Cedarville University Appears to Have Manipulated a Sexual Harassment Complaint. Where Was Dr White?

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“I am not your dog that you whistle for; I’m not a stray animal you call over, and I am not, I never have been, nor will I ever be, your “baby”!” ― Joy Jennings, I’m Not Your “Baby”: An Australian woman’s tortured life of sexual harassment and assault


 

My elderly (91 year old) mother and I had a number of conversations about a year ago when she asked me why so many women were complaining about sexual harassment. She worked as a secretary for a number of years before she married my father and told me that men and women used to joke together and *have fun.*

So I called her on it. I asked her if she ever felt uncomfortable about some of the jokes. Were those jokes usually aimed at women by men and did they involve sexual innuendoes? For some time, we went back and forth, often disagreeing about appropriate conversations in the workplace or local entertainment venues.

I told her about a number of times I had felt uncomfortable upon entering the workplace as a nurse. Nurses were (and still are) often the butt of off color jokes by men. That’s when I saw our conversation change. She told me that she had no idea how often that occurred and seemed upset that I had had to manage such unwanted attention. She began to admit that things used to get carried too far in her workplace as well.

However, the day came when I knew she finally got it. She called me and said she had gone to a meeting. The moderator, an elderly man, stood up and said that they should start off the meeting by giving one another a big hug. My mother apparently announced that her daughter writes about these things and it is not appropriate for people to be forced to hug one another! A 91 year old woman joins the rank of rebels!

Sexual harassment at Cedarville

This leads into a story about sexual harassment at Cedarville University. I very much admire Kat. As a young woman, she clearly understands the difficulties that women face in the work environment at this university. I intend to tell my mother about it as well.

Some of the formatting for the following post was a bit difficult because some documents were only available in a *read only mode* which made it problematic to remove her actual name. I also didn’t have lots of time. if truth be told. It’s been quite a week and I will post on that on Friday if the creeks don’t rise around here!

The victim in this story has asked to be called Kat, not her real name. It is customary to allow pseudonyms in such circumstances. However, I know her actual name. Kat graduated from Cedarville University and stayed on to work in Admissions. At one point, she was transferred to work in admissions for the School of Pharmacy where the following incidents took place.

Please note that Dr Tom White did not appear to participate in this situation despite the fact that this involved the head of the School of Pharmacy. I find that unusual and wonder if he routinely removes himself from *uncomfortable* situations.

Kat’s opening statement

I think this post will be well served by opening with these thoughts by Kat.

As a former employee of Cedarville, I do not believe that the actions of those in leadership in this case represented the values and character of the faculty and staff that I had the opportunity to work with. I believe that Cedarville has a strong foundation built from individuals who desire to show students and the world how to live “For the Word of God, and the Testimony of Jesus Christ”. Unfortunately, this was not reflected in the tough decisions that needed to be made by those in leadership.
I share my story in the hope that 1) change will be made in the policies and procedures of the HR department in the way that cases are handled, and that those sharing their stories are protected and not made to be the enemy. 2) I hope that in sharing my story, those who have dealt with similar issues, or worse, are given the confidence to stand up and share; share that they are of value, and know their worth and won’t take anything less than that from anyone, especially those in power.
If anyone who reads this is wavering at the idea of sharing know this: I was scared too. Taking that first step is hard, but I sought out my church family and friends and found nothing but love and support. I would not have reached this point without them. If you feel uncomfortable, it is okay to say something. That is all the permission you need.

The initial meeting with Human Resources and Title IX

Kat first met with these folks to discuss her concerns.

I met with head of HR who  stated that they decided to conduct a review instead of my initial request of just putting it on file (I was nervous as to what would happen if he was alerted to the situation)

The Title IX coordinator asked her if she would prefer a formal or informal hearing. She would soon find out that they would not allow her a choice in the matter. It just sounded nice to ask, I guess.

Kat then brought the following letter which outlined her complaint of sexual harassment to Human Resources.

On Tuesday, October 9th between 1-2pm, Marc Sweeney stopped by my office to connect about the Pharmacy Admissions website. While walking in, he said:

“Hey Babe…actually I probably shouldn’t call you that.” And then laughed.

Later that day, between 4-5pm, as I was about to walk into Professor Pinkerton’s office to ask a question, when Marc, walking down the hallway, asked me how I was doing. I was facing the door with my right hand on Professor Pinkerton’s doorknob. As I responded, he reached across my stomach and placed his hand above my hip. Then removed it and kept walking down the hallway. I opened the door and walk into the office.

After the second incident, I was uncomfortable and felt violated. I was reminded of the comment from earlier in the day, and was more troubled after connecting both incidents. I decided to connect with HR about the matter.

I filed a report in case a similar situation happened again. Nothing like this has happened previously, but I felt that this crossed the line of my personal space, was highly inappropriate and unprofessional. I felt it was important to bring forward in case this happened to someone else.

Marc Sweeney’s responded to her HR letter and appears to claim to have had problems in the past.

Pay close attention to the wording in the letter. He admitted to the behavior and claimed that he comes from a past which allowed such *joking.*  He actually called such past behavior as  *normal* and *typical.*Ummm, not in my world. He had met with Human Resources prior to sending this letter. Did they help him write the letter? Did they explore his past for other similar complaints? Who knows? They sure aren’t talking….

I removed Kat’s name from the beginning of the letter in which Marc Sweeney said he was responding to her complaint.


At this point he claimed that he respected her and believed she is a great employee. He said he would do:

It is obvious that the school wished to avoid a formal hearing.

At this point Kat requested a formal review.

Her husband wrote the following letter to champion her request

To whom it may concern,

As Kat’s husband I stand behind the decision for a formal process for the actions of Marc against my wife. I believe Jesus in Matthew 5:27-30 outlines cleary how severe this sexual sin needs to be handled.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

As a Christian institution, I understand the push for reconciliation through an informal process similar to the church discipline process. However, the Bible is very clear that sin of a sexual nature is a dangerous slope. We see it in the old testament with David and the snowball of sin he commits in attempt to cover it up. In the aforementioned passage, Jesus says that lust must be dealt with drastically in order reconcile the whole body. I am thankful that Marc has admitted and repented, but that does not diminish the severity of this sin and the consequences.

Based on Marc’s own admission this behavior is something that has been a part of his work culture in the past. This worries me that my wife was not the first woman and may not be the last. Especially considering that he is responsible for the care of young, female pharmacy students. The formal process establishes transparency for Marc’s actions to his bosses, his staff and those who he is responsible for. It will cause pain to him and disrupt the department but this is necessary in order to root out this sin that has been and is currently a struggle in Marc’s life. The formal process is mandatory to re-establish an environment of trust and respect that my wife and other women can work in without fear of further inappropriate behavior and fear of retaliation.

I understand that in your eyes it may be harsh that I am calling his actions a sexual sin. However, if he had placed his hand 6 inches high or lower, this situation escalates to the police, the public and would lead to years of challenges for our marriage, damage to the University and cause traumatic damage to Marc’s wife and children. 6 inches. If the victim was your spouse or daughter I believe you would agree that a formal process is obligatory for reconciliation.

In Christ,

Sadly, a few days later, their request for a formal hearing was denied.

It appears to this writer that they had no say in the matter. In such circumstances, I believe that this reality should have been laid on the table from the start. This seems like gamesmanship to me. I am not sure why they avoided the formal hearing. What was it about this procedure that it appears to have been avoided at all costs? Anyone want to weigh in here?

