Sexual Abuse Advocates Are Making a Real Difference and Giving Victims a Voice through Social Media

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Taking a closer look at two recent cases: The Christian Post and Leadership Journal (published by Christianity Today) made bad judgment calls in their articles, but later retracted and made amends because of powerful voices defending victims.

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by Julie Anne

 

Sometimes it seems like we are not getting anywhere when it comes to defending and protecting victims and giving victim’s a voice.

I’m happy to share a couple of encouraging stories so you will be able to see that we are making a difference with our collective voices!

A while back, The Christian Post published an article about the Doug Phillips in which he “accused three of his close friends of trying to tear down his reputation and organization.”  However, part of that article mentioned an alleged sex abuse victim by name.  At the time, this victim had not been named publicly and she had not gone public with her identity. The sexual part of their relationship began when she was a legal adult, but regardless, in the state in which this alleged crime took place (Texas), it was illegal because of his position of authority.  (Texas Penal Code Chapter 5. (22.011)

The Christian Post identified this victim when she had not given them permission to do so.  In cases of sexual abuse, the media typically refrains from identifying victims, so it was very troubling to see a Christian publication not following mainstream secular media guidelines.

I immediately contacted the reporter asking her to remove the victim’s identity and she encouraged me to contact the editor. I then wrote to the editor urging The Christian Post to remove the victim’s name.  I also mentioned  this situation on the Spiritual Sounding Board Facebook page and I know that some of you also contacted The Christian Post to ask them to remove her identify from the article.

Amazingly, several days after the article was published, they did in fact remove her name from the article.

Hooray!  Our collective voices were heard!

 

Not long after this Christian Post article was published, the victim, Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, filed a lawsuit against Doug Phillips and in doing so, she made the choice to publicly reveal her identity. We continue to stand behind and support Lourdes during this lawsuit.

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Another situation happened this week when Leadership Journal (published by Christianity Today) published a piece written by a former youth pastor, now convicted sex offender, currently serving his sentence in prison. When reading the story, it sucked the readers into his perception of the events, how he lost his family, his job, the consensual love relationship he had with a young lady, the temptations they both faced in the relationship as they both knew it was wrong since he was a married man.

The author gave us an illusion that this relationship was consensual, a normal affair beginning with flirtation. He seemed to blame his wife by saying he didn’t feel appreciated at home and saying there were parenting pressures.

In the early stages of this extra-marital relationship, I thought that I was seeking approval from someone other than my wife because I was not receiving it from my wife.

This particular paragraph is very revealing and shows how self-absorbed this man is:

The “friendship” continued to develop. Talking and texting turned flirtatious. Flirting led to a physical relationship. It was all very slow and gradual, but it was constantly escalating. We were both riddled with guilt and tried to end things, but the allure of sin was strong. We had given the devil far more than a foothold and had quenched the Holy Spirit’s prodding so many times, there was little-to-no willpower left.

Take note in the above quote how accuses the victim, “we were both riddled with guilt.”  The victim is portrayed here to be an equal participant. She absolutely was not. In the article he refers to sexual crime as an extra-marital relationship. No, you are not imprisoned for extra-marital relationships.

Also, it’s important to note the word “sin.” What a great choice of words for this perpetrator to use because he knows that all Christians sin. So in essence, we’re all in this together with our own sin in how we sometimes give the devil a foothold. This guilty convict is quite the con man in making himself look like just some ordinary sinner.

Isn’t it striking that both this former youth pastor and Doug Phillips respond the same way by calling their alleged crimes an affair to minimize their abuse. (It disturbs me to have to type “alleged,” but I must because Phillips has not yet been convicted.)

What was lacking in his article were words like: rape, crime, illegal, etc, and we were not told until the end of the article that the victim was a student from his youth group whom he was pastoring.

It was wrong for Leadership Journal to publish this and it set off quite an alarm in social media, especially from sex abuse survivors who have now found their voices and are using them in such a powerful way.

A new hashtag at Twitter was created to begin a campaign urging Leadership Journal to: #TakeDownThisPost.

The Leadership Journal was inundated with comments on their article and sadly, many comments were removed.

 

 

Next, we saw the Leadership Journal revising the original article changing some of the wording.

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Again, editors at Leadership Journal did not make the right choice. But it showed the world clear evidence that the editors at Leadership Journal were responding to strong pushback.

Finally yesterday, Marshall Shelley – editor of Leadership Journal, and Harold B. Smith – president and CEO of Christianity Today International, removed the article and issued a statement in place of the original article (the entire statement can be found here):

A note from the editors of Leadership Journal:

We should not have published this post, and we deeply regret the decision to do so. The post, told from the perspective of a sex offender, withheld from readers until the very end a crucial piece of information: that the sexual misconduct being described involved a minor under the youth pastor’s care. Among other failings, this post used language that implied consent and mutuality when in fact there can be no question [sic] that in situations of such disproportionate power there is no such thing as consent or mutuality. The post, intended to dissuade future perpetrators, dwelt at length on the losses this criminal sin caused the author, while displaying little or no empathic engagement with the far greater losses caused to the victim of the crime and the wider community around the author. The post adopted a tone that was not appropriate given its failure to document complete repentance and restoration.

