“Someone Offends Me Chart” is Too Black and White; Can Be Used to Control

 

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Have you seen this? It’s been spreading around on Facebook. The first time I saw it, someone shared that their pastor had sent it to her. She was livid. He was trying to control her in a personal situation. She felt she was being squelched by this. Do you see how she could feel that way?

The next few times I saw it, it was spread by people from my church.

When a church leader passes this around, you can get the message that there is really only one response: take your offenses to Jesus. It’s obvious that the other response is wrong. I’m surprised that the word gossip wasn’t included. This information being passed around by a church leader can be used to control conversation. That is an abuse of authority. It’s good to be careful when a church leader attempts to squelch conversation.

But what else is missing?

The Bible does talk about overlooking offenses:

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

But I believe this chart is too black and white. I can see overlooking small, trivial offenses. But what about chronic offenses? What about when those offenses also harm others? In those cases, I believe it is better to go directly to the offender:

As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  Matthew 18:15

When Christians are able to go directly to an offender with their sins, and the offender is receptive, this is better than simply overlooking a sin. The offender now has the opportunity to change their pattern of behavior, which may have been unknown. The relationship can be strengthened when the offender realizes he/she was told this offense in love. It takes humility and transparency to get to this level of relationship. Everyone wins here.

**Update 10/10/18 2:40 pm:  A friend of mine found the original post (2 years old!) on Facebook. Apparently the author, Amy Duncan Hale, also was asked why Matthew 18 was not included as an option in the chart above. Here is her response:

Several readers have pointed out and asked why Matthew 18:15-17 was not included in my chart. The reason is that this chart was only written to remind me that my FIRST response to offense is crucial–talking to God about my hurt before talking to anyone else so HE can direct me in how to BEST respond.

 

 

132 comments on ““Someone Offends Me Chart” is Too Black and White; Can Be Used to Control

  1. Well, that’s violating scripture. Scripture says, “go tell your brother his fault.” so, it’s a false dichotomy. In both cases the person is violating scripture.

    I think there are primarily two ways in which Matthew 18 is abused. The first has to do with the “offense” – like in cases where children are molested and the parents are excommunicated for going to the police because it should have been handled through Matthew 18. The second has to do with the assumption that Matthew 18 is about hiding sin. The more I think of it, the less this rings true, yet it seems more and more that churches are hiding behind Matthew 18 in refusing to bring the sins of their leadership to light. In fact, I was reprimanded in a meeting where a church committee claimed to have “rebuked an elder” however, they were obviously refusing to say who the elder was and what he was being rebuked for. So, I brought up: “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.”

    Interestingly, we hear the first part (two or three witnesses) all to often, but churches fail to follow through with the rest of the thought.

    When Paul brings up church issues throughout his letters, he never refers back to the Matthew 18 process. He never calls out his “informants” as gossipers. He deals directly with the matter.

    “Offends” is a euphemism that is used to make it seem more minor. That somehow being “offended” is different from being wronged. NASB and even ESV use “sinned” (i.e. if your brother sins against you). The thought is that saying that someone has been “offended” is to say that they are being unjust in even confronting the person rather than overlooking.

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  2. Just noticed the asterisk () after gossiping. I think the Christian church has a wrong definition of gossiping. Telling someone about a wrong committed against me is NOT gossip. The Bible says to shine a light in the darkness, and to expose the deeds of darkness. Gossiping is telling other peoples’ news. So, if a friend tells me that she was sexually assaulted, that is NOT gossip. If I then tell someone else that she was sexually assaulted *without her permission, that IS gossip. I think also, that gossip can be sharing someone else’s good news without permission – if I tell everyone that my friend is engaged, before he’s had a chance to tell it himself, again, that’s gossip. If it’s on Facebook… well, that’s public information and not gossip.

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  3. What about Proverbs 11:14??
    14 ….there is safety in having many advisers.

    According to this verse you should want advise from others.

    Like many legalistic religious things, this simplistic flow chart puts an unnecessary burden on someone who probably has a real issue that needs to be addressed. In my experience many churches want you to pay up and shut up. This chart “spiritualizes” the shut up part of it.

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  4. if it’s a one time offense, minor at that.. ok, that’s each persons choice… but if it’s ongoing patterns… time to expose it level, by level…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I thought it looked familiar and wondered if it was one of Lori Alexander’s writings. (Though I didn’t think it was because it doesn’t look like her handwriting.) She shared it on one of her blog posts.

    http://lorialexander.blogspot.com/2016/04/its-your-choice-to-be-offended-or-not.html

    She added Proverbs 19:11 – Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

    And 1 Corinthians 13:5 – Love does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own,
    is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.

    Pretty much the whole post is the title “It’s Your Choice to be Offended or Not.” So, no accountability at all to the one who caused the offense? We are to simply ignore offenses and let the offender continue on?

    Sounds more to me like enabling poor behavior or abuse.

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  6. The danger I see with the chart is that the word “offense” is very vague and can refer to anything… maybe feeling slighted because someone didn’t stop to greet you… or it could be the offense of full blown abuse. Those women who are suffering in abusive marriages will see a chart like that and think that if they want to be spiritual they have to continue to suffer in silence and that it is wrong to reach out for help. We are told to bear each others burdens… burdens are meant to be shared. We are told to weep with those who weep… we can’t do that if we don’t know why they are weeping. I realize that even abuse is not something to be share indiscriminately with the whole world… but telling a victim to carry it alone in secrecy is a death sentence.

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  7. The handwritten note featured in the post looks and sounds like something a reflective, moody teen would’ve written in her personal journal after getting home after a rough day in junior high school.

    The top of the page reads, “Someone offends me.”
    How is the author of that note defining or understanding offense, and it is a one time thing, or is it a pattern of behavior from the same person?

    Also, why do so many Christians have these one-size-fits-all rules for everything in life?

    One thing I’ve learned now, by my mid-40s, regarding the Bible (or “biblical” advice from Christians), or general life advice anyone (whether from Christians or from Non-Christians) will give you, is that you have to take it all on a case-by-case basis, not rigidly apply said advice to each and every issue in life, or to the same issue.

    So, if the note writer is saying it’s always wrong, bad, or ungodly to confide in another person when you’ve been offended by a third party, no matter what (making this into an absolute moral imperative with no caveats – a rule one must follow always, regardless of the specifics involved), I have to disagree.

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  8. Other comments / thoughts I had about the note….

    The note writer is kind of in error, even according to Christian psychiatrists. She’s (I assume the author is a woman?) advocating for the Lone Ranger approach.

    There are times when you are angry or hurting, or something bad has happened to you, that you need to talk it through with another person who is empathetic – this helps the healing process.

    You can find a chapter or two about that topic in this book on Google Books
    _Twelve ‘Christian’ Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy_

    That book explains that it’s not mentally healthy (in every case, depending on the situation) to “go it alone” and just tough things out with Jesus and your Bible.

    The book explains that God designed people to sometimes need other people, and they cite Bible passages which teach this concept.

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  9. Continuing on with other observations about the note (sorry for all the posts, but I am at least on topic!)

    Regarding the part of the note that mentions “rehashing” something.

    There are many studies out there which say that women tend to have depression more than men because women ruminate on bad stuff more than men do.
    (I don’t recall off hand if the studies explain if this is biological or societal conditioning or something combined of the two.)

    I also saw an article a few weeks ago that says if you’re the parent of a kid or teen who is often anxious, you don’t want to “over talk” about the person or problem that is disturbing the kid (thus causing them to ruminate about it), because that can make their anxiety worse.

    So, there may be a grain of truth in telling people to be careful not to rehash something too much, but I’m not comfortable with going to an extreme and telling people to only just “go to God” when they’re upset about someone or something.

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  10. The note reads,
    “I have honored God by valuing unity over the (very) temporary pleasure of gossiping gaining sympathy for others!”

    Why is the author choosing to understand wanting to hash things out with another person, or receive emotional support, as being the same thing as “gossip” or as being the same thing as disunity?

    I’m the sort of person who deals with negative emotions and negative experiences by writing about my experiences in a note book (or on a blog). It’s how I cope with stuff.

    When my mother was alive, I dealt with my anxiety or problems I was having by talking them through with her, which was very helpful, because she was a very supportive, empathetic listener.
    I never once perceived my going to her to talk over things that had upset me as being “creating disunity” or as “gossiping.”

    (I should maybe mention I got similar shaming advice from my father as I was growing up that the notebook author is giving: he and my sister think it’s wrong to confide in others if you’re having a tough time, so at other times in my life, I had to repress my feelings, which made me feel even worse.)

    After my Mom died, I had no choice but to turn to God alone (which included prayer and Bible reading), but God alone (and Bible reading, etc), did not help me cope with the grief.

    I think the author of this notebook page is very mistaken.

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  11. I just saw this headline go through my social media awhile ago:
    _Nearly 500,000 Children Have No-one to Talk to when Sad, Survey Finds_, on The Independent’s site (UK news source)

    October 2018

    Nearly half-a-million children have no-one to talk to if they feel worried or sad, a survey has found.

    Almost two in five (38 per cent) of the 1,300 children polled by YouGov said their negative feelings caused them difficulty with going to sleep, while more than a quarter said it caused them to struggle with their homework.

    The respondents aged between 10 and 15 were asked about how feeling “worried or sad” had affected their wellbeing and behaviour.

    ….The findings come as the charity launches a new campaign on World Mental Health Day to prevent a growing crisis in children’s mental health and to ensure the topic is prioritised in classrooms.

    Sounds to me, based on that article, as though if one is sad or anxious, it can usually help the person if they can talk it out with a caring listener, which is opposite of the shaming advice the notebook page writer is giving.

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  12. I wonder what the notebook author makes of the Bible verse that instructs believers to “weep with those who weep.”

    There’s also a verse that says something like, “Confess your sins one to another.”

    How are you going to know if someone is hurting and needs you to weep with them, if you are teaching them that each and any time they get transparent with you, that it is the same thing as “gossiping” and is therefore a sin, so that they don’t speak up and talk to you about what is going on in their life?

    How are you, as a Christian, supposed to carry out, “weeping with the one who weeps,” or, “confessing your sins to one another,” if you’re simultaneously being instructed by “Ms. Notebook Writer” that you’re in sin if you do so??

    This page is also kind of the reverse of what I usually see in stories of abuse on spiritual abuse blogs – most churches will misapply the Bible chapter – is it Matthew 18?? – (the chapter about something or other like, “if your brother does you wrong, go confront him, and talk it out with him first…”).

    Churches normally mis-use that verse to get victims of sexual abuse, spiritual abuse, or domestic violence in the church to shut up about it.

    But if you go by Ms. Notepaper, you could never, ever apply Matt 18 (or whatever chapter it is) in the first place.

    Regarding the author’s follow up:

    …talking to God about my hurt before talking to anyone else so HE can direct me in how to BEST respond.

    But the Bible already tells you what to do in these situations – you don’t need to “Pray About It.”
    Sometimes I think some Christians over-think some things.

    The Bible tells Christians to address wrongs and injustices in inter-personal relationships by talking them over with each other, and if that does not provide a solution, there are other approaches the Bible outlines (such as go to more people in the church, or have nothing further to do with the person, etc).

    The note writer is taking the capability to do any of that away if she’s telling readers to just pray about it and then shut up.

    By me commenting upon and venting about the bad advice in the note paper here, am I guilty of gossiping and creating disunity? (LOL.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. By me commenting upon and venting about the bad advice in the note paper here, am I guilty of gossiping and creating disunity? (LOL.) 🙂

    Well, if that’s the case, then I am guilty as charged, too, for posting this blog article!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I saw this chart on facebook and it seems like a problem to me in the same ways everyone has mentioned. We need to stop pretending all ‘offenses’ are the same. I was irritated that I signed up for a 5k and was too late to get a shirt…that’s a good thing to let go lol. That’s decidedly not the same thing as abuse or theft or rape.

    This black and white thinking is a major problem, and I think the reason for it is that it’s easier to control people if you tell them they can’t think for themselves.

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  15. To answer the last question in your first paragraph Julie Anne: Yes, I can see how the woman would feel squelched by her pastor sending her that copied notebook page. The whole page sounds almost Gothardish to me. The Gothard following church we belonged to years ago constantly redefined words like ‘unity’ ‘offense’ ‘gossip’ etc. Complaining about a serious offense was the same as gossip which was defined as slander according to the church elders.

    This particular church also followed Gary Ezzo for a few years. He and his wife taught that children should never tattle and church leaders took that further by saying that if any of us adults (esp women) said anything negative to anyone else about our church, Bill Gothard or Ezzo’s Growing Kids God’s Way was gossip! The words “offense, unity and gossip” are triggering to me.

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  16. “Someone Offends Me Chart” is Too Black and White; Can Be Used to Control

    FEATURE, NOT BUG.

    And too many Christians think in Boolean.

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  17. “Valuing unity” can be dangerous. People sometimes unite over despicable causes. .