I received an email from HR denying (by denying (the formal hearing). The email stated

“We believe pursing preventative and disciplinary action does not require the formal process, since those aspects are the responsibility of Dr. Mach and not of the formal hearing committee.”) my formal review request.

Kat thought this process was troublesome.

…nothing in the policy states who makes the decision, or if the request for a certain review process can be denied)

A meeting took place with Dr Mach and Human Resources in early November in which she shared more uncomfortable encounters with Sweeney.

I was asked to restate what happened. They then asked questions regarding previous interactions with him. I shared that in retrospect, there were other incidents that were concerning to me regarding comments only clothing, shoes and hair.

I said that I believed the change in his conduct with me connection occurred when he met with me for a yearly review that he conducts with all faculty/staff in the school of pharmacy

After bringing me out to lunch (he brings each person out to lunch or coffee) he came into my office and said that he enjoyed his connection with me and wanted to find a way to work with me further. During lunch, he had also asked questions about where I wanted to be in the next 5 years in my career, and I shared my passion for graphic design, and desire to work in the design field as a brand manager helping companies with their overall verbal and visual communication.

He let me know that he also ran another company called Profero. He implied that wanted me to work on their marketing, communication, and overall company branding. He also offered to make connections with other companies/small businesses as well.

I was excited for the opportunity to get paid for what I wanted to do in the future, and have the Dean help provide some connections. This meeting was very professional, and did not cause me to question any ulterior motives. However, I can now see that his interactions started to change with me from this point. Over the summer, he would stop by my office to ask random, non-work questions, and began commenting and asking about my shoes.

During the meeting, HR asked again if I would accept the informal approach. I requested the guarantees that are in the formal process in writing, and said if I received those, I would be willing to go with the informal process. I received in an email after the meeting which are (pulled directly from his email to me). These guarantees were:

  • Implement appropriate disciplinary measures
  • Record this incident and the disciplinary measures in the personnel record
  • Inform the president of these proceedings
  • Establish safeguards for the School of Pharmacy moving forward

Later in November, there was another meeting with Kat and Dr. Mach

During that meeting, a letter was read to her that discussed a reprimand of Dr Sweeney. After the meeting, Kat requested a copy of that letter and her request was denied. Here is Dr Mach’s response to Kat.

Kat noticed that she began to be avoided by others.

As time went on, Dr Sweeney avoided contact with Kat. Unfortunately, the atmosphere became strained and Kat found herself isolated. There were few conversations or normal, day to day interactions with those who worked in her division. Kat decided it was time to leave and fortunately found a good position in marketing. She resigned about 7 months after the process began.

Here is a note from John Davis as she exited the university.

Here is what Kat wrote when she left Cedarville

This is a good way to end the post with those silver shoes pointing out to a better and bright future for her. Too bad that Cedarville didn’t try harder.

Also, where was Dr White during this entire ordeal?


Comments

Cedarville University Appears to Have Manipulated a Sexual Harassment Complaint. Where Was Dr White? — 105 Comments

  1. 2 things:

    1. The opening, Dee, of your conversations with your mom is typical of the experiences & transformations of the women of a different generation in my community, too. Thanks for sharing this!

    2. “It is obvious that the school wished to avoid a formal hearing.”
    Avoiding formalities when it comes to gender behavior (except they often formally, with theology as a weapon, silence women) is troubling & telling. This comes back to bite. The hold-the-women-in-check while the boys-will-be-boys do their “fun-and-games” is over. Institutions beware. (This goes back to your mom’s story, & through your insights, enlightenment. The Good Ole Days were not always good, and times have changed, thank God.)

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  2. Hey Dr SteveJ. go down to post about Ravi going home to die, about the first 10 post and you will see a remark by JoJo. where she remarks that 1Bam and posts like yours makes her feel uncomfortable. I haven’t been on here long but it appears to be a competitive guy thing. If a woman or women says it makes them feel uncomfortable because It minimizes the tragedy and trauma of whatever the post says, maybe we should stop.

    It makes me upset too, I am the father of two daughters, one who was choked in high school by her boyfriend who left marks on her neck when
    she told him she was done with him after he struck her in school ! The other was sexually assaulted a couple years later and the culprit never identified.
    I hope you never have to get a phone call hearing your daughter sobbing so bad you can’t understand her. So guys quit making this a competitive game on who’s first. It trivializes the hurt on this site. And if your a woman doing this I guess the same thing applies you. Rant over

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  3. I’m very, very sorry to hear Kat’s story but thank you, Kat, for sharing this. I hope you are in a place now where you are valued as a person and child of God.

    When I started reading this article, I thought it was going to go in a different direction. Some at Cedarville have long heard about a different incident involving Marc Sweeney, similar to but not the same as this. I think there’s more to uncover.

    I’ve always wondered why Marc Sweeney left the University of Findlay for Cedarville University? It was said he had very successfully led U of F’s pharmacy program. Maybe Cedarville made him such a lucrative offer he couldn’t refuse it? Maybe U of F was facing an enrollment decline for the program or other troubles, and Sweeney felt it was a good time to leave. Or maybe there were other reasons that made it a good time (for him) for Sweeney to leave?

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  4. The following comment is not aimed at any individual; it is a comment about the meaning and worth of TWW.

    I am a reader and sometime participant in The Wartburg Watch because this site examines and disseminates information on important theological and congregational topics. Very often, the information presented and subsequent discussions regard issues of abuse, mistreatment, pain, and the search for healing. This is not a site to be followed casually as I have often left TWW with a sense of shock regarding what our brothers and sisters in faith have experienced.

    This being the case, I have often felt that to begin the discussion of weighty and difficult topics with the declaration of “who’s # 1” has at times detracted from the dialogue that followed, especially when the topic has been painful.

    I am not saying I am “right” nor am I pointing fingers at anyone who shares on TWW; I am just sharing my own feelings.

    Very respectfully submitted . . .

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  5. I feel so sad for Kat. I worked for a non-profit faith organization in the 90s that took sexual harassment seriously. We had a new hire who felt he had a spiritual gift of back rubs (!). Except, he insisted, never asked permission, would not stop, and only picked certain women. He was strongly warned after the first complaint and fired after the second. Then there were staff meetings, department by department, about no-tolerance and reporting procedures. Needless to say, I felt safe there that if I ever reported something I would be heard.

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  6. “Dr. Marc’” has some serious issues, and my guess is that there are probably more complaints on his record and if there were another formal one made, it might have resulted in him losing his job. Just a thought.

    The good doctor’s apology letter was ATROCIOUS. He takes no real responsibility for his current actions, instead chooses to blame past, more ‘lax environments’ as the reason he lapsed into completely inappropriate behavior, which would be inappropriate 100% of the time in ANY situation, regardless of the temperature or permissiveness of the environment. Bad….just bad. The fact that the university even allowed that letter to be a sufficient apology is awful.

    Bravo to Kat’s husband – he held feet to the fire….which is exactly what should have happened from day 1.

    Dr. Marc exhibited classic grooming behavior, and my spidey senses tell me that Kat is not the first woman he has harassed ….or worse. The invitation to work on outside projects, then progressing to unwanted compliments…textbook grooming. Let’s hope Cedarville sees this and takes action to remove Dr. Marc from staff or at the very least, leadership. He has deep-rooted issues that a sensitivity or sexual harassment class simply won’t address adequately.

