Clergy Misconduct, Clergy Sex Abuse, Ravi Zacharias, Spiritual Authority

As a New Christian and Missionary Alliance Minister, Ravi Zacharias Pressured His Brother’s 16-yr old Girlfriend to Have Illegal Abortion

Ravi Zacharias, RZIM Ministries, Clergy Abuse

Ravi Zacharias, sex scandal, falsified credentials, lawsuit
Twitter photo

Introduction

Those of us who cover stories of abuse by Christian leaders understand that there is usually not only one incident, but a pattern of incidences and similar behaviors that occur over years. Also, there’s usually not just one victim, but several, or even more. So, I suspected that others would come forward when I covered the personal account of Lori Anne on how Ravi Zacharias used his position of trust to take advantage of Lori Anne, which later led to online sexting.

When we talk about abuse, we are talking about control, taking advantage of the vulnerable for personal gain. While Lori Anne’s story was about taking control for sexual gain, this personal story is about protecting self for personal gain.

When covering a personal story like this, you have to get it right because there are so many who love Ravi and want him to succeed. I get that. I was shocked when the first sexual allegation about Bill Cosby came out – Dr. Huxtable? That funny and lovable father on The Cosby Show, the guy who was the voice of a favorite children’s cartoon, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids? The guy who made Jello brand pudding look so scrumptious? No, it couldn’t be him. But as it turned out, yes, it was him, and not with just one, but scores and scores of women.

But Ravi? He’s so likable. He has made spiritual concepts so understandable. He has positively influenced many. It’s difficult to wrap your head around even the possibility of this man with gentle eyes doing harm. But here, once again, I am presented a personal story that sounds completely legitimate, told in great detail, by a woman who by coming forward is risking much. I warned her that she would be blamed, her story would be discounted. I asked her if she was willing to subject herself to this kind of scrutiny – after all, once I hit publish, it’s over. People are so quick to take screenshots and make sure a story like this doesn’t disappear. She insisted, yes, and not only with just her first name, but also her last name. That’s brave, folks, really brave. And this is not about money, either. She is not going after Ravi Zacharias for money – it’s only about the truth for her. She wants people to know the truth.

This personal account is by Shirley Steward, who recently retired with the rank of Detective Constable from the Ontario Provincial Police after 34 years of service (Canadian Provincial police are comparable to state police in the US). This is a woman who worked on cases ranging from parking tickets to murder, and whose job was to uphold the law, which included giving sworn testimony and being cross examined in court where details and truth were essential.

But now, Shirley will enter the court of public opinion. The incident in Shirley’s personal account occurred in 1973. By that time, Ravi was a newly licensed minister, licensed by The Christian and Missionary Alliance of Canada in 1972. Does this explain why Ravi said what he did to his younger brother – because he did not want to compromise his new ministry work? How would this affect Ravi’s new career if people found out?

I asked Shirley why she wanted to come forward. She told me that events happen for a reason, and went into detail about one such event. She went to her parent’s house long after her tragic nightmare and discovered a magazine on their coffee table (mentioned in Shirley’s testimony below). The article painted Ravi and Margie Zacharias as a masterful host and hostess in their home. They used their home for ministry work and talked about how Christian homes should be a peaceful, humble place. But there was an arrogance that exuded from Ravi’s words as he described how he likes to get up from the table and help Margie with the kitchen cleanup while hosting company. He’s using himself as an example of humility. But true humility doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t draw attention to self.

But back to “events happen for a reason,” in Shirley’s account, she describes the article and her thoughts, but in her testimony, she failed to mention that she took that magazine home. To me, that is an important detail. Why did she take the magazine home when the contents made her sick to her stomach? That doesn’t make sense unless there was an emotional connection with it. Why would she save the magazine for all these years? Ravi and Margie represent religious hypocrisy to her. Wouldn’t she want to discard the magazine? Nope, I believe she kept it because she had unfinished business to do. Her heart was not settled by the harm that had been done to her. This magazine became part of her story – an event marker depicting hypocrisy in the Christian church by leaders – which she experienced personally with the pressure to end her pregnancy by abortion.

The magazine article was one event. Years later, another event or marker was when her cousin sent her information about a speaking event with Ravi nearby at Kingston, Ontario, in October of 2014. When a victim encounters these types of events or markers, it takes their mind and emotions back to the original place and time that the harm occurred. There’s no escaping it. Shirley had no control as a 16-year old with no safe people supporting her. She had no control over these markers and reminders of Ravi that popped up around her as she tried to move forward with her life. But now, she does have control of her personal story, and she can share it on her terms, in her words here. She is in control of this disclosure event, and she is marking it publicly, with the support of her family.

As mentioned earlier, with Shirley’s public disclosure, there will undoubtedly be naysayers, because let’s face it, Ravi has done some excellent ministry work, too. However, it should be noted that in the interest of time and space in this article, I have left out important details like collected documentation, including emails and screenshots, in addition to notes I’ve made on personal phone calls. This is not simply me posting someone’s personal story without corroboration. We believe in due diligence, and I have done a lot of background work (because it’s not fun being sued).

I’m grateful that Shirley trusted me with her personal story (and now with you) in such a raw and vulnerable way. Personal stories and events shape our lives for good and for bad. I am hoping that by sharing Shirley’s story that she will be able to get closure for the emotional and spiritual pain it has caused. And, as we discussed together by phone, we hope it will give others who may have been harmed an opportunity to come forward and share their stories.


Shirley Steward’s Personal Story

Following the story coming out about Ravi Zacharias and his fall from grace, I felt it was time to tell my story and experience about this hypocrite. About his using his pastoral position to influence a 16-year girl (me) to have an abortion. Because his brother Ramesh Zacharias (then 20 years old) was the father. I do this purely to inform folks that Ravi is not the person he claims to be. That he should be forbidden from bilking people of their hard-earned cash, which feathers his own nest. And that his counsel is only in his own best interests. And to the other victims that I’m sure this man has left in his wake – you are not alone. I believe you. You are not the diminished or evil person he painted you to be.

While my story began almost 50 years ago, I am not totally sure it ever ended completely. There are parts of my life that were forever altered. However, I did move on from it. I eventually followed my dream of becoming a police officer. I recently retired following 34 years of a career that I am very proud of. I investigated everything from a simple parking ticket to a plane crash, and assisted in a murder investigation. Of course, I had to testify innumerable times in court over the years. I appreciate and live for truth and justice. I have always been an active part of my community. Volunteering with seniors, a local community theatre and my biggest passion – animals. Cats and dogs, in particular. I think because animals are capable of unconditional love. Unlike humans. I have never been let down by an animal.

At age 14, I was living in the east end of Toronto with my parents. My brother, who is 5 years older than I am, was attending a church in downtown Toronto called the First Alliance Church, on Yonge Street, Toronto. The church was headed by Reverend JR Deitz and had a large and engaged youth group. Finally, my parents let me travel to this church. There, I met Ramesh Zacharias. Brother of Ravi Zacharias. Ramesh was 4 years older than I, and Ravi, 10 years older than I. Ramesh and I soon started spending time together and a few months later at age 15, we were considered a couple. I felt honoured to be welcomed by the Zacharias family. Ramesh was going to university to become a doctor. While he wanted me to consider nursing, I had another career choice in mind.

