Pervasive Evil: Explosive Report of Child Sex Abuse in 96% of Australian Anglican Dioceses

“It was important, Dumbledore said, to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then could evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated. . . .” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince link

Most every morning finds me at my computer scanning religious news from around the globe. I particularly look for news items that deal with the issues we write about: child sex abuse, domestic violence, and churches accused of abusing members. Sadly, nary a day goes by without some noteworthy report. 

The Anglican Church in Australia released a damning report showing a decades long, widespread cover-up of child sex abuse within all dioceses.

Anglican Church 'deeply ashamed' about 1,000 complaints of child sex abuse, royal commission hears

Every Anglican Church diocese in the country bar one has received complaints of child sexual abuse in the past 35 years, a report has found.

…The Anglican Church says it is ashamed that between 1980 and 2015 there were 1,082 complaints of child sexual abuse, with 22 of the 23 dioceses reporting at least one complaint.

Did the victims receive apologies or just compensation?

It was also reported that only 25 per cent of complainants had received an apology from the church and the average compensation payment was $67,000.

The victims were primarily young and male.

The average age of victims was 11 years old, 75 per cent were men

The average time it took to report the abuse was 29 years!

This mirrors our experience with victims. Many do not feel comfortable in talking about what happened until they get older. That is precisely why we advocate for extending the statute of limitations for cases involving child sex abuse. 

The Bishop of Newcastle resigned after 3 years of working on the commission dealing with this issue.

In Newcastle Anglican bishop Greg Thompson quits after working hard to deal with abuse issuesHe was allegedly treated very poorly at the hands of those who wanted to whitewash the truth.

An emotional Bishop Thompson last year told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse his efforts to expose a decades-old culture of abuse and cover-ups had led to a concerted push to get rid of him.

The bishop is himself an abuse survivor and said he was resigning to put his health and family first.

"The impact of leading the diocese at various levels and addressing that culture has had a personal impact on my health, and I think has been something that got me thinking about how long I could have done it for," Bishop Thompson said.

The bishop said he had worked hard to end a culture of not listening.

"I think the serious matters of the past, the crimes against children, the culture of not wanting to know and the culture of covering up are being addressed," he said.

Bishop Thompson says the child sex abuse cover up is a religious protection racket. In other words, the church acts like the Mafia.

In Newcastle Anglican bishop says child abuse cover-up like 'religious protection racket'

"What's particularly distinctive about the story of abuse in this diocese is the habituated protection of perpetrators and the undermining of survivors as they came forward. It was like a religious protection racket," Bishop Thompson told 7.30.

…In an exclusive interview with 7.30, Bishop Thompson spoke out about the intimidation and bullying he was subjected to when he started giving survivors a voice.

…"I think, what struck me wasn't about simply their personal attack, but a culture to which even the bishop is subject to such harassment told me that here was an environment where vulnerable … If they could do it to a bishop, they could do it to people who wanted to speak about crimes against children," he said.

Bishop Thomas also discussed his own abuse as a teen by two Anglican priests who were part of an Anglican priest pedophile ring.

He believed that he was the only victim. Sadly, he would learn that, in fact, he and many others were victims of a Anglican priest pedophile ring.

For three decades, a network of paedophile priests operated with impunity in the Newcastle Anglican diocese. They found their victims by infiltrating an orphanage, youth groups and boys camps.

He told his story of abuse to the commission. It was reported in Royal commission: Newcastle bishop told by priest sexual favours would further his career.

Bishop Thompson said Barker told him he would be "looked after" and made a priest in Newcastle if he had a relationship with him.

"Through his body language, Barker left me in no doubt that when he said I would have to have a relationship with him, that I would have to have a sexual relationship with him."

Influential members of the church attempted to prevent the Bishop from speaking out on his own abuse as well as attempting to prevent him from disciplining pastors who abused.

The royal commission has previously heard a group of parishioners at Newcastle's Christ Church Cathedral were actively working against Bishop Thompson, angered by his work to uncover abuse. 

Bishop Thompson told the commission the group was already trying to influence him as early as his consecration as bishop, where he was told to reverse the decisions made by the previous bishop, Brian Farran.

Those decisions included disciplinary action against the former dean of the cathedral, Graeme Lawrence, who was defrocked along with priests Andrew Duncan and Bruce Hoare in 2012.

"There are those who feel that this has brought shame on the church. That it's brought shame on people they revered," Bishop Thompson said.

The bishop said the criticism intensified when he made his own abuse public.

"They had an intent to challenge my character publicly and bring shame on my story,"' he said.

Bishop Thompson described how some parishioners turned their backs on him in the cathedral.

"It sends a strong message that I'm not safe in that place and there are consequences if I do not follow what they want me to do," he said.

Bishop Thompson said apart from public shame, he and his staff have also had their cars vandalised and received an "avalanche" of aggressive emails.

The Anglican church now admits it has a problem but they seem to be floundering in the "how do we fix this" department.

The church has been more concerned with its reputation along with a refusal of the rank and file to believe that their priest could be a predator.

In Royal commission reveals scale of child sexual abuse in Anglican church

The general secretary of the church’s general synod, Anne Hywood, made a statement to the royal commission on Friday. She acknowledged the church had been more concerned with its own reputation than those who had been harmed, and had failed to act to protect children when it became aware of abuse.

They discovered that people in the churches protected their pedophile priest because they refused to believe the evidence.

“Conflicts of interest that arise around friendships, where alleged clergy have offended, have been afforded a lot of protection at various levels, either at a committee level or in the local parish. People refuse to accept that their loved priest has been an offender.”

My concerns with the response of the Anglican Church of Australia to this report.

1. Why didn't the church hierarchy protect Bishop Thompson in his efforts to expose this issue?

He was the perfect man for the job since he was abused by Anglican priests.They let him quietly ride off into the sunset after he got beat up by influential members of the diocese. This does not portend well for the implementation of rules to protect the children. It also shows the difficulties that those who report actual abuse experience.

2. It still is not safe for victims to come forward since the church hierarchy appears to have trouble accepting and believing the stories of the victims.

We have recently been made aware that there is a group of  leaders in the United States who are quietly calling the victims in the Sovereign Grace Ministries disaster "liars." These leaders are spreading misinformation that the lawsuit, naming SGM in the cover up of child sex abuse, was thrown out of court because the victims had no evidence. As most astute people know, the lawsuit was thrown out due to the statute of limitations.These leaders are attempting to rewrite history. Somehow, I get the feeling that this is what might go on with the Anglican Church in Australia.

3. Do any of these folks really understand the *Gospel?* What do they mean when they say they want to protect reputation of the church?

The Bible is clear. All men and women are sinners. Sadly, becoming a Christian does not make us sinless. We are positionally holy but we are functionally still sinners. Therefore the reputation of the church should be one of sinners who are working out their salvation with fear and trembling. We need Jesus because we are sinners. So, it is time to give up on the *pure as the driven snow* fairy tale. When we screw up, we need to confess it, repent of our sins and make restitution. "They confess and they repent" should be the motto and the continuing reputation of the church.

4. Does the church understand that evil men and women use the church to pursue their dreadful activities?

Pedophiles and other molesters are smart. They know that people in the church want to love and respect their leaders. Therefore it is logical that corrupt people will take advantage of this tendency. What better place is their to ply their disgusting inclinations? Sad as this may sound, I guarantee that every church will have pedophiles and other abusers sitting in the congregation or serving as a church leader. They are hard to spot because they are clever and know how to gain the trust and love of church people.

It is not the fault of the church when pedophiles come to church. They will do so. It is the fault of the church for not putting in place mechanisms for the safety of the children. Warning: background checks only work if the person has been convicted. The average pedophile has molested over 100 times before being caught the first time. So, the church must up their game. No one should be alone with a child. Parents need to watch the youth leaders who get chummy with their teens. 

The pedophile in my former church could have been caught much sooner but the church leaders thought he was just using *locker room* humor. Boys will be boys, right? He told the boys to pull down their pants and moon their friends outside. He had them walk around their cabin naked and he loved to walk around naked himself. He was loved and trusted because he was a seminary student as well. I guess people thought that made him extra holy. So, the church leaders laughed it all off. That move condemned a number of boys to horrific abuse in the year to come. He is now in prison for 13 years and the church has not apologized for their stupidity in the matter. 

We will be featuring, soon I hope (Lise are you reading this?), the story of a young woman who grew up with the boys who were molested. She watched as this mess occurred and she watched as many of the wounded, as well as their friends, have walked away from a callous church.  

Will the Australian Anglican Church do the right thing or will secrecy and cover up continue?  I am praying for the former but am fearing the latter as more likely.


Comments

Pervasive Evil: Explosive Report of Child Sex Abuse in 96% of Australian Anglican Dioceses — 170 Comments

  1. Time and time again it’s like they all have the same play book. No matter what I read it’s our story and it’s the same story with any who have endured the abuse! Along with those protecting the abused who suffer the most at the hands of their very own churches and abusers. It is they who bring shame upon the name of Jesus Christ.

  2. Thanks, TWW, for another important post. From the post: “They know that people in the church want to love and respect their leaders. Therefore it is logical that corrupt people will take advantage of this tendency. What better place is there to ply their disgusting inclinations?”

    Commenters of the posts of late have been asking the question: “Why are church folk so easy to fool?’

    Here, above, is one that we can own up to and deal with: Love of our leaders.

    Another is the Christian ideal of forgiveness and redemption. Sometimes we are too quick to conclude that a person is “healed” of their perversions, by the blood of Jesus. (God help us, it seems almost blasphemous to state this with our Savior in the same sentence, but it is true – we fail.) Psychologists say not so quick to accept the normalcy of a predator, but we want to proclaim Jesus’ power in our ignorance, perhaps.

    Etc.

  3. Truly appalling. “Stupidity” of the church in not dealing with the matter is certainly one fitting decription. I think “the culture of not wanting to know” accurately describes the atmosphere so many of us breathe. If we don’t know, we aren’t responsible. If we admit that we know, we might get the uneasy sense that we need to do something. Doing something is too hard. Besides, it would only make life difficult for me. So, like Sgt. Schultz from the old Hogsm’s Heroes sitcom, we say, “I know nuuuthinggg!”

  4. Thank you to those who have prayed for my college student son. And would you continue? He was hospitalized in Germany, where he is studying for several months. He had a spontaneous pneumothorax (collapsed lung), had surgery to modify the problem area of the lung, did very well, was released, took his medication and rested as directed. Mr. Tree and I were there for over a week, so we know that he followed instructions.

    However, on the day we flew back to the states, he was readmitted because the lung collapsed again. More days (at least four) in the hospital with a chest tube and device to draw a vacuum in the chest cavity to keep the lung inflated and heal. They have other procedures they can do if his doctor thinks they are needed. Please pray for wisdom for his doctors, for complete and permanent healing in lung function this time, and that he will be able to finish the course work. We are here and he is there, but he does have friends to visit, help as needed, and encourage him. Thank you so much!

  5. @ Tree:
    I am so sorry that your son is going through this. My daughter, Abby, had that happen 2 times when she was in college. It. didn’t happen again after that although she occasionally complains of a bit of pain in the area.
    Your son’s condition sounds a bit worse than hers was. I just stopped and prayed for him!

  6. I occasionally have a look at this site and was surprised to find something from Australia. My perspective as a 37yo Aussie Christian, currently in an Anglican church…

    I think around the 90s child abuse started to get talked about and taken seriously, both in the Church and wider society. In the 90s and 00s it came up in the media fairly often. I think the reason people have come forward with complaints now is not simply that passage of time has made it easier, but that these days it is taken more seriously than it was in the past.