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  7. First and foremost, Sweeney is a married man. Kat is a married woman. Both are working for a professed “Christ-centered” employer. In no “Christian” universe is Sweeney’s behavior okay.

    Equally important, the law is quite clear about what does and doesn’t constitute sexual harassment. According to the EEOC, sexual harassment includes “verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature”–unwelcome comments about Kat’s appearance (shoes, hair, dress), unwelcome addresses like “babe,” and unwelcome touching–arm around her waist!–all certainly apply here. (And yes, 6 inches, indeed!) Furthermore, the EEOC says when “this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment,” it qualifies as sexual harassment. Obviously, that was the case here, too. Sweeney’s behavior absolutely created an “offensive work environment” for Kat.

    Thus, Sweeney’s conduct was not just inappropriate but also illegal.

    Furthermore, the law is even particular enough to say, “The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.” So if any one of Kat’s co-workers likewise felt affected by Sweeney’s harassment (such as Dr. Pinkerton), they could have spoken up and had protection under the law. Sadly, the reverse seems to have happened. (More on that below.)

    Third, we have questions about Sweeney’s “punishment.” How long did Sweeney’s “administrative leave” last? Was it paid? What sexual harassment training was Sweeney sent to? Was it in-person or online? Was it all done in secrecy and without accountability and follow-up? How seriously did Dr. Mach and HR Director John Davis really treat this behind closed doors? After all, Sweeney is the Dean of Pharmacy. He pulls down the highest salary of any faculty member on CU’s campus (Over $150,000/year, as tax forms show). He has a lot of power on that campus. And his private company connected to his pharmacy work likewise fills his pockets with much wealth.

    Fourth, it is disturbing that the work environment grew worse afterwards for Kat. Did Sweeney or the administration tell Kat’s co-workers what happened? In other words, was there a “leak” in the process that caused gossip (much like what Kiara suffered through in her story on Julie Roys’ podcast posted this week)? And did that gossip lead Kat to suffer the isolation she did? Did the leaker or the gossip or Sweeney himself paint Kat as “oversensitive” and worse, “ridiculous,” a form of emotional abuse? Although Kat wasn’t demoted or terminated, there certainly seem to have been negative repercussions for her seeking help. Sure, the sexual harassment stopped, but other mistreatment began. That’s the opposite of how the law is supposed to work to protect women like her. So was there no follow-up on CU’s part? Did they not do anything to ensure Kat was doing ok after her complaint?

    What also needs to be said here is that Kat obviously spoke out as Sweeney’s sexual harassment was building. Harassers “groom” victims just like other sexual predators do. They comment on the women’s appearances, like Sweeney did, in hopes of softening the women to their advances. They begin to disregard boundaries and yes, get more casual with the women, calling them “babe.” And yep, they touch without asking permission, too. Many women are victimized by it, as Kat was.

    Yet, Kat and her husband were also shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. They are to be commended for speaking out and seeking protection for Kat through the appropriate system in place at CU before Sweeney’s behavior worsened. CU is to be commended for at least responding to Kat’s complaint through some disciplinary action; however, CU stopped short of ensuring a safe, healthy work environment for Kat thereafter. And again, it’s unclear as to what kind of sexual harassment training Sweeney was actually required to undergo. It sounds like a mere slap on the wrist.

    In addition, Sweeney knows whether he has a history of sexual harassment and/or sexual immorality (others may know, too, obviously, but so far, they haven’t come forward). Yet, there’s some circumstantial evidence suggesting this is the case. Sexual harassers don’t act like this just one time; it’s about power (as we all know by now), and if he knows he’s gotten away with it before, he probably has done it other times. Kat may have been his second or third or fourth victim–we may never know unless other women step forward. Kat was brave in coming forward, however, so whether Sweeney will repeat his immoral actions again remains to be seen.

    One last note: Readers here should keep in mind that dozens of CU faculty and staff have left CU because of the toxic and misogynist work environment there. Kat was already working in a hostile environment that mandates all employees (especially women) tow the line and keep quiet about anything wrong they see or experience. They work under the threat of being fired, after all, if they’re perceived as challenging authority (Mach and White are both adamant on that note). So when Kat went forward with her complaint, she put herself at great risk–people just “don’t do that” at CU. Thus, this context may explain, too, why her co-workers treated her coldly after she complained.They may have felt they had to keep quiet. Or they may have bought into the misogyny and thought her complaint silly. Either way, such a sad, sad statement on CU’s climate.

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  8. readingalong:
    I for one understand the human need for a bit of levity at times with these depressing and serious matters…
    Not trying to put down anyone else’s feelings on the matter, though.

    But starting the comment thread for a serious-to-horrifying subject with “Lookit Me! I’m First!” is still crass & tacky.

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  9. Headless Unicorn Guy: But starting the comment thread for a serious-to-horrifying subject with “Lookit Me! I’m First!” is still crass & tacky.

    I know it’s an old tradition here, but I’ve never been comfortable with it, either, particularly on some of these more serious discussions. I also think it could derail some people who are seeking answers but still stuck in these abusive churches.

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  10. justicecollective,

    “it is disturbing that the work environment grew worse afterwards for Kat. Did Sweeney or the administration tell Kat’s co-workers what happened?”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    i’ll bet it was in the form of prayer requests.

    something off-the-cuff, a passing comment, like,

    “…oh, by the way, keep Kat in your prayers. i’m concerned about her. she seems a little unbalanced these days. might be trouble at home. you might want to give her some room, keep your distance, but do keep her in prayer.”

    there are a million versions of this prayer request designed to discredit a person, all dressed up in honeyed tones of concern.

    the prayer request is presented to “me” as exclusive information, only shared with the inner circle — which means that “I” am deemed important enough to be part of this inner circle.

    A way of building loyalty amongst people in order to control them.
    ———-

    Talk about sick.

    I have witnessed this very thing countless times in my travels through christian culture. whenever someone(s) want power over someone else — even if just for their own vanity.

    but it’s especially sick and corrupt at the institutional level. the stakes are high in the damage done, and self-centered benefit gained.

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  11. drstevej: 1 Oh Yeah

    Only 3 responses on the topic, the rest debating “first”? There are bigger issues out there, folks.

    I personally don’t care if calling “first” is okay or not. It has been done here for years. Even “God” himself has done it before. I do know that there seems to be more and more commenters being offended. I don’t know why that is.

    I guess that Dee or GBTC will have to be the final arbiter on this matter, like Mother being call in by squabbling children.

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  12. Hey everyone

    Steve is just being humorous and means no disrespect to others. He’s a nice guy. If you want to blame anyone, blame me since it is I who has the capacity to make sure such comments do not appear. Please do not blame anyone else.

    I will consider what you all have said on the matter and think about an addition to the commenting policy. I am the one to blame, totally.

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  13. Kat was very gracious and classy in how she handled all of this, as was her husband. I am wondering if all of the recent stuff about cedarville is going to start hurting their numbers of incoming freshmen….thus dropping enrollment….thus hurting their finances…thus mandating change???

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  14. dee: I will consider what you all have said on the matter and think about an addition to the commenting policy. I am the one to blame, totally.