    “UNITY! WE MUST HAVE UNITY, COMRADES!”

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  18. @Mary27:

    The danger I see with the chart is that the word “offense” is very vague and can refer to anything…

    Like the crime of “Hooliganism” in Russia’s penal code — defined so broadly it can mean anything those in Power say it means.

    Or the “Tyranny of the Perpetually Offended” you see both inside and outside the church.

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  19. Here’s what my son said if he ever found out that the youth pastor has been found to have groomed and subsequently molested one of the girls (my grand daughters):

    “Matthew 18 my ass, I’m goin’ to the cops!”

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  20. Kathy, Thank you for your skills! When I saw the chart, I suspected it was from Lori. She went through a phase where she loved charting. I was not able to find it.
    Another problem is Lori has frequently been called out for refusing to cite her sources, especially when she started her blog (or minimizing the font so the author was hard to find).
    I guess this was a trigger for me, because many of her views are dangerous, especially for younger readers. Thanks to you and JA!

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  21. Personally, when someone starts talking about someone who has offended them, far from thinking less of the person who caused the supposed offence (as in box 3 on the left of the chart), I would think less of the complainer for telling me or others about it rather than going to the offender direct and trying to get it sorted.

    One way to counteract gossip is to refuse to listen to it in the first place, let alone pass it on. It is frequently mind-numbingly inaccurate and exaggerated, usually going from bad to worse.

    I have a bit more sympathy with the writer though when it comes to avoiding ‘rehashing the details over and over’. It’s a common mistake that endlessly repeating what has gone wrong will somehow deal with it and make it go away. It doesn’t, and ends up nursing grievances rather than bringing any form of resolution or healing.

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  22. I don’t think the church has a good definition of gossip.

    When I was a non-profit board member, the board applied that definition of gossip and agreed to push staff members of the non-profit to resolve conflict WITHIN the non-profit and not through the board.

    The result was that staff members were consistently abused by the administration, and because we chose to be deaf to their “gossip”, nothing was ever done. There was NO WAY to hold the administration accountable for their abuse.

    Gossip is “telling someone else’s story”. Saying something that happened to ME is NOT GOSSIP. Telling people that talking about THEIR STORY is gossip is an abuse tactic used by power brokers to silence their victims.

    If someone rapes my daughter and she goes to the police, without confronting them first. NOT GOSSIP. If a church leader offends my daughter and she seeks help from peers or spiritual mentors about how to handle the situation. NOT GOSSIP.

    If a friend comes to me and tells me that she was raped by a pastor. NOT GOSSIP. If I then go to my friend, without her permission, and tell him that my friend was raped by a pastor, that is gossip. If a friend comes to me and says she’s expecting, and I go, without her permission and tell others, that’s gossip. Gossip can be both bad news and good news.

    But, church leaders and their lap dogs, like KAS, want to silence victims by telling them that telling the TRUTH about what happened to THEM is gossip if it’s something bad about their leadership.

    Now, with one definition or another… Read how Paul handled different situations in churches. How could he have heard about the man who “had his mother” if it had not been “gossiped” to him? Does he take offense at the gossip, or does he deal with the situation. Over and over. Paul responds to rumors and third-party accusations without pulling the gossip card. That is completely different from how the modern church would have expected Paul to handle it, which is to cover his ears and accuse the “gossipers” of violating Matthew 18. It’s complete hypocrisy.

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  23. KAS “One way to counteract gossip is to refuse to listen to it in the first place, let alone pass it on.”

    Yes, and this is probably why you could be completely blind while being a member of an abusive church. Victims will “test the waters” with you about something, see that you have a completely horrible response, and then know that you are NOT A SAFE PERSON.

    I was in two abusive churches. When I finally realized I was being abused, I looked around for people that I could talk to about that abuse, and there was no one. They were, or seemed to be, all lap dogs for the church leadership. Interestingly, I realized that I was not alone. There was a revolving church door and I started thinking that these other people who left before me were probably also abuse victims. After I left, there were more people who followed me out the door.

    Once I was out, I started hearing some of the stories – the ones you would say were gossip and close your ears to. They were awful, much worse than my own story.

    “Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.” – I think a takeaway of this is that the wheels of church justice are not generally going to be in favor of protecting the sheep, especially when it is the shepherds who have abused the sheep. So, if we are going to do God’s work in strengthening, binding and bringing back, we cannot be deaf to the stories of the victims.

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  24. Mark wrote: But, church leaders and their lap dogs, like KAS, want to silence victims by telling them that telling the TRUTH about what happened to THEM is gossip if it’s something bad about their leadership.

    Now that is a classic example of gossip! Except it is not a truth that has been exaggerated or embellished, it is wholly untrue!

    It is an opinion, not based on anything I have actually said here or on any other thread, but rather imputing ideas based on imagination or faulty assumptions (‘KAS uses some of the same terminology as the leaders in my former churches, so he must be like them’). Beware of straying after Satan like the younger widows of 1 Tim 5.

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  25. KAS, there’s no such thing as Satan. (I’m sure I’ve told you this before) Here’s another opinion for you – if you’d use logic as much as you use imagination, you’d invite far less flack on this blog.

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  26. Carmen – you’ll tell me next that there is no God ……

    It’s not flak that bothers me, people disagree on all sorts of things; it’s rather other people using their imaginations rather than accurately interacting with those with whom they disagree.

    This is a serious weakness amongst blogs and commenters where the goal is to expose wrong-doing or help those who have been wronged in some way, as it discredits legitimate criticism (which I have said many times before, so no need to go there!).

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  27. Actually man has imagined over . .. what?. . .5000? (Who really knows how many gods have been created – it’s anybody’s guess) 🙂

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  28. Carmen,

    I agree on the importance of sticking to logic and reason. The existence of human imagination only proves the existence of human imagination. That has nothing to do with disproving the existence of God.

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  29. Carmen,

    So you’re saying that anyone who disagrees with you must be lacking in logic and reason?

    That implies that logic and reason cannot exist outside of your approved beliefs. By the way, sometimes logic and reason can sound a little harsh. I’m not being snarky here, but actually applying logic and reason to analyze this.

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  30. There’s a big difference between ridicule and logic.

    There’s been a pattern in Carmen’s comments where she ridicules anyone who disagrees with her. If you disagree with her, then she insists that the disagreement is proof that you are lacking in logic and reason, because if we were smart enough then we would believe what she wants.

    The irony is that she keeps demanding that we give up our faith simply because she disapproves of it.

    Remember that step one of women’s empowerment is learning not to seek the approval of others.

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  31. There’s a pattern to your comments as well, AR. Thankfully most people reading here are very sensible and can see the obvious – your manipulation of the words of others.
    It isn’t working.

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  32. Carmen,

    All we are asking you to do is recognize that logic and reason can exist outside of your opinion. Instead you keep attacking anyone who disagrees with you.

    There’s a way to disagree in the conversation without ridiculing others here or accusing people of lacking logic simply because they didn’t agree with your opinions.

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  33. Such strong language, AR. Attacking? Are you sure? Or could it be that you are offended? Dear, dear. Poor you. Perhaps you need to peruse the above chart. Just sayin’. . . 🙂

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  34. Carmen,

    Thank you for proving my point—There’s that pattern of ridicule from you again. Let’s stick to logic instead.

    You are welcome to continue attacking as long as you want, but at this point, we’ve both made our perspectives really clear. Time to move on.

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  35. KAS said,

    rather than going to the offender direct and trying to get it sorted.

    And American secular cultural gender stereotypes and all flavors of American Christian gender complementarianism discourage girls and women from doing this very thing.

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  36. KAS said

    I have a bit more sympathy with the writer though when it comes to avoiding ‘rehashing the details over and over’. It’s a common mistake that endlessly repeating what has gone wrong will somehow deal with it and make it go away. It doesn’t, and ends up nursing grievances rather than bringing any form of resolution or healing.

    In some cases, though, it’s normal and natural behavior as a coping mechanism when having been hurt, abused, or suffered some injustice, such as in cases of workplace bullying or in the grieving process.

    I notice you dearly love to dictate to other people how you think they should handle conflict and pain in life, and then you condescendingly shame, lecture, and tut-tut them (and others here) like a little school marm when they don’t agree with you.

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  37. Victims will “test the waters” with you about something, see that you have a completely horrible response, and then know that you are NOT A SAFE PERSON.

    Mark, this is quite true, and the reverse is also true – that abusers and other unsavory persons will test as well. Test if you will believe lies. Test your boundaries. Etc.

    We should be careful of our responses and mindful of this stuff. I would rather be a safe person for a victim than an abuser. We should think about what that looks like in every day life.

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  38. KAS, “It is an opinion, not based on anything I have actually said here or on any other thread, but rather imputing ideas based on imagination or faulty assumptions”

    It seems ironic to me that whenever there are two ways to interpret scripture, one that protects victims and the other that protects the powerful and the abusers, you consistently uphold the powerful and the abusers. Now, I would find that not imaginary and just because you assert that it is a false assumption that you are a lap dog for abusers, I think it is a fairly well supported thesis.

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  39. It is an opinion, not based on anything I have actually said here or on any other thread, but rather imputing ideas based on imagination or faulty assumptions

    Actually, KAS, it was based on something you said right here on this thread. Mark even quoted your words in his next comment:

    “One way to counteract gossip is to refuse to listen to it in the first place, let alone pass it on.”

    Combined with the words in your first paragraph:

    “I would think less of the complainer for telling me or others about it rather than going to the offender direct and trying to get it sorted.”

    …this sounds very much as though you’re opposed to listening to people who claim to have been hurt by their fellow believers. And I find that very disturbing. If Mark and I are reading you wrong, by all means please clarify what you mean.

    Your words in that initial comment also remind me very much of a blog post that Canadian pastor Tim Challies wrote not long ago, detailing how we should behave as Christians on social media. Although he didn’t say it in so many words, he seemed to be telling his followers to stay away from all those mean, mean bloggers who spread bad, bad reports about his gospel buddies. I really and truly hope that’s not the line you’re taking.

    https://www.challies.com/articles/the-decline-of-the-ninth-commandment-in-the-rise-of-social-media/

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  40. going to the offender direct and trying to get it sorted

    Sidenote: There are a ton of offenses where this is unnecessary and counterproductive. If someone knocks me down and hurls obscenities at me, I’m not interested in ‘trying to get it sorted’. What is there to sort????? That person is terrible and I’m cutting them out of my life. This goes double for things like abuse and rape.

    KAS, as usual, neglects to make distinctions between minor and major offenses, which should be dealt with in wildly different ways.

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  41. SKIJ, horrible article. It’s amazing how great things like that sound when you divorce them from the life and actions of people like Jesus and Paul.

    For example, Jesus preached a sermon condemning the Pharisees. Was he truly “protecting their good name” as the WLC apparently commands? Paul called the Judaizers’ doctrine anathema and publicly wished that they would be emasculated (penises cut off).

    The best lies start with a good bit of the truth, but then they pull in other garbage. For example, “tale bearing”.

    When I was in school, talking about someone else who hurt me was “tale bearing” and I learned quickly that tale bearing was worse than the offense committed against me. So, I had to deal with bullying – not as severe as many of my classmates.

    Now, my children are in school, and bullying has been an epidemic, so much that schools are rethinking punishing “tale bearers”. In fact, the districts are creating all sorts of mechanisms for students to report bullying and harassing behavior. They’re training teachers how to respond to reports of bullying (and it isn’t punishing “tale bearers”) Not all of my kids’ teachers have fully bought in, and I have had to deal, here and there, with kids who reported being bullied and suffered being reprimanded by teachers.

    So, interestingly, yet another area where the secular world is getting its act together and protecting their “sheep” and the church is still wounding the sheep for pointing out the wolves…

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  42. Serving Kids – I’ll clarify!

    I was commenting specifially on the first box of the chart – Someone offends me. The taking of offence is usually occasioned by unloving attitudes and words, dogmatic assertions, barbed comments, the kind of things that disturb genuine Christian fellowship. Blatant hypocrisy. Stupid things said in Church Meetings (if you are Baptist!).

    This is different from the much more serious issue of abuse, which I did not have in mind. Nor did I have this in mind when I said as you quoted “One way to counteract gossip is to refuse to listen to it in the first place, let alone pass it on.” When I said gossip, I meant gossip; tale-bearing, letting out secrets or minding other people’s business, rumour-mongers, not the exposure and report of abuse for which there is reasonable evidence.

    If two believers have a verbal bust up, they need to sort it out between them, not go round telling everyone else about it. From experience this will almost certainly ensure it gets exaggerated and even harder to deal with as people take sides.

    When it comes to the internet, there is a need for discernment to distinguish genuine attempts to expose evil, and what is little more than #meregossip. Innocent people can have their reputations ‘tainted’ for ever. (Bishop Bell is a classic example of this in the UK.)

    Some have the gift of distinguishing of spirits, and others have the gift of the gab!