As happens with relationships, ours became sexual after I turned 16. Then, as nature would take its course, I became pregnant. This was I believe, in the late spring/early summer of 1973. Ramesh was living with his parents in the west end of Toronto. I was at their apartment and Ramesh wanted to talk to his brother Ravi to ask his advice as an older brother and, particularly, as a minister.

Ravi was held in high regard in our church and had ministered to our congregation on several occasions. Ramesh was on the phone either in the living room or kitchen. I was on the extension in his parent’s bedroom (needless to say, they weren’t home at the time). I remember it like it was yesterday. From the satin bedspread that had a stitched design on it, the phone extension was on the nightstand, along with an alarm clock and a lamp. 

Ramesh explained briefly the situation to Ravi. I remember Ravi was very angry. More at Ramesh than me it seemed. He was not speaking in kind terms. Only pointing out that this news would ‘kill our parents’ and ‘end your future as a doctor.’ There was no talk of alternatives. I was in shock at this point. This ‘man of God,’ this ‘minister’ was actually suggesting that the baby be aborted! I couldn’t speak.

When I think back, I wasn’t asked for my feelings or input anyway. I had so many questions. How could he be advocating to kill a baby? Was he thinking straight? Oh, he gave the usual platitudes about praying for guidance and forgiveness. Yet his own views left nothing to the imagination.

Within a couple of days, Ramesh had come to my house to speak to my parents. He did all the talking. I just cried. At one point we all were crying and praying. Ramesh was much better at talking the talk, than walking the walk. He convinced them that the best way forward was an abortion. As I was under 18, they had to give their permission. The compelling part of the conversation was when he told them that Ravi had recommended the termination of the pregnancy given all the circumstances. My church-going, God-fearing parents relented and agreed to give their permission. After all, if a minister felt it appropriate, then it must be. Right? Again, I was never asked what I wanted for myself. I was feeling powerless that these adults were making a decision for my life and that of my unborn child.

In 1973, abortions were illegal in Canada, except in the case of a danger to the life of the mother and had to be approved by a panel of 3 doctors. I was in no danger from being pregnant and I was also too young to be aware of these legalities. So how was permission obtained? I found out after the fact, from Ramesh, that another parishioner was the one that made the arrangements. Vicki S. was a nurse, who worked at St. Michael’s hospital in downtown Toronto. Coincidentally (?) she was the best friend and co-worker of Ravi’s wife, Margie. They worked together in the same department. And St. Michael’s hospital was where the abortion was performed.

The procedure itself was a nightmare. My parents dropped me off at the hospital. No one showed up to show support and/or to pray with/for me and my baby. Not Ramesh, Ravi, Vicki or Margie. I was a scared little girl that at this point, felt abandoned and abused.

Vicki went on to be Ramesh’s first wife and Ravi’s sister-in-law. What a cozy, dysfunctional family. All said and done, I dodged a bullet, by not becoming part of it.

I stopped going to this church and having anything to do with these frauds after this whole fiasco. On a couple of occasions, when my brother (who still attended the church) happened to mention that Ravi would be at the church to minister to the congregation, I was very tempted to attend and to interrupt the service by yelling, ‘Hey Ravi, how about telling the congregation about counseling me to abort your brother’s baby!’ Maybe I should have. Except I’m sure he would have painted me as a lunatic.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-15.png
Magazine Shirley found on her parent’s coffee table. She scanned it and the article for me to read. It is dated Nov/Dec 1998 ~ja

Fast forward 25 years. My parents had a copy of the Nov/Dec 1998 ‘Christian Reader’ magazine on their table when I happened to visit.  On the cover were Ravi and Margie.  I took the magazine and read this incredibly nauseating article. If they had tooted their own horns any harder, they would have blown their eardrums. They portrayed themselves as so godly and saintly. I was truly angered to my core.  So, I wrote a letter to Ravi, letting him know in no uncertain terms, how I felt about him and asked how he could sleep at night, let alone pretend to be virtuous, given his role in my abortion?

No response would have been better than his self-serving, denial of any involvement in the events all that time ago. In this 3-page, typed letter, he repeats his dismissal of his part in the events several times. It brought to mind the old saying, ‘Thou protesteth too much.’ I was even more furious. What a liar!! It wasn’t until many years later, with the introduction of the internet, that it all became clear to me. Ravi had built a sizable empire with his ‘Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.’  With charitable status in Canada and the US (at least), he had amassed millions of dollars in donations. His cult-like following totally taken in by his fake godliness. Of course he was going to deny his participation!

In 2014, Ravi happened to be having a fund-raiser in Kingston, which is near where I live in Eastern Ontario. It was held at a centre that holds 6,700 people. I certainly wasn’t going to pay to see this fraud. However, again, I was tempted to march with a placard at the entrance. I didn’t, but instead, sent his office an email saying that I knew he was a fraud and now understood why he had lied in that letter of 15 years earlier.

My 16-year old inside needs others to know that he is fake. A ‘false prophet’ as my mother recently said. He is bilking people out of their hard-earned money. He is too big a money-maker for the religion machine to strip him of his ministry. Sadly, this is horrible for the legitimate religious leaders in the world. That are transforming peoples’ lives due to a calling. And not for profit, prestige and adoration that is at the core of this monster.

I believe that if information is meant to come to your attention, that it will, without any effort on your part.


Note from Julie Anne: Spiritual Sounding Board has maintained a compilation of important links related to Ravi Zacharias here: Resource Archive and FAQs on the Ravi Zacharias and RZIM Situation. These are mostly about details arising in 2017-2018 from a lawsuit against him, and articles linked to may include additional background.

109 thoughts on “As a New Christian and Missionary Alliance Minister, Ravi Zacharias Pressured His Brother’s 16-yr old Girlfriend to Have Illegal Abortion”

  1. One more nail in the coffin of the reputation of one of the most lauded Christian apologists of our time…if it was just one of the incidents, with appropriate confession and repentance, it would be easier to overlook (especially if Ravi took responsibility), but his entire ministry seems to be build on deception, denial, and minimization of the facts. I have never been that big a Ravi fan, but I have friends who never miss a radio message or a book. We need more discernment regarding our Christian “heroes” and who we choose to financially support.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Someone asked on Twitter if I had reached out to Ravi. I have not. I did, however, reach out to Dr. Ramesh Zacharias using 2 different email addresses giving him the link to the article and inviting him to comment. I just noticed that one email bounced back. Hopefully, I have the other email address is correct.

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  3. Linn, you say exactly what I was going to say. I wonder if Ravi would own it. I understand it was a hard place to be, and we can’t change the past, but the important thing is, we own it. My Christian radio station plays 15 minutes of his “just thinking” broadcasts every weekday morning. Others have mixed reviews on him.

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  4. 35 years of lying about his academic credentials and his Christian business colleagues don’t care. They affirmatively cover it up.

    Then he threatened suicide to cover up his dirt. His Christian business colleagues don’t care.

    Now we hear this (from a retired cop, no less!)

    Will his Christian business colleagues care now? That will depend on how the folks in the trenches react to this shocking news.

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  5. The most ludicrous, psychotic read ever!!! This person sounds deranged, Shame for posting such garbage!!!

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  6. Thank you, Shirley, for sharing your story with us. I, too, hope that exposure opens people up to his falsehoods.