This next part was very encouraging to me:

Any advertising revenues derived from hits to this post will be donated to Christian organizations that work with survivors of sexual abuse. We will be working to regain our readers’ trust and to give greater voice to victims of abuse.

 

There has been much celebrating going on:

 

 

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This was a victory and victims’ voices were heard because of brave people calling this atrocity out and holding this Leadership Journal and Christianity Today accountable. This is much more work to be done, but we are seeing positive results. And for that, I am so thankful.

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72 comments on “Sexual Abuse Advocates Are Making a Real Difference and Giving Victims a Voice through Social Media

  1. And it was a REAL apology! Fantastic! Not having been sexually abused myself, I learned so much through this debacle. I’ve learned how self-and-other-deluding perpetrators are. There’s still so much work to do. Sign me up to play an active part. Here’s praying that many other people also learned much during this week.

    Like

  2. It scares me to know that CT and Leadership Journal could not discern that the Youth Pastor was GROOMING her. He is a predator. And it is narcissist speak to say he was not appreciated at home. HOW SILLY. None of us are if you want to get to what his definition of “being appreciated” means. He sounds like a narcissist so we all know what that means. His poor wife!!! What about her as one of his victims, too?

    I was seriously disappointed that they actually promoted the view of a predator narcissist as “repentence” or some sort of warning to others. His language gave him away. He still is playing the game.

    I hope these media outlets understand we are more interested in the victims of these creeps for Jesus than we are for the creeps. All they did in running that story is disrespect the victims even more. They simply revictimized then all over again saying basically: You don’t matter.

    I am sick of it. Thanks to all that fought this good fight.

    Like

  3. The reversal of their original direction of promoting their idea of “repentance” and the “gospel” shows what serious pushback they received.

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  4. Carmen S – I think I got wind of this story on Tuesday and there was a considerable amount of tweeting before someone started the hashtag trend. This thing was pretty big. When the editor tried to do damage control by editing the article, it made it even worse. They will have to prove to the public that they really get it now, but this is setting a very loud precedent for media: do not defend perpetrators or else.

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  5. JA, I did not realize how powerful the net could be until the Leadership Journal incident. I am so thankful for blogs like yours that can give us a voice. I think the editors honestly did not “get it” until many of us spoke out and gave concrete, rational evidence that the writer was an unrepentant narcissist. Despite the fact that all the signs were evident in his writing, I believe many “churched” people prefer to think that “men of God” would never do harm. People need to learn that pedephiles look for opportunities to be around kids. That is why they choose jobs like youth minister, YMCA counselor, teacher, daycare worker, scouts etc. Of course there are many good men in these jobs, but child molesters do look for opportunity. Key word-opportunity. I have done psych accessments on a few convicted pedephiles and they showed the same indifference to the suffering they caused. In fact one man felt “it didn’t count” if he wasn’t convicted in court. We need to continue to educate people with influence on the serious nature of victimizing children.

    Like

  6. Here’s a screenshot taken when the first 3 paragraphs of the story and 58 or so comments were still readable. (This morning there were only 5 or 6 comments, but I see that Leadership Journal has restored all or most of these).

    In this screenshot, you can read the first three paragraphs of the article.

    I think it’s interesting that in this screenshot, Marshall Shelley (top comment) doesn’t use his real name. He has now changed B J to his real name.

    https://www.evernote.com/shard/s93/sh/0eeb5761-e4c9-4d4c-aa00-1e52c3c034a6/28b64090a4d0dbeeb830c0de97c1b555

    Like

  7. Ann – I just submitted a paper for my computer class and this was the guidelines:

    A topic pertaining to Information Technology, Computers, or life in a Digital Age

    Guess what I discussed? My lawsuit and social media/internet.

    Here’s an example, after my story made the news, my blog jumped up from average of 400 hits per day (which was already pretty sizable considering there were only 100 people at the church) to between 16-17,000 hits for about 3 days. Social media is very powerful.

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  8. Janey, thanks for that information! Marshall Shelley certainly showed no sign of ‘getting it’ in the comments. I wonder if he was overruled and forced to sign the apology.

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  9. Janey, Thanks for the screen shot. I read many comments and was flabbergasted at some of them. One was from a name I recognize–an SBC pastor who blogs quite a bit who accused commenters of rubbing the felon’s face in the dirt and not seeking to “restore” him so to speak.

    The SBC pastor simply does not get it. The felon was using excuses, words we recognize as not repentent at all. The felon was thinking of HIS ruined life. His victim was his “friend” and their “relationship” was an “affair”. That is sick. He sounds just like a narcissist who got caught and is using this very public venue to spin once again. Doing what he does best as a narcissist. And maybe even a sociopath.

    And he had power over others as a youth minister. So the question is WHY doesn’t the SBC pastor “get it”?

    And this follows with my experience. The people who rarely get it are pastors/leaders, etc. Why? Something to consider. I have my theories.