    I happened to have seen Challies’ articles on the 9th commandment, and found them to be a salutory reminder to be careful on the whole social media phenomenon. I assume he had the politicking over Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court in mind. Trial by social media and the uncritical acceptance of accusations because of other agenda. Obviously I have no axe to grind on the appointment, but was appalled at the whole media circus that accompanied it.

    I hope Challies meant what he said when he wrote Neither is it [9th commandment] the only word on our relationship to other people and certainly there are times we must investigate what others have said or done and certainly there are times we must even condemn others for their actions or convictions.

    He seemed to me to be aiming at unsubstantiated claims being passed around.

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  43. not the exposure and report of abuse for which there is reasonable evidence.

    KAS, would you count first hand accounts as ‘reasonable evidence’ here?

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  44. “Obviously I had no axe to grind”. Well, of course you didn’t, KAS. No doubt you feel so entitled to your opinion – that Kavanaugh was the right person for the job – that you completely dismissed Dr. Ford’s testimony as part of the ‘media circus’. I wonder how many other people are reading KAS’s comments on this thread and thinking the exact thing I am? – that the suppression of complainers’ voices – no matter how legitimate they are – is the ultimate goal. It’s the case of the person who wrote this claptrap (above) and in the case of KAS. The bottom line, of course, is that dissenters must be silenced, through shame, embarrassment, or the threat of an invisible boogey man (“straying after Satan” – what superstitious nonsense!).
    KAS, did it ever cross your mind that you are commenting on the blog of a person whose very reason for devoting her time and energy is to GIVE VOICE to people in that category? It seems to me that in your disdainful arrogance you have missed that salient point.

    Consider yourself reminded.

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  45. “I wonder how many other people are reading KAS’s comments on this thread and thinking the exact thing I am?”

    Yes.

    But, I have been reading about sexual abuse for many years now and there are those that have dismissive derogatory things to say to and about the person telling his or her story of sexual abuse.

    I have actually read more stories from men who were sexually abused in the Catholic church. Always many people come on saying he or she has an agenda. The message is always keep your mouth shut. The power of the group is more important than rape victims. I read a story about a police officer from California who was raped as a little boy by a priest. 300 Catholics came on there and called him a liar, told him he was trying to destroy the Catholic church, and he wanted money. And of course they changed the subject to child sexual abuse in Hollywood and Corey Feldman has informed everybody. Never mind that Corey Feldman is Michael Jackson’s number one fan. It seems if Corey Feldman hated child sexual abuse as much as he says he does he would be on Michael Jacksons victims side.

    KAS said,

    “Trial by social media and the uncritical acceptance of accusations because of other agenda.”

    Conservatives and Christians have always believed the assertion from Corey Feldman about Hollywood. I have also. But, for twenty years it was just an assertion. It was all good and cool when it was about Hollywood. They repeated it every chance they got.

    Brett/Bart Kavanaugh was chosen by a self-proclaimed sexual assaulter. A man that can’t talk about or think about his own daughter without thinking about sex.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Complementarians are “offended” by the me-too movement. Plain and simple.

    I hear about it almost every day from the comps that surround me as well as in the professional arena……..visited a high powered (at least he thinks so) lawyer concerning the state of our estate, and he was cocking his head back and a talking about the t_ts on some woman he encountered…… he said this in the presence of my husband and meself.

    And I thought lawyers were supposed to be reasonable and intelligent……I assumed wrong. Nothing surprises me anymore with regards to church folks……oh yes, he has a huge beautifully constructed piece of artwork about how to live one’s life, including the phrase “make sure to attend church every week.” hanging outside of his office door as you walk in.

    Double standards are the norm in comp world.

    Like

  47. Oh yes, and as a reminder to those who love to “correct” others……this is a true story and not gossip 🙂 In fact, I wish it was fiction, but unfortunately, this is the mindset of the comp boys.

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  48. @Katy

    “Complementarians are “offended” by the me-too movement. Plain and simple.”

    Since I was ten years old I knew conservative Christians hated with a bloody passion any woman, little girl, or little boy that has the audacity to say, “I was raped.”

    Complementarians hate all rape victims; grown men, grown women, little boys, and little girls. They also hate women who are being beaten by their husbands. And children who have been abused by their parents.

    When I was a teen married churchgoing men with families flirted with my friends and me. Starting at age twelve. This group of men prefer girls ages 12,13,14,15,16,17.

    18 is over the hill. My father and grandfather was the same way.

    My father who was born and raised Southern Baptist by a Southern Baptist preacher told me when I was a young little girl that he married my mother because she had large breast. He also loved telling me as a little girl that he was the boss of my mother. He mocked his own niece for being raped at twelve.

    Complementarian is part of rape culture.

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  49. KAS said

    Trial by social media and the uncritical acceptance of accusations because of other agenda.

    Kav (Kavanaugh) had to give account before a Senate hearing. He was not “tried by social media.”

    Kavanaugh held down a young woman against her will when younger, put his hand over her mouth, and tried to disrobe her, for god’s sake.

    (I am a right winger, a conservative. I am not a Democrat or a liberal, and I did not support Kav, so I do not have a liberal agenda to uphold here.)

    None of that was based on social media.

    I did not take it uncritically.

    Ford told her husband and a therapist years about Kav’s attack on her years before Kavanaugh was ever on a list of SCOTUS nominees, so there was no political motivation on her part.

    I guess KAS thinks that all of Bill Cosby’s and Harvey Weinstein’s accusers were fake, false, and driven by an agenda (so they should not be believed, and Cosby and Weinstein should face on consequences)?

    BTW, KAS, you are on the wrong thread for this.

    We all discussed Kav. on _this previous thread.

    And even then, after poster “anongrace” kept turning it political, Julie Anne asked us to please not bring politics up, and not to turn the comment box into a “argue if Ford was telling the truth or not” type of discussion, which you’re doing here.

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  50. Katy said,

    Complementarians are “offended” by the me-too movement. Plain and simple.

    It’s not just complementarians.

    Conservatives generally (who may or may not be Christian) tend to hold to traditional gender role views, and they take this position as well.

    Lydia, who used to post here (but who hasn’t in ages, but she at times posts to the other blog), identifies as Christian, but she doesn’t seem to agree with complementarianism,
    but she was always bragging to me (when we were friends on social media before we had a falling out and her account got terminated by someone else) that she “does not do movements.”

    Lydia does not like the ‘MeToo’ movement, she is suspicious of it, thinks it may be misused to abuse men, etc. (I’ve seen other Christians on other sites or social media who hold these same attitudes.)

    Lydia would at times, like a lot of conservatives, go into “pearl clutching” (worry) mode over concern over false accusations against men.

    Though I am a conservative, this conservative (and at times Christian) preoccupation with men’s needs and men’s welfare in the midst of a movement (i.e. “MeToo”) shining a light on the systemic sexual harassment and sexual abuse of girls and women by men (not by other women!) infuriates me.

    I’ve been seeing more conservative sites and social media accounts lately, in light of the Kavanaugh fiasco, start publishing the occasional anecdotal news headline about some woman’s false accusation against a man…

    …to try to ‘prove,’ I guess, that most women are in the habit of just running around falsely accusing all men of being sexual abusers – so everyone can just ignore the “Me Too” movement, or ignore any woman who claims to have been harassed / abused by a man.

    This puts women right back at square one:
    If and when they are sexually harassed or sexually abused by a man, they are, once more, from the start, assumed to be lying about it (and/or are partially blamed for it, like they will be questioned, “Were you wearing a short skirt at the time?,” etc), and the man gets the benefit of the doubt. This is how it’s gone for centuries.

    For once, via MeToo, we’re seeing men kind of being held accountable for their sexist behavior, and this has the Pearl- Clutchers- for- men upset.

    They’re upset that women are seeing some small measure of justice (or might). They’d rather “me too” go away and things to return to the status quo, when men got to walk all over women and there was not much women could do about it.

    It’s mind boggling to me that one’s personal experience as a woman will tell one, and studies will demonstrate, that while male- on- female sexism (or sexual abuse) is far more common than female- on- male (or male on male or female on female), the anti-Me too types want to paint the male gender as being the victim in all this.

    They want me (and everyone) to feel sorry and alarmed for the entire male gender.

    They don’t seen to give a crap at how prevalent male-on-female sexual harassment (or sexism) is.

    The topic is always pivoted back around by the anti-Me-Too-ists to all the supposedly poor, sweet, helpless upstanding men (and note how they depict all men as having noble and outstanding moral, all men are innocent, sweet little angels, incapable of abusing women), and the women are painted by these types as being scheming, lying, irrational Jezebels, whose motivation is to do nothing but to terrorize men.

    However, flip on the television, or look at the news online, and most of the “MeToo,” or pre-MeToo stories (such as, but certainly not limited to, Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, Cosby, C.K. Louis, Jeremy Piven, etc) involved men preying on women.

    Not vice versa.
    I’ve seen a few female- on- male sexual harassment claims after “MeToo” began, but not near as many on male- on- female, and I’ve not seen any false accusations brought about ‘MeToo’ since it was gained momentum in Oct. 2017 – which is what the anti MeToo crowd keeps braying about.

    Yet the anti-feminist- feminists, the conservative TV talk show heads (such as Tucker Carlson on Fox cable new channel), posters such as Lydia, and conservative news outlets and social media accounts, want to depict men as being victims of women in our culture – and victims of “Me Too.”

    Then they go on to charge all women (and/or specifically feminist liberals) of teaching all women to believe they are victims, to embrace victim-hood culture-

    Yet, these anti-MeToo proponents scoff at victim-hood culture, but five minutes later they are back to portraying all men as victims, saying,
    “Oh, poor, helpless, men, those men, all men in our nation, are such victims of women, of feminists, of MeToo, and of school systems that are advantageous for girls, those poor male victims.”

    (continued in the next post).

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  51. (continued, part 2)
    Considering that men usually don’t have to worry as much about being raped, murdered by a serial killer, or mugged by women,
    but women have to worry far more about that stuff being done to them by men in our nation (and in many other nations), how is it that these anti-MeToo slobs think men are victims?
    (More on this in a moment)

    And, btw, as for me personally, if my choices are between
    1.) being falsely accused of sexual harassment / rape
    vs.
    2.) actually being sexually harassed / raped,
    I’d opt for being falsely accused.

    Forget about “false” accusations.
    Look at what happens with True Accusations, look what happens to men when they are proven to have raped and harassed women: not much.

    So far in our nation, most of the men taken to task via ‘MeToo’ have gone back to their careers and have not been punished too much, if at all.

    Actor Bill Cosby (who was turned in prior to ‘Me-Too’) may be the one lone exception (but that was after three decades of his stalking of women and after 50+ women’s claims).
    Weinstein is still in and out of courts as I type this.

    Kavanaugh ultimately got his position confirmed on SCOTUS – he’s not suffering.
    Stand up comic and TV actor “Louis CK” (or whatever his name is) has been out at the comedy clubs performing his stand up routine once more the last few months, so his career is up and running.

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  52. (continued, part 3)

    On a second note (I started to comment on this in part 2 but went on a tangent, sorry)…
    As a woman, from the time I’ve been a child, I’ve spent my life having to be vigilant, especially when out alone, especially out at night alone.

    As a woman, I’m also vigilant of my surroundings when out shopping (for example, I check the back seat of my car before getting in at night, if I’m out at night, I look about me to make sure I am not being followed by a man),

    and I don’t leave a drink un-attended at bars or parties –

    All because a MAN might drug my drink and rape me if I leave my drink alone momentarily at a party, or a man may hit me over the head in a parking lot as a I leave a Wal-Mart store after an evening of shopping, to mug, rape, or murder me.

    As I walk through parking lots, I usually keep my car keys in my hand, the ragged edge side pointed outwards, to use as a weapon in case some rapist jumps me.

    I am constantly scanning the environment for any man who strikes me as suspicious in behavior or appearance.

    Do men do this when they are out shopping? No, not really, unless you’re a man who’s paranoid that another dude may try to steal your wallet.

    Do men feel as they have to do this self-aware behavior of scanning around them for rapists and serial killers almost every time when out shopping? No.

    Do you men scan the parking lot for suspicious women who are physically bigger than you and due to the fear that this woman may rape you or snatch your wallet? Nope.

    I am leery of getting into elevators (or going up and down stair wells in office buildings) with men I don’t know. I think that’s true for a lot of women.

    If I am out jogging, I periodically look around me to make sure no vehicles are slowly following me, because I’ve read of news articles going back to the 1980s of female joggers (or even female bicyclists) who are kidnapped by a man, placed into the man’s car, tossed into a trunk, driven off, raped, and killed.

    Do you men on here leave the house thinking of stuff like that, and on a very regular basis?

    Is part of your brain always in “thinking about possibly being raped or kidnapped” mode when you are out and about on walks, bike rides, or jogs, as it is for most women?

    (I’m willing to bet the response would be “Nope!,” or, “About never.”)