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  7. Shirley,
    I believe you. I’m so sorry for your loss, and the suffering and manipulation you endured as a young teenager, and through the years due to the trauma of that experience. Because it is truly trauma and abuse in my opinion. I’m also sorry for your parents, who trusted Ravi as a pastor and were also misled, as you explained.

    I’m appalled at what the Zacharias brothers did to you. Appalled. My personal feeling is that Ravi and Ramesh both acted as dishonorable, despicable, self-serving, hypocritical cowards. They both went AWOL in a time of difficulty. Being a Christian should result having a heart of compassion, motivation to protect, and sense of responsibility toward a young vulnerable pregnant girl. Instead, they treated you like you did not have a voice, and what you may have wanted didn’t matter.

    Where was the spirit of benevolence, kindness, gentleness, patience and love? You needed and deserved nothing less!

    But apparently, from the very beginning of his “ministry”, Ravi Zacharias was a man who valued his own family, worldly status and phony reputation above all else. Secretly pushing abortion seems to have been acceptable to him because it conveniently protected his long-term agenda. I’m not saying his long-term agenda was godly. I see Ravi Zacharias as a cardboard man and a “clanging cymbal” devoid of real Christian love. His façade is an evangelist, but there is nothing of substance behind the fake image. I believe he has worked, very, very hard to cultivate this fake persona and benefit financially (and in other ways) from it. These are all my personal opinions.

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  8. Not sure what the laws were in Canada in 1973, but in the USA, if a 20 year-old man impregnates a 16 year-old minor, he is guilty of statutory rape in most jurisdictions; therefore, “Saint Ravi’s” first plan of action, upon learning of the pregnancy, should have been to call the police and report his brother.

    Oh, sorry, I forgot that in 1973, abortion was also illegal in Canada; nevertheless, “Saint Ravi” had no qualms procuring a “black-market” one. So much for good citizenship, much less godliness.

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  9. did he “pressure”, did he “suggest” or was he simply angry for your infidelity. as a law enforcement officer, you know as well as I do, this is a hit job. Shame on you. I am not a “naysayer” I am a very well trained individual with a lifetime of experience with victim statements, both fraudulent and substantiated, an expert in both verbal and non-verbal language, criminal profiling, and a counselor. I used my personal pacer account to research the cases cited in support of this authors allegations and I can not ethically, morally, or professionally support her claims. If the woman in this article was anything more than a victim of rejection, it is unfortunate but doubtful. I do believe she is not asking for anything, because she knows she would not succeed – based on her statement and the lack of substantial evidence…but it’s really her statement that does not hold water. The author was very colorful in the build up and the supporting fluff, but critical thinkers can narrow out the static and see the facts… and I really hope they do so. This really robs true victims of abuse. Shameful.

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  10. “The most ludicrous, psychotic read ever!!! This person sounds deranged, Shame for posting such garbage!!!”

    Noneya – -I take it you like Ravi Zacharias and this news upsets you?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Detective Steward’s allegations against Ravi Zacharias will teach us much about the tactics used by those who defend corrupt evangelists. It has been less than 12 hours and we see two lovely examples already.

    “Noneya” dismiss Detective Steward’s allegations as “garbage.” Noneya offers absolutely no support for that claim. This attack is more of a temper tantrum and can be easily disregarded, even by Ravi supporters.

    We then see “Toni,” who purports to offer a rebuttal based on his/her “professional“ qualifications and “a lifetime of experience” in evaluating claims like those we see here against Mr. Zacharias.

    As is typical, on a careful reading (which many, sadly, will not do) it becomes clear that Toni’s post boils down to nothing more than two items: 1) “I am an expert and you should trust me; that woman is lying!” and 2) outright hoodwinking.

    On this first point, Toni offers no explanation whatsoever of how his/her credentials uncover falsity on the part of Detective Steward. We hear only about unspecified expertise. Toni offers exactly zero specifics on what that expertise has uncovered about these troubling allegations.
    The second item explains why Toni did not disclose his/her qualifications: s/he seems to have none. Note that Tony offers a titillating reference to the PACER system. Toni says “I used my personal pacer (sic) account to research the cases cited in support of this authors allegations and I can not ethically, morally, or professionally support her claims.”

    This is deception at a fairly sophisticated level. Toni knows that few readers know what PACER is. Many will simply throw their hands up and assume that Toni has access to information that the rest of us just cannot see. Mission accomplished!

    For those who do know what PACER is, it is clear that Toni is simply lying. PACER (see below for the full official description) is a federal public access system that allows people to see online records filed in federal court cases.

    Toni says s/he used PACER to “research the cases cited in support of this authors allegations…”

    But this makes no sense. There are no such cases! Detective Steward made a lengthy statement exclusively about her personal experience. She did not cite federal court cases in support of her claims. (I am not even sure what that would look like anyway. “Ravi pressured me to have an abortion, and in support of this claim I refer you to Schmidt vs Chang 24 FSupp 435.” Huh????).

    Toni’s claims to professional insight via PACER are simply nonsensical, and extremely dishonest.

    Why would Toni resort to such a tactic? In my four years of dealing with Ravi Zacharias defenders I have found them (yes, almost all of them) to demonstrate classic cult member behaviors. Deception, evasion, personal attacks, and a dogged determination not to get anywhere near the facts alleged against the Dear Leader. (If you find yourself really bored some day, troll through the hundreds and hundreds of comments posted at my Ravi Zacharias videos on YouTube. I do not recall one single intelligent and well-informed factual defense of Mr. Zacharias.)

    There is also the very real possibility that some unscrupulous Ravi Zacharias critic is posing, through “Toni”, as a deceptive Zacharias defender in an attempt to make such defenders look bad.

    We may never know.

    Either way, this is an important reminder that we are involved in a very dirty game here. Ravi Zacharias is an able liar who has deceived countless people over the past half a century. Many of those folks are deeply invested in him being who he claims to be. They will play as dirty as they possibly can to keep Mr. Zacharias looking clean.

    What we see so far in this thread is just the beginning. Wait until Ravi chimes in after consulting his public relations and legal team!

    Fasten your seat belts. Ravi lied viciously to get through his last public relations mess. Unless he has the first “come to Jesus moment” of his life, the worst is yet to come. He may choose to remain above the fray and wage the battle through his loyal surrogates. But it will be a viciously fought battle either way. (And his denomination, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, his Christian publishers, and his colleagues in apologetics will turn the other way and pretend to see nothing.)

    ——-

    Here is the official description of PACER. Maybe “Toni” will return to explain its relevance to Detective Steward’s claims.

    Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information online from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts, and the PACER Case Locator. PACER is provided by the Federal Judiciary in keeping with its commitment to providing public access to court information via a centralized service.

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  12. “…based on her statement and the lack of substantial evidence…but it’s really her statement that does not hold water.”

    Toni — I think that critical thinkers will note from Shirley’s account that there were three witnesses to Ravi’s abortion advice, one direct and the other two indirect.

    First, Shirley’s then-boyfriend, and Ravi’s brother, Ramesh, was also on the phone call with Ravi to hear his words.

    Second, Ramesh later visited Shirley’s home and told both her parents about Ravi’s abortion recommendation. Note Shirley’s contention that had it not been for Ravi’s endorsement, her parents would not have consented to the abortion.

