You can recognize survivors of abuse by their courage. When silence is so very inviting, they step forward and share their truth so others know they aren't alone.” ― Jeanne McElvaney, Healing Insights: Effects of Abuse for Adults Abused as Children link
This is a special shout out to the brave members of OneWheaton who seem to understand the heinous nature of child sex abuse and are making their opinions known. Those of us in the blogosphere who speak regularly about child sex abuse in the evangelical church applaud your efforts!
I do not get those who seek to defend child sex abusers/molesters/rapists. I don't. Jesus seemed to have a real problem with people who harmed children as well. Who can forget the millstone and the abyss statement?
Here are a few questions I have about the theology that surrounds the Hastert/Wheaton debacle.
- How does a supposed lifetime of good works overcome the molestation of minors who have experienced a life of pain?
- What about the suicide?
- Is one's Christian life divided into two columns: good acts and evil acts?
- Then so long as good acts appear (we have no proof about what goes on in private-how does anyone that there wasn't anything else) to outweigh the bad acts, we should get a pass on criminal prosecution?
- Oh, I almost forgot. So long as one is famous and has given money to the *right* causes, does that gives them an extra +1000 in the good acts column? If one has a building named after them, does God give him some extra brownie points and overlook the child sex abuse?
Think about this as you read.
Shortly after I wrote Monday's post, I discovered on Twitter that some board members from Wheaton College's Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy (previously named the J. Dennis Hastert Center) actually asked the court for lenience on behalf of Hastert. What I have since learned has made me even more concerned.
OneWheaton defines the issue.
Isn't it interesting that a campus group dealing with LGBTQ issues are the ones to advocate for the victims of child sex abuse while the straight leadership of Wheaton appears to advocate on the behalf of a serial child molester.
April 30, 2016
This week, Wheaton College alumnus and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison for fraud ‐ fraud he committed to cover up a history of sexually molesting teenage boys. Refusing to be silenced any more, three of his victims and the sister of a deceased victim spoke out in the court proceedings.
In an effort to lighten his sentencing, Hastert’s colleagues Bill Pollard, Floyd Kvamme, and PJ Hill ‐ current members of the Wheaton College Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy (previously named the J. Dennis Hastert Center) wrote the judge letters of support. These letters praise Hastert’s service and integrity without ever acknowledging his pattern of abusing teenage boys and his decades long efforts to keep it hidden.
OneWheaton profoundly and unequivocally condemns Dennis Hastert's serial abusive behavior. We commend the strength and courage it took for Hastert’s victims to speak out against Hastert, the longest standing Speaker of the House. We are appalled that representative members of the Wheaton College community would write in support of Hastert rather than standing in solidarity with his victims.
Further, we are stunned that Wheaton College has not issued a stronger statement of condemnation and grief over damage done by someone whose image has been so strongly connected to Wheaton College. On May 31st, 2015, Wheaton College publicly stated: “We commit ourselves to pray for all involved, including Speaker Hastert, his family, and those who may have been harmed by any inappropriate behavior.”1 Hastert’s pattern of sexually abusing teenage boys was far beyond inappropriate and was supported by the evidence at the time of this statement. In his sentencing this week, Hastert himself acknowledged his behavior.
In the wake of the Dennis Hastert’s admission of guilt and subsequent sentencing, with the details of his abuse now public, we call upon Wheaton College to issue an unequivocal statement strongly condemning Hastert’s abusive and deceptive behavior and expressing solidarity and support for Hastert’s victims.
When powerful Christian institutions, like Wheaton College, fail to denounce the abusive behavior of their community leaders and instead praise, protect or excuse the abuser, they are complicit in that abuse and the profound suffering and irreparable damage incurred. When the abuser is a
Christian or represents key Christian institutions, this damage is not only psychological but spiritual.