    If you’re a man, most of the time when you are out in public, you go out shopping or on runs or walks, going about on your merry little way, just looking at the birds tweeting in the trees, thinking about what a lovely day it is, and that’s all you are concerned about.

    Part of your mental energy as a man is seldom to never pre-occupied, when you’re around strangers or out in public, with things like,

    “If that man standing there up the street grab me and drag me behind that big rock to rape me, what shall I do?
    “Should I prepare to run the other way, should I scream? I forgot my pepper spray at home. I don’t see any cops near-by I can call for help….”

    I could go on and on with examples like these that are specific to women being at the receiving end of sexual assault or violence by men in our nation.

    I’m guessing most men never do any of this precautionary stuff because it never occurs to them to do this, because MEN are usually not the rape / mugging victims in our culture – women are.

    And the Christians and conservatives have the audacity to go on and on about what poor, poor, sweet, angelic victims all men are of ‘MeToo’ (or of any woman who steps forward to say she was sexually harassed or abused)? Spare me, please.

    As for the hypothetical.
    Please, it’s pretty obvious that many women have been sexually harassed by men in and out the workplace (for decades), but some of the Anti- Me- Too-ists keep pulling this:
    “But I have a father and a brother both of whom I love so much. What if my dad or brother were falsely accused?”

    As long as your father and brother aren’t acting like sexist, sexually abusive clowns around women, they don’t have anything to worry about.

    Most women aren’t in the business of running around accusing men of groping or raping them.

    Secondly, male- on- female sexism/sexual assault is fairly common, or at least way more common than false female- on- male claims.

    So, under this notion of a hypothetical that may never actually come to pass, you want all women every where to shut up about violence against women by men?

    (This reminds me of how people deal with pedophilia:
    Some people are more concerned with “false allegations” against an adult man, and how a kid saying, “that man groped me” will harm that man’s reputation, career, or family, then they are in eradicating child sexual abuse.
    So, they basically want all kids to sit down and shut up about being fondled by adult men, because they are so worried about all adult men being charged with being child molesters.)

    My dad is now an elderly guy.
    During his 7 – 8 decades on this planet, do you know how many women have falsely accused my father of rape or groping? ZERO. That’s how many.
    (Because my father doesn’t go around sexually assaulting anyone, for one thing.)

    Though my brother has done some sexist stuff during his time on earth, so far as I’m aware, he’s actually NOT raped or groped any woman.

    Know how many women have come forward to say that my brother (who is now middle-aged) has sexually abused them, or who have tried to go to the cops to charge him with a sexual offense? ZERO.

    Ditto on my male cousins and uncles. Not one of them, in decades, has been falsely accused by women with rape / groping / sexual harassment.

    (Though unfortunately I do have one male family member who actually did sexually abuse another family member back when they were children. But she never told on him or went to the cops. She only told me, my dad, and one other sibling of hers.)

    So please stop it with the,
    ‘But I have a daddy / son / brother, and I’m scared one of them may be falsely accused by some scheming Jezebel woman who hates men.’

    Most men are not being falsely accused by women with sexual assault.

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  53. On a closing note, and this is kind of related to what I said in part 3. This just crossed my mind.

    Being a Christian is not going to save you from all calamity in life.

    Being a sincere, devout, born again, Bible- believing Jesus follower, is not going to protect you nor keep you immune from pain, crime, or being harmed by other people.

    You can be the most Christian Christian who has ever existed, you can follow all the rules, be a kind, honest, decent person, whether male or female, and still end up…
    Being raped, mugged, getting cancer, getting false accusations against you, have your spouse divorce you for someone else, going bald, getting a sore tooth, getting a paper cut, developing P.T.S.D., being diagnosed with cancer / with depression / anxiety, or your pet dog may get hit by a car and pass away.

    There is nothing about being a Christian that is going to act as a supernatural protection over every area of your life, at all times – no matter how much you have faith, attend church, pray, tithe, read your Bible, and/or believe in and trust Jesus.

    I felt the need to put that in there, because some Christians seem to think that having accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior – and/or living right (being honest, kind, etc)- will magically or supernaturally make them exempt from crime, pain, and hardship.

    It won’t.

    They think, “But if you really, really believe in Jesus, follow Jesus, and behave properly, you won’t ever ~(fill in the blank here with whatever – you won’t ever be raped, have anxiety attacks, get dandruff, get the flu)~”

    Even the Bible has examples of people – of whom even God said were “righteous” or “after his own heart” – but God still permitted them to die, get sick, allowed their family members to die, etc etc etc.

    A few years ago, I saw a guy interviewed on a Christian show. I think he was a retired cop. He was hired by a company to act as a security consultant.

    His job consisted of going around churches to see how secure the churches were from gun-men (there has been an uptick in lunatics running into churches the last 15 years to shoot at the pew sitters during services).

    He said a lot of Christians still wrongly believe that being in a brick- and- mortar church building will somehow supernaturally protect them from being shot, raped, mugged.

    He said that’s not true. He cited examples of crimes he’s seen that have been committed on church grounds, and also mentioned suicides in churches.

    Church staff have walked into the church building to start their jobs the next day to find other people or their staff hanging from a rope, who had hanged themselves over night.

    I think it was that same article where I read about a woman who was being abused by her spouse.

    She drove to her church for help-

    (IMO, she should’ve called 911 and called the cops, because I don’t see what a church is going to do, if anything – like most churches, they would tell her to pray more, give more sex to, cook his favorite meal, and/or just submit more to her violent spouse and all will be well – massive eye roll here). Anyway.

    Before the woman could even get out of the car totally, to go into the church building to ask for help, her husband showed up right after her and shot her right there in the parking lot, where she died from the shot, if I remember the story right.

    Being in, on, or around a church property or church building is not going to supernaturally protect you from harm, neither is believing in Jesus and living a good, moral life.

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  54. Carmen:

    I am a 100% disinterested party in whoever gets onto the Supreme Court. It has no relevance to me whatsoever.

    No doubt you feel so entitled to your opinion – that Kavanaugh was the right person for the job

    In line with my disinterest, I haven’t given any opinion on Kavanaugh’s suitability or otherwise.

    that you completely dismissed Dr. Ford’s testimony as part of the ‘media circus’.

    I haven’t given any opinion on Ford’s testimony, let alone dismissed it in whole or in part.

    I wonder therefore how you can have no doubt as to what I would think about the whole episode. And, I might add, the media circus applied to some extent to both sides. Partisan reporting.

    I wonder how many other people are reading KAS’s comments on this thread and thinking the exact thing I am? – that the suppression of complainers’ voices – no matter how legitimate they are – is the ultimate goal.

    You have been speculating on what you imagine I think. I haven’t remotely suggested complainants should be silenced. What I have said – for the third time of asking – is that gossip should be rejected, and differentiated this from reporting abuse to boot. Your post is a classic example of how gossip can get started.

    I only mentioned the Kavanaugh episode as the possible reason for Challies doing a piece on the 9th commandment about bearing false witness. Gossip is more often than not false witness, since in my experience it is never less than exaggerated and often blatantly untrue. The chart above is right to warn against this.

    I do find the phenomenon of trial by media, social or otherwise, worrying. Guilt can only be established by a court of law based on evidence with the accused having a right to being defended. Until then the assumption of innocence must apply. It is under threat these days. Daisy’s sentence Kavanaugh held down a young woman against her will when younger, put his hand over her mouth, and tried to disrobe her, for god’s sake shows where trial by media can lead, with an assumption of guilt based solely on an accusation. This specific instance is one where the accusation is uncorroborated by other witnesses, something the bible warns against.

    JA has already pointed this blog away from discussions of the Kavanaugh nomination, for which I don’t blame her, and as far as I am concerned that’s as much as I want to refer to it.

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  55. Lea – KAS, would you count first hand accounts as ‘reasonable evidence’ here?

    An accusation is not of itself evidence. It needs corroborating. The trouble when sexual abuse is the accusation is that by nature this almost always occurs without witnesses, and hence is difficult to prove. Accusations by the person concerned should always be taken seriously, but not uncritically or automatically believed. Or disbelieved for that matter.

    Abuse of authority by church elders or managers at work is different, as this may have been witnessed by others. Certainly it is easier to assess a person’s character and the reasonableness of possible abuse having occurred when many people have to deal with them in a public setting over a period of time.

    A decent pastor may decide to assume a person complaining of abuse is telling the truth in order to avoid potentially making a bad situation worse and to offer suitable help and counsel. Give the benefit of the doubt for pastoral reasons. This is not the same thing as assuming the guilt in a legal sense of the alleged perpetrator. That is for the courts to decide.

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  56. Daisy, never consider what you have to offer ‘going off on a tangent’. What you have written is all informative, sensible, and insightful. When women are given a voice this is the result.
    As it should be.

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  57. Dear Christianity Hurts,
    When I read your posts, tears are shed and my heart longs for you to live free of your past. So very sorry that happened to you.

    I want you to know that I admire and respect you here, because you are a strong, intelligent, and an amazing woman who is educating many here. I have learned much from you and others in helping me understand precisely how the comp mind works and lives within the construct of a false Christianity that presents itself as the “real faith.” It has taken me many years to understand that my faith in Jesus Christ, is not a faith of slavery and bondage to entitled men, but one of liberty and freedom to Him, and in Him.

    I am so thankful that you post here. You are a most precious soul who deserves great things in this life.

    Like

  58. Though I am a conservative, this conservative (and at times Christian) preoccupation with men’s needs and men’s welfare in the midst of a movement (i.e. “MeToo”) shining a light on the systemic sexual harassment and sexual abuse of girls and women by men (not by other women!) infuriates me.

    Daisy, I don’t want to go too far down the political well, but the way monica was treated in the 90’s made me think feminists couldn’t be relied to support women when politics are involved. The way Dr. Ford has been treated says the same about conservatives. So where does that leave women?

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  59. Lea – KAS, would you count first hand accounts as ‘reasonable evidence’ here?
    KAS – An accusation is not of itself evidence. It needs corroborating.

    Actually, legally, testimony is evidence. A jury decides based on a lot of factors, but that is a big one. Who is credible. Who do they believe.

    Second, the topic was GOSSIP. So when you narrow it down to stuff which has ‘reasonable’ evidence, and you don’t count first hand testimony as evidence you basically refuse to listen to anyone whose abuser has been smart enough to do it out of sight. Which is most people.

    That is why I asked about first hand accounts. Would you count someone recounting their own abuse, or abuse of a dear friend as ‘gossip’? (for reference, here is what you said below:)

    Nor did I have this in mind when I said as you quoted “One way to counteract gossip is to refuse to listen to it in the first place, let alone pass it on.” When I said gossip, I meant gossip; tale-bearing, letting out secrets or minding other people’s business, rumour-mongers, not the exposure and report of abuse for which there is reasonable evidence.

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  60. To any and all conversing with KAS.

    KAS said,

    You have been speculating on what you imagine I think. I haven’t remotely suggested complainants should be silenced. What I have said – for the third time of asking – is that gossip should be rejected, and differentiated this from reporting abuse to boot. Your post is a classic example of how gossip can get started.

    Please be aware that KAS weasel words things quite a bit, he’s into shifting the goal posts, and when you confront him on what he has said and you refute it, he will then say, “I never said that,” and he will claim you are misunderstanding or misquoting him.

    He will accuse you of “living in a fantasy” (polite way of saying he thinks you are crazy and nobody should pay your views any heed.)

    Even after you ask him numerous times to flat out say exactly what he thinks about ‘X,’ he will either refuse to be plain about it, or he’ll dance around it some more, offer vague commentary, so you can’t quite pin down what he’s saying.

    He will dance around what he really thinks about some topics while inadvertently admitting to what he truly thinks about others.

    On those occasions he blurts out what his true feelings are or gives them away and you confront on that, he will deny ever having said or thought X, Y, or Z.

    Oh, he loves to hint and imply things. He won’t always come right out and say what he means but drop hints about his views. When you refute those “hints” he’ll run around accusing you of misunderstanding, misquoting and so on.

    He has behaved this way with Mark and myself on previous threads in regards to other subjects for a period of months.

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  61. KAS said

    You have been speculating on what you imagine I think. I haven’t remotely suggested complainants should be silenced. What I have said – for the third time of asking – is that gossip should be rejected, and differentiated this from reporting abuse to boot. Your post is a classic example of how gossip can get started.

    What I take away from KAS’ comments is that he thinks anyone coming forward (to parent, church, Senate hearings, the media, bosses, police, whomever) to say that “so- and- so sexually abused me or sexually harassed me” is the same thing as “gossip.”

    So, the long and short of it is that KAS believes that anyone who is raped, groped, or sexually harassed, should just suffer in silence the rest of their life and not discuss what happened to them and make sure their abuser never faces justice, never has to face consequences for their actions.

    Just imagine if we applied this to muggings, gas station robberies…

    You work at a gas station, it’s robbed, but KAS would say, “Don’t call the police for help or to report it, because that would be gossip!”