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  10. @ Lydia,
    I saw some of the comments off an on as CT was deleting them and more would pop up. I don’t know what grosses me out more, the fact that some adults prey on children, or the other adults who defend the guys who do prey on children.

    There were people in the comments under the CT article playing the violin of sympathy for the imprisoned molester and/or chewing out the people who were upset with him and CT for publishing the thing.

    Like

  11. As the ex-wife of a child molester, I know all too well that pedophiles are bright and manipulative. They are experts at not getting caught, at minimizing their behavior (like this man: we were having an affair — not rape), re-framing situations to appear benign, flat-out denial, and blaming the victim.

    On top of it, most seminarians have taken at least one counseling class and they know the lingo. They can fool even trained therapists and confound psychologists with their candid admission to a lesser problem. Crocodile tears are part of the game. They don’t actually feel any remorse because they don’t feel empathy. They care only about themselves, although they will turn on the charm to attract a child or to deceive an adult.

    Christians want to believe that everyone who repents and expresses a desire to improve really can, but there is nothing in the literature that indicates that pedophilia ever goes away. They can never be trusted. Ever. Period.

    My ex-husband honed his skills in church youth groups and no one ever caught on.

    Like

  12. This is another example of Jericho road Christianity, where victims are utterly ignored. Except that modern church leaders don’t even see the victims. In giving a public platform to this convicted rapist, its as though the Jericho road priest and Levite had taken up the cause of the robbers who had left their victim beaten, robbed, naked and half dead.

    Like

  13. The next thing you know Wheaton College will be trumpeting how repentant their pedophile (former) professor is, all the while ignoring (and failing to even recognize) his victims, including the wife he betrayed.

    Like

  14. @Gary
    “This is another example of Jericho road Christianity, where victims are utterly ignored. Except that modern church leaders don’t even see the victims. ”

    That’s true. And it gets even worse. Some of the modern church leaders SEE the victims but label them OPPORTUNISTS.

    it is wicked

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  15. Anon3, thanks for keeping on keeping on. You must feel like a stuck record, pointing people to your story over and over again. But it is a story that people need to hear, and most especially pastors.

    Like

  16. And JA, good spot that Marshall Shelley was trying to go incognito by using false initials at first. Keep your microscope on them, sister, you’re a trooper!

    Their final apology read so well, I wonder if they were coached in how to word it by someone like Boz. I don’t mind if they were coached. They need to learn somehow or other, and while they might have learnt what was wrong with the article from all the comments they were deleting, they might have also learned it from an expert behind the scenes who they called in to assist them. Never mind. So long as they are getting educated, that’s the main thing. 🙂

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  17. Barb,

    I think it was Janey who noticed Marshall Shelley going incognito.

    I don’t think Boz would have coached them. I’m not sure, but I just don’t think so. I know he was certainly aware of the situation from his tweets.

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  18. @Barbara Roberts,
    “Some of the modern church leaders SEE the victims but label them OPPORTUNISTS.”

    Excellent point! The modern priests and Levites (think Evangelical/Fundmentalist “pastors”) are, in effect, accusing the man who was beaten, robbed, stripped naked and left half dead of having taken advantage of the Good Samaritan.

    Like

  19. Barbara, I agree that many people choose to become pastors due to their idealism. They cannot get their minds around the fact that narcissists and sociopaths really exist, really destroy the people around them, and don’t have any true desire to change.

    As Christians, our beliefs make us think that pedophiles can change despite evidence that they don’t. We are naive about a lot of things, but putting our head in the sand and NOT protecting victims is exactly what child molesters want us to do.

    I mean, after all, how can any normal person do those things to another person? Well, pedophiles aren’t normal even though they look that way. And pastors and idealistic people need to realize they are part of the problem when they shut up, look away, and pretend they didn’t see anything.

    Like

  20. The Internet is awesome, and so are all those who took part in #TakeDownThatPost! This result is one small step in getting everyone, especially those in leadership, to see abuse for what it is, and what needs to be done to fight it.

    This is just one reason why I hope the Internet stays free and open for as long as it’s around. “Power to the people!” 🙂

    Like

  21. @Anon3:

    Barbara, I agree that many people choose to become pastors due to their idealism. They cannot get their minds around the fact that narcissists and sociopaths really exist, really destroy the people around them, and don’t have any true desire to change.

    Narcissists and sociopaths are described in the Bible. What do you think “hardening of heart” meant? And “Satan appearing as an angel of light”?

    These days “Hardening of Heart” refers only to those who don’t “AAAA-MEN!” the ManaGAWD in his pulpit and go along with the program. Especially that kid who got molested and her family who’s so unforgiving and un-Christian. How dare they go against the ManaGAWD who got the pedo to REPENT!

    Like

  22. From Anon3
    “As Christians, our beliefs make us think that pedophiles can change despite evidence that they don’t. We are naive about a lot of things, but putting our head in the sand and NOT protecting victims is exactly what child molesters want us to do.”