    As long as I can remember all church staff and volunteers have had to have a police check (same as teachers and, today a large large of occupations). Then for the last 10 years all church staff & volunteers (and again, a large range of occupations) have to attend a seminar every 3 years on recognising and reporting child abuse & neglect.

    Most of the abuse cases were back in the last century – not to say it’s completely gone, but our eyes are open in a way they were not in the 80s and earlier.

    In recent years, attention has turned from the offenders to the church bodies and their response to abuse. In many cases church bodies have been found negligent in dealing with reports of abuse and have had to pay large amounts in compensation. Some Anglican and Catholic dioceses have had to pay millions of dollars. Bishops had to resign. The Governor-General of Australia had to resign because when he’d been an archbishop he was negligent.

    Nationwide, the number of cases was great enough, and the institutional responses poor enough that the government ordered a Royal Commission (wide-ranging investigation) into how institutions (including churches) responded to abuse reports. They interviewed people in many institutions. Thousands of pages of reports.

    The current generation in Aussie churches takes child safety mores seriously than we previously did for a number of reasons.
    – we know it happens – previously it was kept quiet and we didn’t know the extent
    – we know it causes lasting harm – in the past we might have thought they’ll be ok
    – the Church has been disgraced for all that has happened
    – church bodies have suffered financially (which also means insurers are pushing to prevent any more cases happening)

  7. @ Eric:
    Sadly, your last comment reinfrces my belief that institutions, even Christian ones (or perhaps, most especially Christian ones), only start paying attention and doing something when they begin to,lose money!! A horrifying state of affairs when ‘Christians’ hear ONLY money NOT God! A new motto?? — ‘When money talks, churches listen’

  8. There are these reports coming out of Australia including the recent one in the media about a highly placed Australian Vatican cardinal. I am thinking that we may be seeing all this now (the cases seem to be old) specifically perhaps because there are those in Australia who are taking the problem seriously and addressing this issue with some intent to ‘drain the swamp’ to use a term I hear in politics.

    I have hesitated to say this, but if we are taking a hard cold look at reality then some things need said.

    We have a religion that says that sex is a matter between a male and a female who are married to each other. Period. But our culture condones a broad area of sexuality that is anything but that. We say that heterosexual fornication is OK, but just within the limits of age of consent. We say that LGBTQ is fine but just let’s stick within the age of consent. We say that various ‘harmless’ paraphilias are acceptable as long as nobody gets hurt too badly, but only within the age of consent. We even have a fuzziness about when and how much drugs can be just overlooked in the pursuit of human flesh, based on consent of course.

    We say basically that it is not some activity which is all that harmful, or for that matter particularly forbidden to Christians, provided of course there is consent (did she say no at the last minute or not) and provided the consenting party is ‘of age’.

    If I read this correctly, and what I have been able to gather about the Catholic issue coming out of Australia now, the bulk of it seems to be about teens, both younger and older teens and mostly male. So the argument seems to be about consent and age of consent.

    I say this because I think it is drastically important to correctly ‘name’ a thing. Identify the problem. Get the correct diagnosis. Know your enemy and how he operates. In my strongly held opinion the church and the culture need to rethink sex and sexuality, and also in my opinion the church need not think that it has to come to the same conclusions for itself that the culture comes to. Light and salt and all that sort of thing, you know, as well as ‘because I said so (God)’ might just come into play somewhere.

  9. Eric wrote:

    – the Church has been disgraced for all that has happened

    my thought is this:
    ‘the Church’ was not well-served by those who failed to report abuse and who kept secret and protected pedophile clergy, leading to even more abuse of innocents

    many in ‘the Church’ are faithful Christian people who are horrified by all that has happened and who want those responsible to be accountable for the evil that has been done;
    but people do not see ‘the Church’ as evil in total, no …. for many of us, ‘the Church’ remains the Church that Our Lord founded and prayed for

    there are those who wish for people to leave ‘churches’ and ‘follow Christ’, but He was the one who called the ‘ekklesia’ to Himself, so perhaps these people who denigrate ‘the Church’ actually would rather themselves be followed?

    I think ‘the Church’ is more than its problems, and those who have failed to serve it well and in the end, I don’t see ‘the Church’ Our Lord founded being overcome by evil, no

    some thoughts

  10. What Kind of Hard Heart?
    By Matthew B. Redmond
    June 1, 2013
    https://mattbredmond.com/2013/06/01/what-kind-of-hard-heart/

    “His heart is hard as a stone,
    hard as the lower millstone.” – Job 41:24

    What kind of hard heart are we witnessing in the SGM abuse scandal?

    What kind of hard heart sides easily with a wealthy pastor against those who suffered at the hands of sexual abusers under his watch and then does so in the name of the One Who had no place to lay his head?

    What kind of hard heart winks at a pastor who demanded an accountability of pastors and then ran from it to a church outside of his network of churches?

    What kind of hard heart says we must not believe the accuser against the sexual abuser till all the evidence is put forward?

    What kind of hard heart publicly says a pastor has not even been accused of wrongdoing when the truth is the very opposite for all those who are curious enough to see?

    What kind of hard heart wants the statute of limitations to be in effect and not hear the evidence from 11 plaintiffs presented?

    What kind of hard heart needs it to happen to them or their own children before they speak out?

    What kind of hard heart says, “we will not go to the civil authorities for the sake of the abused” and then is relieved when the civil authorities dismiss a case in favor of the alleged abuser?

    What kind of hard heart goes and preaches in the pulpit of the accused and seeks no audience with the accusers?

    What kind of hard heart refuses to listen and then says those who would cry out for justice and help are divisive and gossips?

    What kind of hard heart could read the Second Amended Complaint and not think the leader of such an organization should step out of the limelight?

    What kind of heart is so hardened it would publicly insult the blogs that have given a voice to the sexually abused while publicly embracing one who is accused of conspiring to cover up and silence the abused?

    What kind of hard heart are we witnessing?

  11. While I am at it this morning I suppose we all saw the media article about somebody trying to get California to have certain laws prohibiting child marriage and running into opposition from various ‘rights’ groups including but not limited to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, if I remember correctly.

    So-child marriage! Well, if somebody’s political ‘rights’ stance or somebody’s religion is in favor of it I suppose we will all just have to get on board. (sarcasm attempt)

    So let us reason about this. If child marriage is okay for some folks, and if sex outside of marriage is okay, why not child sex outside of marriage also? Don’t we all know that there are those who think like this? And don’t we all know that while this thinking may be more predominant in certain groups it is by no means limited to certain groups. What I think that ‘we all’ do not admit is that some of those who think like that also sit on the pew with us and eat at the dinner table with us and even teach our kids in school sometimes.

    We can say, in public, that ‘no’ it is only that they want to protect their beloved pastor. That is no doubt the case to some extent, but it is also that some folks think that even if the pastor is guilty as accused it is really not all that bad what he did, except who would drag that out into public. One can be forgiven for allegiance to some pastor, but this other-who would admit it in public? But I have heard enough comments and seen enough behavior to believe that this other is out there also.

  12. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    What kind of hard heart are we witnessing?

    Hard hearts have made common cause with evil and perversion, and for various reasons, but common cause none the less.

  13. One more thing and I will leave you all alone while I do other things.

    The opinions which I have expressed here specifically concerning sexual behavior are totally those which were held, during the earlier years of my lifetime, by either the Southern Baptist Convention or the American Psychiatric Association or both.

    Times have changed. A lot. Some of it for the better and some for the worse.

    I think that it is decision time for Christians. Every head bowed and every eye closed while the choir hums softly ‘Just As I Am’. Except I think we need a hymn more along the lines of ‘who am I anyhow?’.

  14. Steve, I would say no on that! I personally do not believer in the institution of corporate church worship. As soon as I hear the word corporate I am out of there. I see the psychology in that word when pastors use it. They are conditioning the crowd in my opinion. When worship becomes corporate it is the worship of man not the Lord. They say corporate because these churches are corporations and no longer a church. One has to ask why a lot of institutions like this use that term? It is a conditioning process i’m sure. Anyways I am still searching for that group of believers who worship in their home with bible studies and gather for fellowship. I think we can still come together as believers and worship, fellowship , and praise God for his goodness. In this line of thought I refuse to forsake the assembly but I choose to reject corporate worship. Not all churches are wrong there are a few good ones i’m certain but they are becoming very rare now days.

  15. Steve wrote:

    Is there a GOOD reason to “go to church” in light of all the information we have today?

    All of you know this already, but to set the context:
    To “go to church” means, in practice, to pick one of the several (or many) local splinter-groups, each of which calls itself “a local church”, in one’s area. As I’ve said before, the only thing these splinter-groups really agree on is that they must protect their separate identity, even if they’re not actively fighting one another.

    So, the main reason to go would be that:
     The camaraderie is commodious and agreeable;
     The chief lecturer’s doctrine resonates pleasantly with one’s own;
     The worship experience strokes just the right emotions

    That list isn’t exhaustive, of course. In fact people tend to add another:
     “God has planted me in this faction”

    I take that every bit as seriously as “God has called me to leave my wife for a younger woman”.

  16. And people seriously wonder why the most checked box in Australia is ” No Religion.”

    We have no one to blame but ourselves.

  17. K.D. wrote:

    We have no one to blame but ourselves.

    <parody>Actually, it’s all those other “churches” who have failed to get back to the Bible, unlike us.</parody>

  18. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Oh, Nick, surely not. Those reasons you have stated are certainly ‘reasons’ but there are others which some former refugees from the religious wars have found advantageous in local church affiliation.

    First your comment regarding the protection of self-identiy of the particular splinter group and absence of agreement outside of that. That is true of some groups, but for example there is an agreement here between the episcopalians and the moravians and some if not all lutheran groups as to the welcome in the pulpits of each other, which of course leads secondarily to a more open attitude in general about at least those specific groups. And of course the methodists and the episcopalians, while different, share a prior common history and are not openly in battle with each other. Our rector formerly served on staff in some position or other in a methodist church along the way, for example, and one of our current staff at our episcopal church is actually an ordained methodist elder.

    But then, perhaps this is partly cultural since we have a whole lot of a whole lot of diversity here in a lot of ways.

    We are refugees, and we chose TEC (which I am not proselytizing for but which just happens to have been our choice) and this local church, in addition to ‘we like the homilies’, because:
    * the degree of ‘control’ exercised by the use of liturgy
    * the emphasis on the longer historicity of christianity than merely since the reformation
    * the need for children to have some sort of religious identity at least until they are old enough to solidly form more individual opinions; the opposite of which is to leave a religious vacuum which is fertile ground for the next cult that comes along
    * we are a multigenerational (three generations) all female family, both adult females are divorced and the children are of a different race; that limits one’s choice of pews
    * the lack of enforced doctrine or enforced tithing or enforced anything that I can see
    * our belief that some strictly cultural things about historic western christian civilization are worth preserving even though they have no specific religious necessity: the music, how language is used; the idea of beauty all the way down to the landscaping-for the same reasons we go to museums and art galleries and concerts and such; and for us we find that the human ‘soul’, converted or not, requires more to sustain itself than the current limited definitions of religion provide for
    * the ‘safety’ in our culture of saying ‘I am an Episcopalian’ which pretty much shuts up people because they do not know what to do with that
    * and in the process we have run into a few people ‘like’ us in some way or other, again not a religious necessity but with our disintegrating society something which people need-the idea of I am not alone
    * while at the same time we do not have to cope with some of the worst things about the traditions from which we fled, that is to say the temporary relief of a different set of issues on which we are not yet burned out

    So if you are saying that people who affiliate with a local church are misguided and superficial, naive and uninformed, and perhaps outright foolish, then I must defend myself against that idea. But if you are saying that people are kidding themselves if they have religiously romanticized ideas about the local church, then I totally agree.