    Cue KAS quoting me and saying, “I never once said that.”

    Yes, that is what you’re saying. You’re communicating that…
    People should remain silent about other people abusing them or mistreating them because to report it to authorities or to discuss it with anyone else (even a psychologist in the course of receiving treatment for the trauma) would be “gossiping” about it.

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  62. Lea said

    Daisy, I don’t want to go too far down the political well, but the way monica was treated in the 90’s made me think feminists couldn’t be relied to support women when politics are involved. The way Dr. Ford has been treated says the same about conservatives. So where does that leave women?

    Don’t forget Juanita Broaddrick. She was raped by Bill Clinton (Democrat), and I believe he sexually assaulted other women.

    Hillary Clinton (Democrat) then harassed or bullied those women into staying silent for as long as she could.

    Both liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, show in their actions they are sexist towards women.

    The only thing I can say in favor of liberals and Democrats on any of this is that on one level they at least recognize obstacles facing women that Rs / cons / Xtians (Republicans, conservatives, and Christians) frequently do not.

    As a matter of fact, a lot of Rs/ cons / Xtians will flatly deny that there is even a problem with systemic sexism in the United States in the first place.
    They will point to Mid-East nations where Muslims are perfectly okay with women being stoned to death, and so on (where-as liberals and the politically correct here in the United States are loathe to admit that Islam has issues with misogyny, not just Christian complementarians), to downplay problems with sexism in the United States.

    Both sides have a lot of people who are willing to harm women / discard women / downplay sexism, if the choice is between (a) getting their candidate in office or (b) defending women.

    I rarely see either side place principle and doing the moral thing above what they want politically.

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  63. And P.S. in regard to my post above.

    Yes, many liberal feminists place politics above helping honest to goodness women.

    I remember when all the sexual assault accusations against Bill Clinton started coming out in the 1990s, a lot of the liberal feminists at that time downplayed those accusations and/or a few came right out and said that because Clinton was pro-choice on abortion, they were willing to vote for him anyway.

    They were willing to vote for a rapist of women, so long as that rapist agreed with them about abortion.
    I don’t see how throwing other women under the bus and giving a rapist a pass all because he seemingly supports your abortion view is “feminist” – it seems rather anti-feminist to me, if feminism is all about equality of women and making sure men are held accountable for their mistreatment of women.

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  64. This relates to one of the posts I made above:

    _Woman explains why she has to lie to taxi drivers about who she’s going home to_

    ….She begins the thread: “I’ve seen tweets going around about how normal situations for men can be dangerous for women. Here’s another: Male Uber/Lyft drivers OFTEN ask me, and ONLY at night when I’m alone, after we’re already en route, ‘So where are we headed?’ I’m careful not to say ‘home’.”

    One thing I’d like to add.

    In my lack of self esteem youth, coupled with the codependency that my mother and Christian gender complementarianism instilled in me, I too would’ve felt compelled to give the taxi drivers an ambiguous answer or to lie and say “my boyfriend’s house”

    Now, over age 45 me (who ditched sexist complementarianism years ago and now has a spine) would tell the male driver to STFU and MYOB and stop asking me about my personal life. I would tell him if I have or don’t have a man is None Of Your Business, Shut Up And Stop Asking.

    I’d do that rather than tip toe around and worry about how to lie to the guy.

    Anyway. This is another example, though of women having to navigate possibly rape scenarios that men in our culture never face, but some of them (and their anti-feminist female allies) want us to think THEY are the victims in culture and of “Me Too” and of “false allegations by women” and that they deserve to be pitied.

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  65. Daisy wrote: So, the long and short of it is that KAS believes that anyone who is raped, groped, or sexually harassed, should just suffer in silence the rest of their life and not discuss what happened to them and make sure their abuser never faces justice, never has to face consequences for their actions.

    Just imagine if we applied this to muggings, gas station robberies…

    You work at a gas station, it’s robbed, but KAS would say, “Don’t call the police for help or to report it, because that would be gossip!”

    Seriously.

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  66. KAS, “Trial by social media and the uncritical acceptance of accusations because of other agenda.”

    Yes, Kavanaugh’s appointment was a political appointment and not a legal one. It was not held to the same standards, and not surprisingly one side said, “innocent until proven guilty” and the other side said “victims’ rights”. But even those were politically motivated, because when the shoe was on the other foot the tables also switched. When it was Clinton/Lewinsky, the Republicans were all about victims’ rights and the Democrats were all about innocent until proven guilty. That’s when you realize that Kavanaugh/Ford is just another political circus and the actual people don’t matter as much as the strides the parties can make manipulating public opinion.

    But, the problem with Challies is timing. I’m sure he would not be writing a piece on the 9th commandment in the midst of, for example, the exposure of Catholic Priest sexual abuse. The time to call for silence and restraint is when the opposition is whipped up in religious fervor. And that’s it – it’s simply about who the opposition is and whose party line ought to be toed.

    Back to gossip. Since your definition of abuse is exceedingly narrow, I’m assuming that you would just by default close your ears to anyone who came to you. I think a woman would have to have physical signs of abuse for you to let her past the first sentence.

    But, perhaps a much better way would be to listen, then offer to help that person reconcile with the offender. The church pretty much has ignored that. And you don’t have to “think less” of people who have never been taught (from whom little is given, little is expected) to properly handle conflict. The pastors and church leadership typically do not model that behavior either.

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  67. KAS, “The trouble when sexual abuse is the accusation is that by nature this almost always occurs without witnesses, and hence is difficult to prove.”

    Yes, since you’re an OT buff, you realize that even the Bible treats sexual abuse differently. For example, the Bible is clear that Tamar was raped, even though there were no witnesses. The Bible also, even though adultery is a capital crime, has cases where a wife who claims she was raped in the country without any witnesses is to be believed, without question.

    I think this tradition is partly why most states have changed rape laws to not require a second witness to corroborate “prove” the account of the woman.

    The desire to claim “multiple witnesses necessary” here is not out of a desire to “do the right thing”, but out of a desire to use red tape and legal mumbo jumbo to confuse your audience into taking your side (that Kavanaugh has a right to be appointed because … no credible evidence against). Yet, you ignore that he has repeatedly lied under oath – something called perjury, that someone sitting on the highest court ought not to do. Are you motivated by your pure, Biblical morality, or are you manipulating your morality to suit the ends you desire?

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  68. KAS, “The taking of offence is usually occasioned by unloving attitudes and words, dogmatic assertions, barbed comments, the kind of things that disturb genuine Christian fellowship. Blatant hypocrisy. Stupid things said in Church Meetings (if you are Baptist!).”

    This also shows a poor understanding of Matthew 18. Matthew 18 is talking about private offenses, meaning an offense that is between two people. If my pastor, in a sermon, says something offensive, it is no longer a private offense. It is a public offense, and dealing with it publicly (e.g. posting the offensive sermon on social media) is not somehow blowing the Matthew 18 process. In the same way, blatant hypocrisy and stupid things said in church meetings are not private offenses either.

    Your opinion of Matthew 18 (no surprises here) is one used by church leaders to intimidate and suppress the truth from being revealed, rather than to correctly deal with interpersonal conflict. If a pastor is concerned about being called out for poor and potentially heretical doctrine in a sermon, then, of course, he’s going to try and stack the deck by promoting an all-encompassing interpretation of Matthew 18 that is intended to scare members from taking action when significant public wrongs have occurred.

    That is, for example, why SGM leadership will never be held accountable for violating mandatory reporter laws and abusing their membership. They will excommunicate anyone who exposes their sins, and they will Matthew 18 red tape the crap out of any legitimate offended person.

    That’s why Challies, in this case, is just providing cover fire for abusive Christian leaders and not being honest about what the 9th commandment really teaches.

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  69. Mark:

    JA has already requested the Kavanaugh nomination not become a topic of discussion, which I think should be respected. In any event, it doesn’t affect me.

    Back to gossip. Since your definition of abuse is exceedingly narrow, I’m assuming that you would just by default close your ears to anyone who came to you

    Didn’t you see A decent pastor may decide to assume a person complaining of abuse is telling the truth in order to avoid potentially making a bad situation worse and to offer suitable help and counsel. Give the benefit of the doubt for pastoral reasons above?

    I have already clearly differentiated between gossip and reporting of abuse. Your assumption is incorrect. I would, however, be very careful about third parties reporting abuse in case this proved to be gossip or started to morph into it. Best dealt with by those directly involved.

    I haven’t referred to Matthew 18, I’m not sure why you brought this up; but in any event since you don’t know how I view that passage but have imagined it, you are hardly in a position to criticise it.

    I virtually never read Challies any more, but taking his two articles simply on merit, I think they are a salutory reminder of the need to be careful in playing judge and jury based on unsubstantiated stories. I didn’t derive any attempt to silence anyone in them.

    Do you go online to research the faults of others when there is no good reason for you to do so? Do you read web sites committed primarily to exposing the sins, faults, and heresies of other people? could be understood to point people away from discernment type sites, but it is debatable how useful reading these are to anyone with no connection whatever with the ministry or church concerned unless, for example, false teaching is affecting people they do know.

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  70. “clearly differentiated between gossip and reporting of abuse”

    I think your definition of “clearly” is suspect. You used those words, yes, and you used them in exclusion of each other, yes, but to say you “clearly differentiated” means that the reader should understand your definition of gossip and your definition of abuse and how the two are juxtaposed against each other, which you “clearly” have not done. Based on your history, I suspect that there is significant overlap between what you define as gossip and what others define as abuse.

    “I virtually never read Challies any more, but taking his two articles simply on merit, I think they are a salutory reminder of the need to be careful in playing judge and jury based on unsubstantiated stories.”

    Yes, and this is exactly how you play the pastoral lap dog! You also said… “A decent pastor may decide to assume a person complaining of abuse is telling the truth in order to avoid potentially making a bad situation worse and to offer suitable help and counsel. Give the benefit of the doubt for pastoral reasons.”

    The WCF and Challies inordinately focus on hesitance to hear a bad report. Yet, as Daisy has pointed out, there is a difference between testimony and hearsay. Instead of focusing on what is hearsay vs what is testimony, you focus more on redefining testimony as an “unsubstantiated story” which then allows you/Challies/WCF to treat it as a mere rumor, when in fact, it is a person’s account of what happened.

    So, yes, you can say that the pastor can “decide to assume…truth” but by that you are also saying that the pastor can “decide to assume…falsehood”. Again, you are tipping your hand. You say that the pastor can arbitrarily decide whether the complaint of abuse should be assumed true (and by logic, false), and then take action based on that assumption. That put the pastor, interestingly, afoul of your statements of needing to be “careful in playing judge and jury”. So, for a pastor, the assumption of innocence or guilt is okay, but for people listening to interviews and congressional sworn testimony, the assumption of innocence or guilt is… not okay? Pastor’s lap dog!!

    Challies took this statement from the WCF “studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.” and turned it into “Is the focus of what you do, say, read, and watch those things God declares to be true, honest, lovely, and of good report? Or do you find yourself drawn to what is false, dishonest, evil, and disreputable? Do you make excuses as to why you need to know information that is evil or unhelpful or unverifiable or potentially false?”

    I think the last sentence is aimed at a bunch of things on social media. I also believe that Challies himself is setting himself up as a lap dog for other power brokers. That’s simply because social media has been a powerful amplifier for the weak against the strong. So, Challies in the typical Reformed, spiritually abusive sense is implying that rather than being discerning about what we read on social media, that somehow even seeking information that is “unverifiable or potentially false” is somehow a violation of the 9th commandment. I think it’s for the very reason that social media is a powerful end-run against the typical Evangelical wheels of justice, which, is definitely going to scare the clergy class who, to date, have only really had to worry about the police and mainstream media. (Also ironically the clergy class have been continually bearing false witness against the police and mainstream media)

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  71. Lea . Would you count someone recounting their own abuse, or abuse of a dear friend as ‘gossip’? (for reference, here is what you said below:)

    I’m not sure why you are asking this question, as what I ‘said below’ already answers it:

    When I said gossip, I meant gossip; tale-bearing, letting out secrets or minding other people’s business, rumour-mongers, not the exposure and report of abuse for which there is reasonable evidence.

    Of course reporting abuse can morph into gossip, especially amongst third parties not directly involved and maybe using it to further an agenda, sometimes there is a thin line between the two. It needs to be checked and evaluated.

    Abuse is likely to be personal and specific, who did what and when, whereas with gossip it is usually impossible to find out specifically what went on, it is vague unsubstantiated claims, you can’t nail it down.

    My sister told me decades after of a rumour that went around about my ‘involvement in the occult’. Since I have never ever had any involvement in the occult, you wonder just where these things come from, apart from the father of lies. You also wonder why those concerned didn’t ever ask me about it in view of the spiritual danger and damage such involvement would necessarily entail.

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  72. KAS: the uncritical acceptance of accusations because of other agenda.