    We *are* naive when we think that people will easily change such deep-seated, damaging behavior. Even the apostle Paul decried his own inability to do that which he wanted and to not do that which he did not want to do. Dealing with the debilitating dysfunctions of depression and ADD in my own life makes me aware of just how difficult it is to change deep-rooted disorders within a person. Yes, we are new creations in Christ; and yet, *fully* realizing that new creation and the absence of sin won’t be gained in this life. We have prisons for a reason: to lock away those who would damage, maim, and kill others. We must keep abusers away from the vulnerable.

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  23. This week made me wonder if people need special training or personal experience to recognize all the weasel words used by the youth pastor who wrote the article and other perpetrators who won’t take responsibility. It seems so obvious to me but apparently not to some others.

    By chance, the Oprah channel was rerunning a two hour Dr. Phil show called Saving Grace. Dr. Phil confronts a grandfather who molested his granddaughter and also deals with the enabling grandmother. I had seen it before but my husband hadn’t so I put it on because we were discussing the sexual abuse of children and how people don’t take it seriously. (Okay, I was ranting and raving and he was listening but still…)

    My husband is a software developer but he had an immediate reaction to all the crap these people uttered! He wanted to jump through the screen and punch the man. “I am a victim too.” “I got away from God and Satan was able to get to me.” “I know she was only six but she looked at me like a twenty year old.” “My son and his family need to forgive so we can all heal and move on.” He wasn’t buying any if it.

    So it’s not a lack of expertise. It is either lousy theology and/or a callous heart (I think both) that allows someone to focus on the perpetrator and see repentence where none exists and not even care for the victim.

    Like

  24. Julie Anne

    Yes…
    “This was a victory and victims’ voices were heard because of brave people calling this atrocity out and holding this Leadership Journal and Christianity Today accountable.”

    And the last comment from Leadership Journal does sound encouraging…
    “Any advertising revenues derived from hits to this post will be donated to Christian organizations that work with survivors of sexual abuse.”

    “We will be working to regain our readers’ trust and to give greater voice to victims of abuse.”

    When Leadership Journal gives “greater voice to victims of abuse”
    That will be cause for rejoicing… 😉

    But,“Trust?” – Leadership Journal? – NOT likely… 😉

    This is from
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/help/aboutus/whatleadership.html

    What Is Leadership Journal?
    Leadership Journal provides today’s *church leaders* with *biblically faithful,* *pastorally practical* writing. Leadership Journal offers smart, honest perspective on matters of ministry and *the Christian leadership* experience. Our mission is **to serve Christ’s church** by keeping **leaders informed,** encouraged, and connected to *the global community of leaders.*

    Hmmm? Is any of this, errr, Strange B. S., written by Leadership Journal…
    In the Bible? – *biblically faithful?”

    Where, in the Bible, are His Disciples called *church leaders?*

    Did anyone notice…
    The way B J answered the avalanch of complaints. Sounds bossy to me… 😉

    “This article is in LEADERSHIP JOURNAL and its focus is therefore on LEADERS within the church…”

    “Leadership has shown its sensitivity to the concerns of its readers. Now is the time to LAY IT DOWN and show some grace to LJ for the intention behind the article. You were heard. Now let it go.”

    https://www.evernote.com/shard/s93/sh/0eeb5761-e4c9-4d4c-aa00-1e52c3c034a6/28b64090a4d0dbeeb830c0de97c1b555

    And B J is a moderator at Leadership Journal
    And B J could be Marshall Shelley, editor-in-chief of Leadership Journal

    Hmmm? “LAY IT DOWN?” “show some grace to LJ?” “Now let it go?”

    Do these Leaders at Leadership Journal really understand “Abuse?”

    But, – “Trust?” – Leadership Journal? – NOT likely… 😉

    Like

  25. I found an opinion piece by a left wing feminist (I’m right wing, which I mention only to let folks know just because I link to something does not necessarily mean I agree with all of it, or all of that site’s views on all issues), that discusses a situation similar to the Christianity Today/Leadership Journal debacle

    (note: the piece below, the page linked to, contains some vulgar language including the “F” word – I won’t be quoting those parts of the article here, though)

    Rapists Say They Rape Because of Mixed Signals, and the Good Men Project Believes Them

    Here are some excerpts – and note how similar this is to the CT situation – I mean, if you replace “GMP” with the phrase “Christianity Today” (or CT’s “Leadership Journal”) it could be about the same thing:

    GMP [Good Men Project], which markets itself as a progressive website exploring masculinity, recently published two articles giving rapists a chance to tell “their side” of the story.

    The first rapist’s story was written by his female friend and titled “Nice Guys Commit Rape Too.” The second, penned by the rapist himself, was titled “I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying.” GMP did not obtain or publish the victims’ accounts.

    … Roundly attacked, GMP rationalized publishing these pieces by claiming an educational motive — that airing these stories can help us all better understand rape—with a whiff of accusing their critics of living in a fantasy world…

    …It’s hard to believe the people at GMP could be naive enough to think that rapists are a good source for the unvarnished truth about rape. Which leaves us with the other explanation: That far from being a progressive website, GMP is now in the business of defending rape.