    Something else to consider: Shirley had her abortion at St. Michaels” Hospital in downtown Toronto, Canada – a Catholic hospital. At that time, abortion was illegal, and there was no way that Ramesh and Shirley would have had the wherewithal on their own to finagle the hospital into carrying out the abortion. They would have needed “inside” assistance for that to happen, and that assistance came in the form of Ravi’s wife, Margie, and her best friend and colleague, Vicki. Both were nurses at St Michaels’s at that time, and according to Shirley, they were able to facilitate the abortion.

    Putting on your investigative hat, Toni, do you think Ravi would not have been aware of the abortion plans through his wife, as he undoubtedly will claim? And secondly, if he was aware of the abortion plans secondhand, do you think he would have allowed his wife to have any part in its arrangement? It seems more credible that Ravi not only recommended abortion for Shirley but sanctioned it with his wife’s complicity.

    There is more than enough material in Shirley’s story to lend strong credence to its veracity.

    And don’t assume that just because none has been presented so far, there isn’t any corroborative evidence available!

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  13. Shirley, I am rarely at a loss of what to say, but I can only offer, I am so very sorry you had to experience what you no doubt felt “first” love turning out to be traumatic. They thought they had buried you, but things buried are seeds that eventually grow. I cannot imagine what it is like to watch this family present a lying face of being pious as they go about engorging themselves at the expense of others.

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  14. Vicki went on to be Ramesh’s first wife and Ravi’s sister-in-law.

    Oooh. I gasped at that one, but it makes sense.

    We need to realize that we don’t really know people based on their public persona. Who they are is much deeper than that. Thank you to the writer for sharing her story.

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  15. if it was just one of the incidents, with appropriate confession and repentance

    That the second part is always, always missing makes all these ‘it was a long time ago’ defenses from people such nonsense. It doesn’t matter if it was a long time ago if it isn’t acknowledged. It’s an old sin and a new sin, a lie.

    “Toni” : or was he simply angry for your infidelity.

    What infidelity?? Are you making things up?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I believe Shirley and I grieve for her. As a 16 year old female in 1973, she didn’t have a voice. No one cared what she thought, felt, wanted or needed.

    While she had choices, no one cared what they would be.

    a) In 1969 the federal government amended criminal law, and women could legally obtain an abortion through the doctors/hospital panel. That was difficult for rural women who were still dying because they didn’t have access to urban care.
    b) If Shirley’s parents had money, there were doctors who would perform abortions for a fee, if you knew who they were.
    c) If Shirley had money, she could have crossed the border to NYT (Buffalo) and had her abortion there.
    d) She could have had the child if the adults honored her wishes. She would have had to miss a year or more of high school – there was no daycare – and decisions about university or college would have been dependent on childcare etc. It would have been tough. But she was not given choices and a voice.

    As a female attending a Christian & Missionary Alliance church (a denomination imported from the USA) she had no standing, no voice, no power. She wouldn’t have today either. Men rule in the CM&A.
    Her parents might have been intimidated by the power brokers in the evangelical community from the US (and Canada) already promoting Ravi Z. The Zachariah boys were privileged and entitled. Shirley was merely an obstacle to their goals.

    While I don’t want to defend Ravi Z,, his stance was consistent with evangelical beliefs at that time.
    A CM&A minister advising an abortion in the 70’s 80’s and into the 90’s was not at all incomparable with evangelical theology
    (Ravi’s reasons why he was instrumental in pressuring and intimidating Shirley is another matter) The Zachariah boys were privileged and entitled.
    Canadian evangelicals did not officially embrace Catholic reproductive theology well after the Morgentaler decision.

    Shirley was a pioneer and I commend her. The OPP didn’t have female officers until 1974. What she accomplished in her life is no small thing – she paved the way for others.

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  17. I just noticed that Julie Anne! They tried to go off about pacer too, as if pacer would have access to an unreported illegal abortion???

    I saw he (?) said this

    I am hesitant to be willing to destroy a man based on the subjective words of any woman.

    I say he because that sounds like something a man would say.

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  18. Lea quoting – is this Toni?

    “I am hesitant to be willing to destroy a man based on the subjective words of any woman.”
    —end quote–

    “of any woman.”

    How about a man?
    If a man came forward and said ‘Zacharias is a weasel-y fraud, and here’s my story about him,’ would you take his word for it?

    I don’t see why this Shirley person would come forward X decades later publicly over a story like this just for kicks and giggles.
    She has nothing to gain from it that I can see – all she is getting is static from people like you.

    Of course, I’m always open to hearing the other side, but at this point, I don’t have any reason to disbelieve the lady (Shirley is the name?).

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  19. BD. My understanding is that in 1973 therapeutic abortions were still illegal in Canada.
    Linn. Correct. PACER is just US federal courts. Toni was quite literally trying to hoodwink us. Disappointing that such people are in our midst.
    What was the role of Ravi’s wife, Margie, in all this? She was the “best friend“ of the nurse who arranged for the abortion and she worked at the same department of the same hospital, per Shirley.

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  20. You are welcome Julie Anne:^)

    I was raised CM&A mostly – saw Ravi Z and couldn’t figure out why he was supposedly so impressive. I know more about celebrity evangelicalism now.
    Born in Toronto, raised in Eastern Ontario, I know the culture Shirley speaks of well.

    The Canadian experience, law, culture, and evangelicalism is unique – there are parallel paths as Canuck evangelicals in some pockets embraced the US culture war. The Quiet Revolution (Quebec) started in the 1960’s as Quebecers rejected the absolute power of the Catholic church in everyday life and politics. It all ties in.
    Evangelicals in the USA didn’t become anti-abortion (despite a strong Roman Catholic lobby) until the Reagan years.

    Sorry about the typos and repeats, the cat was helping me comment.:^)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I can second BD’s assessment. Abortion was not a hot topic among evangelical congregations until after the 1988 Supreme Court decision. I know of more than story of a woman obtaining a medically provided abortion while it was still illegal, including one under very similar circumstances, where the teenaged girl did not want the abortion but was forced to it by her family (no public figures involved). I also know something of the inner workings of the Catholic hospitals, that they do not always hold to official Catholic dogma in providing certain services, but such services are kept hush, hush until one is in the inner circle. Finally, the stigma against unwed pregnancy was extremely strong in churches, forcing girls into a Catch 22 situation. Well into the 1990s, such a pregnancy happening in a church was enough to provoke extensive and long standing scandal, as I witnessed as a child.

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  22. @Stephanie:

    Oh, sorry, I forgot that in 1973, abortion was also illegal in Canada; nevertheless, “Saint Ravi” had no qualms procuring a “black-market” one. So much for good citizenship, much less godliness.

    “Ours is a High and Lonely Destiny, Digory.”
    Chronicles of Narnia: The Magicians Nephew

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  23. @BD:

    The Zachariah boys were privileged and entitled. Shirley was merely an obstacle to their goals.

    The Zachariah boys were Highborn.
    Shirley was Lowborn.

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  24. This is very disturbing. I had concerns about Ravi when he preached at the Mormon temple years ago and didn’t address their false gospel but this seals it for me. I will never recommend him to anyone. I pray that he repents and comes clean.

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  25. Given the well documented, (dare I say “”lies) deception with respect to Mr. Zachararias’ academic credentials, and academic “associations”, over a 30 year period, I do not trust anything that comes out of his mouth.