    This, in itself, is a massive unbalanced assumption. Many people believe Dr. Ford (and others) precisely because was have critically examined aspects around the case and determined that it is most like that a thing happened. Because it fits the evidence we have. So to assume that this is ‘uncritical’ acceptance is incorrect.

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  73. I’m not sure why you are asking this question, as what I ‘said below’ already answers it:

    No. You said for which there is ‘reasonable evidence’. That is why I asked a clarifying question, but I’m not interested in going in circles here.

    I feel very sad for people stuck in church environments full of the DARVO [Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender (DARVO)] method, which is what it becomes. Is it bad? Gossip. Doesn’t matter if it’s true you shouldn’t talk about it. It is deemed not true if there aren’t any witnesses, etc.etc…

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  74. Absolutely, Lea. The thing is, it works very well for men . That’s exactly how the patriarch is enforced. I just shake my head when I read a comment from the ones who defend the same; on a blog designed to help dismantle the patriarch! I mean, REALLY???

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  75. Lea, no point in debating. KAS has already admitted exactly what we suspected – that it’s okay for authorities to decide what is the truth, but not for the subjects.

    I think that’s the whole point of the debate, because gossip is us subjects talking about things that haven’t been verified by the the authorities.

    Which is funny, because there is this huge Reformed history thing praising this woman who threw her stool at the state-forced pastor of her local church because he was teaching false doctrine. That was taught under the Reformation-era motto “Priesthood of all believers”, but, intriguingly, we Reformed types have gone full circle back to the pastor/priest being the untouchable, unquestionable vicar of Christ.

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  76. Mark said,

    (Kas quote):“clearly differentiated between gossip and reporting of abuse”

    (Mark reply):
    I think your definition of “clearly” is suspect. You used those words, yes, and you used them in exclusion of each other, yes, but to say you “clearly differentiated” means that the reader should understand your definition of gossip and your definition of abuse and how the two are juxtaposed against each other, which you “clearly” have not done. Based on your history, I suspect that there is significant overlap between what you define as gossip and what others define as abuse.

    As I was _just saying above_ a few days ago, in this very thread.

    Also, (and again), if you were going by KAS criteria, if you were a cashier at a 7-11 or gas station and got robbed at gun point, and the gunman runs off after getting the money, and you then ran around in a panic, calling police, and your mother, to cry and vent about it, that would be “gossip.”

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  77. Lea wrote: KAS: the uncritical acceptance of accusations because of other agenda.

    This, in itself, is a massive unbalanced assumption. Many people believe Dr. Ford …

    Why do you keep bringing up Ford? I’m not talking about that, but more in general.

    I’ve referred to the Bishop Bell case in the UK. A complainant was paid £15,000 pounds compensation based on an allegation of abuse decades ago, and decades after the bishop died. This was on condition she didn’t go to the press with her story – although the allegation had been reported.

    The assumption of guilt in this case led to a backlash, and the Anglican church commissioned an independent report (which I have read) that basically concluded that the whole thing had been badly handled from the beginning. Had it ever gone to court, it is most unlikely a successful prosecution would have occurred. (That is not to say the complainant was lying.)

    Both the press and church had been irresponsible in the way the dealt with the issue. This was bascially fear of being perceived to cover up possible abuse from the church point of view.

    The point is this – without a court case, the allegation remains just that. Unproven. The bishop should therefore be regarded as innocent. Following the report, the church is still being unwilling to reinstate the bishop’s name on buildings named in his honour, the Archbishop saying his name is ‘tainted’ or ‘under a cloud’. It ought not to be, but the church has swung from one extreme to the other, meaning from not taking abuse seriously in the past to now accepting the validity of allegations without proper investigation.

    The report itself should have settled the issue, but the complainant subsequently broke her agreement not to go to the press with her story (nice little earner for her I imagine) so why the continued reluctance to treat the bishop as innocent is even more incomprehensible.

    The sad thing is the bishop was one of the very few to stand up to the immorality of deliberately bombing civilians by allied air forces in WW2, a stand he made during the war. Probably cost him becoming archbishop. Both the US and the UK need to acknowledge this imo, not least because both countries are still using bombing today, and there aren’t any Bishop Bells calling them to account for it.

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  78. Lea – I don’t want to go round in circles either. When I talk about ‘reasonable evidence’, it is a way of saying pastors shouldn’t be gullible. That they should use their knowledge of the person concerned in assessing credibility.

    Abuse is in most cases a crime, and should be reported to the police, whose job is then to assess evidence.

    Gossip is not usually a crime, and needs dealing with differently.

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  79. Why do you keep bringing up Ford?

    Because she is the most recent, public example of this phenomenon and lots of people are talking about her.

    Although I see you cut off the (and others) I put on there specifically to make the point that this applies to more than Dr. Ford.

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  80. The point is this – without a court case, the allegation remains just that. Unproven.

    Unproven does not mean untrue. Whether we believe a thing is true or not true has little to nothing to do with whether it was proven in court. LOTS of true things will never be proven in court. That doesn’t make them ‘gossip’.

    When I talk about ‘reasonable evidence’, it is a way of saying pastors shouldn’t be gullible. That they should use their knowledge of the person concerned in assessing credibility.

    Pastors have proven to be absolutely TERRIBLE at making these credibility determinations, it seems. Particularly if they are the kind of pastors who believe women cannot be trusted or believed over a man.

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  81. Lea – my limited quotation of what you said was merely to avoid unnecessary length. Anyone can read the whole post, overdone repetition isn’t good.

    You said of allegations Unproven does not mean untrue. I agree with you completely, which if you read the stuff on Bishop Bell I would have thought was clear. (Had it ever gone to court, it is most unlikely a successful prosecution would have occurred. (That is not to say the complainant was lying.))

    I also agree that you can gain a reasonable idea as to a person’s guilt without it having to go to court. Bill Clinton would be an obvious example. Yet if he were ever to attempt to gain some kind of high public office again, the claims of abuse made against him would have to be proven in court if they were being used to disqualify him, all the more so if the opposition were politically motivated. Even with him the presumption of innocence applies in that context.

    As for allegations of abuse going back decades, in both the Ford case and Bishop Bell they are unproven and unprovable. Memory is unreliable and it gets worse over time for all concerned. The truth is ultimately known by God alone. One day he will judge and put all the wrongs right.

    Third parties in the media are free to comment but I think should be more reticent about giving opinions on the truthfulness of the allegations, since they can only ever really be agnostic. All the more so when they go against the one witness principle as in these particular cases.

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  82. I happened to have seen Challies’ articles on the 9th commandment, and found them to be a salutory reminder to be careful on the whole social media phenomenon. I assume he had the politicking over Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court in mind. Trial by social media and the uncritical acceptance of accusations because of other agenda….

    …He seemed to me to be aiming at unsubstantiated claims being passed around.

    KAS, I might be more willing to assume good intentions of Challies, if he hadn’t written another post of this kind several years ago. Back when the lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries was in full swing, he penned an article claiming that he had purposefully avoided reading many details about the case against SGM. In his own defence, he stated that is was “not good time management” to read too much about a situation that doesn’t affect him directly. And, by extension, Challies seemed to suggest that it would be wisest and most “biblical” for all other believers to avoid knowing too much about it, as well.

    In my view, he was taking the roundabout way to claim that he was more righteous than the bloggers (and their readers) who were demanding answers and greater accountability from Mahaney and his cronies. Men with whom Challies, incidentally, has some limited financial ties. This makes me less likely to assume innocent motives for his latest harping on Commandment #9.

    https://www.challies.com/articles/thinking-biblically-about-c-j-mahaney-and-sovereign-grace-ministries/

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  83. …the complainant subsequently broke her agreement not to go to the press with her story(nice little earner for her I imagine)…

    KAS, aren’t you guilty of gossiping here, per your own definition of the word?

    Not only are you repeating what someone else has done, but you’re also assigning motives to her actions. How do you know that her motivation in going public was greed? How do you know that she was even paid for her story? And if your words here are defensible, then how is it wrong for us to voice our opinions regarding the guilt or innocence of people who have chosen to be public figures?

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  84. KAS, “The report itself should have settled the issue, but the complainant subsequently broke her agreement not to go to the press with her story (nice little earner for her I imagine) so why the continued reluctance to treat the bishop as innocent is even more incomprehensible.”

    I think this brings up the question of whether paying someone hush money is a Biblical concept. I think that it’s wrong and it’s further complicated by the fact that there could be legal implications. If my priest raped me, then the church paid me to keep quiet about that, then what happens if I’m called to testify against him in a criminal case?

    “KAS, aren’t you guilty of gossiping here, per your own definition of the word?”

    No, because KAS has already claimed the pastoral lap dog position that gossip is only wrong when it is against a person in a position of power (e.g. Kavanaugh, Anglican priests, local pastors, husbands). It’s always fine to gossip against a victim.

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  85. SKIJ, re: Challies

    Doesn’t “Thinking Biblically” just tell you upfront that he is going to tell you something that is not only against all common sense, but also the complete antithesis of what Jesus would have done.

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  86. KAS, aren’t you guilty of gossiping here, per your own definition of the word?

    SKIJ, the dirty little secret is that these rules are never applied equally.

    And non disclosure agreements are proving to be a horror. It would be for the best if they were all broken in cases like this at this point.

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  87. If my priest raped me, then the church paid me to keep quiet about that

    And as you know if you saw spotlight, the church did exactly this. Over and over again.

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  88. SKIP KAS, aren’t you guilty of gossiping here, per your own definition of the word?

    There has been extensive reporting of the Bishop Bell case in the press. It’s in the public domain. What I said above is based on that. In particular the campaign by Peter Hitchens (brother of the famous atheist Christopher) to clear the Bishop’s name in the absence of evidence and due process, and also the report the Church of England commissioned. I’m also going by my memory of reading this over the last couple of years or so – and of course you have to be careful what you believe is in the press!

    To be fair, I don’t know that the complainant received any payment for her story, but in her initial complaint (that the church failed to deal with) she did say something to the effect she would ‘tell her story to the highest bidder to get compensation for what had been done to her’. So yes I do wonder if that happened, but I don’t know. The matter was supposed to have been settled.

    Because compensation was paid and an apology issued, I suppose it was almost inevitable the press should treat the Bishop’s guilt as having been proven, which it did. The independent report, which was not commissioned to assess the truth or otherwise of the allegations, but rather how the whole matter had been handled, concluded that had the matter ever gone to court it would not have resulted in a conviction. This is the standard of proof to assess the Bishop’s guilt, it has not and could not be met, and therefore the presumption of innocence should apply. In fact the burden of proof for civil litigation, which the compensation was assessed on, had not been met – a lower standard of proof than for a criminal case.

    Absence of evidence is always going to be a problem in cases like this that are nearly 7 decades old. Not only this, but you cannot apply modern legislation retrospectively.

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  89. KAS, “The independent report, which was not commissioned to assess the truth or otherwise of the allegations, but rather how the whole matter had been handled, concluded that had the matter ever gone to court it would not have resulted in a conviction.”

    Hogwash. If they were “commissioned to assess the truth or otherwise of the allegations” then how could they conclude “that had the matter ever gone to court it would not have resulted in a conviction”.

    Then you are taking their report, which, as you say was assessing the process of handling the matter, as evidence that the man is innocent.

    And, you are equating an independent report with a trial.

    “This is the standard of proof to assess the Bishop’s guilt, it has not and could not be met, and therefore the presumption of innocence should apply”

    Since there was presumably no criminal investigation, you are also assuming that a criminal investigation could not have uncovered more evidence?

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  90. Mark – you are making sweeping statements without having read the report concerned.

    In assessing how the church dealt with the case, Lord Carlile QC (i.e. high-ranking experienced lawyer who has dealt with abuse cases) was critical. They didn’t deal with it as they should from the point of view of the abused person.

    When it came to the award of compensation he was equally critical. They cannot just ‘believe’ the allegation, they had to weigh up the balance of probabilities the woman was telling the truth. They should have assessed this based on evidence needed for a civil litigation claim rather than a criminal claim – the latter has a much harder burden of proof.

    The report listed the kinds of evidence that should have been included in assessing whether compensation should have been made.

    They should have refered to the individual (‘Carol’) as a ‘complainant’ rather than ‘survivor’, as the latter is an assumption the allegation is true, and that the Bishop is therefore guilty.

    I skim read the report again, and at the date it was published she had not sold her story to the highest bidder.

    The lawyer detailed the kind of evidence that should have been used to asses the claim. It didn’t meet the standard for civil or ciminal litigation. He even said ‘If I were ever asked to prosecute a case with this evidence, I would lose it’.

    The point of Hitchens and others campaigning on this issue is that the Bishop has been treated as guilty by virtue of the allegation and its reporting in the press. Not only has it not been proven in court – which ought to be enough for the presumption of innocence to apply – the evidence such as it is does not support the claimant from a legal point of view, and it has been thoroughly examined.

    Historians have also weighed in on the issue of evidence.