  19. okrapod wrote:

    There are these reports coming out of Australia including the recent one in the media about a highly placed Australian Vatican cardinal. I am thinking that we may be seeing all this now (the cases seem to be old) specifically perhaps because there are those in Australia who are taking the problem seriously and addressing this issue with some intent to ‘drain the swamp’ to use a term I hear in politics.
    I have hesitated to say this, but if we are taking a hard cold look at reality then some things need said.
    We have a religion that says that sex is a matter between a male and a female who are married to each other. Period. But our culture condones a broad area of sexuality that is anything but that. We say that heterosexual fornication is OK, but just within the limits of age of consent. We say that LGBTQ is fine but just let’s stick within the age of consent. We say that various ‘harmless’ paraphilias are acceptable as long as nobody gets hurt too badly, but only within the age of consent. We even have a fuzziness about when and how much drugs can be just overlooked in the pursuit of human flesh, based on consent of course.
    We say basically that it is not some activity which is all that harmful, or for that matter particularly forbidden to Christians, provided of course there is consent (did she say no at the last minute or not) and provided the consenting party is ‘of age’.
    If I read this correctly, and what I have been able to gather about the Catholic issue coming out of Australia now, the bulk of it seems to be about teens, both younger and older teens and mostly male. So the argument seems to be about consent and age of consent.
    I say this because I think it is drastically important to correctly ‘name’ a thing. Identify the problem. Get the correct diagnosis. Know your enemy and how he operates. In my strongly held opinion the church and the culture need to rethink sex and sexuality, and also in my opinion the church need not think that it has to come to the same conclusions for itself that the culture comes to. Light and salt and all that sort of thing, you know, as well as ‘because I said so (God)’ might just come into play somewhere.

    Spot on..as Christians we are to love our fellow human but not assimilate to their beliefs.

  20. Christiane

    The Church has been run by many evil men who have allowed evil into the Church. I am a member of a church that I love. I beleive the Church is the gathering place for God’s people. However, if evil is present it must be dealt with transparently. When it has not be dealt with, lives are ruined. How does it feel to know the Church has ruined lives? The Church has not cared for the children-a command Jesus himself emphasized.

    Evil is not just *a problem.* It is a destroyer of lives. When the Church allows it to contninue and even allows it leaders to participate, then the Chruchhas become syncretic-it combines the words of jesus with the actions of the evil one. Nope-it is far more than *a problem.*

  21. Steve wrote:

    Is there a GOOD reason to “go to church” in light of all the information we have today?

    I say yes, as I still attend a local Baptist Church.
    Why do I go…I like assembling with other believers for:

    Communion

    Prayer times

    Singing of : hymns/choruses, enjoying the playing of,musical instruments

    Bible study

    Fellowship

    Being alone with God and nature feeds my soul too. As does being with fellow believers, friends, who don’t attend my church.
    Still, I was made a social creature and am in need of: a specific time of worshipping, singing , praying, etc. at a specific time, place, pattern, with fellow believers.

  22. TomkeinOK wrote:

    f that institutions, even Christian ones (or perhaps, most especially Christian ones), only start paying attention and doing something when they begin to,lose money!! A

    I totally agree with you. That is why I believe that Christian families who have abuse victims should sue a church which has neglected the safety of the children. Money has sadly begun to rule the course of many churches.

  23. @ shauna:
    Absolutely right Shauna.I will never never understand those who downplay the sexual abuse of children & then cover it up for the reputation of the church. They seem to consider adultery, or hands up in horror same-sex attraction as far worse, even if never acted on. I will never get it. Maybe they can’t believe it as it so far beyond the pale…I don’t know.

    I hope Billy is doing okay btw, I haven’t been around much for a few months as I was finishing my Masters degree, but it’s all done now.

  24. okrapod wrote:

    So if you are saying that people who affiliate with a local church are misguided and superficial, naive and uninformed, and perhaps outright foolish, then I must defend myself against that idea. But if you are saying that people are kidding themselves if they have religiously romanticized ideas about the local church, then I totally agree.

    Perhaps I should sand off the edges of my comment somewhat, because it would indeed be unfair to suggest that every believer who attends “a” local church is an idiot. For many churchgoers, it’s the best they can do, and I don’t object to believers doing this. Theirs (for that matter, yours) is a compromise solution, but I can’t really say that mine is necessarily better.

    On the other hand I also hear, in a clear majority of conversations with churchgoers, how important and necessary it is for me to “join a church”. I don’t accept that there’s any excuse for that.

  25. @ okrapod:
    your comment was thought provoking. Pedophilia is a hidden sin in most churches. The knee jerk reaction is to blow it off and keep it hidden so the church doesn’t get a bad reputation. However, if we understand the Gospel, our personal reputation is *Sinner* who has been forgiven by the grace of Jesus.

    I believe we must reorder out thinking in how we portray ourselves to a watching world. If we truly believe that men and women are sinners, then we must demonstrate that as we confront sin in our churches. Cover ups involving child sex abuse merely demonstrates that we do not get the whole “all have fallen” meme.

    Until we get real about who we are and stop pretending that we are *pure as the driven snow* evil will continue to have its way in our churches.

  26. Steve wrote:

    Is there a GOOD reason to “go to church” in light of all the information we have today?

    I can only speak for myself. I have found a church which my husband and I love. It is structured in such a way that each week Scripture is read, confessions of sin are made, assurances of forgiveness are given and communion reminds me of my link to Jesus and those around me.

    My husband and I are now communion servers. I love to hold the communion tray with the little glasses of wine and say to each person who approaches “This is the blood of Christ which was shed for you.” I see their expressions as they take the wind and we smile and nod at each other. It is a profoundly moving experience and I know that Jesus is present in the midst of us.

    Each Saturday evening (we go to the one service on Saturday instead of Sunday) I leave with a smile on my face and feel just a little bit lighter. For me, I am happy and at peace there..

    The Church is a place for sinners such as myself.There are many of us who fight corruption and abuse in the church.

  27. okrapod wrote:

    We are refugees, and we chose TEC (which I am not proselytizing for but which just happens to have been our choice) and this local church, in addition to ‘we like the homilies’, because:
    * the degree of ‘control’ exercised by the use of liturgy
    * the emphasis on the longer historicity of christianity than merely since the reformation
    * the need for children to have some sort of religious identity at least until they are old enough to solidly form more individual opinions; the opposite of which is to leave a religious vacuum which is fertile ground for the next cult that comes along

    I love this comment because it is what I have experienced in my church. I have discovered that liturgy actually reigns in some of the nuttiness that happens in some churches. I have been startled at the profound thinking that has gone into said liturgy.

    I would love to talk more about my church but I hesitate for one reason. There are wackos out there who like to report my activities to the pastors so I can be disciplined. My pastors would blow it off but I hate to impose these nut jobs on them.

    If any of our regulars would like to know where I go to church, they can email me and I will be happy to tell them.

  28. Being around hardened heart/s is a life changing experience of the very disconcerting and disillusioning kind. I can’t put it into words, other than to simply say it’s what evil feels like. The evil doesn’t always manifest in overt ways though.

    Rather to me it’s usually a distinct evil feeling lurking behind a cold and unaffected terse demeanor with carefully placed calm and practiced words. The person/s become very detached and methodical.

    It’s especially unnerving when it’s someone/people who used to not be like that, at all.

    There is no “there” there.

    It’s different than merely being around a sociopath and what that feels like. They look the same and operate similarly socially on a surface level, with that distinct disconnect and lack of empathy.

    But the hardened heart feels like spiritual and psychological and emotional regression from a previous neutral and neurotypcial or normal state. Not something preemptively and chronically present biologically/nurtured in a DSM-V personality disorder or sociopath type of way. Though there are plenty of sociopaths and NPDS and so on in these worlds.

    *I am a *not* formally trained in psychology person just rambling here from a purely experiential standpoint lol

  29. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    dee wrote:

    @ okrapod:
    your comment was thought provoking. Pedophilia is a hidden sin in most churches. The knee jerk reaction is to blow it off and keep it hidden so the church doesn’t get a bad reputation. However, if we understand the Gospel, our personal reputation is *Sinner* who has been forgiven by the grace of Jesus.
    I believe we must reorder out thinking in how we portray ourselves to a watching world. If we truly believe that men and women are sinners, then we must demonstrate that as we confront sin in our churches. Cover ups involving child sex abuse merely demonstrates that we do not get the whole “all have fallen” meme.
    Until we get real about who we are and stop pretending that we are *pure as the driven snow* evil will continue to have its way in our churches.

    Sometimes it’s hard for church people to grasp, when we defend or hide church abuse, we are discrediting, Christ. If we bury our heads in the sand, or hide abuse with the notion we are rightly defending the institution, we’re missed the mark.

    Christ died to forgive our sins, not to hide our sins. I hate that awful things are done in the name of Christ. Yet, I must accept that goats are mixed in with the sheep.

    As Christians, our honesty in acknowledging sin in ourselves ( myself ) and our institutions, and making restitution for it, is a powerful witness to Christ being our savior.

    There are sins of commission and sins of omission. Every church/institution needs to be a place that defends the abused sheep, in the name of Christ. It’s the most honest, healthiest, Christ edifying, walk with the Lord, we can make .

  30. @ Mae:
    @ dee:

    Mae and Dee,
    I appreciate your thoughts on this.

    Does your church have children’s programs and/or separate the children from their parents at any time?

    (BTW, I still go to my local church. I can’t pull the plug on it. It’s a habit/guilt issue. I drank a little too much of the kool-aid before the lights came on and I saw the poison at the bottom of the glass.)

  31. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    K.D. wrote:
    We have no one to blame but ourselves.
    Actually, it’s all those other “churches” who have failed to get back to the Bible, unlike us.

    Ain’t that the truth Nick, ain’t that the truth…..

  32. dee wrote:

    I would love to talk more about my church but I hesitate for one reason. There are wackos out there who like to report my activities to the pastors so I can be disciplined. My pastors would blow it off but I hate to impose these nut jobs on them.

    Dee,
    I’m glad you care about your Church. And I’m glad you think so well of your pastors. My experience of Church has been that when I was at lowest ebb and deeply in need of ministry, my Church came around and embraced me in my trouble and helped me. My Church was sanctuary and ‘mother’ to me when all I could do was weep for heavy grief. That is why I so admire E Church here for those who are too traumatized to attend a church again until there is healing for them. People need community. People need ministry. The Body of Christ militant is under the protection of the Holy Spirit until Our Lord returns, so I am not ‘giving up’. In the Holy Spirit, the Church can find the discernment to overcome the evils that attack it.

    The young need ‘Church’ for spiritual nourishment, and the old need Church for a support system. For the rest of us, we have choices, but the very young and very old need ‘Church’ as Our Lord intended it to be. If for their sake and nothing more, the communal gathering of faithful Christian people needs to continue and be protected against the evil one and his minions who would destroy ‘Church’ from within and without.

  33. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Theirs (for that matter, yours) is a compromise solution,

    Oh yes.

    For that matter I am still registered as affiliated with a specific political party, and you see where that left me in the last election. So that was a compromise to even go vote at all.

