“So often survivors have had their experiences denied, trivialized, or distorted. Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to define your own reality. You can say: This did happen to me. It was that bad. It was the fault & responsibility of the adult. I was—and am—innocent.” The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis” ― Ellen Bass, The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse link
Anne Campbell, widow of Iain Campbell, appears to be getting deserved support
I was contacted by the Scottish Sun last week, asking the usual question: Who is your source and will they talk with us?” They got the usual response. “No, I will not tell you who my source is and they are not interested in talking with you.”
As a quick review: Last year, I read some media reports that Iain D Campbell, a rock star in certain Reformed theological circles, had committed suicide after it was revealed that he had had multiple affairs with multiple women over decades. However, what caught my eyes was that people on the Isle of Lewis appeared to blame his wife for his despicable and secretive behavior. So I wrote a story about it. Calvinist Leader Dr Iain Campbell Dies By Suicide Amidst Allegations of Affairs and an Out of Wedlock Child. His Wife Gets Blamed!
As you know, my heart is with the victims and somehow I sensed that his widow was being treated poorly while some Scottish Free Church stuffed shirts were trying to resurrect his legacy. Shorty after this post, I was contacted by my impeccable source who wanted to be sure the real story got out there. Blindsided: The True Story of the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Iain Campbell
I believe that, due to the pressure of this blog along with other media reports, the Western Isles Presbytery was forced to have a hearing and declare Campbell guilty posthumously.
I also did a post discussing some of his writings Looking Further at Iain Campbell and Others: What is a Dishonest Hypocrite?.
Throughout much of the year, I received emails from some of the *stuffed shirts* demanding to know who sent me the emails of IDC’s communications with his lovers. Oddly, they never questioned the emails themselves… I believed that the post must have irritated some folks and led, along with my coverage of Tom Chantry whose trial is in April, to the ridiculously poorly written and deceptive letter meant to embarrass my husband and me. How a Letter Meant to Hurt Dee in Her Church and Community Gave Her a Precious Gift Instead.
When the editor told me that he wanted to write a post showing sympathy for all that Anne Campbell has experienced, I was pleased. WEE ARE SORRY Isle of Lewis church bosses apologise to widow of love-rat minister who killed himself: Anne Campbell was welcomed back warmly to the island on the first anniversary of her husband’s death.
For those of you who are confused, the *Wee*, which I now realize is viewed in a negative fashion, refers to the nickname of the Free Church (Wee Free Church) but I will not bore you with details.
Pals of cheating minister Iain Campbell’s wife Anne revealed she’s back on her home island to rebuild her life after a year of “torment and devastation”.
Teacher Anne, 55, has been warmly welcomed on her return after her husband’s adultery and suicide rocked the staunch Free Church of Scotland community.
And on the first anniversary of his death, she has told friends of the agony she’s endured since fleeing Lewis when loyal members of his congregation accused her of trashing his memory.
She has now returned to work on the island and church chiefs yesterday apologised to Anne for a lack of support during the “unimaginably difficult time” after her husband’s death.
Last night a close pal told The Scottish Sun on Sunday: “The year she’s had and the torment she has endured is horrific beyond words.
“All the worst things that can happen to a family happened to her family in a matter of days.
I guess they found it surprising that a little blog in North Carolina cared about this story. We always care when people have been hurt and let down by the church.
The blog attracted hundreds of hits and comments from islanders as the true extent of the minister’s sordid double life was exposed.
Last night, Mrs Parsons revealed how she refused to budge when high ranking Wee Free officials demanded to know the identity of her source.
She said: “Some people were blaming Anne for what transpired. Sadly, unknowingly manipulated people appeared to blame her for IDC’s sexual indiscretions.
“I heard from some very important people within the Free Church who wanted to know how I obtained the emails since this was supposed to be some sort of confidential deal within the Presbytery.
“They were not at all interested in claiming that they were not true. They were insistent that I tell them who released them to me.
“I reiterated they would never know the name of the person who gave those to me which has frustrated them to no end.”
I intend to look into another situation surrounding the surprise exoneration of another well known pastor, and friend of IDC, Don MacLeod. A number of years ago, he was accused by several women of sex abuse. Apparently, IDC was supportive of him being tried for this mess but, at the last minute, changed his mind. Don MacLeod wrote one of the flowery obituaries for IDC with what appeared (at least to me) to be a vague threat for Anne Campbell to behave. Stay tuned.
World Magazine wrote a post which shows they don’t get it. #metoo #churchtoo
Today, I met with some folks who are doing some research on psoriatic arthritis with which I am afflicted. When they asked what I did, I mentioned I blogged about abuse and the church. One person said “I heard about a story about the standing ovation for that pastor who said he had done something to a student. It was awful.” This woman got it. Sadly, World Magazine does not.
