He always apologized, and sometimes he would even cry because of the bruises he'd made on her arms or legs or her back. He would say that he hated what he'd done, but in the next breath tell her she'd deserved it. That if she'd been more careful, it wouldn't have happened. That if she'd been paying attention or hadn't been so stupid, he wouldn't have lost his temper.” ― Nicholas Sparks, Safe Haven link
I have decided to move my planned post due to an important find by Divorce Pastor. This information is being quickly spread through social media and other bloggers, like Julie Anne Smith, are going to highlight it on their blogs. We feel we must do the same, particularly in light of some commenters here and on Twitter who have done their best to highlight their doubt about Naghmeh's allegations.
I contend, and will expand on this further in the next post, that complementarian, authoritarian Christianity attracts a number of individuals who have a problem with anger and violence. The churches, parachurch organizations and seminaries that adhere to this theology need to carefully evaluate if there are abusers in their midst. They need to teach that when abuse is reported, they should move quickly to support the individual who is being harmed.The question is, "Do the leaders care?"
Since Naghmeh's allegations first became public knowledge, I have had discussions with a number of men (primarily) who have thrown cold water on the reports by Naghmeh. Some claimed that there was no way she could be abused via Skype. Others claimed that this was a well thought out lie that was geared to somehow free Saeed.
I have been warned that there would be need for an *investigation* although by whom was never answered. Perhaps the Ambassadors of Reconciliation which did such a bang up job investigating Sovereign Grace Ministries….? As you know, men like John Piper, Al Mohler and Mark Dever support their authoritarian, complementarian buddy, CJ Mahaney and they totally deny any report of abuse because, of course, you can't prove it…so why should anyone believe Naghmeh?
Let's take a look at some comments that we saw on this blog. On another post, I will look at comments from other blogs. These comments are the reason that women are afraid to report domestic violence. How could a really cool pastor who was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel be an abuser? Do these people read their Bibles? Look at David and Bathsheba. How about Abraham and Hagar?
Here are some examples.
This is the "She is being unbiblical because Sarah went along with weird stuff."
Then there is the "She must have an axe to grind" zinger.
2/1/16 Update: Q said iImisrepresented him. He claims he didn't say Naghmeh has an axe to grind but instead meant the following. It appears that he means that far too many supporters of abusers jump on the bandwagon to grind their axes because they have an agenda.
I wrote that about the people jumping on the bandwagon of guilty without hearing from the man or any type of investigation because it seemed people were doing it because they have an axe *ax* (an agenda) to grind and they become blinded by that agenda.
Well, isn't that so much better? (End of update)
And never forget the "That woman wants to lock the king out of his castle."
Finally here is the typical "her story does not add up" gambit. (Aside to Jerry-As for wanting to hear from Saeed, well, you are about to get your chance.)
The guys in the white hat show up.
Thankfully, a couple of guys jumped in and supported Naghmeh's story.
Jeff S gets marital abuse. .
WillysJeepMan saw behind the asinine "I am not saying she is lying but…
Then Franklin Graham pulls the "two sides to every story" canard.
Franklin Graham poured cold water on Naghmeh reports and says there are two sides to every story. No, Mr. Graham, sometimes there is only one correct version and that is called the truth.
"While we rejoice at his (Saeed Abedini's) new freedom, we now lift him and his wife, Naghmeh, to the Lord for healing in their marriage. Other than God, no one knows the details and the truth of what has happened between Saeed and Naghmeh except them. There's an old saying that there are at least two sides to every story," Graham, the CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, wrote in a Facebook message on Thursday.
Graham added that he is trying to be a friend and assist both, and said that there is a great need for prayer for their relationship.
"I can tell one thing for sure — not everything that has been reported in the media is true," he asserted.
Graham appeared to blame this whole thing on Satan. Excuse me, Rev Graham, but Saeed had a lot to do with this as well unless you are saying that "the devil made him do it."
"God has answered prayer by bringing about Saeed's release from prison, and now, Satan would like nothing more than to continue to destroy their lives. It is my prayer that this will not happen."
The rest of the folks who wore white hats.
I want to commend the many readers here at TWW and elsewhere that believed Naghmeh's account from the start.
- You are the ones who will eventually force the church to come to the defense of the abused.
- You get that it is relatively rare for anyone to lie about such abuse.
- You are the folks that can read between the lines and see that something is seriously amiss.
- You all have been given a gift from God to understand and care for those who have been abuse.
You did all of this before the following report was revealed. I especially thank the intrepid Divorce Minister for reporting this link on our blog.
Saeed Abedini has pled guilty to domestic violence in the past.
From the Idaho Statesman: Domestic abuse, national spotlight: Pastor’s wife speaks further about problems, we have learned that Saeed Abedini pled guilty to domestic violence in 2007.
In 2007, Saeed pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic assault in Ada County Magistrate Court. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which was suspended, and placed on probation for a year, according to online Idaho court records. The case file was not immediately available for review.
Saeed, who could not be reached for comment, was released earlier this month as part of a prisoner swap. He spent five days at a North Carolina retreat center operated by the Rev. Franklin Graham, then flew to Boise on Tuesday, the same day Naghmeh filed a petition for legal separation in Ada County. He has not responded publicly to his wife’s allegations since the email first leaked last fall.
Bea Black of The Women's and Children's Alliance in Boise had something important to share with the Idaho Statesman. Some of Naghmeh's accusers should do some reading on the subject and need to carefully consider the highlighted statement.
“There’s a lot of shame, there’s a lot of guilt, there’s a lot of feelings that ‘it’s my fault,’ that ‘I should have tried harder, I could have been better,’ ” Black said. “Many times in an abusive relationship, whether it’s been due to violence or due to psychological or emotional abuse, they have been stripped of their sense of value and their sense of self.”
t takes a lot of strength and courage to leave an abusive relationship or to try to work through problems, Black said. Religious, family and societal pressures can all work against a woman struggling with abuse.
There have been a number of men (if I missed women supporting Saeed in any significant way, I apologize) who doubted Naghmeh. These folks have demonstrated how those who express abuse can be treated.
Thank God that Naghmeh is a strong, brave woman who stood her ground. Our love and prayers go out to her. Naghmeh is following some of these posts. If you feel so led, leave a comment of encouragement and I will make sure she is made aware of them.
I look forward to looking at how the church has contributed to hurting those who have been abused in my next post. I dedicate this song to Naghmeh and all of our wonderful readers who have suffered abuse and have been kicked to the curb by callous churches and church members.