    But it gets worse. In the treatment of cancer one compromises between probabilities of longevity and probabilities of quality of life, and often there are no options but to compromise. So I compromised.

    I compromised where I went to school, choosing where I got a little scholarship money instead of where I had my heart set on. I compromised in my selection of a medical specialty (mommy track vs something more exciting) and I compromised in where I chose to practice (a safer small town or a university in a very unsafe place) and I compromised on issues when I divorced and I compromised when I accepted the proposed work of the people who just now finished putting parts of my house back together after the late great water disaster.

    But I don’t compromise about Jesus and the specificity and exclusivity of his claims. Other than that compromise has it potential uses.

  34. Church choice.

    Similar to school choice when our kids were K-12: local public school district, private, charter, magnet – STEM, STEAM, Fine Arts, 2nd language immersion, parochial, home school, boarding school, study abroad.

    Yearly we conferred with each child, noting needs, goals, $$$, proximity. (Open enrollment opened up choices.) Ideologically, as parents we never saw one situation = perfect for all, for all time.

    Usually it was not the system but who was running it that was important (quality of personnel). When teachers or administrators were negligent, we’d change to escape incompetency of people, not a system, and then find better equipped professionals.

    In the newspaper Op Ed pages, when folks argue about education frameworks, does one size fit all? Probably not. And no matter the framework, if there’s a bad person in there, God help the children.

    The same for the church. Thank God for freedom of religion and many choices, depending on location.

  35. dee wrote:

    Cover ups involving child sex abuse merely demonstrates that we do not get the whole “all have fallen” meme.

    Yes I have fallen short and missed the mark. But nowhere does it say in Scripture that I’m obliged to match God’s glory and munificence. So long as I do the best with what I’ve been given in the here and now, and don’t do the kinds of things to others that I wouldn’t want done to myself, I’m good to go, the rest is just commentary. I can live with that.

  36. @ dee:
    The problem as i see it, is that any given “flavor” of chirstainity thinks they have the correct way, and when things as heinous child molesting by leaders, or boys in power, gets exposed, the “narrative” that we have the correct way is blown up….. so, they tkae the short sighted approch to cover it up, and then when the cover up exposed, their correct way is really blown up..

    For example, in the Penn State feasco, the family of papa Joe was suing the NCAA to regain papJoe’s reputation…. however, they just recently, quitely, withdrew their lawsuite… the NCAA said that they had more evidence, and the family did not want that brought to trial……. if good olf PapaJoe had just admitted early on he had a pervert working for him, and fired him, his “reputation” would have been much better….. but no… he covered it up to “save his reputation….

  37. @ Tree:
    I hope your son is in the best of hands now and receives the right care. For a healthy young man to suddenly experience a collapsed lung is not ‘normal’, so perhaps the doctors can find out why this happened and evaluate all possible reasons for it.
    May your son be returned to health completely. I’m glad he is near his family now who love him and watch over him and his care. God Bless!

  38. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    the correct way

    Transparency. Honesty. The truth. Disciple Peter denied Jesus. It’s in the Bible, clearly, frankly. Later, Peter got it right, as recorded in Acts.

    In our day and age, the cover-up people don’t get it. Your mention of Penn State with Coach Joe and his family – they didn’t/still don’t get it.

  39. okrapod wrote:

    So-child marriage! Well, if somebody’s political ‘rights’ stance or somebody’s religion is in favor of it I suppose we will all just have to get on board. (sarcasm attempt)

    That is correct. If I write what I am really thinking, it will blow up the thread.

  40. @ dee:
    A variety of voices, a variety of experiences here in the TWW community. The important thing is every voice is heard and validated. Thanks.

    Todd Wilhelm shared with us that when his church fellowship let him down in Dubai, he walked around the corner and is now active in that neighbor church fellowship. (Like other Middle East cities, there is a Christian church district in the area.) Gave us hope and we continued our search for a better fellowship locally.

  41. dee wrote:

    Evil is not just *a problem.* It is a destroyer of lives. When the Church allows it to contninue and even allows it leaders to participate, then the Chruchhas become syncretic-it combines the words of jesus with the actions of the evil one. Nope-it is far more than *a problem.*

    Just so much Truth there. You 2 “D’s” are terrific & IMHO deserve our thanks and encouragement for your work. Period….

    No one should expect perfection outside of Christ. You have sacrificed much to be the Voice of the Victims. I stand with you in my prayers.

  42. dee wrote:

    I have discovered that liturgy actually reigns in some of the nuttiness

    Er… I think you meant “reins”.

    I don’t think liturgy is in control of nuttiness. 🙂

  43. @ Steve:

    Thank you Steve.

    I certainly don’t mean to come off as putting down those who have fled the church for their own safety,their emotional health.

    We had to leave our church when it was taken over by neo cals. We didn’t seek a new church for several months. We were weary, almost jaded in spirit. But one Sunday morning we tried out a church we’d driven by for 30+ years.( It was Baptist, we liked non denominational.) We both left the service with JOYFUL hearts. Hubby and me both exclaimed of how long it had been since we felt the joy of the Lord. Four years later, we still receive that joy.

    I know despite our joy, spiritual growth,fellowship, etc. to be watchful for spiritual, sexual abuse being in the midst. Yes, children are dismissed for story time during sermon time. There is a youth group. We also have VBS. At this time , I’m satisfied of good safe guards being in place to protect the children. I also acknowledge that could change on a dime and, of diligently needing to watch for wolves.

  44. okrapod wrote:

    I suppose we all saw the media article about somebody trying to get California to have certain laws prohibiting child marriage and running into opposition from various ‘rights’ groups including but not limited to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, if I remember correctly.

    OKRAPOD,
    do you have a link ?

  45. @ dee:
    ” I have discovered that liturgy actually reigns in some of the nuttiness that happens in some churches.”

    What about the RC church and the Anglican church? Rampant nuttiness. It’s cloaked differently, that’s all. You still have to drink the kool aid; it just tastes different. Sorry.

    AND they will NOT protect the children. You know this better than me.

  46. Steve wrote:

    What about the RC church and the Anglican church? Rampant nuttiness. It’s cloaked differently, that’s all. You still have to drink the kool aid; it just tastes different. Sorry.

    I don’t know about those who use the word ‘anglican’ but at my episcopal church nobody has to do anything. What is it that you see as obligatory kool aid?

  47. Steve wrote:

    AND they will NOT protect the children. You know this better than me.

    Speaking again of my parish we have the equivalent of SS as well as Wed night ‘formation’ for the kids, all staffed my mothers. The staff person who oversees this is a married female with kids. The older youth go on mission trips accompanied by male and female parents. We have no youth minister and our rector says we will not be having one; he emphasizes the role of the family in the lives of the young. And of course they run the parents through the usual process for determining prior bad behavior.

    Other than placing electronic ankle monitors on the young or placing them on house arrest I don’t see much more that anybody could want.

  48. JYJames wrote:

    Gave us hope and we continued our search for a better fellowship locally.

    This action is one more people need to take: Get out of the church you can no longer support and find another. Take a season off if you need to. Just do not suffer the delusion that you can be an “agent of change” in a sick church. Here is an old joke: “Does anyone in your family suffer from mental illness?”
    “No, they all seem to enjoy it!”
    Sick churches enjoy their sickness and do not want to change. Do not enable them!
    Take your energy, spiritual gifts and money to a church that recognizes what health looks like and build it up. It will take a load off of your soul and allow the Spirit to encourage your gifting.

  49. @ Gram3:

    I miss your comments. I do remember some unpleasantness, so I understand if that is part of why we don’t hear from you so often any more, but I just wanted to let you know that I miss your experience and outlook and how you make sense of some complicated things.

  50. okrapod wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    I miss your comments. I do remember some unpleasantness, so I understand if that is part of why we don’t hear from you so often any more, but I just wanted to let you know that I miss your experience and outlook and how you make sense of some complicated things.

    I miss her posting too.

  51. @ okrapod:

    Our church has similar approach.

    My sister’s church built a new building. All the SS rooms, including the Nursery, circle a center foyer
    All have one windowed wall facing the center. In the center a person ( male or female) stands watch over every room. It protects the children from outside threats, as well as inside threats.
    It is a bigger congregation.( Maybe 300 )

    Of course other safeguards need to be in place to keep children from abuse. Still, I was impressed with a design which had the safety of children in mind.

  52. @ Loren Haas:
    Sharing works, all cards on the table.

    As mentioned, it was Wilhelm’s story that encouraged us. No doubt if the church he is in screws up, he won’t stick around, and their loss.

    Jesus mentioned shaking dust off one’s sandals and going on to the next town.

  53. @ Mae:

    That does sound good. Those old style doors with the very narrow but long windows such that you might peek in but you would only see a small slice of the room-they need replaced with full glass and there needs to be a ceiling suspended mirror at the other end of the room. Thinking here about older buildings with limited options.

  54. JYJames wrote:

    @ Loren Haas:
    Sharing works, all cards on the table.

    As mentioned, it was Wilhelm’s story that encouraged us. No doubt if the church he is in screws up, he won’t stick around, and their loss.

    Jesus mentioned shaking dust off one’s sandals and going on to the next town.

    wiser? easier?
    and what about the people left behind who need advocacy?
    the little ones?
    the elderly?

    at some point, I wonder if the ‘musical churches’ thing is best for them what is left behind at the mercy of those who drive good people away?

    are there any stories about people who STAYED and made a difference?

    I would understand if there weren’t any, but if there was, I should like to hear of it and find out why they stayed, what they did, and what happened to make things better

  55. Slightly tangential to this topic, because it’s about spouse abuse rather than pedophiles abusing kids.

    Australia’s national TV program, The 7:30 Report, is interviewing me for a story about how the church is responding to domestic abuse. The interview will be recorded. I don’t yet know when the story will be aired. Will keep you informed Dee and Deb. We will post a blog article at A Cry For Justice when we know more details. And I’ll tweet and FB it as well.

  56. dee wrote:

    Christiane

    The Church has been run by many evil men who have allowed evil into the Church. I am a member of a church that I love. I beleive the Church is the gathering place for God’s people. However, if evil is present it must be dealt with transparently. When it has not be dealt with, lives are ruined. How does it feel to know the Church has ruined lives? The Church has not cared for the children-a command Jesus himself emphasized.

    Evil is not just *a problem.* It is a destroyer of lives. When the Church allows it to contninue and even allows it leaders to participate, then the Chruchhas become syncretic-it combines the words of jesus with the actions of the evil one. Nope-it is far more than *a problem.*

    Maybe it would be beneficial to understand better what ‘Church’ means. I think people here see it in different ways, and so, when it ‘Church’ is discussed, they are not on the same page.

    So, ‘Church’ …. it is that monstrosity in Boston pictured accurately in ‘Spotlight’?
    Or is it the little store-front enclave that took an alcoholic woman in and loved her and fed her and prayed with her as described in the biographical account of Anne Lamott, until the gentle kindness of these old black women who had seen much suffering melted away the need for addiction from her core, and pointed her to Christ?
    Or is it the Church on the corner that organizes help for its elderly so they can get to the doctors? Or that place down the road with the thrift shop that gives away coats to needy people. Or is it something more ethereal …. the altar boy who grow up and becomes a policeman and on a cold night sees a homeless man with no shoes, and goes into a shoe store and buys that man warm socks and good solid warm shoes and takes them back and helps the man put them on?

    What ‘Church’ do we talk about here when we say ‘the Church’?
    The entities that follow the way of the flesh OR the way of grace?
    Or are these entities so separate from one another? Or is there ‘in the Church’ also the same struggle that we all wrestle with in our own lives ….. I think grace WILL have the final word. I know it will.