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  26. @Headless Unicorn Guy:
    “Ours is a High and Lonely Destiny, Digory.”
    Chronicles of Narnia: “The Magician’s Nephew”

    But, wait, according to the Christian magazine, Ravi helps clear the dinner dishes. What a saint!

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  27. Above, Toni claimed to be an expert of sorts. She is no expert at all. Case in point:

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  28. Since Toni didn’t know that PACER was only for U.S. cases (she dropped that pretty fast as “evidence” since she hasn’t mentioned it again), and since she doesn’t seem to understand how things work in a court of law, I don’t think she could even be approved for jury duty. i’m not a legal eagle, but my dad is a lawyer of many years with whom I’ve discussed various points of the law, and I have served on a jury in a criminal case in which the defendant was convicted of armed robbery on the testimony of one very convincing witness who brought all of the circumstantial evidence together. The other issue is that Ravi seems to have either had a lot of bad luck, or he is untruthful in the way he handles the sin in his life. I vote for the latter.

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  29. I had concerns about Ravi when he preached at the Mormon temple years ago and didn’t address their false gospel but this seals it for me.

    Don’t you remember, Rocco?
    The Mormons stopped being a CULT and became Born-Again Bible-Believing Christians when Romney won the 2012 GOP nomination and became the Great White Hope. (After five months of one God’s Anointed Next President after another crashing and burning in the Primaries while Romney plugged ahead to a baby-dinosaur chorus of “NOT THE MORMON! NOT THE MORMON!” But once he won…)

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  30. Toni is so ignorant of legal matters, and so dishonest in her comments, that she really should be ignored. As I noted early this morning (around 1 a.m., Toni has clearly and intentionally misled the people on this thread about PACER. Her comments about evidence are also so wrong that one can only conclude that she is an unstable loose cannon.

    There is no use in responding to her. Sorry to be harsh, but that is the truth.

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  31. Also, to point out, why would Toni be looking in court documents for something that was, by the victim’s testimony, done completely under the table. I know at least in Michigan, the law is explicit that victim testimony in rape cases stands on its own. “750.520h Corroboration of victim’s testimony not required. Sec. 520h. The testimony of a victim need not be corroborated in prosecutions under sections 520b to 520g. [all forms of criminal sexual conduct]”

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  32. Hi Steven Baughman:

    “In 1969, the government of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau amended the Criminal Code, (Section 251) allowing doctors to perform abortions in accredited hospitals if a pregnancy threatened the health or life of a woman. A committee of doctors was required to approve the procedure. In all other circumstances, abortion remained illegal.” – Canadian encyclopedia

    In the 1800’s birth rates declined in Canada, prior to then abortion before four months was not illegal. In 1810 New Brunswick made abortion illegal, by 1892, abortion and contraception were criminalized across the country.

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  33. When I first read this testimony, I had several reservations about it. First impressions. A second reading, considerably less so. It does raise some questions though.

    Why bring this up now? 50 years is a long time and surely must involve a question of accuracy of memory. This applies equally to any denial that Ravi Z may choose to make. He cannot possibly be expected to know what he said then unless it made a mark on his conscience, so a denial is arguably worthless.

    The fact she was a police officer is a two-edged sword.

    More importantly to me, none of this would have happened by for Shirley’s sin, together with Ramesh, in immorality. Sex outside of marriage. Not uncommon, not unforgivable, but there is no acknowledgement of this, which in my opinion will work against this having any effect on Ravi Z’s devotees – the ones who most need to consider the accusation made apart from the man himself.

    If Shirley really was as powerless back then, and I’m not saying she wasn’t, then those who did exercise power and authority have to take responsibility. In this case Ramesh for what he did in getting her pregnant, and her parents in allowing the abortion to go ahead. It was basically their decision, she was not an adult. Has there been any reconciliation with them?

    It may be that Ravi Z did sinfully push for an abortion, and that Remesh used this argument with them, but they were not obligated to take his advice. I think Ravi Z devotees will think she is pushing too much of the responsibility onto him whilst failing to acknowledge her own and his brother’s. That was my first impression, and to some extent still is.

    I think Shirley was right and brave to call abortion what it is. Killing the unborn. For that she is certainly inviting the wrath and hatred of much of the feminist community, and beyond it. This too is forgivable, and I hope she has found this in her own life.

    As far as Ravi Z goes, I have seen some youtube footage, and quite liked it. From this cursory knowledge of him, I get the feeling that he may well be able e.g. to deconstruct Dawkins and The God Delusion from the podium, but put him in a live debate with Dawkins, who would have a chance to come back at him, Ravi would struggle. I could be wrong. But he did seem a breath of fresh air from some evangelical apologists who can come across as hard and ungracious at times – even opinionated.

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  34. Wow. Just wow KAS, you are something else. I have to hit the road otherwise I’d have some strong words with you, KAS. I hope someone else will. Ugh. Your words make me sick. And btw, Shirley is reading the comments. I’m really upset. Really. Ugh

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  35. Wow. Just wow KAS

    I had the same thought but I’m not in the mood to write all my thoughts.

    To Shirley, she should know that KAS is always like this, and his opinions do not reflect that of most of the commenters. Don’t take that guilt on, for being a teenager and put in a bad position. Best.

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  36. Why bring this up now?

    Why bring it up? Because Ravi’s a liar, a hypocrite and a scumbag. Always has been, apparently. Everyone should be made aware of that.

    Why now? I imagine Shirley had to take some time to get over everything she was put through. And then more time to grow up and get a job, you know, to stay alive and stuff. And, very likely, still more time until society was ready to hear the testimony of a “nobody” and a woman against a world famous preacher man. She even contacted him privately and gave him the chance to make things right.

    He cannot possibly be expected to know what he said then unless it made a mark on his conscience, so a denial is arguably worthless.

    Well, sure. And let’s not forget, KAS, that Ravi has lied about his credentials, his accomplishments and his associations for decades now. That kind of affects his credibility, too.

    Doesn’t it concern you at all that Zacharias apparently counselled people to commit (what was then) an illegal act? And that his wife seems to have aided and abetted in that? And for nothing more than the sake of his family’s reputation?

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  37. And, very likely, still more time until society was ready to hear the testimony of a “nobody” and a woman against a world famous preacher man.

    Indeed. People always like to blame the ‘timing’ but when people report they aren’t believed. Especially young women. I’m listening to a true crime podcast about a girl who went missing. She apparently disclosed to MULTIPLE people in childhood that her stepfather was abusing her, including teachers and boyfriends. Nothing happened. And eventually she ‘disappeared’ and it was most likely the step father, because he couldn’t control her anymore.

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  38. In response to earlier comment by KAS, I thought perhaps some homework assignments for SSB readers might help shed light on important issues of critical thinking and other ways to interpret the situation Shirley has shared with us.

    Why bring this up now? 50 years is a long time and surely must involve a question of accuracy of memory.

    HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Read up on what kinds of accurate details tend to burn themselves into a victims memory when so traumatized. You may be surprised at the kinds and depths of details, especially regarding the people and the places involved.

    This applies equally to any denial that Ravi Z may choose to make. He cannot possibly be expected to know what he said then unless it made a mark on his conscience, so a denial is arguably worthless.

    HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Demonstrate from all available sources whether Ravi Zacharias has a sensitive conscience, or a seared conscience. This is a major presupposition and there is a large amount of evidence available that may counterindicate a functional conscience.

    DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What list of indicators does Scripture give us to evaluate whether someone has a conscience, compassion, and character qualifications to serve as a teacher, leader, or other prominent Christian role model? Also, if Mr. Zacharias’ denials of anything that far back are “arguably worthless,” how, logically can any more recent denials of misconduct in words or deeds be deemed “worthful”? What is the dividing line between trustworthy/non-trustworthy memory?

    The fact she was a police officer is a two-edged sword.

    More importantly to me, none of this would have happened by for Shirley’s sin, together with Ramesh, in immorality. Sex outside of marriage. Not uncommon, not unforgivable, but there is no acknowledgement of this, which in my opinion will work against this having any effect on Ravi Z’s devotees – the ones who most need to consider the accusation made apart from the man himself.

    OBSERVATION: Fascinating opinion about followers of Mr Zacharias, that they apparently only listen to credible evidence when there is a perfect victim or perfect conformity to a list of mandated behaviors that make them worthy of a hearing.

    DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: If the opinion that evidence is only credible from a perfect source is anti-biblical, then from both scriptural and behavioral evidences, what tends to spark constructive change to adopt a more biblical perspective on truthfulness?

    If Shirley really was as powerless back then, and I’m not saying she wasn’t, then those who did exercise power and authority have to take responsibility. In this case Ramesh for what he did in getting her pregnant, and her parents in allowing the abortion to go ahead. It was basically their decision, she was not an adult. Has there been any reconciliation with them?

    It may be that Ravi Z did sinfully push for an abortion, and that Remesh used this argument with them, but they were not obligated to take his advice. I think Ravi Z devotees will think she is pushing too much of the responsibility onto him whilst failing to acknowledge her own and his brother’s. That was my first impression, and to some extent still is.

    OBSERVATION: It is accurate theoretically that “they were not obligated to take his advice,” but that opinion does not seem infused with a trauma-informed framework for identifyin the effects on personal discernment and decision-making of being in a system that emphasizes unconditional submission to leaders.

    HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Read up on the dynamics of those who are under the sway of a celebrity authority figure, regardless of whether he/she is an authoritarian; how those relationships as subordinates affect decisions; and what it takes to break free from such a system of social control.

    I think Shirley was right and brave to call abortion what it is. Killing the unborn. For that she is certainly inviting the wrath and hatred of much of the feminist community, and beyond it. This too is forgivable, and I hope she has found this in her own life.

    As far as Ravi Z goes, I have seen some youtube footage, and quite liked it. From this cursory knowledge of him, I get the feeling that he may well be able e.g. to deconstruct Dawkins and The God Delusion from the podium, but put him in a live debate with Dawkins, who would have a chance to come back at him, Ravi would struggle. I could be wrong. But he did seem a breath of fresh air from some evangelical apologists who can come across as hard and ungracious at times – even opinionated.

    OBSERVATION: Anyone is certainly free to appreciate Mr Zacharias’ apologetics. Those of us who don’t appreciate his falsehoods about credentials and his publicly confessed (not merely credibly accused) acts of misconduct and abuse, would more appreciate his apologizing to the women and other followers he has been victimizing.

    ~ brad/futuristguy

    Liked by 1 person

  39. KAS-I am just going to take up the “why bring ti up now” point, 50 years later.

    Back before Roe v. Wade was the law of the land (that’s 1973, if I am correct), some friends of my family had a 13-year old daughter who managed to get pregnant. We were friends, and I was shocked.They didn’t know what to do, as they didn’t feel they could take on a baby, and their daughter certainly couldn’t. (For the record, I do not support abortion, except in the case of incest or danger to the life of the mother-just for the record).

    In my state, before Roe v Wade, you could get an abortion if you could prove to a doctor’s panel that it was necessary. Somehow they did, the daughter had the abortion, and life was supposed to go on as normal, but it didn’t. She began acting out, got involved in drugs, running away from home, and made sure she didn’t get pregnant again. I heard of her adventures, because by this time, I was too busy with stuff at high school and her extracurriculars definitely weren’t mine.

    Fast forward 30 years, and my friend took stock of her situation. A lot of it went back to the abortion. No one ever said it was a baby, it was never spoken of again, the doctor tried to make sure she was so knocked out that she would never remember…but she did. The shame, the helplessness (what if she had and kept the baby-ti was never discussed). Her lifestyle has since changed because she got help for the feelings of both abandonment and shame she had. But, it took years for her to realize that most of it went back to what happened when she was 13. By the way, my friend isn’t a Christian yet, but she needed help to process what happened to her. So did the woman who shared her story. Unresolved trauma always comes back to haunt a person-kids will act out, adults will have emotional problems or be unable to keep jobs/relationships. It just doesn’t disappear.

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  40. But, it took years for her to realize that most of it went back to what happened when she was 13.

    I agree with you about unresolved trauma but…how much of that was related to how she got pregnant at 13 do you think? I know studies show most teenage girls getting pregnant are getting pregnant by older men. As in Shirley’s case, many of these men are in their 20s.

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  41. In my state, before Roe v Wade, you could get an abortion if you could prove to a doctor’s panel that it was necessary. Somehow they did

    Just a thought, but this could have been because of her age. Pregnancy is more dangerous the younger you are. Just because you’ve hit puberty doesn’t mean your body is fully grown.

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  42. KAS, just consider the power differential. Ravi – an ordained CMA minister, Ramesh who is 20 years old, four years older, and Shirley, who was presumably taught all her life an authoritarian perspective where only the opinions of ministers, elders and men matter.

    As for timing, I have experience with abuse, and there was a strong temptation to uncover that abuse when a certain person was elected as an elder. As for memory, I don’t think my memory is any more or less clear than it was a month after the event. I can see the same sorts of dynamics at play – a lot of women jumped on the Bill Cosby bandwagon once the first brave person stepped forward and took the brunt of the opposition. Maybe she was concerned about the impact on her career. There are a lot of factors that go into that decision.

    There’s much more to this, though. I knew that what happened to me would be denied and covered up. I know others who came forward only to be called a liar and have the church attack them.

    But, it concerns me that your approach is so in line with abusive Evangelicals. How high must the bar be for a victim to get justice? My bet is there is no bar high enough, because if someone comes forward with texts, e-mails and video evidence, you’ll probably accuse the victim of trying to trap the perp.

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  43. I’ve only skimmed up the comments from the bottom of the page working upwards…
    haven’t seen them all..

    Apparently, based on the quotes I see, KAS left a comment somewhere above, and I see from the replies that KAS once again sides with the abuser and not with the target.

    Why does this guy continue to be allowed to post here?
    I sincerely do not comprehend how a victim-blamer is permitted to appear here.

    99.9% of the time, any time there is a post about how sexism hurts women,
    or a story like this, where a man (or more than one man) hurt a girl or woman,
    KAS jumps in to play advocate (defense attorney) for the man (or men),
    and he likes to blame the girls / women in the accounts.

    You can count on KAS doing that like you can count on the sun rising in the east every morning. Or, like death and taxes.

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  44. KAS – I don’t often call you out on your comments because so many others do, but I have to call you out on your callous comments here.

    For some reason you think it’s okay to question Shirley’s motives for why she is publicly telling her story and have no problem with saying Ravi’s not so bad because he has good things to say. Are you are stuck in the mindset that nothing bad happens to good people? If Shirley would have been “good” this would have never happened to her.