    Like

  26. Gary W said,

    This is another example of Jericho road Christianity, where victims are utterly ignored. Except that modern church leaders don’t even see the victims. In giving a public platform to this convicted rapist, its as though the Jericho road priest and Levite had taken up the cause of the robbers who had left their victim beaten, robbed, naked and half dead.

    Yes – I see this often in stories online about domestic abuse against wives, or child sexual abuse situations, some churches/preachers rally around the wrong doer and turn on the victim, when they should be supporting the victim!

    Unfortunately, (as I have said at TWW blog), this sort of thing may be more disappointing coming from Christian quarters, but I think it’s either part of human nature or Americans in particular, because the same thing happens with Non Christian culture.

    In the topic of workplace abuse, for example, if a victim of an office bully goes to the boss or H.R. department for help, often, the company sides with the BULLY and blames the VICTIM. It’s very typical in other spheres of life for folks, Christian and Non, to defend the wrong doer and grill the victim.

    One reason given in the books I read (about workplace abuse) is that people are very scared and uncomfortable with the idea that bad stuff, or bad random stuff, can happen to even good people.

    People like to assume if they follow all the rules and behave, nothing bad will happen to them, so they rationalize, “If Mary Jones is being harassed by the supervisor, she must have done something to tick him off and deserve being picked on. Well, it will never happen to me, because I will never make the mistakes Mary Jones made to bring this on herself! I am safe from being persecuted.”

    I suspect this sort of thinking comes into play in other life situations as well.

    Also, Re: Gary’s remarks,

    This is another example of Jericho road Christianity, where victims are utterly ignored. Except that modern church leaders don’t even see the victims. In giving a public platform to this convicted rapist, its as though the Jericho road priest and Levite had taken up the cause of the robbers who had left their victim beaten, robbed, naked and half dead.

    Christians do the same thing with people who are hurting for other reasons, but the analogy there would be “Job’s counselors” more so than the Good Samaritan story.

    Remember in the book of Job, how God permitted Satan to destroy Job’s wealth, health, and family, and Job’s friends started blaming Job for it all, even though God made it clear Job had done nothing wrong and was a righteous man?

    Yeah, Christians do the same dang thing with Christians who are going through the death of a loved one, mental health problems, job loss, divorce, or whatever difficulty that Job’s friends did to Job when Job was down and hurting and they started blaming him for his problems. It ticks me off so bad when people do that, and lots Christians do it frequently.

    Like

  27. This worried mama just sent me a note on Twitter.

    I’ve had a child who dealt with this. So scary.

    Like

  28. “So it’s not a lack of expertise. It is either lousy theology and/or a callous heart (I think both) that allows someone to focus on the perpetrator and see repentence where none exists and not even care for the victim.”

    Bingo. I am done with all the excuses and I hope more and more people are done with them.

    “Forgive and move on so we can put this behind us” is the mantra of the narcissistic sociopath who is clever enough to use what most Christians THINK is Christianity –against them. And I have heard it from pastors all over who want to hide this and/or other spiritual abuse situations. They literally put the solution to the evil on the shoulders of the victims. Run away from anyone who tells you this. They are unsafe. I don’t care what their title is. Christians expose evil. Period.

    Like

  29. HUG,

    Narcissists and sociopaths are described in the Bible. What do you think “hardening of heart” meant? And “Satan appearing as an angel of light”?

    Your point is well taken and pastors need to read and heed. Evil people often look like upstanding people in your church. My ex-husband was in the middle of leading an 8-week marriage enrichment series at our church when I realized that he had deceived me…deceived all of us.

    Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

    Like

  30. @Daisy:

    In the topic of workplace abuse, for example, if a victim of an office bully goes to the boss or H.R. department for help, often, the company sides with the BULLY and blames the VICTIM. It’s very typical in other spheres of life for folks, Christian and Non, to defend the wrong doer and grill the victim.

    Which also sends the message to one and all:
    “BE A BULLY, BE AN ABUSER,
    BE A WINNER, NOT A LOSER!”

    Like

  31. Marsha, and when abusers too often throw out the “I am a victim” line, I want to beg people who love to contemplate such a thing, never to do so in front of the victims. It is EXTREMELY invalidating.

    “They literally put the solution to the evil on the shoulders of the victims. Run away from anyone who tells you this. They are unsafe. I don’t care what their title is. Christians expose evil. Period.”

    Lydia, thanks for saying this. Their tendency to wag a finger at victims and beat them over the head with manufactured and undeserved guilt, shame and responsibility, is a horrible thing, downright crazy-making.

    It is one of the worst feelings in the world for an abuse victim when the tables are turned and she unfairly becomes the “bad guy” in the eyes of those around her.

    Like

  32. I do feel encouraged about the CT turnaround though because whoever wrote that apology actually does get it now. We really are making a difference. Thanks to social media, there is an opportunity to change the culture for the better.