  57. okrapod wrote:

    I miss your comments. I do remember some unpleasantness, so I understand if that is part of why we don’t hear from you so often any more,

    I appreciate that. I don’t remember any unpleasantness happening though I did have an extended absence due to some medical issues and some other things which kept me from being a contributor.

  58. Christiane wrote:

    are there any stories about people who STAYED and made a difference?

    That can work, too. It’s a decision to be made, with wisdom, by and for the grace of God. For some, stay and your own children are at risk. Others, stay, make a difference, and demonstrate to one’s own children how that is done, if possible. Discernment. Listening to God’s direction.

    Contrasting decisions: David slew Goliath but ran from Saul. Two opposite responses to what was for David two life-threatening situations.

  59. @ JYJames:
    yes, I see it. People need to choose carefully and thoughtfully. And if they stay, it should not be that they place any of their family at risk ….. something I certainly agree with. Wise words, JYJames.
    Thanks for responding

  60. “Do any of these folks really understand the *Gospel?*”

    Obviously, a lot of them don’t! And they also don’t have a fear of God. But they will someday.

    I suspect the “Done” ranks in Australia experienced a sharp jump after release of this report.

  61. http://bit.ly/2tZ21Dr

    Here is a link to a Boz Tchividjian article called, “Why I Stayed”. It discusses how some churches support abuse (examples of domestic abuse) and staying in the relationship, the idea of maintaining or abandoning relationships after abuse. This may not be exactly what Christiane is referring to, but may also have relevance.

  62. “the child sex abuse cover up is a religious protection racket”

    Religious and racket should never be used in the same sentence. What that says to me is that the abuse is so widespread that it reaches up the ladder even into the church hierarchy which has been charged to investigate, expose, and judge abusers. You can’t help someone out if you are in. Instead of protecting the sheep, the false shepherds protect each other.

  63. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    @ dee:
    The problem as i see it, is that any given “flavor” of chirstainity thinks they have the correct way, and when things as heinous child molesting by leaders, or boys in power, gets exposed, the “narrative” that we have the correct way is blown up….. so, they tkae the short sighted approch to cover it up, and then when the cover up exposed, their correct way is really blown up..
    For example, in the Penn State feasco, the family of papa Joe was suing the NCAA to regain papJoe’s reputation…. however, they just recently, quitely, withdrew their lawsuite… the NCAA said that they had more evidence, and the family did not want that brought to trial……. if good olf PapaJoe had just admitted early on he had a pervert working for him, and fired him, his “reputation” would have been much better….. but no… he covered it up to “save his reputation….

    Sue said on July 1, 2017, “…So, with that in mind, we wish to make the following clear: We do not oppose the complete release of the discovery in this case, and support any effort for that record to be made public in its entirety….”

  64. JYJames wrote:

    http://bit.ly/2tZ21Dr

    Here is a link to a Boz Tchividjian article called, “Why I Stayed”. It discusses how some churches support abuse (examples of domestic abuse) and staying in the relationship, the idea of maintaining or abandoning relationships after abuse. This may not be exactly what Christiane is referring to, but may also have relevance.

    goodness ….. no, that is not something I would support (ie. that a wife stay with an abusive husband) …. I could not even imagine a ‘church’ insisting on such a thing if I hadn’t read about it here at TWW. I think ‘staying’ with the spouse who is abusing is dangerous. The abuser belongs in jail. And should be prosecuted. The ‘church’ that insists on continuing this abusive relationship loses its moral authority.

    No. I am not a fan of ‘staying’ under such circumstances. Too horrible to be imagined what can actually happen. And the children would also be exposed to scenes which would scar them for life.

    Perhaps a single man in such a ‘church’ could attempt to make changes in the wrong-doing, but it would take courage and he might face ‘discipline’ himself for attempting to confront the ‘authority’ of the miscreants.

    So …. what is the power of one? I think it depends on who the ‘one’ is. And with what armor he brings for protection against the evil. And with what weapons he is endowed by the Holy Spirit for the battle.

  65. @ JJ:

    http://www.centredaily.com/news/local/education/penn-state/jerry-sandusky/article159368739.html

    Read through a 7.2.2017 article about this (link), quotes from both sides, comments and all. In the article and responses, intensity and clarifications are expressed from different representatives, of the NCAA, Penn State, and the Paterno family, that is, and not of the victims. In other words, reputations, legacy, image, and money seem to be paramount in the discourse, with no mention of damaged children. Rings familiar.

  66. @ JJ:

    http://www.centredaily.com/news/local/education/penn-state/jerry-sandusky/article159368739.html

    Above is another article, with the recent sentencing of three Penn State admins (Pres, VP, & AD) for child endangerment in failing to report abuse under their watch, witnessed & reported to them at the time of occurrence.

    At sentencing they apologized to the victims. However, the three had character witnesses in court speaking of them as outstanding citizens.

    What is interesting and appropriate to our churches is how the Paternos, Penn State, and the character witnesses appear to want what Sandusky did under their watch to just go away while they recoup the legacy of their winning-est coach, the University and the admins. Such great people, except, oh yes, there is that Sandusky affair, but it wasn't their fault, they didn't do it. Wasn't part of their job description to have to deal with one bad apple in the bunch.

    Except by civil law, it is.

  67. Christiane wrote:

    wiser? easier?
    and what about the people left behind who need advocacy?
    the little ones?
    the elderly?
    at some point, I wonder if the ‘musical churches’ thing is best for them what is left behind at the mercy of those who drive good people away?
    are there any stories about people who STAYED and made a difference?
    I would understand if there weren’t any, but if there was, I should like to hear of it and find out why they stayed, what they did, and what happened to make things better

    Those are legitimate things to consider. I have some serious issues with the ‘stay’ option though there are of course ‘issues’ with the leave options.

    But first, about using ‘the little ones’ and ‘the elderly’ in this conversation. I am one of the elderly, by anybody’s definition of what that means. Elderly is not a synonym for needy or for helpless or for mindless or for intellectually impaired (aside from some disease process) and is not either a reason or an excuse for tolerating evil or abandoning the faith. And the presence of some of us on the pew is not an excuse for other people to adapt to some situation which has itself has become either toxic or blasphemous. It is not an excuse for manipulating any issue with false sentimentality; and to attempt to do so is merely ageism used in the hands of the unscrupulous for bad purposes.

    As to ‘the little ones’ the scripture places the responsibility for the children squarely with the family who are adjured to ‘bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord’ and nothing short of that which I can see in scripture. If the decay and wandering from the truth in some place, be it church or school or wherever, have become evident then it is the responsibility of the family to protect the little ones from that. It is not right for the family to place the little ones in danger by sacrificing the children’s welfare for the religious or political or social purposes of the family. Have we not seen enough reports of where some family has accepted what ‘the church leadership’ has said rather than protect their own child from an abusive situation.

    The family has a scriptural mandate to protect the children. Period.

    (continued)

  68. @ okrapod: (continuation)

    So are there situations where staying and trying to make a difference has resulted in success? I have seen none, but I have seen person after person sucked down by the whirlpool of evil until they too are participants in the evil once the become seduced and convinced of the ‘rightness’ of what is going on.

    And we have heard story after story of those who stayed for whatever reason and now ask themselves and not infrequently say here on TWW something to the effect of why did I/we stay?

    And we have seen people seriously wounded by staying. (mod. ed.)

    We cannot say that we were not warned. Scripture is replete with advice of ‘have nothing to do with…’ and ‘come out from among them and be..separate’ and ‘if they will not listen…shake off the dust’ with warning after warning about wolves and deceivers and those among us who are not part of the kingdom in the first place. To ignore all this and to act in direct rebellion to the scriptural instructions in this matter is not an option.

    And to leave one’s children is a bad situation compounds the disobedience of those tasked with the welfare of the children.

    And to try to use those of us who are old as some excuse is an insult to us which even our larger secular culture realizes more than the church does.

    As to the slam against what we protestants call church hopping just let me say that I think it is a whole sight better than the choice of the many lapsed catholics that I have met in the workplace over the decades. There are droves of people who ‘used to be’ and/or ‘grew up’ catholic or ‘went to catholic school’ but who just faded off into religious nothingness, not having as they supposed any options. Compare that to the person who used to be a Methodist and is now a Pentecostal, and it seems to me that the protestant approach to leaving a church but continuing to practice the faith is a far better idea.

  69. @ okrapod:

    The second part of what I wrote is pending the editorial process but I believe will be forthcoming. In in I address the issue of leaving vs staying as to it’s impact on functional adult lives.

  70. @ JJ:
    From Pennlive.com
    “The Paterno family characterized this case as a ‘search for the truth,'” said Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer.

    “Its decision today, after years of investigation and discovery, to abandon its lawsuit rather than subject those facts to courtroom examination is telling. We believe that the powerful record developed during discovery overwhelmingly confirmed what the NCAA has believed all along: the NCAA acted reasonably in adopting the conclusions of an eight-month investigation by Louis Freeh.”

  71. @ Jeffrey J Chalmers:
    From an inside “academic” perspective…. Penn State, from its president down the chain to Peterno, was very arrogant about how their “grand experiment” of not compromising to be a top winning athletic program was well know to many before the Sandusky fiasco blew open…
    There is a lession here to be applied to churches…. the more a “flavor” claims they have the “true/pious way” look out…

  72. @ okrapod:

    Very good counsel.

    The, “church hopping”,(or shopping) accusation, has also been used by authoritative pastors/churches, as a means of keeping the flock in the pew. Guilt is heaped on by accusations of, shallow Christianity, self seeking and irresponsibly, blah, blah.

  73. Mae wrote:

    The, “church hopping”,(or shopping) accusation, has also been used by authoritative pastors/churches, as a means of keeping the flock in the pew. Guilt is heaped on by accusations of, shallow Christianity, self seeking and irresponsibly, blah, blah.

    While we are on this topic, New American Standard Bible I have put some thought at to what the following means and when it may be applicable.

    “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” Some translations say ‘for my sake’

    So what on earth does that mean? in my experience nobody did anything egregious to me merely because I am a Christian. But I have met some serious ugliness at one time or another when i listened to scripture or what I believed to be the guidance of the Spirit or when I have listened to common sense/ conscience instead of listening to what those who wanted to control me were demanding.

    So, when it comes to common sense and/or conscience does that qualify as ‘because of me’? That has caused me right much thinking. I conclude that if God did not create us and we come solely from natural processes over time, then common sense is not ‘because of me’ in any way, and there is no such thing as a God-given conscience. However if Jesus/ the Logos/ He of Trinity fame so to speak is the one through whom and by whom and for whom all creation has come into existence (scripture I believe), and if it is He who has made us this way, then I conclude that indeed common sense and conscience are God given and therefore ‘because of Me’.

    Which may be why those who sell their soul to evil so oppose individuals who listen to scripture and the Spirit and common sense and conscience instead of listening to them. They, and not we, are playing on the wrong team. I do believe that some of them are genuinely deceived, but it is still the wrong team.

  74. @ okrapod:

    ‘New American Standard’ obviously ended up in the wrong sentence. Alas and alack I do not seem to be perfect, but I try.

  75. okrapod wrote:

    Those are legitimate things to consider. I have some serious issues with the ‘stay’ option though there are of course ‘issues’ with the leave options.

    Thank you again, okrapod, for your wise words and excellent analysis!

  76. Mae wrote:

    The, “church hopping”,(or shopping) accusation, has also been used by authoritative pastors/churches, as a means of keeping the flock in the pew.