    Hence their campaign for anything named after the Bishop to be re-instated, and the church authorities to stop treating him as though a cloud hung over his name.

    Nobody has said that it is impossible that the allegations could in fact be true, although it would fly in the face of everything known about the Bishop.

    There has been a huge literature over this topic in the press, and I don’t wish to read it all again. You would need to to get the overall picture. Read just the first page of this http://www.georgebellgroup.org/ . It also links to the report.

    The case is a reminder that accepting allegations as true in the ‘survivor’ world may be OK on the internet (personally I’m not convinced), but it is not OK to accept them legally, let alone where they are directed at individuals who cannot defend themselves.

    We should never ’empower’ women to wreck men’s reputations and lives simply on the basis of allegations, but it seems to me this is a very real danger.

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  91. KAS, “We should never ’empower’ women to wreck men’s reputations and lives simply on the basis of allegations, but it seems to me this is a very real danger.”

    But… if we ignore women’s allegations, then we create an environment where women are always assumed to be liars – and thus wreck their reputations. So, the only real solution is to take all allegations seriously and investigate them.

    Re: your report. I’m saying that you are being hypocritical once again. You say that the only way to establish guilt is in a court of law, but then you are allowing a report written by a lawyer to determine your view, which is NOT A COURT OF LAW. So, I don’t have to read the report or study the case to understand that you are moving the goalposts with respect to Kavanaugh (innocent until proven guilty) and this accuser (innocent until you assume otherwise).

    Which then brings me back to your claim, which sounds very much like… we don’t believe victims until proven otherwise.

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  92. Mark:

    But… if we ignore women’s allegations …

    No-one has suggested this.

    So, the only real solution is to take all allegations seriously and investigate them.

    That is precisely what I have suggested. There was a serious failure to investigate in this case (Bishop Bell).

    You say that the only way to establish guilt is in a court of law, ….

    Yes, it is, ultimately. I would have thought there was general agreement on this, at least until fairly recently. The threat to this is why Hitchens and others have campaigned so hard.

    So, I don’t have to read the report or study the case.

    Yes you do if you want to comment intelligently on this case. One page would suffice to get an idea. You sound a bit like you don’t want to be bothered by facts.

    … to understand that you are moving the goalposts with respect to Kavanaugh

    I’m not talking about Kavanaugh, didn’t mention him, so why bring him up? I’m talking about Bishop Bell, and the concept of innocent until proven guilty. Nevertheless, Kavanaugh deserves this be granted him, as is true of everyone else. No goalposts were moved in the course of writing the post.

    … your claim, which sounds very much like… we don’t believe victims until proven otherwise.

    More or less correct. You may choose to believe complainants (if you call them victims or survivors, you have already made a decision as to guilt and innocence) for pastoral reasons, but not for awarding compensation or for ruining the reputation or livelihood of the person accused. Guilt is a job for the courts to decide based on evidence and a right of defence.

    Whatever you think of the C of E, you could hardly accuse it of not taking abuse allegations seroiusly these days.

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  93. But… if we ignore women’s allegations, then we create an environment where women are always assumed to be liars – and thus wreck their reputations.

    This is exactly what happens, in reality. And then, shockingly!, women don’t report. And then they are blamed for that too.

    Heads I win, Tails you Lose.

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  94. KAS, re: You say that the only way to establish guilt is in a court of law – “Yes, it is, ultimately. I would have thought there was general agreement on this, at least until fairly recently. The threat to this is why Hitchens and others have campaigned so hard.”

    You need to really take this one to God. You are in complete contradiction with the Bible, where prophets proclaimed guilt on people. You are also contradicting the ability of the church to judge, which is specifically commanded. And, I think that there is a general Biblical principle that it does not take a civil court for us to understand the truth of right and wrong, especially when it comes to those who are in power.

    For example, Jesus talked about the widow who petitioned the God-hating judge for justice. He knew she deserved justice but it wasn’t until she wearied him by her complaints that he brought justice.

    Another example, “My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?”

    I think by presuming the innocence of the powerful against the powerless (which is the bedrock of the western legal system, and rightly so) we choose to blind ourselves to the truth. For example, OJ – he was acquitted of murder, yet held liable civilly. I think it is completely reasonable to believe that he murdered his wife, despite the fact that he was acquitted. Yet, he was presumed innocent and the state could not make a compelling enough case against him. Yet, the civil trial… it is more likely than not that he caused the wrongful death of his wife.

    Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a reasonable standard for the STATE to decide when they should take action, on behalf of society, against a criminal, but proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not a valid standard for personal decisions about truth. I think, instead, it is a tool for pastoral lap dogs like you to choose to do nothing while the poor and powerless are oppressed.

    re: we don’t believe victims until proven otherwise. “More or less correct”

    I think this again fits into your desire to be a pastoral lap dog. You have continued to list all sorts of reasons why you believe the person in power should not lose any opportunities or be treated any differently, unless the charges are proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Yet… you have obvious contempt for the validity and actions of victims. – I think again, this runs afoul of what James says. You look at the guy in the suit and you look at a disheveled woman and you offer the suit the good place and you offer the dirty clothes contempt.

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  95. Yet, he was presumed innocent and the state could not make a compelling enough case against him.

    If we are talking about the legal system in the US, many offenses have a statute of limitations, so if you wait the courts will NEVER make any finding of guilt or innocence.

    If you are guilty, you are guilty. If you are innocent, you are innocent. A courtroom is not the only place to find the truth.

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  96. Not only has it not been proven in court – which ought to be enough for the presumption of innocence to apply – the evidence such as it is does not support the claimant from a legal point of view, and it has been thoroughly examined.

    Hence their campaign for anything named after the Bishop to be re-instated, and the church authorities to stop treating him as though a cloud hung over his name.

    I’m curious, KAS. Do you feel the same about the accusations against British celebrity Jimmy Savile? After all, he was accused of numerous cases of abuse after his death, and condemned by society without any trial in a court of law. Does Savile also deserve the benefit of “innocent until proven guilty”, with his knighthood, his headstone and the charities in his name all restored? If not, what makes his case so different from that of Bishop Bell, and why should we all presume Bell to be innocent and his complainant to be a liar?

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  97. if you wait

    I should say it’s not just if you personally decide to wait. There are cases where a rape or other crime was reported immediately, evidence collected, and no one caught until they were outside of the statute of limitations, so they were never prosecuted or faced any justice at all. We have rape kits that are untested years after the SOL has expired too – in many cases leading to people getting away with crimes against others. Which is MADDENING but there you go.

    The court system has been famously unjust to people over the years because of their race, social standing, gender, etc. How can we use this imperfect system as the sole arbiter of justice?

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  98. Serving Kids – The Savile case I would have thought was obviously different from Bell.

    In Savile’s case, there are up to 450 complainants spanning several decades, and what was going on was suspected if not actually known about by others in the entertainment industry, who did nothing about it. These cases have been subject to police scrutiny, though while Savile was alive they did nothing. I don’t think if Savile were still alive there could be much doubt as to what the verdict would be. As this has never gone to court, Peter Hitchens is right to point out that technically Savile is an innocent man.

    Bishop Bell is one complainant, and from decades ago. Lord Carlile reported that the absence of others for the kind of abuse concerned ought to have made the church be more careful. Those who were alive at the time of the alleged abuse and can still witness do not lend credence to the veracity of the allegations, indeed the opposite. No suspicions, unlike Savile. The police abandonned looking into the case.

    When the complainant finally went to the press and divulged the details of the abuse, this enabled the Bell Group to examine it, and certain details did not add up.

    I must pick you up on one point: why should we all presume Bell to be innocent and his complainant to be a liar? I don’t know anybody involved in this who has said the complainant is a liar. They have carefully avoided this. The point at issue is the legal presumption of innocence. Everyone acknowledges the allegations could be true, even though most unlikely.

    The difference is that for Savile you could be more or less certain that a guilty verdict could be obtained in court, whereas for Bell it would never have got as far as court without further evidence, and such as there is would never succeed in a successful prosecution.

    So until and unless something more substantial comes up by way of evidence, the reputation of a very brave and moral Christian leader should be allowed to stand.

    The complainant has had compensation and a formal apology from the church, I don’t see what else could be done given the circumstances. Pastorally she has been given the benefit of the doubt.

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  99. Peter Hitchens is right to point out that technically Savile is an innocent man.

    No. If that is what he said he is very very wrong.

    Saville is a GUILTY man, who was never charged. Legal findings do not change the reality of guilt or innocence.

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  100. In Savile’s case, there are up to 450 complainants
    Bishop Bell is one complainant

    It takes how many victims testimony to equal one mans denials, then? Is there math on this? 5 women. 10 children?

    How many victims testimony is equal to that of one perpetrators?

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  101. Lea – you are not seeing what I am getting at. Hitchens is right over Savile, legally he is still innocent. Only in the eyes of the law – it’s pretty obvious from the investigation of his actions what really went on. I think Hitchens said this, not because of doubt over Savile’s actual guilt, but because of the increasing tendency to reverse the historical legal position in social media circles and in press reporting sometimes, and instead say that once an allegation has been made it is incumbant on the person accused to prove their innocence.

    This clearly happened with the Kavanaugh thing from what I saw of it. It’s what will happen if you unconditionally #believewomen. It is up to the person making the allegation to provide evidence that will prove their case.

    Regarding Bell, the kind of abuse he was accused of rarely occurs with just one victim. Lord Carlile made this point in criticising the response of the church, they should have been more careful in the light of this. More impartial, looked at more evidence. But he did not say this meant the allegation was thereby untrue. He was discussing how they dealt with the balance of probabilities that the claim was true.

    Also at the risk of stating the obvious, a man dead for half a century cannot give any testimony in his own defence, which is the case with Bell. It would be wrong to sacrifice his reputation on the basis of one unsubstantiated claim, and also wrong to do so for PR purposes to make it look as though the church were doing the right thing by paying compensation and issuing a formal apology. (One of Bell’s successors to the diocese is currently inside for molesting boys, hence their sensitivity to being seen to take such things seriously.)

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  102. Savile, legally he is still innocent.

    ‘Legally’ is a meaningless thing in regards to whether a person is guilty or innocent. They are or they aren’t. They aren’t ‘legally’ innocent anyways – they just have not legally been proven guilty. Legal findings of innocence happen, but rarely. None of these guys have been found ‘legally’ innocent. They just were not proven guilty in a court of law. People who make this distinction, in my experience, have an agenda.

    It is up to the person making the allegation to provide evidence that will prove their case.

    I don’t know how many times testimony is evidence needs to be said, but clearly it is one more…

    Also, it should be up to the police to investigate. They just don’t bother in many cases. Kavanaugh wasn’t in court, he was interviewing for a job.

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  103. KAS, “Only in the eyes of the law – it’s pretty obvious from the investigation of his actions what really went on. ”

    So, what you’re saying is that Kavanaugh is innocent because YOU have decided he’s innocent and Savile is guilty because YOU have decided he’s guilty. The rest is a crapload of red herrings you’re dumping in our path to justify your arbitrariness.

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  104. So, what you’re saying is that Kavanaugh is innocent because YOU have decided he’s innocent and Savile is guilty because YOU have decided he’s guilty.

    No, I am saying that both of the above are in the eyes of the law presumed to be innocent. In the case of Savile, that he is actually not guilty of abuse is vanishingly unlikely to be true. In the Kavanaugh case:

    Either

    Ford was deliberately lying and making a false accusation and Kavanaugh is therefore actually innocent.

    or

    Ford is telling the truth and Kavanaugh is lying (or was too inebriated to know what actually went on if you want to be generous)

    or

    Ford is sincere but recalling a false memory, brought into being by suggestion when she went to see a psychologist or is remembering the wrong person, in which case neither is lying.

    I have no idea what actually went on in the Ford/Kavanaugh case, and neither does anybody else with any certainty. I have no axe to grind in the party politics emeshed in it, and I don’t recognise the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to boot!

    The burden of proof lies with the plaintiff, and not with the accused. Ford needs to produce evidence her accusation is true, and Kavanaugh doesn’t need to do anything. That is the material point and it needs defending in the light of internet/social media pseudo-trials. Some of this dangerous thinking surfaces in Lea’s comment above. Countering it is what is motivating Hitchens and the Bishop Bell group.

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  105. KAS, “In the case of Savile, that he is actually not guilty of abuse is vanishingly unlikely to be true.”

    This is what I have a problem with. You are acting as if Kavanaugh is ACTUALLY innocent and you are acting as if Savile is ACTUALLY guilty, yet you are upbraiding us for doing the exact same thing. We understand that legal guilt or innocence is based on a court decision, but whether we choose to BELIEVE that one or the other is innocent or guilty is our prerogative and precisely what you are also doing.

    “That is the material point and it needs defending in the light of internet/social media pseudo-trials.”

    You are equivocating to avoid being showing yourself a hypocrite or losing your point. It is NOT the material point. The material point is that LEGAL innocence and guilt is different from ACTUAL innocence and guilt, and that a court of law is the only place where LEGAL guilt can be determined, and that is somewhat orthogonal to actual innocence or guilt.