    Like

  33. Another reason that people blame the victim is that they mis-read the effects of trauma. All the effects of trauma — the way victims respond to trauma — are highly sensible and understandable, given how scary and dangerous and trauma and abuse is.
    High anxiety, sudden anger, fear at ‘little’ things, easily triggered startle reactions, tearfulness, emotional numbing, dissociation, emotional lability, etc, are all responses to trauma. But most people dont’ understand that and when they see those things in the victim they think she or he is ‘crazy’.

    http://youtu.be/qastlvN_Xgk?t=4m This video shows Lundy Bancroft talking about this.

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  34. The idea of total depravity has completely desensitized Christians from recognizing actual depravity.

    Barbara – I think you are on to something. In a way this total depravity gives free license to sin because we are all sinners. I was discussing part of this earlier and yet you are defining it even more.

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  35. Another reason that people blame the victim is that they mis-read the effects of trauma. All the effects of trauma — the way victims respond to trauma — are highly sensible and understandable, given how scary and dangerous and trauma and abuse is.

    I haven’t watched the video yet, but it seems a lot of people in church don’t look kindly on “negative” feelings like sadness, anger, grieving. They seem to equate those feelings with sin, depression, being self-absorbed. Well, if that’s the case, then they might as well remove the book of Psalms. And how could David be a man after God’s own heart with such strong emotion?

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  36. Headless Unicorn Guy posted: “Narcissists and sociopaths are described in the Bible. What do you think “hardening of heart” meant? And “Satan appearing as an angel of light”?”

    Amen, HUG!! This is what I have also come to see–that Scripture has been telling us all along about these people, & how they sail under the radar of the unwary.

    Like

  37. Barbara Roberts said: “The idea of total depravity has completely desensitized Christians from recognizing actual depravity.”
    Amen, Barbara. It drives me CRAZY when I hear or read folks buy into the lies of rapists/abusers/sociopathic people of all kinds, because “we are all sinners”. Well, yes, so we are; but most of us don’t rape children, or beat our spouses to death (or close to it). Why? Because we know from our ordinary, common, decent humanity, that you just DON’T.
    If the “children of the world” get it, how much more should we who are believers see through the lies of satan?

    Like

  38. A professor of theology, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A woman was walking through a park, and she fell among thugs, who stripped her, violated her, beat her and departed, leaving her half dead. Now by chance a deacon passed by, and when he saw her he averted his vision from her nakedness and passed by at a distance, praying that the thugs might come to feel bad about what they had done. So likewise a pastor, when he came to the place and saw her, stopped to question what she had done to tempt the thugs–and lectured her on the evils of provocative dress and sexually alluring ways of walking. But a radical feminist, who was a director of a government funded women’s shelter, came to where the woman was, and when she saw her, she had compassion. She went to her and held her in her arms, and called an ambulance and the police. The feminist accompanied the woman to the emergency room where she continued to administer comfort, supported her through the trauma of filing a police report, and payed the hospital’s charges. Afterwards the feminist arranged for the woman to stay at the women’s shelter, where there was food and clothing, and she also arranged and paid for ongoing, compassionate, healing counseling. Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the woman who fell among the thugs?” The professor of theology said, “The one who showed her mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “you go, and do likewise.” C.f. Luke 10:29-37.

    Except this doesn’t really work in the context of the modern church because today’s thugs are women’s husbands and pastors, girl’s youth ministers, and little girl’s “Christian” daddies.

    Like

  39. Amos,

    the c.f. in front of the reference to Luke 10:29-37 means “compare to.” You can pick your favorite Bible Version and decide for yourself whether my application of Jesus’ words to the modern “church” is faithful to the point Jesus was making.

    Like

  40. Marsha

    Good call, and I agree when you write @ JUNE 14, 2014 @ 5:28 PM…
    “Janey, thanks for that information! Marshall Shelley certainly showed no sign of ‘getting it’ in the comments. I wonder if he was overruled and forced to sign the apology.”

    Writing an apology is one thing…
    Living that apology is something else…

    The test for Leadership Journal, and CT, will be – The test of time. 🙂
    Let’s see how Leadership Journal responds in the future.

    From what I’ve experienced with those who think they are “church leaders” – The idea of “leadership” “Submitting” one to another does NOT sit well. Eph 5:21 KJV. And, Leadership, at LJ, and CT, finally had to submit to the common sheepies. 😉

    I have doubts that LJ, CT, get it, because it sounded to me when B J,
    the moderator Leadership Journal, said…

    ““Leadership has shown its sensitivity to the concerns of its readers. Now is the time to LAY IT DOWN and show some grace to LJ for the intention behind the article. You were heard. Now let it go.”
    ———–

    When B J, says, “LAY IT DOWN” “show some Grace to LJ” “Now let it go.”

    I could be wrong – But – I heard this stuff before – And – Sounds like B J is addicted to “Exercising Authority.” A No, No. MK 10:42-44. Sounds like B J is trying to protect the reputation of Leadership Journal. And the bottom line. The Profit, Power, and Prestige of LJ and CT.