    If you find yourself in such church under such leadership, consider hopping to at least one more.

  77. Mae wrote:

    The, “church hopping”,(or shopping) accusation, has also been used by authoritative pastors/churches, as a means of keeping the flock in the pew.

    Oh, yes. Those who “broke covenant” with my former church were called apostates, even if they joined another church.

    And to tie this topic into the title of this post, what is an Australian Anglican to do if 96% of the dioceses have “a decades long, widespread cover-up of child sex abuse?” Hopefully there are other denominations with a better track record. Even so, this type of abuse destroys lives. It make take some time for victims to feel safe in a church, and sometimes that never happens.

  78. okrapod wrote:

    While I am at it this morning I suppose we all saw the media article about somebody trying to get California to have certain laws prohibiting child marriage and running into opposition from various ‘rights’ groups including but not limited to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, if I remember correctly.

    In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo just signed a bill that will up the age of consent from 14 to 18. “This law will go a long way in honoring our values and commitment to protecting children, especially young girls, from the coercive, oppressive, and destructive practice of ill-informed or forced marriage,” said New York state Senator Andrew J. Lanza in a press release. I don’t understand why there is such opposition in California to such a law.

    http://www.brides.com/story/andrew-cuomo-signs-anti-child-marriage-law

  79. Ken G wrote:

    I don’t understand why there is such opposition in California to such a law.

    I don’t either, but yeah for New York.

  80. Ken G wrote:

    I don’t understand why there is such opposition in California to such a law.

    There are 36 states that have laws similar to California. I’m not sure I agree with the NY law. It implies that no one under the age of 18 can be married(.) NY formerly had a law that allowed 16 and 17 year olds to marry with parents and a judges consent. I would think that having a parent’s and judge’s consent would be enough.

    The problem I see is where states allow those younger than 16 to be married with parents’ and judges’ consent (and there are a lot that do not just California). Under 16 is too young (in my opinion). I do see some very limited circumstances where 16 and 17 year olds could be allowed. If I were a judge that had to sign off for this I would also include counseling for the couple, and parents of the couple. I would want the phsychologist to report to me (judge) on their general findings. If the couple and parents are not willing to do this, I would not give consent(.)

  81. Max wrote:

    You can’t help someone out if you are in. Instead of protecting the sheep, the false shepherds protect each other.

    Every dog has his day and it’s just a question of time for these guys. Karma and her sister Comeuppance are relentless that way.

  82. okrapod wrote:

    Which may be why those who sell their soul to evil so oppose individuals who listen to scripture and the Spirit and common sense and conscience instead of listening to them. They, and not we, are playing on the wrong team. I do believe that some of them are genuinely deceived, but it is still the wrong team.

    Well put okrapod and I concur. Scripture is a great and wonderful thing but I also think it’s prone to two extremes; not giving it the credence it deserves at one end of the continuum, and making way too much of it at the other.

    Here’s a you tube vid of the latter extreme if you can stomach it. Yeah it’s a bit long, but it exemplifies shamanism and the sway they (shamans) hold over the weak by capitalizing on their fears, and deep seated desire for security and certainty.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtW074wfF9o

  83. Muff Potter wrote:

    Every dog has his day and it’s just a question of time for these guys.

    Agreed. They will reap what they sow, more than they sow, and later than they sow. Scripture says that “As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly” (Prov. 26:11). I just hope these guys experience judgment day before they do any more harm to children.

  84. @ Muff Potter:

    I got about half way through it and had to just quit. As I understand his ideas, if you live and breathe you might have an evil spirit and if you know anybody they might have an evil spirit. And if you feel any emotion for sure it must be an evil spirit. I assume he will eventually offer some way to solve all that, but it is not worth waiting for on that video.

    So I am a bad person for saying this just from watching him, but if you have put on a lot of weight and you keep forgetting words and you repeat yourself you might need to see your friendly family physician. Forget the exorcism. Go get checked out.

  85. Ken G wrote:

    okrapod wrote:
    While I am at it this morning I suppose we all saw the media article about somebody trying to get California to have certain laws prohibiting child marriage and running into opposition from various ‘rights’ groups including but not limited to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, if I remember correctly.
    In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo just signed a bill that will up the age of consent from 14 to 18. “This law will go a long way in honoring our values and commitment to protecting children, especially young girls, from the coercive, oppressive, and destructive practice of ill-informed or forced marriage,” said New York state Senator Andrew J. Lanza in a press release. I don’t understand why there is such opposition in California to such a law.
    http://www.brides.com/story/andrew-cuomo-signs-anti-child-marriage-law

    I think this legislation is over reaching, too broad reaching. If the intent is to stop child brides, it misses the mark.

    In full agreement a child should not be married. But, are two 17 year, who wish to marry, children?

    If the intent is to stop religious practices of marrying off young girls to older men, that could be accomplished with age restrictions such as prohibiting any girl under age 17 from marrying anyone three years her senior. Parental consent could be avoided, if a family court judge gave consent.

    My gut instinct is this is the nanny state attempt to regulate marriage, with the goal being to make it illegal for all under the age of 21.

    Also, what are the ages of consent for sex in CA. and NY? How about abortions?

    I just see “red flags” with this legislation, as I really don’t see itself intent as transparent.

  86. JYJames wrote:

    What is interesting and appropriate to our churches is how the Paternos, Penn State, and the character witnesses appear to want what Sandusky did under their watch to just go away while they recoup the legacy of their winning-est coach, the University and the admins.

    Remember this and it all falls into place:
    FOOTBALL IS A RELIGION.

  87. Like I said about ‘age of’ we do not all agree in this nation. In my state the solution is to step across our southern border. I do not anticipate universal agreement on this or on much anything else.

  88. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    “Principles [ideology?] are what people have instead of God. To be a Christian means among other things to be willing if necessary to sacrifice even your highest principles for God’s or your neighbor’s sake the way a Christian pacifist must be willing to pick up a baseball bat if there’s no other way to stop a man from savagely beating a child. Jesus didn’t forgive his executioners on principle but because in some unimaginable way he was able to love them. ‘Principle’ is an even duller word than ‘Religion’.” ― Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC

  89. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    “God has called me to leave my wife for a younger woman”

    A Christian woman I know recently told me, “God wanted me to have this house.” She went on to describe the place she is buying: 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, hardwood floors throughout, pocket doors for studio space, and something called a “Juliet balcony.” All surrounded by mature trees.

    I do love it when God gives such a clear vision to one of His humble followers. /sarc

  90. okrapod wrote:

    So are there situations where staying and trying to make a difference has resulted in success? I have seen none, but I have seen person after person sucked down by the whirlpool of evil until they too are participants in the evil once the become seduced and convinced of the ‘rightness’ of what is going on.

    Okrapod

    I think your comments today are right on. If I understand correctly, your comments are primarily refer to the “stay or go” decision in obviously abusive or authoritarian churches. I once became so uncomfortable in the middle of a sermon that I wanted to leave immediately because I didn’t feel comfortable at that place with my daughter who was in the children’s area during the sermon. There was absolutely nothing about the people or situation that seemed off when viewed rationally, but I had a strong fight or flight feeling. When my wife felt flight would be rude and disruptive, I chose fight as I slowly increased my whisper volume until I eventually chose to go get my daughter with or without her. She reluctantly followed under protest. When one of the nice ladies at the check in desk asked why I was leaving early, I politely communicated that I wasn’t impressed. I also gave her my phone number as she said the pastor liked to receive feedback. When he called, it was immediately obvious that he didn’t want feedback as he spent most of the conversation invalidating my own motives and ended by issuing a spooky condescending admonition to “take care of my family”. A few months later his home was raised and he was arrested for possession and distribution of child pornography. I had issues with the sermon when we walked out the door, but I didn’t know the pastor was the problem until I heard the news. There was no satisfaction in being right in that situation. If I walked in and sensed something off and threatening in a few minutes, it seems that the people closest to the pastor should have known something. Even if they didn’t get the weird vibe I got, they had to witness him treat someone the way he treated me on the phone. I think that’s the only time I’ve walked away because I’ve been concerned about my daughter in that manner, but her welfare sometimes excludes a church that I might try as a single man.

    I’ve read many articles and “things to look for lists” about how to find a church that all seemed to focus on the managed aspects of the church. They never really seem to address the fundamental way a the body should be joined together and function. I believe as you that I can find the church in most institutions identified as such, but I rarely see them working together as “The Church”. As a single man, I might feel comfortable in this environment as I am mature enough to correctly respond to those things that aren’t quite right and make the most of the good that still exists and pray that the various parts can function as a body again. When “The Church” within the institution doesn’t function like a body, it tends to become a managed pyramid scheme with a tendency where spiritual gifts can become a hindrance.

    There were many things right about the last church we visited, but the things that were wrong were magnifies by their increasing tendency to divide the body into manageable groups and manage my family dynamic with regard to worship. They increasingly insisted that my daughter be present during the pastors cerebral monologues if we were there for both Sunday School and worship service. During the interactive small group times at someone’s home, they provided activities at the church for the children. When we ran out of time to do Rick Warren’s spiritual gifts inventory, I indicated that it might be inappropriate to determine spiritual gifts by such an inventory. That comment seemed to annoy the leader who said something to the effect that he didn’t think the church leadership wanted that information. I had alkready sensed an informal feedback mechanism in place and this verified it. I believe that my family could benefit greatly from the active fellowship of “The Church” of other flawed individuals, but I can’t feel good about having my daughter be at this typ of environment even though I had little evidence of the negative impact that would stand up in court. There was more to this situation than I can effectively communicate in a short space and time, but the point that I was trying to make is that this church leadership had no desire to allow the body to function as intended and I didn’t feel comfortable having my daughter in this environment.

  91. Mae wrote:

    Also, what are the ages of consent for sex in CA. and NY?

    I’m not sure why it would be legal for anyone to marry who could not consent legally under age laws. It seems like there may have been some loopholes that allowed and it would make sense to get them fixed.

    I’m not sure it’s a great problem to raise marriage laws to 18 although that is an arbitrary number it’s one we have chosen society wide for things like contracts…parental permission being an exception assume parents looking out for the welfare of their child.

  92. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Remember this and it all falls into place:
    FOOTBALL IS A RELIGION.

    My experience with a person who went to penn state is that they were particularly cultish about the whole thing and this is coming from someone who lives in sec territory.

  93. @ Lea:

    We don’t have to agree.

    The question was asked why anyone would have an issue by raising the marriage age to 18.
    Just gave my perspective on what I thought was problematic with the legislation.

  94. Off the top of my head, I cannot think of a single instance that I’m aware of where sexual abuse in a church was handled appropriately. At this point, the cover-up and destruction of victims’ reputations appear to the rule, not the exception.

  95. @ Mae:
    I don’t even know where I fall on that. I’m sure there are people who got married at 17 to sweeethearts going off to war who would never regret it.

    I think the bare minimum would be to make sure a person who is not old enough to legally consent should not get married either.

  96. @ scott hendrixson:
    It has been my experience that tightly controlled/reported small group activity is a big red flag. A church that does that is more interested in controlling the message and indoctrination than encouraging the Spirit to work in people’s life.
    Ten years ago a church I attended pushed a marriage group with a strict complementarian agenda. Alternative viewpoints were discouraged. Discussion pushing on the boundaries was redirected. My wife read scripture from an alternate translation and was not acknowledged. The group finished and that was the end of the fellowship.
    We left soon after.
    We discovered another church in our neighborhood that was starting small book study groups. The discussion was lively and open. Nobody was shut down and we were encouraged to take the conversation as far as we wanted. This group continues to meet and I think everyone in it is still active at the church. We are bonded to each other and our congregation.
    There is freedom in Christ, not bondage.