    If I remember correctly once upon a time, there was a person whose poor virgin ears were so dreadfully assaulted by my colorful comments betimes, that TWW felt compelled to tighten up its comment policy.
    Said person got her pity party and we haven’t seen hide nor hair of her since.
    So it is with drstevej, he means no more harm than the old Hanna-Barbera Quick Draw McGraw cartoon character.
    Cut him some slack.
    Grow a thicker skin.

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  15. Chuck,

    Chuck, I’m so sorry to hear what happened to your daughters. I suspect we men really have no idea what women have to deal with until it happens to your own girls. I dont have any of my own but it must be a terrible feeling as a father not to be able to prevent it. And the best father in the world (you for example!) can’t guarantee that to their child, you can’t be there every second for them, they have to have lives of their own.

    That’s why the consciousness-raising, to use an old hippie term, of this and many other communities is so important. It’s amazing what we as a culture can notice and prevent when we know what the warning signs are, and when everyone finally gets enlisted in this fight. Dee and Deb are earning their crowns with this site, “never mind the bollocks“ (critics) — an old Brit punk rock saying.

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  16. “There were few conversations or normal, day to day interactions with those who worked in her division. Kat decided it was time to leave and fortunately found a good position in marketing. She resigned about 7 months after the process began.”

    Yep. This is how it goes when you report. That is why the onus needs to be on the institution.

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  17. Anna: Bravo to Kat’s husband – he held feet to the fire….which is exactly what should have happened from day 1.

    Honestly it’s kind of gross that her husband needed to get involved at all. That’s not his fault of course, but she’s an adult who reported an incident. It should have been dealt with, he should have been reprimanded and told to stop. Period.

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  18. Lea: Honestly it’s kind of gross that her husband needed to get involved at all.

    Because in the eyes of Cedarville’s authorities, She Was Only A Woman.

    I wonder if her husband was “Biblically advised” to put wifey back in line and keep her there; this and other blogs have recorded that in other (but still Christian) contexts.

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  19. elastigirl: rather, i think more and more human beings are being honest. things have rubbed people the wrong way & unbeknownst to others since the dawn of time.

    People will be nice about it for a while, and then someone mentions it bothers them and everyone who has been bothered for a while is chiming in (count me in with HUG and Ishy). Sometimes there is a culture against calling things out…

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  20. dee,

    Thanks, dee. You know me pretty well. You have my respect and appreciation. And, for the record, my comments about being under your kitchen table with the pugs is also tongue in cheek (figuratively speaking).

    And for other posters, in the future, just assume I could have been the first post but declined just so you can share your thoughts in a uncluttered manner.

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  21. justicecollective: Both are working for a professed “Christ-centered” employer. In no “Christian” universe is Sweeney’s behavior okay.

    Equally important, the law is quite clear about what does and doesn’t constitute sexual harassment.

    “Christian” aka #ChurchINC apparently has moral & institutional human relations standards that are far below secular law.

    Odd. I seriously doubt these are God’s or godly standards.

    As they say, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”

    Or, if they are what Heaven is all about, maybe Hell is a better option.

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  22. [Longtime listener, First time caller]
    Dee, I have been lurking on your site since 2013. And, I have always smiled at the “First post” guys on here. Slashdot, an early technology aggregator had this same culture, and I checked that site every day when I was starting my tech career.

    Thank you for all you do. I have four children, elem – college, work in K12 education, volunteer in Scouts BSA, and teach Junior High Sunday School.
    I grew up SBC, and have been a member of non-denom 3rd wave Charismatic, UMC, PCA, and now EPCA churches. I have found your posts, and these discussions here, helpful and informative in my awareness and understanding of abuse. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

    And the irony of my first post defending the “First Post” is not lost me! haha

    Todd in Texas

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  23. Cedarville University has had Title IX filings before with the federal Office of Civil Rights. When CU President Thomas White arrived in the summer/fall of 2013, this one was already ongoing: https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/07/26/cedarville-university-facing-title-ix-investigation

    If someone were to do some research online or with the OCR, they might find others.

    I saw a comment way up above addressing other issues with Marc Sweeney’s behavior. He himself admitted to Kat that he came from a background that treated women badly. I would think other women who worked or are still working at Cedarville could speak to his “other” issues. I’ve heard a similar report as mentioned above that he was involved in a serious, potentially worse than Kat’s, issue and that there has been some turnover and change in personnel over the years in his office staff.

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  24. Headless Unicorn Guy: Because in the eyes of Cedarville’s authorities, She Was Only A Woman.

    That may be exactly it!
    In what part of Southern Baptist world do women even matter? In my own personal experience, since the “conservative resurgence”, women only matter when it comes to keeping children out from underfoot and bringing covered dishes to the fellowship meals. I have taught mixed gender teenage SS and VBS classes, but that was because the men who tried to teach those classes couldn’t deal with the kids.
    It seems that protecting the reputatations and positions of men are far more important than any damage that might be done to women or children.

    *** To Kat, if you are reading along : Bless you for having the courage to stand up for what is right and against what is wrong, and for making your experience public knowledge. That man’s behavior, whether in a “Christian” setting or a secular setting is wrong, and I’ll betcha he knows it!

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  25. Ava Aaronson: “Christian” aka #ChurchINC apparently has moral & institutional human relations standards that are far below secular law.

    Odd. I seriously doubt these are God’s or godly standards.

    As they say, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”

    Or, if they are what Heaven is all about, maybe Hell is a better option.

    They have to do something different from what they are told both by rules and by the likes of you, to be “right” in their own minds. Hence, bad is the new good.

    A caricature of “self-righteousness” I suppose. “We’re so bad, we’ve gotta be good.” “We’re so good, we’ve gotta be bad.”

    Combine this with the “spontaneity” and lack of deliberation / reason / thought / consideration / logic / principle because those things “quench” THEIR “holy” spirit !!!!!

    Have I sussed them ?????

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  26. Unfortunately, some entities will only respond if it hits their pocketbooks. I am sure more stories will be forthcoming. It is possible that Dee and Julie Roys know of others, but are waiting for the right time. It was also heartwrenching to hear the young student speak about her assault and subsequent shaming at Cedarville on Julie Roys’s blog. This is supposedly a “Christian” college. If you have the time, please listen to her story. I am amazed at her courage. You cannot describe how a father feels when he finds out his daughter has been sexually abused.

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  27. Cedarville’s pharmacy school only recently (2016) got fully accredited.

    I am reminded of Frances Conley, a professor of neurosurgery at Stanford, who publicly resigned in 1991 when a known sexual harasser (though not, I think, of her) was appointed chair of the department and there was little chance that the pervasive atmosphere of sexual harassment and discrimination would abate. She was criticized and belittled but persisted and, in the end, the chair stepped down, she withdrew her resignation, and the University started requiring regular sexual harassment training. Conley did have some major advantages. She was a tenured (the first female tenured full professor of neurosurgery in the US) and she had deep ties across the university (her father was a professor of geochemistry and she grew up at the university). She was also willing to put her job on the line on behalf of the clerical staff and students who were the main victims of sexual harassment. There doesn’t seem to be anyone in that sort of position at Cedarville (to begin with because it is a religious school it has the legal right to fire even tenured professors for “religious” reasons and has done so).