    Did B J really mean this…
    “Leadership has shown its ** sensitivity** to the concerns of its readers.”
    Yeah – Right, **sensitivity** after multiple critical comments and blogs…
    About how “in-sensitive” the article was to those who are the Abused…

    Let’s see how Leadership Journal, and CT, responds in the future. 😉

    Like

  41. I’m still a liitle grouchy this morning with – Leadership Journal???
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/help/aboutus/whatleadership.html

    Did anyone notice…
    Leadership Journal, who says their mission is “To Serve Christ’s church,” did NOT “Serve Christ’s church,** WE, His Ekklesia, His Called Out Ones, His Sheep, very well at all. Deleting comments, silencing critics, telling-shouting at critics, “LAY IT DOWN,” editing the article.

    The apology was nice – BUT…

    Isn’t how they acted, re-acted, ABUSE? Spiritual Abuse? Silencing critics?
    Denying WE, His Sheep, His Kids, a Voice?

    I cudda missed it – But…
    Did LJ, and CT, apologise, repent, for deleting comments?
    Silencing critics? Editing the article?

    Does anyone really believe “Abusers” will change? Stop? After one apology? Yes – This time the push back was great on sexual abuse, rape, etc. And, their reputation for being *biblically faithful,* *pastorally practical* was being challenged. Overturned. And had to stop the bleeding. I do hope they learned something.
    But, I’m a sceptic… 😉

    But, What about the other times critics were silenced? And the next time? Is this the first time Leadership Journal deleted comments? Re-edited? Why was it so easy for them to delete? Re-edit?

    After all, Leadership Journal is “Church Leaders” writing to *church leaders* with *biblically faithful,* *pastorally practical* writing. And, they have to keep “The Good Ole Boys Club,” pastor/leaders, intact, and sounding Biblical.

    Even though calling yourself, or taking the “Title,” pastor-shepherd/leader, *church leader* Is NOT being – *biblically faithful.* 😉

    After all, Leadership Journal gets their Profit, Power, Prestige, Promoting
    *church leaders* – pastor/leaders – by keeping **leaders informed,*
    and connected to – *the global community of leaders.*

    It’s probably NOT about the money, or the prestige.
    I’m just a little grouchy this morning…
    ———–

    Hmmm? Leadership Journal???

    Just another reason, example, to question, challenge, beware of…
    Those who separate, elevate, manipulate, and call themselves…
    Leader – Church Leader – Spiritual Leader – Pastor/Leader…

    And, those who call themselves – Leadership Journal… 😉

    Like

  42. Julie Anne

    Yes – They will be more than thrilled to hear more twittering from you – Since…

    “Leadership has shown its ** sensitivity** to the concerns of its readers.”

    Like

  43. So, Dr. Moore et al are on board with promoting victim’s stories, but they sure do not put action into holding leaders accountable. I’m disgusted to see leaders who have jumped on the defending victims bandwagon yet still ignore the problem of leaders who fail to report and cover up sex crimes.

    You canNOT defend victims and support bad leadership who cover up sex crimes at the same time.

    Like

  44. Julie Anne

    And you certainly sound like a ‘”concerned reader.”

    And since they already have some practice with apologizing, and being sensitive…

    An apology for deleting comments, silencing commenters and re-editing…

    Would be good practice for them… 😉

    Like

  45. Look at the name of that publication. It’s written for and about leaders. They thought this “repentant” leader would encourage other leaders to put better safeguards in place, etc. These leaders are deceived. It’s all about protecting THEM and not victims.

    I saw Matt Redmond tweet that he has tried to get an article published by them and it’s not easy. How did this convicted sex offender get an in? How much LJ paid the sex criminal in prison to publicize his story (if they did)? I wonder how LJ got the story in the first place?

    Like

  46. Julie Anne

    This was just deposited in the comments @ Leadership Jounal
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/june-online-only/my-easy-trip-from-youth-minister-to-felon.html?allcomments=true&showall=true

    @Marshall Shelley. Thanks for the apology. In it you say, “That is not journalistically honest.”“There is no way to remove the piece altogether from the Internet, and we do not want to make it seem that we are trying to make it disappear. That is not journalistically honest.” Is it “journalistically honest” to Delete Critical Comments? Edit the article? Is there another apology due the commenters you SILENCED? One of the signs of Spiritual Abuse is when Hyper-Authoritarian Church Leaders SILENCE His Sheep. And B J, your moderator tried to SILENCE folks when he said “LAY IT DOWN” “show some Grace to LJ” “Now let it go.” Leadership Journal, says their mission is “To Serve Christ’s church.” And, an apology would be nice for those you Deleted and SILENCED. You did end your apology with, “We will be working to regain our readers’ trust and to give greater voice to victims of abuse.” Another apology might be helpful in the trust department. And to the victims of Abuse.

    Like

  47. “Leaders who have jumped on the defending victims bandwagon yet still ignore the problems of leaders who fail to report and cover up sex crimes.”

    Julie Anne, they are just trying to appease us. Brilliant how fast they can switch direction, isn’t it? It seems so calculated.

    Like

  48. Julie Anne

    You’re so smart… 🙂
    “I grabbed the screen shot . . . . . just in case.”