  97. @ Loren Haas:

    Thanks for the encouraging reply. Less than thirty minutes after I posted my comments, we talked to the music minister from that church at Lowe’s. It’s always challenging when you see the nice, normal people that were part of the system.

  98. okrapod wrote:

    I assume he will eventually offer some way to solve all that, but it is not worth waiting for on that video.

    You assume right. He’s the same guy who said that if you don’t tithe, you’re stealing from God and leaving yourself wide open for demon possession. I believe our blog queens did a piece on Robert Morris sometime back?

  99. Loren Haas wrote:

    Ten years ago a church I attended pushed a marriage group with a strict complementarian agenda. Alternative viewpoints were discouraged. Discussion pushing on the boundaries was redirected. My wife read scripture from an alternate translation and was not acknowledged.

    I’m surprised she was allowed to read Scripture at all. Some of the stricter fundagelical fellowships forbid women to speak in any kind of mixed corporate venue.

  100. @ Edward:
    Over the years, I’ve wondered the same.

    On second thought, Boz Tchividjian would know. He is a former child abuse chief prosecutor and the founder and executive director of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment). Maybe the churches that do it right do not get the publicity? and protect the victims but deal with the perpetrators? I have no idea, just guessing.

  101. @ dee:
    [It’s new media (at least to my generation – some were born with blogs and such). Setting guidelines is complex and you are handling a difficult task with grace. Where’s the handbook for doing fellowship this way – probably not yet written. Some day you two can write your book and teach the rest of us what you are learning behind the scenes. Probably worthy of a PhD.

    God’s grace, love, peace to all. We are privileged to be here together. Thanks for all you three (D, D, GBTC) and your respective families do for all of us. God help us all.]

  102. dee wrote:

    I really, really hate to get negative.

    Doesn’t seem like you had any choice on this one. I am sorry that you guys have to deal with stuff like this.

  103. I pray fo those tonight who mourn the unrighteous states of their own hearts, the church, and the world. I pray for those who’ve been abused in the most vile ways by those who they looked to for hope. I pray that you bring peace to this fellowship and to my own heart as I share a common journey and a common struggle with my brothers and sisters.

  104. To our readers

    A perfectly good post about a controversial drunk suddenly became about another person who had nothing to do with the post. We hope to do another post on the matter in the near future. However, when we do, we will be sure that such a discussion will be thought provoking, as per usual on this blog.

    The Deebs believe that the vast majority of the people who visit this site, including those who disagree with us, are people of good will who accurately represent themselves. However, it is not beyond reason that a few people may not be who they say they are. For example, a supposed middle aged woman could actually be a 20 something college student who gets his jollies by flaming a website.

    The Deebs are deeply grateful for our longstanding relationship with Wade Burleson. We are so sorry that, during this time of joy with his new grandchild, he had to put up with nonsense in his comment section. He is a decent man and we appreciate him in many ways, this being one of them.

  105. “Explosive Report of Child Sex Abuse in 96% of Australian Anglican Dioceses”

    Sounds like they only need 4% Australian Anglican dioceses! Talking about a huge need to clean house!!

  106. dee wrote:

    it is not beyond reason that a few people may not be who they say they are. For example, a supposed middle aged woman could actually be a 20 something college student who gets his jollies by flaming a website

    Dee, I promise you will always know who I am!

    I wonder sometimes if Mohler, Dever, Mahaney, etc. cruise blogs and comment under other names. Mark Driscoll used to troll as William Wallace II! http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2014/august/mark-driscoll-crude-comments-william-wallace-mars-hill.html

  107. Complete tangent here, but the fonts are looking a little different today. Being curious, I had a look at the CSS, but since I’ve never done this for TWW before, I’ve nothing to compare it with..! It’s showing as Trebuchet MS, which I quite like.

    Am I correct in assuming it’s a routine upgrade to the blog theme?

  108. Slightly more on topic: that is me in the fotie in the top left of my comments. I can’t prove this, of course; the best I can do is to continue to read over my comments before posting, and never post whilst angry.

  109. Deebs,

    You run a fine blog. I am forever indebted for becoming acquainted with what neo Calvinism is, by reading here. Don’t remember how I found TWW, but view it as providential when I did. BTW, when I first posted here, 5/6 years ago, it was under, “Lin”, but during one of my hospitalizations, my tablet accidentally cleaned all passwords. I couldn’t remember, at that time, my paassword/name, so I registered with the name of, Mae. Just wanted to clear that up.

    Confident your good work will continue.

  110. @ Mae:

    Thanks for letting us know! Yes, I remember your previous moniker.

    We are grateful that you providentially found our blog 5-6 years ago and have always appreciated your contributions to the ongoing discussion.

  111. Christiane wrote:

    wiser? easier?
    and what about the people left behind who need advocacy?
    the little ones?
    the elderly?
    at some point, I wonder if the ‘musical churches’ thing is best for them what is left behind at the mercy of those who drive good people away?
    are there any stories about people who STAYED and made a difference?

    Huh uh. Ain’t gonna go on that particular guilt trip, even though you’ve nicely paid for the ticket.

    Rings a little too close to urging the abused wife to stay “for a season” or whatever the phrase Piper employed was.

  112. Ken G wrote:

    okrapod wrote:
    While I am at it this morning I suppose we all saw the media article about somebody trying to get California to have certain laws prohibiting child marriage and running into opposition from various ‘rights’ groups including but not limited to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, if I remember correctly.
    In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo just signed a bill that will up the age of consent from 14 to 18. “This law will go a long way in honoring our values and commitment to protecting children, especially young girls, from the coercive, oppressive, and destructive practice of ill-informed or forced marriage,” said New York state Senator Andrew J. Lanza in a press release. I don’t understand why there is such opposition in California to such a law.
    http://www.brides.com/story/andrew-cuomo-signs-anti-child-marriage-law

    The age of consent in New York used to be 14??? Oh, my. That puts Vaughn Ohlman in a whole new light. What he pushes (“early, fruitful marriages”) used to be legal in New York, at least. Ugh.

  113. @ refugee:

    The argument which that commenter used is a moral equivalency attempt often seen in situation ethics in which one switches from one moral/ ethical issue to another and tries to play off the latter against the former, especially when the latter is the weaker value and/or not applicable in that instance.

    Thus: how dare someone choose safety for themselves or their children when doing so may cause some uncomfortable feelings for somebody else. The assumption being that one person’s feelings are more important than another person’s safety or welfare. The one causing the discomfort is then said to ‘unkind’ and since kindness is being played as the greater good, well there you are.

    The weakness of that argument style is in the details.

    It would be clever but it has been done to death and is no longer all that effective as an argument once you have seen it for what it is.

  114. Friend wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    “God has called me to leave my wife for a younger woman”

    A Christian woman I know recently told me, “God wanted me to have this house.” She went on to describe the place she is buying: 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, hardwood floors throughout, pocket doors for studio space, and something called a “Juliet balcony.” All surrounded by mature trees.

    I do love it when God gives such a clear vision to one of His humble followers. /sarc

    God apparently told a friend of mine what wallpaper border to buy. I am not making this up. Why can’t the Lord do my interior decorating for me? Am I not spiritual enough? 😉

  115. okrapod wrote:

    Steve wrote:

    AND they will NOT protect the children. You know this better than me.

    Speaking again of my parish we have the equivalent of SS as well as Wed night ‘formation’ for the kids, all staffed my mothers. The staff person who oversees this is a married female with kids. The older youth go on mission trips accompanied by male and female parents. We have no youth minister and our rector says we will not be having one; he emphasizes the role of the family in the lives of the young. And of course they run the parents through the usual process for determining prior bad behavior.

    Other than placing electronic ankle monitors on the young or placing them on house arrest I don’t see much more that anybody could want.

    Our RC parish has similar safeguards. We also have background checks. And all volunteers must go through the Protecting God’s Children program, whether or not they work with kids. That’s SOP nowadays. At least in my experience.

  116. @ okrapod:

    Ah. That makes sense. I hadn’t thought of it in such clear terms, I just recognized it as a guilt trip–and I wasn’t inclined to get on the bus.

  117. Christiane wrote:

    Perhaps a single man in such a ‘church’ could attempt to make changes in the wrong-doing, but it would take courage and he might face ‘discipline’ himself for attempting to confront the ‘authority’ of the miscreants.

    Seems to me that this is exactly what was reported in this article… a “single man” (not in terms of marriage status but in terms of one standing up for a principle) attempting to make changes and deal with wrong-doing, and taking a lot of personal grief as a consequence.

  118. okrapod wrote:

    Well, if somebody’s political ‘rights’ stance or somebody’s religion is in favor of it I suppose we will all just have to get on board. (sarcasm attempt)

    Appreciate the thought-provoking comments.

    My understanding is that the more reasonable laws follow a sequence: 1) the minor is emancipated at 16 or 17 years of age by parents and/or judge; 2) the minor is then free to choose whether to marry. If the age of consent and marriage are set rigidly at the 18th birthday, there’s no flexibility for teens who *want* to marry a little younger.

    All of us on TWW are strongly anti coercion, and of course it’s easier to coerce younger kids. Marrying young girls off to older men, or to boys they barely know, is anathema.

    Still, whereas some 18-year-olds are mighty immature, some 17-year-olds are responsible and grown up. I cautiously favor the idea of emancipating minors who truly want to marry, but there needs to be support for their freedom to choose the marriage, instead of a trap of any kind. Hard to legislate that.

  119. okrapod wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    Theirs (for that matter, yours) is a compromise solution,

    Oh yes.
    … often there are no options but to compromise. So I compromised…

    I’m not entirely sure you understood me, as the quote from my earlier comment was crucially truncated.
    The sentence I wrote was

    Theirs (for that matter, yours) is a compromise solution, but I can’t really say that mine is necessarily better.

    In this context, “mine” refers to “my compromise solution”. I can’t imagine anybody pretending that being a none is the “biblical ideal” and you’ll never hear me pretend so. It is a compromise, and not without cost.

    You’re quite right in saying that compromise is a necessary part of life. As The Doctor put it: Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones. But you still have to choose.

  120. @ Friend:

    My thoughts too.

    Although I do believe some sort of safe guard should be in place to prevent a marriage between a 17 year old female and a male who is over 21.

    I don’t believe the government should be regulating marriages between older teenagers. I’d like to see strong measures against child brides, and arranged marriages.

  121. @ Friend:

    The article that I referenced in my original comment was about California where apparently there is no minimum age. None. You can marry your six year old off if you want to. So somebody in their legislature wanted to have a minimum age law and this is what the article said that was what the ACLU and Planned Parenthood and others were objecting to. They wanted to continue with no minimum age.

    I am for minimum age laws. People can argue about what age, but good grief not elementary school age I am thinking.

    In NC the minimum age for marriage is 14 with court order and pregnancy or childbirth, 16 with parental consent and 18 without parental consent. The minimum age of consent for sexual intercourse is 16, and the minimum age for a full unrestricted driver license is 18.

    Along this line there are those also who think that ‘cutting’ should be legal; parental choice. I don’t even want to think about that.

  122. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    I used only part of your sentence because I was not comparing me to you but merely making a statement about me. It gets confusing. I will try to do better in the future.

  123. dee wrote:

    However, it is not beyond reason that a few people may not be who they say they are.