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  28. Soon after the letter, what a shock that “restoration” was an evident priority of the powers that be given past Cedarville reports. And not only that, but the “one option” suggested for an “informal resolution” evidently prioritized providing “the opportunity to respond” to the kinda sorta acknowledged inappropriate actor. Cuz inappropriate gropes in the workplace are really just oeuvres to dialogue, and it’s certainly a fab idea to let the acknowledged gropers be heard, whether “written or face-to-face”, no?

    Also, the husband’s letter spoke of touching in a different place involving the police, but a harmful or offensive touching is considered assault in most hamlets. In contexts of inappropriate slips into past behavior, it appears Caesar’s realm is quite germane.

    (The bit about slipping into past behavior — oopsie reminds me a guy in traffic court trying to avoid a $75 fine, claiming that he was used to driving on the autobahn and sometimes would have “flashbacks” that led him to exceed the speed limit. Without missing a beat, the judge replied: “This ‘flashback’ is going to cost you $75.”)

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  29. ishy: I know it’s an old tradition here, but I’ve never been comfortable with it, either, particularly on some of these more serious discussions. I also think it could derail some people who are seeking answers but still stuck in these abusive churches.

    I am adding my voice to all of the commenters above. The #1 competitive guy thing is very upsetting to me as well.

    I hope those who do this will see that, as mentioned above, it is a very trivial thing to give up. In light of all your fellow commenters who have honestly shared their feelings, I also ask that commenters stop!

    To insist on your “right” to continue something that brings pain to others is the act of an arrogant bully, not a concerned Brother or Sister in Christ.

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  30. Erp,

    “She was criticized and belittled but persisted and, in the end, the chair stepped down, she withdrew her resignation, and the University started requiring regular sexual harassment training.”
    +++++++++++++++

    may the justicecollective persist in the same way, as a big part of the catalyst to bring change. godspeed and holy spirit divine supernatural favor to them. and may their careers flourish in response to sacrifices made for the greater good.

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  31. Magistos: Julie Roys now reporting White was part of the Patterson coverup of Megan Lively’s rape.
    https://julieroys.com/rape-victim-whose-story-ousted-paige-patterson-says-cedarville-pres-thomas-white-was-part-of-cover-up/

    It’s like there is a pattern or something…

    This is very interesting. And of note–I don’t remember SEBTS having any sort of student life culture at all at the time, so I am questioning White’s role in that position. I did not live on campus (housing was very limited), but even my on-campus friends didn’t seem to do much outside of work, study, and sleep. It may be that student life encompassed chapel services, as that’s the only regular campus activity that I can think of. I don’t remember White at all.

    The fact that all this happened along with the attempted cover-up of the child molester at dee’s former church and the other child molester being arrested not long after, makes me so angry. I never though Patterson was a great man like so many there, but finding out this is what the leadership of the SBC was made of is disgusting.

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  32. elastigirl:
    Magistos,

    “It’s like there is a pattern or something…”
    +++++++++++++++++

    Did The Leadership Network put out a “Gospel-Totalitarianism:What is it, What can it do for you?” study guide with glossy workbook and dvd, circulating in the shadows?

    I have to say, James White has been on my “suspect” list for a long time, merely guilt by association up until recently, but his churlishness on Twitter and this report have moved his name from “suspect” to “confirmed”.

    My “suspect” list was originally formed from the names of the authors of books in our former church-authority cult library. Many of those names have been confirmed since then as pharisees who tie heavy burdens on the backs of others while basking in their exalted self-righteousness.

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  33. Muff Potter,

    You got me thinking about commenters I’m not seeing today. I have been away from TWW for some time due to life… I miss okrapod, and Nancy2, and Nick, for starters (the latter 2 may still be commenting and I just haven’t seen them). I think I saw Max in passing. Glad to see you and some other familiar commenters still here.

    TWW has been such a great help in straightening out my thinking since leaving our authority cult some years back.

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  34. refugee,

    On a lighter note, James White (a different one, I’m sure) has always been high on my list of sci-fi writers with his Sector General stories.

    At least, I’m pretty sure it’s just a coincidence of names… sci-fi James White’s writings are infused with self-deprecating humor, unlike “theologian” White’s pompous, self-satisfied, holier-than-everybody attitude that comes through on Twitter.

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  35. drstevej,

    Now you’ve done it. Forever after, I’m going to “see” your phantom “Bam1” at the top of every comment string from here on out. And I had gotten so used to tuning them out and going right past to the “meat” of the discussion, too…

    Give the pugs a pat for me. I can imagine worse places to hang out than under Dee’s kitchen table.

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  36. Michael: They have to do something different from what they are told both by rules and by the likes of you, to be “right” in their own minds.Hence, bad is the new good.

    A caricature of “self-righteousness” I suppose.“We’re so bad, we’ve gotta be good.”“We’re so good, we’ve gotta be bad.”

    Combine this with the “spontaneity” and lack of deliberation / reason / thought / consideration / logic / principle because those things “quench” THEIR “holy” spirit !!!!!

    Have I sussed them ?????

    My goodness! I think you’ve just summed up the rationale behind the “Great” Anti-Mask Revolt! (I find mask-wearing uncomfortable and inconvenient (fogs the glasses), but so do it anyway on the rare occasions so leave home.)

    Perhaps it’s a similar spirit.

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  37. While I appreciate all the supporting comments about my discomfort about the “being first” posts, the concerns posted on this blog are of far greater importance than my opinion and discussing it. (Rehash: My opinion is two-fold…and I promise not to bring it up again. #1. the disturbing use of the word “BAM” to indicate being first. All I hear is “SLAM, BAM, THANK YOU, MA’AM.” [If Dee says he is a nice guy, I do not question her.] #2. After reading serious and painful words, there is a jarring, and to me, inappropriate playfulness. Some topics demand seriousness.)

    I first saw this “1st” commenting contest behavior when I began questioning things in my life and became a reader of Darryl Dow’s “Stuff Fundies Like.” I just didn’t get it.

    And, if one does not like another’s post to just ignore it…rather hard when it is an in-your-face thing.

    Thank you for reading. Though, I do question my intelligence in bringing this up months ago and commenting in the first place months ago, I just could not let it go, but I will now. My alma mater and its serious problems being discussed here is much, much more important. “My” Cedarville is a place I no longer recognize.

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  38. dee: commenting policy

    Folks who comment on a given blog develop their own little community, with customs and references and a shared experience. People develop relationships. They post things that are off topic. They ask about each other’s families and ailments. Folks bicker and settle their differences. All of these things help to keep the group together and growing. I’m sure it’s jarring for some folks who arrive for a difficult topic and see references to cakes and pies. But that’s what groups do in real life too, when people sit around a table for hours.

    We need connections beyond the topic of each post.

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  39. dee,

    “He’s a really nice guy”, “it’s just how we do things around here”, He didn’t mean anything by it”, “You are being too sensitive”,”You just don’t understand how it works around here”.

    Dee, these are Dudebro responses. Here in your comments you have a number of serious, long time readers & responders who are saying very openly–“This makes me very uncomfortable”…

    And their concerns are being dismissed. They are accused of “Majoring on minors”…..This is the kind of thing I heard all the time in the 1970’s when I was a young woman working for the Army as a civilian…..and was trying to get the culture of the all-male engineering department to change the way they spoke to me.

    I don’t feel that it is ok to dismiss a group of people sharing their hearts just because you are friends with a person or whatever.