    Yup – Who wudda thunk it…
    The above comment @Marshall Shelley, was deleted. 😦
    So much for the “Stop the Bleeding” apology from Marshall Shelley, LJ, CT.

    The comment @Marshall Shelley, was, at one time, the first one posted after Marshall Shelley signed off for the weekend and opened the comments section Monday.

    I guess they are NOT really into submitting one to another. 😉

    Seems they do NOT think it important to apologise to those they SILENCED.

    Hey that’s me. They SILENCED LOVE. They Deleted LOVE.

    Hmmm? Typical of today’s “Church Leaders.”

    BUT – that’s okay…
    I re-posted this morning. 😉 😉 😉

    Like

  49. Julie Anne

    BUT – that’s okay…
    Others are also mentioning the Deleting of comments…

    thank you – wrote…
    “However, why does the deleting of inoffensive criticisms go unmentioned? When will these be reinstated? Silencing responders, many of whom are also abuse syrvivors, compounds & copies their own abusive horrors.”

    anon – wrote…
    “Observers may think that posting the apology late on a Friday night and then disabling comments until late the following Monday was a planned damage limitation exercise….”

    Monica – wrote…
    “In addition, I think whoever initially okayed and tagged the article, whoever deleted the comments and certainly the editor (BJ?) who basically told readers to “let it go” need training on sexual abuse psychology and appropriate Christian leadership in response to it.”

    Wow – These guys must be goin nuts behind closed doors…

    I can just hear them complaining now…

    “It’s rebellion I tell you. Pure rebellion. Direct from Satan…”
    “Just look how they all fail to submit to “Our Authority.” Our leadership.”
    “This article is in LEADERSHIP JOURNAL (Written by B J, moderator.)
    and its focus is therefore on LEADERS within the church.”
    “What right do these dumb sheep have correcting us Leaders, LJ, and CT?”

    Yeah – Sheepies correcting all these so-called “Church Leaders.”
    Yeah – “Giving Victims a Voice through Social Media”

    A hoot and a half I tell you. A hoot and a half. 😉

    “Trust” these guys, Leadership Journal? – NOT likely.

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

    Like

  50. Julie Anne

    FYI – I re-posted, @Marshall Shelley, about 10am est.
    As of 11:20am est – the comment is still there…

    Enjoy your time in Twitterland… 😉

    Like

  51. “So, Dr. Moore et al are on board with promoting victim’s stories, but they sure do not put action into holding leaders accountable. I’m disgusted to see leaders who have jumped on the defending victims bandwagon yet still ignore the problem of leaders who fail to report and cover up sex crimes.”

    I am TOTALLY disgusted by it. Setzer did same thing with a piece. This is all PR Spin after SBC 2014. They know they have a serious PR problem. (It gets old going through the events of their behavior the last 3 years but the evidence is piled up from T4G statement deleted to Courier Journal 2011 Mohler quotes deleted, etc, etc)

    Yet, Mahaney fled to Mohler and has strong ties with SBTS. Setzer’s boss is a Mohler man put in his position. (Mohler men have been put in all SBC entities except a few) Moore was groomed by Mohler from a young age and was Dean of SBTS.

    You can set your clock by these guys. Mohler is silent but his minions rush out to support those abused as a PR move. Time passes and it is as if Mohler was all about supporting victims, too. (And people forget all the Mahaney protection).

    Problem is social media is now tracking every little thing. So if Setzer can write about victims, why not mention SGM and the SBC’s part in protecting Mahaney? Because he would be out of a job as a very highly paid Lifeway employee. (Who also double dips being paid as pastor of church plants who does not do funerals or visit the sick so he declared)

    Moore was appointed as president of the ETHICS and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC. Ethics? Seriously? His communications expert, Joe Carter has been the tweet antagonist. A rude nasty man. So why are they NOW supporting victims after 6 years of victim stories coming out of SGM? Why did they go to such lengths to help protect Mahaney never saying ONE WORD publicly that there might be a serious problem? This is the example of “biblical manhood”?

    All of them owe their positions to Mohler whether directly or indirectly. And all are scared of him because he runs the show. Don’t be fooled. This is PR spin because it is now fashionable to support victims. But not so fashionable to call out leaders for their part in protecting those who protect child molesters for years.

    It is time people starting holding these “public” communicators accountable for omission. They cannot say they support victims while they are silent about Mahaney and the vile abuses that went on under CJ’s “Strong leadership” as Mohler called it when he dissed the bloggers.

    Like

  52. Julie Anne

    Well – The above comment, to Leadership Journal, @Marshall Shelley…
    Was deleted again… 😦

    And, New Posting Guidelines was in it’s place… 😉

    B J
    Posting Guidelines: ‘We welcome disagreement and criticism and well as encouragement and testimonials. But we do not post comments that are vulgar or off topic or attack individuals or that come from orchestrated campaigns that duplicate comments, etc. We try to model honest, direct, and civil conversation.”

    But – They had to read it- To delete it.

    And I reposted the comment – with this question…

    “A. Amos Love
    B J – Can you tell me why this comment left Mon and Tues was deleted? Twice? Thanks”

    Like

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