Since its inception, OneWheaton has made a commitment to be a voice of freedom and hope for Wheaton College students and alumni who were taught that, as Christians, their gender or sexual identity was subject to the requirements of rigid dogma, archaic gender roles, and an antiquated understanding of human sexuality. This heteronormative sexual ethic and culture have consistently set the stage to protect the sexual desires and behavior of men in power and to silence the most vulnerable, the abused.
It is our hope that Wheaton College, a powerful role model to the Evangelical Christian world, will have the moral courage to be a voice for the victims so often silenced by the authority of their abusers.
OneWheaton is a community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and allied alumni and students of Wheaton College which affirms LGBTQ individuals and the relationships that are a natural expression of their identity.
Wheaton College responded on May 2nd.
Wheaton College serves Jesus Christ and advances His Kingdom through excellence in liberal arts and graduate programs that educate the whole person to build the church and benefit society worldwide. All students, faculty, staff and administration agree annually to our Community Covenant, which calls for Christ-like love, pursuit of holiness, and treatment of our bodies and those of others with honor. Scripture calls on all followers of Christ to seek righteousness, mercy and justice, particularly for the helpless and oppressed; to love and side with what is good in God’s eyes; and to abhor what is evil.
Sexual abuse is clearly and fundamentally incompatible with Christian ethics. This includes the sexual abuse of minors that Dennis Hastert has publicly acknowledged. The College is grieved by these revelations, respects the legal process that has led to accountability for Mr. Hastert’s acknowledged crimes, and continues to pray for the people and victims he harmed.
OneWheaton asks if it is right to use power to protect abusers rather than to defend the victims.
OneWheaton provided TWW with a statement on this matter. We are deeply appreciative.
"We continue to voice our concern that Wheaton College leaders–Bill Pollard, Floyd Kvamme, and PJ Hill–failed to denounce Hastert's abusive behavior and instead sought to praise, protect and excuse Hastert in an effort to lighten his sentence.
"We call on Wheaton College to address this appalling act of complicity."
"The Mission statement from the Center for FPE reads as follows: “The Wheaton Center for Faith, Politics and Economics exists to advance the training of Wheaton College students and the greater community in the understanding of market economies, representative democracies, limited government, and the redeeming effects of the Christian worldview on the practice of business, government and politics.” Among its listed values the FPE affirms the following: “The integration of Christian faith with thought and action.”
"When 3 of 8 board members of the FPE decide to use their social capital to advocate leniency before a judge for their friend, an admitted serial abuser who used fraud and deceipt to cover his harmful actions, they model their understanding of "the integration of Christian faith with thought and action"–thereby suggesting that the Christian thing to do is to use power to protect abusers rather than defend the victims.
"Left unchallanged, this insidious message serves to show that the Christian use of power on the political, cultural and legal stage is far from redemptive but rather serves to re-inscribe the oppression, censure and silencing of the “least of these.”
Wheaton leadership: Hastert made a mistake and is now a good man…
On May 2, 2016, Religion News Service wrote Wheaton tarnishes itself again. The statements from the leaders are frankly jawdropping.
“I really know nothing of the details of this case but know that today, Dennis Hastert is a man devoted to others,” Floyd Kvamme, the California venture capitalist who funded the chair of the FPE’s director,” wrote to the judge. “While his current situation may reflect mistakes in how he structured his withdrawals from his bank accounts, he is not a deceitful person,” wrote C. William Pollard, another wealthy member of the FPE’s advisory board.
Dennis Hastert not only did terrible harm to children decades ago but in recent years did what he could to keep his past behavior covered up, paying $1.7 million to one of his victims and lying to federal authorities when asked about it. He is the personification of a whited sepulcher. The moral indifference to this on the part of the advisory board members entitles them to be relieved of their positions.
“Mr. Hastert’s legacy and legend are gone,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon after the former Speaker was sentenced to 15 months in prison. “In its place are (sic) a broken, humiliated man. That is as it should be.” Wheaton needs to figure out ways to show the world that it too understands that this is as is should be.