    How about turning the questions away from Shirley and focusing on those who harmed her. Focus on their actions that led to her experiencing an abortion that she may not have even wanted. She wasn’t given a choice. Others, with Ravi’s “blessing” helped make this happen. This would not be the first story of spiritual leaders endorsing abortions. There have been so many stories from survivors who came out of Scientology reporting that they had abortions arranged for them. Are their spiritual leaders given a pass?

    Think about how your words come across to victims/survivors. It’s comments like yours that keeps people from coming forward. I hope you will really take in the feedback given to you and think about how you address victims/survivors in the future.

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  45. Its amazing after so many year’s, someone comes forward. By the way, the fact you mentioned prophet, there are no prophets living. Old testament times. Wherevare you getting your information. Go figure. Not ligit, maybe another attempt to destroy the gospel. Which, if you read the bible, God replaces godly people with, godly people that will keep preaching. God would have never let a man’s ministry based of himself reach heights such ad RZIM ministries. Destriy a man, maybe, his legacy, NEVER! OT prophet David, sinned more than you and I have together, Yet the man is in Heaven with Him and Gods mission is still moving forward. Take out a man, maybe, take out His mission, never! A small attempt to attack God is all this is. Remarkable!

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  46. It bears repeating that anyone who believes Ravi over Shirley has some serious prejudice going on. It is absolutely beyond any doubt that Ravi has lied for 3 1/2 decades in the service of his public image. (Even he does not deny this with specificity.) Why would anyone choose to believe him over a person with no known credibility issues who says Ravi did something bad?

    It can only be raw prejudice and bias. I see no way around that. I hope Ravi defenders will do a little introspection on this point.

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  47. Julie Anne and Kathi – I have read your comments. I had no intention of stirring up anger, let alone making a bad situation worse, and if I have done so (which it would seem I have), then I apologise.

    I would like to clarify what I was getting at, I think I have partly been misunderstood, but if you would rather I just shut up, then I will. This will have to wait anyway as I have a rather unwelcome and difficult meeting coming up this morning to do with my own family and I must concentrate on that.

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  48. Ummm…..Joseph Smith, just a quick, astute reminder, our LORD is not Ravi Zacharias, and, Ravi Zacharias is not our LORD. And the appearance of “success” does not mean he is being “blessed” by our LORD, when indeed, he can be a pawn of the devil in “leading” people astray from the One and Only Gospel once and for all delivered to the saints.

    I cannot fathom our LORD Jesus Christ meeting a sixteen year old young lady and telling her to abort the life He created inside of her, regardless of the sin factor. If in fact, Ravi knows Jesus Christ as His personal LORD and Savior, this is not the behavior/act of a follower of the King/Mastor/Pastor/Good Shepherd.

    Jesus said the wolves would be rampant before His Second Coming, and I believe He tells us the truth for lying is not in Him. Ravi has banked (made tons of money and glory for his own name) off of using our LORD Jesus Christ’s Name in vain.

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  49. I personally listened to Ravi Zacharias decades ago. During my first year at a C&MA institute of higher learning (Canadian Bible College in Regina, Saskatchewan, later merged with Ambrose University in Calgary, Alberta), he spoke during our annual Spiritual Emphasis Week.
    During that school year (1974/75), he was working on his Master of Divinity degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I had been drawn to fervour earlier and then to scholarship while at the college. I was favourably impressed with his combining the two. I went up to him one time and told him so. He thanked me, saying that it was what he was trying to do.

    I heard through the grapevine that he didn’t like me, and in retrospect I am not surprised. We tend to like those who are like us and dislike, even feel threatened by those who are not. In this case, high achievers/overachievers tend to like their own, not underachievers like me. Attempts to ingratiate myself with the prominent have naturally failed, also hearing, in some cases, that I wasn’t liked. One very well known woman allegedly made that comment after merely observing me. On the other hand, I heard that she was good friends with Billy Graham; he and Johnny Cash were good friends, and both were friends of US Presidents.

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  50. KAS – Again, I hope you hear what everyone is saying. There are a lot of articles out there about why victims of abuse wait for years to tell their story. Some never do. Do some reading and try to understand how abuse affects the body and why people would wait to tell their story. I’m hoping it will help you reframe your thinking and comments. The onus of harm needs to be solely placed on the perpetrator not the victim/survivor.

    I hope your family is doing well. Take care.

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  51. Re evangelicals and abortion, both my perspective and memory are limited, and I can only speak for myself.

    I first identified as an evangelical/Jesus person in the fall of 1971. During the summer of ’72, my beliefs and involvement became stronger (fanatical). I can’t remember exactly how it developed, but I was anti-abortion at least by the time I had returned to university that fall. My associating abortion with militant “woman’s-libbers” may not have helped. Shortly after arriving, I overheard two such women talking, one of them starting out by saying that she had had an abortion. The other woman may have said the same thing in reply. (I was struck by how their conversation resembled the “sharing” I had observed among certain Christian young people.) I listened with judgmental disapproval. (I’m just SO GLAD that I was never rebellious, and of course I NEVER murdered anyone in my heart, and I was naturally never selfish. Cough,cough. Reacting that way does mean that we are guilty of the same thing, at least on the attitude level.)

    While opposition to abortion may have become more widespread and obvious during the Conservative Resurgence of the 80’s, the general movement influencing me as well, such disapproval existed earlier. I would come across it here and there, and I doubt that I formed my opinion in a vacuum. John R Rice, for one, addressed the issue in the 70’s, e g his book
    The Murder of the Helpless Unborn Abortion.

    It may be that more evangelicals tolerated the practice back then, the percentage possibly varying according to location and/or affiliation. I remember feeling, uh, disapproval from reading an article in a Christian magazine. It was the story of a teenage daughter who conceived out of wedlock, told by one of her parents, They arranged for the abortion of her child, and it was performed. It is one thing, of course, to have a very strong opinion for or against a practice, only to do the very opposite under pressure. Was Peter’s fervent verbal opposition to denying Christ a compensation for the weakness that became obvious soon after? Doubtless some anti-abortionists compromised when it was themselves or a daughter with an unwanted pregnancy.

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  52. If I had read Shirley’s account shortly after become aware of Ravi, I might have been shocked, horrified, and outraged. For one thing, being young then, I was more doctrinaire, intolerant, and judgmental.

    As it is, Shirley, by her own account, was severely abused/manipulated/let down by those around her. If what has been said about Ravi is true and my impressions of some of those who are/were affiliated with C&MA are accurate, he and they deserve each other!

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  53. B Badger. I encourage you also to google Ravi Zacharias credential fraud and sexting lawsuit. The man has a history of deception going back to the 1980s. So well-documented that he won’t even deny it.

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  54. Joseph Smith, “OT prophet David, sinned more than you and I have together, Yet the man is in Heaven with Him and Gods mission is still moving forward.”

    Yes – you should study the difference between David and Saul. When Saul was confronted for his sin by Samuel, Saul tried to save face in front of God by blaming the people, but then he insisted that Samuel “walk with him” – looking for a visual symbol of support, even though Samuel had just told him that the kingdom was going to be stripped away from him due to his lack of obedience. David, on the other hand, immediately confessed his sin when confronted. He wrote Psalm 51 because he was deeply troubled by his own sin, which he did not try to hide or blame shift.