    I am actually 15 people, all posting as me. God only knows who we are.

  124. Oops…. has to approve of any marriage under 18.
    I agree a minimum age should be legislated by CA. It’s only one of a few, that has no minimum.
    I would like to know what the specific objections, the ACLU and planned parenthood, had to a minimum age of consent to marriage.

  125. As a paralegal in California, I can provide some more specific info about the marriage age in this state.

    Here’s a quote from the local Family Law Center–do note that under 18’s require parental consent, parental presence, a visit to a counselor and a court order from a judge.

    So, no, you can’t “just marry your 6 year old off”-thankfully.

    Here’s the quote :California Marriage Age Requirements Laws
    8 11.3K

    “State laws regulating age limits for marriage are generally similar, although California is one of just a few states lacking a minimum age for marriage. However, minors (under the age of 18) must obtain both parental consent and a court order before they may legally tie the knot. Although couples seldom get married before they reach the age of majority, it is made available primarily to allow pregnant minors to marry.

    In addition to obtaining parental consent in order to get married, anyone who is under 18 must also see a pre-marriage counselor, appear before a judge, produce copies of your birth certificate, and even have a parent accompany you when you apply for your marriage license. Requirements for parental consent (and the presence of a parent when obtaining a license) may be waived if the parent has abandoned the family, is out of the country, or no longer living.”

  126. In addition to the court mandated stipulations for marriage in CA under age 18….the laws are pretty strict about what constitutes unlawful intercourse in terms of the age difference between the 2 parties….so any under age person who has had sex with a person more than 5 or 10 years older would get a close look under the CA laws concerning Child Sexual Abuse…I can’t imagine a judge who wants to be re-elected granting a license to any but 2 underage teens with a pregnancy….

  127. @ molly245:

    I hear you saying that no judge who wants to be re-elected would do anything to far out. That is encouraging. It does not however answer the question about why people would object to writing into law a minimum age, like (or so the article said) some fellow in the legislature wanted to do. Especially if it is already the practice to restrict underage marriage.

    Do you have any information as to why some people have objected? I doubt if the players in this would just be saying that it is not necessary. Why would they care on that basis? There is something missing in the story here.

  128. Refugee wrote:

    @ okrapod:

    Ah. That makes sense. I hadn’t thought of it in such clear terms, I just recognized it as a guilt trip–and I wasn’t inclined to get on the bus.

    Personally I think we can disagree with a comment without impugning the commenter’s motives. Which, BTW, are utterly unknown to us. But that’s just me. 😀

  129. okrapod wrote:

    Do you have any information as to why some people have objected?

    There seems to be a concern about unintended consequences: try to prevent forced marriage, and the result is restriction of a right to marry. Opponents of the bill point to safeguards under the existing law; it’s not just a blanket right to marry.

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article149610849.html

    There’s also no reliable information about the number of minors who marry in California in a given year:

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Effort-to-bar-juvenile-marriages-in-California-11268497.php

    “People who want to limit such marriages say the total is in the thousands, while those who oppose the bill say that’s vastly inflated. …

    Nationally, about 5 of every 1,000 children ages 15 to 17 were married as of 2014, according to U.S. census data analyzed by the Pew Research Center — figures that don’t specify where the marriages occurred. Activists for age restrictions estimate that California sees about 3,000 marriages per year that include a minor.

    “The ACLU and other opponents say that estimate is inflated, noting that just 44 petitions for juvenile marriage were filed in Los Angeles County — which has a population just above 10 million — over the past five years.”

  130. okrapod wrote:

    They wanted to continue with no minimum age.

    I have a comment with links in customs. But one missing piece is a discussion about whether a minimum age is needed in addition to the state’s current restrictions.

  131. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Refugee wrote:

    @ okrapod:

    Ah. That makes sense. I hadn’t thought of it in such clear terms, I just recognized it as a guilt trip–and I wasn’t inclined to get on the bus.

    Personally I think we can disagree with a comment without impugning the commenter’s motives. Which, BTW, are utterly unknown to us. But that’s just me.

    It is possible that the commenter did not realize that the wording was identical to that technique of emotional manipulation that is called a guilt trip.

    I hope so.

  132. okrapod wrote:

    Do you have any information as to why some people have objected? I doubt if the players in this would just be saying that it is not necessary. Why would they care on that basis? There is something missing in the story here.

    No persomal knowledge but here are some links to our local news sources:

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article139043688.html

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/in-fight-over-child-marriage-laws-states-resist-calls-for-a-total-ban/

    http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/news/2017-03-16-senator-jerry-hill-introduce-legislation-banning-child-marriage

    http://freebeacon.com/culture/california-attempts-ban-child-marriage-meet-opposition/

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Effort-to-bar-juvenile-marriages-in-California-11268497.php

    Most of these sources are pretty mainstream media==Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, & PBS although not all of them are.

    Certainly there are differing slants on this issue but this should give you some specific info on what’s happening.

  133. @ molly245:

    Thank you Molly245 and Friend for the links and comments. I want to be clear that I am not trying to say something bad about another state’s ability to manage its own business. I am rather wondering what is going on in our nation that this is an issue. The fact that this particular thing is in California is incidental to what I am questioning.

    Thanks again.

  134. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Personally I think we can disagree with a comment without impugning the commenter’s motives. Which, BTW, are utterly unknown to us.

    I quite agree. And I think that perhaps most of us have no idea where we got some our ideas in the first place and least of all have any idea of the malicious use to which some otherwise perfectly respectable ideas may be put to use.

    That said, if people who may have become the targets of such malicious use are to be set free of the power of said malicious use then they/we have to understand what is going on and how to free themselves from it, even at the risk of the untoward and regrettable circumstance of needlessly offending someone who is doing the same thing albeit with perhaps the best of intentions.

    The utterly sad truth is that we have heard of the manipulations by toxic leadership using this same sort of moral equivalency argument time and again. For example the Hinckley matter. The church tried to say that ‘but you signed a covenant’ was morally equivalent to what was on her husband’s computer which was not only immoral but also illegal. So, no you can’t divorce him unless we say so because ‘you said (signed)’ which they tried to use as a better ethical argument to determine her behavior than the argument about the vileness of what she was dealing with about her husband. That is a glaring example of a failed attempt to control someone by the use of a moral equivalency argument.

    This sort of argument has become so popular in our culture that I dare say that most of us do it and most of us have good intentions at the time. It is, none the less, something which must be recognized and controlled because of its demonstrated toxic use in the hands of some people; in the case of the issues discussed on TWW that would be seen in the methodologies of toxic church leadership.

  135. okrapod wrote:

    Thus: how dare someone choose safety for themselves or their children when doing so may cause some uncomfortable feelings for somebody else. The assumption being that one person’s feelings are more important than another person’s safety or welfare. The one causing the discomfort is then said to ‘unkind’ and since kindness is being played as the greater good, well there you are.

    I’ve seen this played as a racket.
    A close relative of Tyranny of the Most Easily Offended

  136. refugee wrote:

    Seems to me that this is exactly what was reported in this article… a “single man” (not in terms of marriage status but in terms of one standing up for a principle) attempting to make changes and deal with wrong-doing, and taking a lot of personal grief as a consequence.

    It’s not just chickens who peck The Defective to death in the barnyard.

  137. @ Beakerj:
    Off topic, but thank you Beakerj for your kind and thoughtful comment to me in early July about the DUI saga. (I could no longer reply directly to you on that post, so I stuck it here.) And, congrats on masters degree.

  138. @ JJ:
    You are very welcome. The fact that I said at least something kind & thoughtful on that thread is a huge relief to me.

    And thanks for the congrats, I am feeling Distinctly delighted with myself 😉

  139. okrapod wrote:

    I am rather wondering what is going on in our nation that this is an issue.

    Been thinking about this off and on today. The old solution to underage sex and out-of-wedlock pregnancy was generally to marry the couple off, or send the girl into exile, often forcing adoption. Now a huge percentage of children are born to singles, and the shame has decreased, and society is paying more attention to exploitation and abuse. That seems to be the focus of the new/proposed laws in NY and CA.

    In addition, I think American society was comfortable not interfering much with child marriage in old isolated sects of the prairie dress variety. Now, though, we’re learning about exploitation of girls in the RCC, the mega down the street, and in non-Christian groups. Finishing high school is crucial for avoiding poverty, and we don’t want girls to have to quit school.

    I do not know if there is more abuse now, but I believe there is a trend toward wanting girls to be safe and to have a basic education.

    Just my two cents’ worth… and I’m only talking about girls here. Alas, girls are not the only victims.

  140. Friend wrote:

    okrapod wrote:
    I am rather wondering what is going on in our nation that this is an issue.
    Been thinking about this off and on today. The old solution to underage sex and out-of-wedlock pregnancy was generally to marry the couple off, or send the girl into exile, often forcing adoption. Now a huge percentage of children are born to singles, and the shame has decreased, and society is paying more attention to exploitation and abuse. That seems to be the focus of the new/proposed laws in NY and CA.
    In addition, I think American society was comfortable not interfering much with child marriage in old isolated sects of the prairie dress variety. Now, though, we’re learning about exploitation of girls in the RCC, the mega down the street, and in non-Christian groups. Finishing high school is crucial for avoiding poverty, and we don’t want girls to have to quit school.
    I do not know if there is more abuse now, but I believe there is a trend toward wanting girls to be safe and to have a basic education.
    Just my two cents’ worth… and I’m only talking about girls here. Alas, girls are not the only victims.

    The goal imo should be to reign in the abuses we have seen in the FDLS communities. Also, practices of some Moslems.
    Most pregnant minors today can attend school. Problem for many is day care. But most of these young women are not married.
    Forced marriages between two teenagers is not common anymore. Those type of marriages have decreased .
    I think certain delicate religious issues are being avoided in this legislation. Just my two cents worth.

  141. dee wrote:

    To our readers
    A perfectly good post about a controversial drunk suddenly became about another person who had nothing to do with the post. We hope to do another post on the matter in the near future. However, when we do, we will be sure that such a discussion will be thought provoking, as per usual on this blog.
    The Deebs believe that the vast majority of the people who visit this site, including those who disagree with us, are people of good will who accurately represent themselves. However, it is not beyond reason that a few people may not be who they say they are. For example, a supposed middle aged woman could actually be a 20 something college student who gets his jollies by flaming a website.
    The Deebs are deeply grateful for our longstanding relationship with Wade Burleson. We are so sorry that, during this time of joy with his new grandchild, he had to put up with nonsense in his comment section. He is a decent man and we appreciate him in many ways, this being one of them.

    Dee, thank you so much for this explanation. I have no doubt that managing a blog like TWW is quite challenging. I trust that you and Deb have the best of intentions and have endeavored to do the right thing. God bless the both of you! Here’s hoping for even better days ahead for TWW. 😉

  142. Pingback: Time For a Mass Burning At the Stake | 1st Feline Battalion

  143. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Complete tangent here, but the fonts are looking a little different today. Being curious, I had a look at the CSS, but since I’ve never done this for TWW before, I’ve nothing to compare it with..! It’s showing as Trebuchet MS, which I quite like.

    I completely agree with you on this point – the new font, whether intentional or unintentional, is pleasing on the eyes. We (not the royal “we” but rather a team I worked on) used to say that if a font is only useful when it doesn’t distract from the text. IMO, this font is a pleasant addition.

  144. So far so good, the integer ‘one’ doesn’t look like an upper case ‘i’…
    Would it be possible to up the size?
    Old coots like me get bamboozled with small text.

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