Once we’ve confessed: How should churches handle sexual sins from 20 years ago? by Russell St. John caused a firestorm on Twitter. I wish these editors were smart enough to call a victims’ advocate because they could have saved them some well deserved pushback. But, as you will see, I don’t think they learned their lesson.
Here are some particularly vacuous comments. It is evident that the author does not understand the long. term, devastating effects of sex abuse. Shouldn’t the church be the first institution to stand up for victims?Didn’t Jesus seem to spend a whole lot of time with the abused in society as opposed to the celebrity church leaders of the day?
Here are just a few things that World Magazine got wrong.
1. Savage knew there was unfinished business with Jules. We posted the email which he said he did not answer. The lack of the reconciliation was not unclear whatsoever.
Savage stated, “Until now, I did not know there was unfinished business with Jules.” To what extent they did or did not reconcile is unclear.
2. The church did not report the incident to police. Every church in America knows they must report sexual *incidents* to the police. Fidelity to the disciplinary process does NOT mean a police report is unnecessary. I, personally, do not believe that a process of discipline was in place. Savage was still teaching *True Love Waits* until Jules spilled the beans to her discipleship group and then *out the door* he went. What process? It was a boot kick and the next church was NOT informed.
The congregation’s ignorance of Savage’s particular sin may testify to a shameful cover-up. It may also testify to the church’s fidelity to the privacy of the discipline process.
3. If I hear one more thing about Paul being allowed to be an apostle, I will scream. Paul killed Christians prior to his Damascus Road experience. He then went to Arabia for 3 long year to learn and mature. There is nothing in Scripture that states that, after he was a Christian, that Paul killed more people or sexually assaulted a congregating. Not. one. instance.
If Paul intended to disqualify any man who was ever reproachable, then he disqualified himself and many Christian leaders since.
4. Savage was not self-righteous? Seriously? He said that he did not tell his next church what happened. He blamed Jules, saying this was an organic moment (ROFL-that is one for the books). He claimed he was merely a college student, etc., etc., etc. This is called obfuscation. Savage was a youth pastor and he knew it and so did many other people. Savage is a minimizer-a typical tactic for an abuser.
Savage was not self-righteous: He confessed.
5. No, World magazine, I am not a sexual abuser. NO, Mr. St John, I have not sexually assaulted anyone. However, if you think that maybe you and the editors are such abusers, you need to get help really quickly.
Get something straight. Very few people in this world sexually abuse others. Anyone who does has a deep seated power problem that should be explored with trained professionals. It is ridiculous and sin leveling at its most disturbing to say that we all abuse like Savage.
Every Christian knows that Christ forgives the sinner. But, restoration does not mean restoration to the pulpit. It means restoration to the church. Savage is welcome in church but he has no business in the pulpit. What is this deal that pastors who sin get to be restored to the pulpit? Teachers cannot teach after they have sex wit a 17 year old student. Why do pastors get to skip the part of being restored to the church body? Why isn’t that enough?
Jesus restores not only the abused but also the abuser. The culture is not rooting for the restoration of Harvey Weinstein. It does not want a wicked predator to know the mercy of Jesus, but the church should want just that. Each Christian must acknowledge, “I am the abused and the abuser.” Blessedly Jesus restores both.
At Love, Joy, Feminism, Libby Anne wrote a thoughtful piece on the dangerous declaration by World Magazine that all of us are abusers. World Magazine on Andy Savage: “Each Christian must acknowledge, ‘I am the abused and the abuser.’”
What Savage did was wrong because God forbids sexual contact outside of marriage. That Savage harmed Jules Woodson through his actions is less important—the important part is that he sinned against God. And God—evangelicals contend—forgives those who sincerely repent, and washes away their sin, and restores them.
To my knowledge, Paul never sexually abused a minor under his pastoral care, but remember—St. John is lumping all sins together here. Sexually abusing a minor under one’s pastoral care is no different from, say, giving in to temptation and having sex with one’s future wife a month before the wedding. Or coveting.
…And there it is—everyone sins. We are all the abuser, because we all sin. What makes us any better? But for the grace of God, there go I. Growing up, I was taught that no sin was any better or worse than any other. There was no rankings of sin. Sin is sin is sin. We are all sinners; we are all like the abuser. Woodson is just as much a sinner (because we all are) as Savage. This idea makes it nigh impossible to deal effectively with abuse and predation.
Sadly, World Magazine gets an *F* for this poorly written post. I suggest that they hire a group like netgrace.org to educate their editors and staff.
World then wrote a weak second post in which they clung doggedly to the first post and were unsuccessful in their attempt to soften the blowback.