    Dismissive is dismissive, not a great thing for anyone who receives earnest concerns from other earnest readers.

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  40. Molly245: “He’s a really nice guy”, “it’s just how we do things around here”, He didn’t mean anything by it”, “You are being too sensitive”,”You just don’t understand how it works around here”.

    To be clear, Dee wrote, “He’s a nice guy,” not the other things. I know you wouldn’t want others to be confused.

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  41. Lea: Gotta say…felt the same. Also not impressed by someone using these responses saying he’s a ‘nice guy’ to avoid listening to what people are saying.

    The blog owner was taking accountability for the comments section. This blog has been a great boon to me in my struggle with religion. While it doesn’t involve abuse, it was very disconcerting to fall away from the faith that I was raised in, to deprogram beliefs that were wired in from birth. In spite of my best efforts though, Christianity still has a strong hold (not least because my wife is still a devout Christian).

    We’ve had all sorts of theological discussions as well as sidebars into UFO’s, cryptozoology, off the trail theology, young earth creation, computers, UK football, science fiction and fantasy – even Brony’s have been mentioned. As well as interesting perspectives from different Christianities than the one I was raised in, some very different Christianities. It can be an interesting and eclectic comment section.

    I think it’s great that people came forward with an issue that bugged them. I do not think they were dismissed, some others chimed in and agreed and it left something for everyone to think about. We can all be a little mindful of the topic at hand.

    But at the same time, I hope the eclectic flavour is not lost. There aren’t many places a person who is Christian-ish can openly discuss faith or the lack thereof. It’s a balancing act between leaving the comment section an echo chamber or allowing free discussion and it’s been managed pretty well on the whole.

    Drstevej has made some thoughtful comments in the past. I don’t believe the intent was to offend nor did I find the response from Dee ( the blog owner) inappropriate.

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  42. Back to the post topic.
    (I know..it’s crazy..me getting back on topic, as opposed to quantum physics, arcane Church questions,etc. Feel like I’m letting the blog down) but I think two ways of referencing life are playing out here. One personal and one cultural.

    Personal. This is like watching the parabel of The Blind Men and the Elephant in action. Each man is limited by his own personal reference. Astronomy is the same. Even with modern technology, the Universe defies any attempt to be mapped, or the position of the observer to be accurately discribed relative to the Universe as a whole. It’s size, speeds of light and expansion effectively limits the observer. It can only be visualized as a mathmatical model.

    So too with the things of Kingdom of Heaven. If one accepts the Universe is big, then it goes without saying, the Kingdom is bigger. It can only be seen as a doctrinal construct.

    Sexual harrasment, in relation to Christian institutions, comes up every week. The same can be said with the predictable laments. But is the Kingdom visualized in a frame of reference? It’s the size of the Kingdom working against the observer again. Yes, the elephant has a leg, just like the Kingdom has sexual harrassment. It’s part of the whole. It’s there because of a reason.

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  43. Jack: sidebars into UFO’s, cryptozoology, off the trail theology, young earth creation, computers, UK football, science fiction and fantasy – even Brony’s have been mentioned

    don’t forget the discussions about alternatives to toilet paper during shortages (i.e. which conifer cones are the least prickly??)

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  44. refugee: refugee on Fri May 22, 2020 at 02:31 PM said:

    Michael: They have to do something different from what they are told both by rules and by the likes of you, to be “right” in their own minds.Hence, bad is the new good.

    A caricature of “self-righteousness” I suppose.“We’re so bad, we’ve gotta be good.”“We’re so good, we’ve gotta be bad.”

    Combine this with the “spontaneity” and lack of deliberation / reason / thought / consideration / logic / principle because those things “quench” THEIR “holy” spirit !!!!!

    Have I sussed them ?????

    My goodness! I think you’ve just summed up the rationale behind the “Great” Anti-Mask Revolt! (I find mask-wearing uncomfortable and inconvenient (fogs the glasses), but so do it anyway on the rare occasions so leave home.)

    Perhaps it’s a similar spirit.

    No I don’t think I’ve said anything about any “anti mask revolt” so please don’t bring two additional issues into my contribution. As an empathetic male and slowly cottoning onto abusive attitudes towards subordinates when I detect them, often at the butt end of such myself, and fearing religious coercion – the context I with sincerity and pain state something is the context where I state it and where Dee has troubled to bring up the subject.

    I’m with Jack on this, as to appropriate combining of eclecticism with primary purpose. In the UK the heavy-handed religious types are all out to crush us singles by isolation and we don’t have masks or a mask issue (other than nurses). Thank you. Take it off when people aren’t near.

    This is going to get more deadly than just death. I read that in most countries there is bullying going on.

    My grandmother, whom I didn’t meet, died of bronchitis with her daughters elsewhere, and her son was we don’t know where to this day. My aunt who was mentally underdeveloped was 17. They didn’t know where their dad was.

    Don’t assume I knew my grandparents or great grandparents just because nowadays so many people do.

    Another grandmother died when a parent of mine was 14 and the remaining grandparent did before I was born also, at what has since become considered a young age.

    I troubled to analyse rationale in the context Dee mentioned. Will you do so please.

    If you haven’t stopped to think, you will think life is just fine outside churches or that every church member equates with their leaders. Quite a lot of the people who stay in churches (provisionally) do so with much thought (ongoing).

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  45. What I’m trying to say is maybe your presbyterians are reacting against some bullying outside the church first, and will address that inside their churches when they’ve gained confidence. In other cases or other countries it might be the other way round. You have got to let people choose their own timings for their own priorities. What they do in slower time, might be just as important to them.

    (I have read about some public bullying and irrational brutality let alone cruel oppression in some countries.)

    At the risk of attracting another polite and affirming rebuke from excellent moderators I’m going to change my screen name again – to Michael in UK – as I think that will help perspective.

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  46. Friend: An elephant really needs its legs. What would the reason for sexual harassment be?

    Well, yes it does need legs. It has them, because it’s part of the whole. The blind man has to realize the leg keeps going, and there must be a beginning and end someplace, as opposed to narrowly focusing on the leg. Otherwise, it’s always going to appear as a tree trunk.

    This post mentions sexual harrassment at a Fundamentalists university, located in North America, circa Memorial Day weekend, 2020. That’s pretty focussed and (presumably) late in the history.

    The other option is to junk tradition, and start with; “Define Woman”. If you did you would end up in Gen 1-2. In the Sunday School curriculum, we have water color illustrations of a Caucasian female, long hair brushed forward, standing behind near-shoulder foliage, in an off-the shoulder top, joyfully looking forward to cleaning, cooking, diaper changing, not to mention attending to any more intimate male needs, all while never “letting herself go”.
    Summary- She is a fantasy evolved by male Theologians, largely European.( I mean seriously, you did notice the complection?)

    Alternate narrative. Gen 2:1 references her as part of two “host” or armies, located in two seperate worlds. Gen 2:4 describes these worlds having generations. That does not fit any part of orthodoxy from Roman times till now.

    Btw. Imagine the same materials mentioning that Eden is a reference to pleasure. The publisher would find sales a little slow.

    In that narrative, could you visualize any type of person/s not especialy emamoured with human females? Specificly, or in general.

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  47. Friend:
    Nathan Priddis,

    Thanks for fleshing this out (as it were). “Reason” can mean cause or purpose in the context of your earlier comment; I wanted to understand your thinking.