Floyd Kavamme: Hastert is now a man devoted to others…
He claims he knows nothing of the past but now knows that Hastert is devoted to others. Really? Kvamme is talking about a man who was willing to pay exorbitant sums of money to prevent a victim from spilling the beans. Kvamme thinks this is evidence of a man devoted to others? It sounds to me like a man devoted to covering things up. How in the world does he know that Hastert isn't covering up more stuff?
Who is he? According to Wikipedia:
In 1967, Kvamme was one of the original members of a team to establish new National Semiconductor headquarters in Silicon Valley. In 1982, Kvamme became Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Apple Computer. While at Apple, he was instrumental in deciding to air the 1984 advertisement. He has been a director (and later Partner Emeritus) at venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers since March 1984. In the corporate world he has served on the boards of Brio Technology, Gemfire, Harmonic, National Semiconductor,Photon Dynamics, Power Integrations, and Silicon Genesis.
In the public realm, he is best known for his appointment by President George W. Bush to be Co-Chairman of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) in 2001; Kvamme has also advised every president from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush.
C. William Pollard: He's not deceitful even though he is deceitful…..
Pollard said, "While his current situation may reflect mistakes in how he structured his withdrawals from his bank accounts, he is not a deceitful person." Huh? Does this make any sense to you all? It was all a mistake? Even though it looks deceitful, its not? Pure as the driven snow…
Bill Pollard joined ServiceMaster in 1977 and has served not once but twice as its Chief Executive Officer. He also served as Chairman of the Board from 1990 to April 2002 and is currently serving as an advisor to the Company.
During his leadership of the Company, ServiceMaster was recognized by Fortune magazine as the #1 service company among the Fortune 500 and also was included as one of its most admired companies. During this period, ServiceMaster also was identified as a “star of the future” by The Wall Street Journal and recognized by the Financial Times as one of the most respected companies in the world. The Company also achieved market leadership in each of its markets and substantial growth in shareholder value.
In addition to his work at ServiceMaster, Bill serves as a director of Herman Miller, Inc. and also on a number of educational, religious and not-for-profit organizations, including Central DuPage Health, Wheaton College, The Drucker Institute, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Here is a copy of the letter he wrote on behalf of Hastert.
He wrote a letter in support of Hastert although I have not seen a copy of it at this time. According to Wheaton
Dr. P. J. Hill served as the George F. Bennett Professor of Economics at Wheaton College for twenty-five years, retiring in 2011. As a prolific scholar, as well as highly-sought after teacher and mentor, he has published many books and articles in the areas of institutional economics, property rights, and natural resources. During his forty-two year career in addition to his work at Wheaton College he has taught at Purdue, Montana State and The University of Iowa. In 2002 he won the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Association of Private Enterprise Education.
Much of Dr. Hill’s scholarly work focuses on the development of the frontier in the American West, where he is a third generation Montana rancher who spent his summer breaks during his teaching years at Wheaton to work on his ranch, and conduct research at the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana.
Did Wheaton College encourage their attorney to defend Denny Hastert?
The plot thickens. Hastert's original legal counsel was his son. However, as things heated up in late 2015, Christian Poland, who is purportedly an attorney for Wheaton College took up Hastert's defense! Here is one article which describes Poland's affiliation with Wheaton College in a lawsuit regarding Obamacare.
Attorneys for Wheaton College assert in the suit filed last week that the regulations promulgated by the HHS as part of the ACA would put the college in the position of providing coverage for certain procedures and drugs it says violate the established religious beliefs of the college, or pay more than $25 million in fines each year.
The college claims that, by placing Wheaton College in this position, Sebelius, the HHS and the Obama administration have violated both federal law and the U.S. Constitution.
Wheaton College is represented in the action by Christian Mark Poland of Bryan Cave LLP in Chicago, and Mark Rienzi and Adele Auxier Keim of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C.
Here is the document proving switching Hastert's representation.
President Philip Ryken is a member of The Gospel Coalition council as well as a self avowed friend of CJ Mahaney.