    By saying “vanishingly unlikely to be true” in the case of Savile, you are doing the very thing that you are accusing us of – presumption of guilt based on news and social media accounts. We are just doing the same thing with Kavanaugh that you are choosing to do with Savile.

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  106. Mark – you need to calm down a bit. You’re seeing things that aren’t there.

    I’m reluctant to get more into the Kavanaugh episode as our host asked us to refrain from this. I suppose it’s done and dusted now. The media have moved on and no-one now appears to care about what might have happened to Ford.

    You are acting as if Kavanaugh is ACTUALLY innocent …

    What I said was both

    Ford was deliberately lying and making a false accusation and Kavanaugh is therefore actually innocent.

    or

    Ford is telling the truth and Kavanaugh is lying (or was too inebriated to know what actually went on if you want to be generous)

    and, in conclusion to the above

    I have no idea what actually went on in the Ford/Kavanaugh case

    I have no need nor any wish to play judge and jury on this one. What I have said is that an accusation on its own is not enough to condemn a man.

    If Bishop Bell were your father, and a single unsubstantiated accusation of sexual abuse were made decades after his death and allegedly occuring over half a century ago, not only unsubstantiated but remaining witnesses and evidence point away from the accusation being true, would you be happy for the media and general public to assume guilt without investigation? He must be guilty because of what the Catholics have been up to (‘they’re all at it’)? Blot out the memory of a very brave man, who stood head and shoulders above the current generation of snowflakes and internet zombies, who stood up morally in a real war where there were no safe spaces? I wouldn’t.

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  107. The Savile case I would have thought was obviously different from Bell.

    KAS, I’m well aware of the differences between the Savile case and that against Bishop Bell. I brought up Jimmy Savile because you said the following:

    The point is this – without a court case, the allegation remains just that. Unproven. The bishop should therefore be regarded as innocent. Following the report, the church is still being unwilling to reinstate the bishop’s name on buildings named in his honour, the Archbishop saying his name is ‘tainted’ or ‘under a cloud’. It ought not to be…

    Much the same applies to Savile. The allegations against him remain unproven, and yet he’s roundly condemned as a child molester and his reputation is forever tainted. According to your argument above, it “ought not to be”, if the allegations against him can never be proven. You didn’t say originally that a man’s reputation could be judged based on whether he would likely have been proven guilty. You made it sound as though an actual guilty verdict is the sole criterion for determining how we talk about or refer to a man like Bell or Savile. So I chose an admittedly extreme case of suspected exploitative behaviour to get a better idea of where you stand.

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  108. Hi Serving Kids – I hope you are well.

    For Savile to actually be innocent would mean over 450 alleged victims spread over 4 decades have somehow colluded together to besmirch a decent man who worked for charities. Not only has this been investigated by the police, but something that came out was a number of people in the entertainment world, including the BBC, who knew or suspected something was going on chose to ignore it. Products of the 60’s sexual revolution, who didn’t see anything much wrong with such activity? “Do your own thing”. Cared more about the viewer ratings for Savile’s TV output?

    The police were castigated because a few allegations made whilst Savile was alive met with the response ‘if you want to proceed with this, Savile has the wealth to hire the best lawyers in the world and will likely make mincemeat of you’, thereby putting them off. That is partly how he got away with it for so long.

    Had Savile lived a bit longer, he would almost certainly have ended up in court, it was getting harder for him to cover up what he had been doing. The lid was coming off.

    There is one person with absolute knowledge whose justice Savile cannot escape – it would be better for him that he had never been born.

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  109. dangerous thinking

    😂

    Dangerous to think the truth is the truth. That what happened happened regardless of what has been proven in a court of law.

    Too dangerous to address my actual points. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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  110. Mark said (to KAS)

    The material point is that LEGAL innocence and guilt is different from ACTUAL innocence and guilt, and that a court of law is the only place where LEGAL guilt can be determined, and that is somewhat orthogonal to actual innocence or guilt.

    Yep.

    We’re (average Jane and Joe Q Public are) allowed to have opinions on people we read about in the news based upon whatever we’ve learned so far.

    We don’t have to wait until a court comes down with a “not guilty” or “guilty verdict.”

    Also, “not guilty” does not necessarily mean “innocent of what he or she was accused of”.

    Sometimes juries, judges, etc, get this stuff wrong.

    Does anyone truly believe that O.J. Simpson was “not guilty” of murdering his wife and that guy she was with, all just because “not guilty” was the jury’s vote on the matter?

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  111. Mark said to KAS

    This is what I have a problem with. You are acting as if Kavanaugh is ACTUALLY innocent and you are acting as if Savile is ACTUALLY guilty, yet you are upbraiding us for doing the exact same thing.

    We understand that legal guilt or innocence is based on a court decision, but whether we choose to BELIEVE that one or the other is innocent or guilty is our prerogative and precisely what you are also doing.

    Yep. KAS is a weasel worder, goal post mover, and he applies rules to other people in discussion that he does not apply to himself.

    This is one reason I’m glad I’ve not really taken to discussing this subject with him on this thread.

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  112. Lea ’Legally’ is a meaningless thing in regards to whether a person is guilty or innocent. They are or they aren’t.

    The legal position is hardly meaningless when it comes to establishing guilt in the eyes of the public – of destroying reputations or job opportunities. When an allegation is made, it is all too easy to think there is no smoke without fire.

    They aren’t ‘legally’ innocent anyways – they just have not legally been proven guilty.

    This is where I disagree with you – until proven in a court of law you have to presume innocence. This concept is common to both the US and UK legal systems. It’s derived from the OT. This doesn’t mean the person accused actually is innocent. But you have to treat them as innocent until you can prove otherwise.

    I would have thought this concept was clear enough from what I have written about Bell – no-one in the group defending him has said it is impossible for the allegations to be true, i.e. the complainant is a liar. Nevertheless, he has to be presumed innocent, and not presumed guilty (as happened in the press), neither should his name be removed from public buildings. (Bell is not the only case where this has happened recently.)

    The making of an allegation is not evidence of its truthfulness. It is not true because it is a woman making it. It is not true because a woman is making it and the same thing she alleges has happened to other women. That ought to be self-evident, but if you watched much footage of the events about a month ago, clearly it isn’t any longer.

    Also, it should be up to the police to investigate

    Complete agreement here. The press and social media may be the means of uncovering great evil going on, but it is up to the courts to pronounce the guilty verdict, and only then does the accused stand condemned.

    A person may be actually guilty, but this cannot be proven in court, and so is released. This may be nauseating, but you have to give them the benefit of the doubt. It is better, but not good, to acquit the guilty than condemn the innocent.

    I think you are looking for disagreement where there isn’t any.

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  113. Daisy wrote: Yep. KAS is a weasel worder, goal post mover, and he applies rules to other people in discussion that he does not apply to himself.

    How does she know this when she doesn’t read what I write?

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  114. But you have to treat them as innocent until you can prove otherwise.

    I really, really don’t. If I know someone did something, I will treat them as guilty. If I know someone abused children, I will not treat them as innocent and leave small children around them. If I know someone raped someone, I will not ‘treat them as innocent’ and ignore that information. That would be lunacy.

    And you completely ignored or misunderstood my point. Being found ‘not guilty’ does not mean being found ‘innocent’. You are conflating the two. There is a mechanism for a legally finding of innocence, but it was not used as far as I know in any case you’re discussing.

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  115. KAS said

    How does she know this when she doesn’t read what I write?

    No.
    I’ve read tons of your posts in the past.

    I occasionally skim some of your posts now, sometimes I scroll past as many as I can.

    I usually prefer to scroll past, because you’re usually a waste of time to read and enter-rac with.

    On threads pertaining to gender / complementarianism / marital rape, you more than demonstrated that you lie, weasel word, hold double standards, and move the goal posts and are at times deliberately vague so that others cannot hold you accountable.

    You’re insensitive to the plights of others, and lecture them on how you think they should handle their pain, and you scold them for how they post.

    You should have been banned from this blog months ago.

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  116. Lea said Re: KAS

    And you completely ignored or misunderstood my point. Being found ‘not guilty’ does not mean being found ‘innocent’. You are conflating the two. There is a mechanism for a legally finding of innocence, but it was not used as far as I know in any case you’re discussing.

    Did he just scroll by my post above where I addressed this?

    “WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INNOCENT AND NOT GUILTY?”

    From that page:

    What is not guilty?
    When it comes to a criminal case, the prosecution has to prove that a defendant committed a crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
    Being found not guilty doesn’t necessarily mean you are innocent. Instead, it means that the evidence wasn’t strong enough for a guilty verdict.

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  117. Lea And you … misunderstood my point.

    I think there may be talking at cross-purposes going on. In your first paragraph above you talk about knowing someone abused someone and not treating them as not guilty. If this were the case, you would report the issue to the police for investigation.

    If you suspect something is going on, a more likely scenario, the precautionary principle would mean you act to prevent further harm. I am not advocating handing children over to wolves on the basis of a presumption of innocence.

    What I have been talking about above is the use of social media to make an accusation, or the reporting of an accusation in the press, and this being treated as though the accused has to prove their innocence. This happens when the complainant is referred to as a survivor or victim. It is a common result of rumour-mongering. It can happen when victim status is claimed to get political power.

    This distinction might be academic but for the fact, even if at present uncommon as a percentage, false accusations are made, deliberately or otherwise. This is what the presumption of innocence is designed to protect against, and it is under threat. It’s not a legal nicety.

    A useful reform would be if you can prove in court a false allegation was deliberately made to sentence the accuser to the same time inside as the falsely accused would have had to serve.

    I have never heard of any mechanism for proving innocence that might be used. Is this some provision in US law? All I have ever heard of is prove guilty and convict or acquit and continue with the presumption of innocence.

    You will not always get justice in this life. Under atheism a perpetrator who is never caught gets away with it at death absolutely, but under Christianity there is a coming day of judgement when all wrongs will be put right, and no-one gets away with anything evil they have done to others.

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  118. KAS,

    I know that this thread has gone a bit dormant, but I still have some questions for you, whenever you have the time.

    About a week ago you said:

    The legal position is hardly meaningless when it comes to establishing guilt in the eyes of the public – of destroying reputations or job opportunities. When an allegation is made, it is all too easy to think there is no smoke without fire.

    In light of this, how do feel about the activism of Rachael Denhollander, for example? Years ago, at her former church, she protested their decision to invite C.J. Mahaney as a guest preacher, due to the allegations against him in the SGM scandal. Mahaney had only been accused; the civil trial never even got started, let alone deliver any verdict against him. So was it wrong for Rachael to “destroy his reputation” and deny him a “job opportunity”, simply because she found the accusations against him credible? Was she guilty of gossip for discussing with others the possibility that he had covered up abuse of women and children?

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  119. I know that this thread has gone a bit dormant

    SKIJ, thanks for the reminder because I meant to say I disagree with most of KAS’s point but I think I’ve already sufficiently explained way.

    Related to Rachael’s activism, an accusation ‘without proof’ is generally the beginning of the process – wherever that process ends up leading. It is absolutely necessary and vital to LISTEN when people make accusations. If you turn a blind ear to them, you are just admitting that you don’t care about it because accusations are IMPORTANT. Whenever people ask why someone doesn’t report, or doesn’t leave, just point them to the fact that when they report they get called liars, and when they leave (an abuser) they get murdered all too often, as happened very sadly to two women this past week.

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  120. SKIJ – how do feel about the activism of Rachael Denhollander, for example? Years ago, at her former church, she protested their decision to invite C.J. Mahaney as a guest preacher, due to the allegations against him in the SGM scandal.

    Sorry for the delay in replying. If there are credible allegations in the public domain I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with bringing them up with the leadership of a church. I do think hard evidence is needed to back up a claim. I’m not saying you have to have a court case to keep wolves from the sheep.

    I’m not sure quite what Mahaney is accused of. I assume negligence based on an assumption that he must have known about abuse going on on his watch and did nothing about it. I’m not aware of criminal charges being brough up against him, but then I haven’t followed the case. What happened on a different continent 20 years ago really isn’t any of my business unless I am subscribing to Mahaney’s ministry in some way, which I am not.

    ( I have in my time wasted time trying to ascertain the guilt or otherwise of a well-known ministry from the internet and am not inclined to repeat the procedure. It’s not my job to decide. There is a point where the bitterness of third parties gets too much.)

    You could be forgiven for getting the impression from the internet that Mahaney, Piper, MacArthur etc etc have personally indulged in abuse. This is one reason why I have become much more wary of believing what is circulating at any one time.

    From the legal position Mahaney is still innocent. That is the point with both Bishop Bell and the Kavanaugh episode as far as I am concerned. I noticed you rightly said about the ‘allegations against Mahaney’, which to me is fair enough, my argument is not to play judge and jury and declare Mahaney guilty when it has not been proven.

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