    My Friend.
    Glad to help with the thinking.

    Just remember this when it comes to thinking. Every bad idea ever in history, started when someone somewhere, started thinking. That’s always the problem. So much thinking.

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  48. Friend: Well, I’m pro thinking myself, but a lot of thinking does seem to lack thought.

    ..the mystery of iniquity doth already work..

    That mystery is in the Kingdom now, for the Kingdom; …is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened..

    But will remain hidden to its revealing…And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

    They will complete what Satan began in the beginning…whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders…

    Jesus said…many false prophets shall “egeiro”…they will wake up. They where sleeping, but a day will come when they wake from sleeping. There are lots of people I don’t look forward to meeting.

    Just as it says…Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God…So the volume of the book speaks of the Seed of the Serpent, who will bruise the heel of the Seed of the Woman. The end was made known from the beginning.

    I don’t think this narrative will ever make a New York Times bestseller list.

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  49. Michael in UK,

    I’m sure I wasn’t very clear (my bad), what I meant was I didn’t see much analogy and to be fair to you you did ask “Perhaps”?

    The people at the demo probably don’t know what it’s safe to protest at, so the issue of masks might just be a token. Authorities are bent on obliterating ordinary businesses. We all fear, as small individuals, for basics, in a way the perpetrators don’t.

    The perpetrators on the campus have no constraints on their fearless oppression of women but their diseased egos, so not much comparison between such perpetrators and the fearful ordinary folks demonstrating, to my mind.

    I know lots of people package deal but I don’t think there’s much mileage in assuming they are in this instance, especially if they’ve no hope of becoming church bosses themselves.

    It’s possible some demonstrators have on occasion been informally “mobilised” by low quality church bosses but that doesn’t mean the latter can rely on them, they are probably mainly there for their own reasons, in my estimate.

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  50. Nathan Priddis: They will complete what Satan began in the beginning…whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders…

    …Just as it says…Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God…So the volume of the book speaks of the Seed of the Serpent, who will bruise the heel of the Seed of the Woman. The end was made known from the beginning.

    What is your solution, then? Are we supposed to stop thinking, and just believe and obey? You seem to be knitting together original sin with apocalyptic language. Meanwhile you make no mention of Jesus’ love and mercy.

    The battle between God and Satan is not an equal contest. God has infinitely more power. And God is not out to get us.

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  51. Michael in UK: Authorities are bent on obliterating ordinary businesses.

    Which authorities? Where? Why would they do this?

    Where I live, the authorities are bent on helping businesses to reopen gradually, so that the workers and customers do not sicken and die or end up with a disability. There is a lot of covid-19 in my area. If folks think that causes of death are falsified on death certificates in the US, they can simply look at the amazing increases in deaths from all causes since March 28. Scroll down to look at the bar graph:

    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm

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  52. Friend: What is your solution, then? Are we supposed to stop thinking, and just believe and obey? You seem to be knitting together original sin with apocalyptic language. Meanwhile you make no mention of Jesus’ love and mercy.

    The battle between God and Satan is not an equal contest. God has infinitely more power. And God is not out to get us.

    Actualy, I believe original sin, is something I avoided above. Original Sin as far as I can tell is an Augustian construct, as told from a human perspective. He needed a way to ecplain his personal turrmoil. It appears the idea pre-existed him of course.(example of the Pharreses) but he codified it into doctrine, and the Western faith was altered.

    Origin Sin is directly connected to this post specifically, and the arc of history in general. It’s a part of the elephant.

    Augustine(from memory and I may screw up) stated sin entered the world through a woman’s corrupted soul. That is a human male response to guilt. Blame the woman, just as Adam did. That’s called misogyny, a basic human trait. ( example Cedarville University 2020 )

    But if the woman is to blame, God is more so. Examples:
    -Adam in the garden blamed God through the woman “you” gave me.
    – Satan presenting himself in Job. Man is corrupt. As he said, “skin for skin”. God is unjust and shows favoritism as the Sovereign, and his kingdom is ruled arbitrarily.
    -Augustine circa late 300’s; Man is fallen and sin passes through semen. God does not show mercy to all evenly. He lays the groundwork for Calvinism.
    -Dort issues a court verdict in 1619, declaring God to be arbitrary, and the human race worthy of torment. It sets in place issues that will erupt into confrontation in the aftetlife. Specifically, the granting or denial of admission into Sonship status in the Kingdom of Heaven. This future dispute is contained in both the parable of the laborers, and the Revelation.

    If you recall the broad narrative I spoke of, it’s one of alterations and decay, a process over the entire history of mankind. Remember, the Woman hid the leaven and all became leavened. In otherwords, it’s decomposes or rots the whole dough.

    If you examine typical Evangelical philosophy today, I would point out it is an altercation. Southern slavery, Reformation wars and centuries of anti-semitism, are rot. Rot in the Kingdom of God.

    At no time do I propose a formulaic solution. Rather, it is a predicted collision.

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  53. dee,

    I have been reading TWW for years, deeply appreciating the work being done here, but never commenting before today. The race to be the 1st commenter is part of the culture of this site, for better or for worse. As the blog becomes more well known, more folks are speaking out about their discomfort with this practice, and I think their voices should be taken seriously. Dee, I’m kind of stunned by your response here. It’s the voice of every ineffective HR manager ever, saying, ” is a nice guy, he doesn’t mean anything by his comments.” Really? True or not, it’s the wrong thing to say right now. How often might that have been said about Marc Sweeney over the course of his career?

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  54. https://www.cedarville.edu/Academic-Schools-and-Departments/Pharmacy/Sweeney-Full-Biography.aspx

    “He also possesses a Masters of Divinity from the Southwest Bible College and Seminary.”

    Oh brother, an unaccredited correspondence school? Really?

    Sweeney’s alma mater ‘The Southwest Bible College & Seminary’ is currently offering MDivs for $2700 (total); the outfit has moved between three different states in the past decade (Louisiana, Georgia, now a PO Box in Texas):

    https://www.southwestseminary.org/tuition

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  55. Nathan Priddis: Remember, the Woman hid the leaven and all became leavened. In otherwords, it’s decomposes or rots the whole dough.

    You’ve lost me here, especially in the Era of Sourdough. Leavening is good. In the parable, the woman is frugal and patient. It follows the parable of the mustard seed, which is also favorable.

    And again he said, ‘To what should I compare the kingdom of God? 21It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
    –Luke 13:20-21

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  56. Friend: You’ve lost me here, especially in the Era of Sourdough. Leavening is good. In the parable, the woman is frugal and patient. It follows the parable of the mustard seed, which is also favorable.

    And again he said, ‘To what should I compare the kingdom of God? 21It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
    –Luke 13:20-21

    Your narrative falls within standard orthodoxy. Both of these parables are favorable and are moralistic stories to convey moral teachings of how disciples are to view life. The are allegorical.

    My narrative is parabels are literal, but with word/name changes, to conceal truth. But they are not truths in general, such as moralism, but have a specific focus, mysteries that are ancient.

    “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:”

    If you where to start reading from the top of Luke 13, the parable is given in response to an adversary. The ruler of the synagogue is an adversary of Jesus. This is a profoundly negitive parabel that turns towards the subject of a secound death in the afterlife.

    In the closing, Jesus is rejected, and he tells of destruction of temple Judaism, and national repentance in the Day of the Lord.