I imagined that this post was written to undo the damage of the first post which was universally derided on Twitter: A painful process: Churches should consider in advance how to respond when pastors or other leaders face accusations of sexual sin or abuse.
Immediately, my hopes we dashed. The author merely states that this is some additional *important* thoughts. A kind of “What should you do when this happens?” Frankly, it was basic information that any church should know.
The issue of WORLD Magazine dated Feb. 3 includes an article asking: How should churches handle sexual sins from 20 years ago?
I’ve been thinking about another crucial question: How should churches handle accusations of sexual abuse or other sexual sin by a church leader when it’s first discovered?
I wanted to answer: “Call the police. Get the victim some help. Case closed.” But then the author got my hackles up.”
She claimed that Jules was not *forced* to have sex. Baloney!
Excuse me? This young woman was driven down an isolated, dark, dirt road by a huge guy, much stronger than she was and was told to “Do it.” No please, no niceties, etc.
Let me give you another scenario:
Sally’s car breaks down. Sally is all alone on a deserted road and a large man approaches her and strongly suggests that she hand over her jewelry and her wallet. She does so. Would the author say that Sally wasn’t forced to had over her belongings? That is was just a voluntary exchange? Good night!
“Woodson doesn’t claim Savage forced her into sexual activity, but she says she was a stunned teenager who felt overwhelmed and scared by the request from a youth pastor she admired. She considers the encounter a sexual assault.”
What did the DA have to say about justice?
I am so glad the author brought this up since I have been meaning to do so. What do you think the DA is saying in this statement? It sounds to me that the DA would have liked to have been informed when this happened. Justice should have been sought but it wasn’t since it appears that none of these pastors ever called the police!
“Using the current statute we would have some possible options but we are limited to the law as it was at the time of the offense in 1998. As a result, we are unable to investigate and seek justice to the full extent of what … we normally would in such a case.”
Yes, there is a power dynamic between a youth pastor (which he was) and a student.
It appears the author agrees that there is a clergy/member power dynamic. Thank heavens there is something for me to grasp onto here.
In whatever way the law might apply or might not apply in specific cases, the underlying principle is important: Abuse of spiritual authority can lead to a range of serious harm, including spiritual trauma that can be hard to overcome.”
She raised the question if the age of consent might be a mitigating factor in such circumstances.
Seriously? Is this author even attempting to play the *it was consensual” card here? Any pastor who has sex with a student in the high school ministry should be reported to the police. Understand that a schoolteacher cannot have sex with a 17 year old student in Texas. Why might the author think that it should be different for pastors? Does the author even understand that a pastor who has sex with a parishioner could get in real trouble even if that person was 40? I know a pastor who was slapped with a civil suit for doing just that.
It’s important to know the particulars in your own state about what the law requires in connection with mandatory reporting, including how age of consent might or might not apply. If there’s any doubt or questions, call local police to make sure.
World Magazine seemed to take Savage’s statements at face value.
World Magazine, read your own writing. Savage admitted that he didn’t tell people in his next church because he was *embarrassed.* Therefore, Savage never truly confessed what happened to him. So why does World assume that Savage has been telling the truth about the entire organic escapade?
Look carefully at this statement made by the author. In this particular instance, why didn’t the author say Savage *claimed* to leave the church after admitting his sin to the pastors? Where are the corroborating statements in this matter? What sin did he admit to?
“In Savage’s case, he did leave the church in Houston after admitting his sin to the other pastors. But it’s unclear how long he remained in his own pastoral position.
Frankly, at this point, we have not idea what was said and not said to the pastors in his previous church. But we do know one thing. Savage did not tell the truth to some people and freely admits it.
After he left Texas, Savage returned to Memphis. The next year, according to his LinkedIn profile, he became pastor of college students and young singles at Germantown Baptist Church. In a recent radio interview, Savage said he didn’t tell the leaders of Germantown Baptist what had happened with Woodson because he was embarrassed. Germantown released a statement saying its leadership didn’t know about what happened in Texas until Savage publicly acknowledged it this month.”
Note how they treat a similar statement by Jules. They do NOT take her statement that she did not receive help at face value. Savage’s. statements are clear. Woodson’s are not…
Again, it’s unclear what transpired in the days and months after Savage’s encounter with Woodson, but it is clear that Woodson doesn’t think church leadership helped her sufficiently.
The rest of this article is more of the same old, same old:
Pray for wisdom. (I would never have thought of that!)
Get help for the victim. (Duh!)
Frankly, I would like to know what was behind this World Magazine “Take up the cross for Savage* post. I wonder if the coming backlash against CJ Mahaney at T4G 2018 might be behind it. After all, it was so many, many years ago, and people like Al Mohler, Mark Dever and Ryan Fullerton think he is to e pushed at all costs. Who cares about some dumb victims, right?