I have news for everyone. The world already sees our dirty laundry and our pathetic attempts to cover it up. Instead, let’s tell the world that we are sinners and we can royally screw up, just like everyone else. I don’t know about all of you, but, as C.S. Lewis said
“This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people.”
How can we talk of grace when we try to present ourselves as perfect little smiley faces whose greatest sin is getting “irritated” at the guy who cut us off on the highway.
As an addendum to that last point, leave any fellowship in which the pastor presents himself as just a little bit better than everybody else. He is living a lie and that lie will come back to bite everyone.
Once again, thank you all for helping blogs to make a difference. I am blessed to know all of you. If WRAL reports on this development, I will embed the video at the end of the post either later tonight or tomorrow. I will change the title to reflect an update.
Now, let’s all pray for the kids and their families who were hurt by Cameron. I found this prayer at a site called "Surviving the Memories." Link. May it help those who have been hurt.
A PRAYER FOR THOSE SEXUALLY ABUSED
I can no longer bear this pain alone. You know every feeling and secret locked in my heart. It is time, Lord, to open my heart and share my sufferings with those who can help me. Give me the courage to learn more about the sexual trauma that has so affected my life. Though I may not understand why this has happened to me, may I take comfort in the fact that I am not to blame, and realize that I am not the only person who has been abused in this way.
Guide me to find the faith and help I need to gain confidence in mind and body, develop trust in others, and experience hope for a happy, healthy life. Lord, I know that with Your love, my physical and emotional wounds will be healed.
In the name of Jesus
Lydia’s Corner: Genesis 23:1-24:51 Matthew 8:1-17 Psalm 9:13-20 Proverbs 3:1-6