Why would Wheaton get involved in defending a serial child molester as Hastert was called by a judge? Could it be that President Ryken is simply following The Gospel Coalition's well known example in their support of CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries.
As most readers know, TWW has stood with the SGM victims since 2009. For any newcomers, we suggest that you read the following Washingtonian article,
This deals with the SGM/CJ Mahaney child sex abuse scandal which some have called the worst child sex abuse scandal in the history of the evangelical church. It is believed by some that The Gospel Coalition has been strongly supportive of both CJ Mahaney and others within SGM in spite of the lawsuits and in spite of the pedophiles who were sent to jail. See the Nate Morales story on our blog. Here is one of the statements by The Gospel Coalition. (There are more.)
Even two week ago, at the T4G conference, Al Mohler, the head of SBTS and TGC member, made a joke about Googling CJ Mahaney's name. This elicited laughs from many present. Yes, they were laughing about all of the articles about the child sex abuse cover up lawsuits that one finds when Googling Mahaney's name! This is disturbing.
Needless to say, it is our opinion that this tribe does not take child sex abuse or its cover up in an appropriately serious manner. For some, it is something to chortle about.
Back to Dr Ryken. Here is a link to his position on The Gospel Coalition council — the same one which was silent about the SGM debacle.You will note Al "the Joker" Mohler's picture there as well. Child sex abuse cover up is really, really funny…
Dr Ryken considers himself a friend of CJ Mahaney. Here is a direct quote from Reformation 21.
He has also appeared with Mahaney and other Mahaney supporters in this following video in 2014 when the SGM lawsuit had long been in the public eye. That does not seem to concern these guys. This video is described as:
Council members for The Gospel Coalition survey the contemporary evangelical scene and explain this ministry's purpose. In this video: Don Carson, Mark Dever, Phil Ryken, C.J. Mahaney
Is Philip Ryken just another ho hum, celebrity dazzled college president who is more concerned about raising money and protecting the name of Wheaton over caring for the least of these? It seems so to me.
So, as one who has donated what to our family is a significant sum of money to Wheaton College, I have to say that I am deeply disappointed in the leadership at Wheaton College. How in the name of Jesus Christ could you defend a serial child molester? You did not know know him which is evidenced by the fact he kept his heinous past a secret from you for decades. You do not know him now. He has deceived everyone for years. He is probably still deceiving you in the extent of his sins.
All of you need to get some training in child sex abuse. It is obvious to me that you do not know what you are talking about in your defense of Hastert. We recommend you consult Billy Grhama's grandson, Boz Tchividjian, who is the head of GRACE an organization dedicated to
Empowering And Training Christian Communities To Recognize, Prevent, And Respond To Child Abuse
I leave you with this syndicated column which appeared in our local paper The News and Observer yesterday. Paul Mones is a Los Angeles lawyer who represents victims of child sex abuse. An illusion of justice for sex abuse victims. He's talking to you, Wheaton.
The enduring fantasy that nice guys don’t molest children provides dangerous cover to perpetrators and engenders abject hopelessness in victims. Hiding behind a facade of kindheartedness, child molesters know they are committing the perfect crime, one that silences most of its victims forever. For those few able to muster the strength to come forward years later, it is not their perpetrator but the law itself that denies them justice. Maryland is a case in point: It gives victims just seven years after their 18th birthdays to file civil lawsuits – a period when few victims are yet able to acknowledge the horrific violation they experienced.
If you need a primer on how these molesters operate, read the U.S. attorney’s sentencing brief detailing not just the way Hastert allegedly went about sexually abusing the victim to whom he was paying the hush money, but also the tactics he used on other teenagers on his team. One victim, who was 14 at the time, alleged that Hastert told him to get up on a table so he could “loosen him up,” then in the process molested him.
Hastert’s supporters probably believe the 15-month sentence he received was too harsh, considering his ill health and his career in Congress. But in reality the coach fared infinitely better than a group of Yorkville High wrestlers whom he wounded for life so many decades ago.