    The leaven is a decaying organism.
    The Woman is mysterious and deceptive.
    The meal is altered, making it more desirable for consuming, but worthless for offerings to God. There are two such offerings.

    Btw. Mustard is a weed common to the Mideast. It’s not related to wheat at all. It’s closer to the cabbage family. Again, it’s negative. The evil spirits come to land on it.

    The secound narrative is not compatible within any Church era from the times of the Church Fathers, till now.

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  57. elastigirl:
    Nathan Priddis,

    i’m too tired to sort this all out…but, i’m curious – how does this information inform how you live your life?

    (i mean, it’s hard to think of any information on any topic which, once we know it, doesn’t inform the living our lives even in some small way.)

    The exact way that the information you hold, causes you to live out your life consistant with your understanding of reality.. A person who is reasonably coherent and ambulatory, does what they want, within the limits life sets for them.

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  58. Nathan Priddis,

    you: “My narrative is parabels are literal, but with word/name changes, to conceal truth. But they are not truths in general, such as moralism, but have a specific focus, mysteries that are ancient….

    …If you where to start reading from the top of Luke 13, the parable is given in response to an adversary. The ruler of the synagogue is an adversary of Jesus. This is a profoundly negitive parabel that turns towards the subject of a secound death in the afterlife.

    In the closing, Jesus is rejected, and he tells of destruction of temple Judaism, and national repentance in the Day of the Lord.

    The leaven is a decaying organism.
    The Woman is mysterious and deceptive.
    The meal is altered, making it more desirable for consuming, but worthless for offerings to God. There are two such offerings.”

    me: “how does this information inform how you live your life?

    you: “The exact way that the information you hold, causes you to live out your life consistant with your understanding of reality.. A person who is reasonably coherent and ambulatory, does what they want, within the limits life sets for them.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i’ll speak plainly. what does this mean and how is it helpful to you?

    nathan, now it’s your turn to speak plainly. i know you can do it.

    (this part of the conversation is sounding very familiar to me all of a sudden…)

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  59. Nathan Priddis,

    If you recall the broad narrative I spoke of, it’s one of alterations and decay, a process over the entire history of mankind.

    Indeed, this is the history of the universe: entropy, the arrow of time – it’s what gives our existence, all existence, its ‘direction.’ You mentioned the leaven parable; as children we were taught its corollary, that no amount of horses or effort can unscramble an egg. That Augustine determined moral and physical entropy is encoded into our existence is remarkable, all the more so, given the scientific event horizon of his day. (And to stay on topic, no amount of counseling will unscramble the omelette CU has served up along with a load of hash.)

    Your comment was insightful and questioning at a contemplative depth that gets little appreciation in the comments section of this site, partly because the community is here to express support for the abused and aggrieved, and systematic theology is not the koiné vernacular. But I, for one, was delighted by your probing the curtain wall of received orthodoxy. (Every frame of theologic reference claims to be ‘orthodox.’)

    As to ‘God is responsible,’ a plunge into Anselm’s answer to the problem of evil in God’s universe was breathtaking when I arrived at the elegant conclusion. And if you can find it, the out-of-print book ‘Six Thousand Years of Bread’ will reveal more than you can imagine about the parable of the leaven, and illumine from a different angle the Bread of Life who related that parable.

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  60. Friend: Michael in UK: Authorities are bent on obliterating ordinary businesses.

    Which authorities? Where? Why would they do this?

    Where I live, the authorities are bent on helping businesses to reopen gradually, so that the workers and customers do not sicken and die or end up with a disability. … simply look at the amazing increases in deaths from all causes …

    I don’t know why there is an increase in the irrational in government in some countries – and I hear of brutality in Italy which is near us, and India which our politicians say we should copy, and parts of the US. I simply assumed plausibly that the fright of small members of the public is insufficiently comparable to the arrogant oppression exerted by the Cedarville faculty described (the power equation being exactly opposite). There may be a connection between some elements, and so if such religious authority elements are commanding their members to arbitrarily exceed individual autonomy in justified caution as a way of exercising bloc power, this hadn’t been specified by the commenter when I responded.

    Yes the deaths are well up and we hope for the workforce to not be decimated and also for bodies to not pile up too suddenly. I think a lot of disabilities are going to eventually ensue from lingering effects when less infectious and from interactions between viruses (I have already had 45 years of after effects of chicken pox). In Britain many organisations were shut down when they could easily have operated social distancing. Many people have permanently lost all livelihood and all income.

    There was delay in taking reasonable measures five months ago. British authorities insist covid has only two or three or four symptoms (mentioning a different two or three at times), not the many others. It’s legitimate for the vulnerable to be frightened about irrational authority. As a single I am dismayed that some people are convinced they have been ordered to isolate me when I have chairs more than 6 ft apart and everybody is used to shimmying around each other at entrances and my windows are open all day. If they are busy, that’s a different reason. Apparently the tests that might be brought in soon, aren’t reliable or informative. How is record of results going to be handled? One can’t show a certificate any more and doctors have been ordered not to write letters. Will proportionate measures be imposed if a certain result is given? One doesn’t get waited on hand and foot, one has to take active responsibility in one’s affairs.

    In Britain, not many religions mobilise mobs and the public have always been defenceless against arbitrary rule. We haven’t much of a constitution which we are now told has to be all but abolished anyway. Rule of law is almost gone. Big corporations haven’t been frank in most countries, for a long time. Small people should be frightened on their own behalf, not because the mafia tells them so.

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  61. Pingback: Rape, Sexual Harassment, and More: The Cedarville Stories are Multiplying | Righting America

  62. Robert,

    “I’m just dumbfounded that a married man would call another woman besides his wife, “Babe.” What is wrong with people? Sin, of course, but still…”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    maybe this thing where the religious straightjacket a person signed up to wear is getting to be a bit much….

    and they’re rebelling against it, but only little pockets of their frustration can squeak out here and there.

    and because the pressure is only relieved in tiny spurts at a time, perhaps he subconsciously tried to get the most out of it he could, but went too far. (babe is so obviously inappropriate and job security poison)

    i think the sexually repressed individual can unwittingly and involuntarily sexualize any ‘attractant’.

    (fear of lust can be sexual repression)

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  63. She was brave to report what no one else had but many other women have experienced from this individual. I know first hand, and have talked with multiple pharmacy students who have experienced inappropriate flirting etc from the dean. No one will report him because pharmacy is a small world and he has a lot of influence over our careers both as professionals and students. He should not be the dean of a Christian college.

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  64. I Think There’s More …,

    There are many more stories like this concerning Sweeney. He hits on pharmacy students, most of them married, but does it in a way that is gradual so you are left second guessing if you are over thinking it. After all, it’s a Christian university, and he has control over your education and career. When it gets to a point where you are uncomfortable enough and sure enough of his actions to tell him to stop, he’ll back off and go after other targets. Totally inappropriate at a secular university, and even more disappointing at a Christian one.

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  65. Anna,

    Sweeney hits on pharmacy students, most of them married, but does it in a way that is gradual so you are left second guessing if you are over thinking it. After all, it’s a Christian university, and he has control over your education and career. When it gets to a point where you are uncomfortable enough and sure enough of his actions to tell him to stop, he’ll back off and go after other targets. Totally inappropriate at a secular university, and even more disappointing at a Christian one.

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