    What has Ravi done? Has he immediately and publicly confessed and repented of his sins, or has he blame shifted and tried to minimize? Is he more like David, a man after God’s own heart, or more like Saul, whom God rejected?

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  55. KAS, I’m curious… It seems like your knee-jerk reaction is always to side with the authority against the victim. Yet, in your own case, you were greatly abused by that very type of authoritarianism.

    I was abused as a kid – not in some clear-cut way, but spiritually, emotionally and sometimes physically. Our family was a core family in our church, and all the people in the church would never have believed my dad to be abusive. In fact, I’ve ‘tested the waters’ and gotten that message loud and clear! I was taught to distrust civil authorities. We were told over and over how the government was trying to fight ‘good parenting’ and how they were on power trips. We were told our teachers were stupid union employees who really didn’t care about us.

    Just because I didn’t “report” my parents would you say that I wasn’t abused? Would you doubt my story if I came forward now, many years later to claim that abuse?

    What about you? I don’t think anyone here doubts that you suffered under an authoritarian neo-Calvinist minister. I don’t think anyone doubts that the authoritarian culture caused damage to your daughter.

    It just seems that you don’t give the same courtesy to others who come forward with their stories. You assume that Shirley or Ford or whomever is coming forward must be lying. Why is that?

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  56. I am of a similar age to Shirley, so I know what it was like to be a teenage girl in the early 70s. So many of us wrapped our entire identity in our desirability to the opposite sex, and having a boyfriend was a very big “thing” for most of the girls I knew, myself included. At least three (that I can remember) teenage boyfriends professed to love me, using that classic line “if you loved me, you would,” and when I refused to “put out,” they dumped me. They even told me in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t do what they asked, they would break up with me. Thus, although I could be wrong, I can very easily envision a scenario where Shirley might have felt compelled to go along with what her boyfriend wanted in order to keep him. The pressure was very real, and the choice incredibly difficult. Stick to our principles and lose the boyfriend, or give in (with all the attendant consequences, loss of purity, possible pregnancy and risk of disease) and MAYBE keep the boyfriend. I say maybe because I knew some girls who did give in only to get dumped anyway.

    All this to say I would be the last person to pile on Shirley for her “sin.” There but for the grace of God went I.

    And as for remembering explicit details so many years later… during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, his accuser could not remember where or when the alleged groping incident happened, or who else was present. On the other hand I remembered all kinds of details of being groped and nearly raped on my 16th birthday, a Friday, mid to late afternoon, while it was still light out on that fall day, in a parked car (an American-made sedan of late 60s vintage, belonging to the guy’s parents) in a pullout along a certain road (which I don’t travel regularly but I’m reasonably sure I could find the spot if I had to), and the much-anticipated annual cross-town rivalry football game (which our school lost) coming up that night. As I write this, that incident happened 47-1/2 years ago. So yes, remembering the level of detail that Shirley did is completely credible.

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  57. I should add, I also remember exactly what I was wearing. Well-broken-in genuine Levis 501 jeans, a white cotton short-sleeved peasant blouse I had proudly sewn myself, and dark brown suede desert boots, the go-to shoe of that era in our high school.

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  58. Kathi – I hope your family is doing well. Take care.

    Thank you for that, I appreciate it.

    The meeting went better than expected, and came out more positive than expected. I’m very glad about that!

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  59. RZ has a fair amount of explaining, and even a lot more apologizing, to do. I would say that he is not qualified to be a minister of the Gospel, as he doesn’t come close to clearing the “above reproach” bar.

    The problem with this latest bombshell is that, combined with many years of academic fraud–misrepresenting both his credentials and his roles–on top of his sexual exploitation of at least one woman, it establishes a long pattern of self-centeredness, a bent do use people for his advantage, and a callous disregard for the lives and well-being of others.

    While he has been a great apologist for the Christian faith, perhaps the most persuasive public apologist* since C.S. Lewis, he has undermined this with a very dark, sordid character that has manifested itself in some very egregious offenses.

    I am not happy to be saying this at all.

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  60. David, on the other hand, immediately confessed his sin when confronted. He wrote Psalm 51 because he was deeply troubled by his own sin, which he did not try to hide or blame shift

    I feel like there are a lot of dudes in Christendom who seem to be taking all the wrong lesson from David, to the point where when someone brings him up I know they’re just going to be excusing their or someone else’s sins.

    Pretty sure ‘it’s totally cool to rape and murder’ wasn’t the lesson they meant to be telling…

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  61. crankybeach

    Trauma has interesting affects on memory in that it can both heighten and fracture. So you may remember some things very clearly, while others are mixed up. It’s an fascinating field to study as I think they’re learning more and more. I remember someone talking about remember in senses too being an indicator of truth? (smell, touch, etc) Anyways, I am not so quick to dismiss some accounts as you are. True memory doesn’t always look like we think.

    People who commit acts that cause trauma otoh may not have the same heightened memory because it was no big deal to them, or they did it often. Or they do remember and just lie about it, alternately.

    Liked by 2 people

  62. Mark – your post at 11:32 above is so wide of the mark as it were I really would like to clarify my position on these issues. I’ve not got time at the moment (boy’s birthday, no longer a teenager!), but I’ll state one thing for the record: I would not and never ever have ever sided with an oppressor or authoritarian religious leader or narrow-minded bigot against any victim on the receiving end of this – quite the reverse. I’m at a bit of a loss to see exactly where an impression I would has come from.

    Also it is not possible to say I don’t believe the testimony in this current thread from my post above. Were I not to believe it, I would say so outright.

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  63. KAS. If you are “shocked, shocked” at how you are being interpreted here, please go back and see what you posted. Your comments clearly demonstrate an anti-victim bias. Clearly.

    “none of this would have happened by for Shirley’s sin, together with Ramesh, in immorality.”

    “Why bring this up now? 50 years is a long time and surely must involve a question of accuracy of memory.”

    “It may be that Ravi Z did sinfully push for an abortion, and that Remesh used this argument with them, but they were not obligated to take his advice.”

    This last comment is particularly revealing. The only point in this article that is of any public importance is whether or not Ravi advised the abortion. The fact that you bring up this other stuff suggests that you have an ax to grind against the victim.

    I respectfully encourage you to do a little introspecting here.

    Liked by 2 people

  64. KAS – I hope you’ll re-read your original comment. It does come across as you questioning Shirley’s account. Several people have pointed this out, so I hope you’ll be open to listening to the feedback.

    If you’re still at a loss, Steven offered good examples of how your words suggest this. You question her timing, talk about her sin, and then end with Ravi being a breath of fresh air. Yes, you acknowledge that there was a power differential, but you started off questioning her before you even got to that. If you are still left with thinking that this was a misunderstanding, then I encourage you to think about how you can communicate that you are against oppressors and stand with victims/survivors. Language is important.

    Let’s not forget that Shirley was a teenager when this happened and Ramesh was an adult with a spiritually influential brother. All of the players in this event looked to Ravi for spiritual guidance and Ravi was able to make things happen. This is abuse of his authority.

    Liked by 1 person

  65. Kathi: “Let’s not forget that Shirley was a teenager when this happened and Ramesh was an adult with a spiritually influential brother. All of the players in this event looked to Ravi for spiritual guidance and Ravi was able to make things happen. This is abuse of his authority.”

    Zoe: Yes

    Steven Baughman: “The only point in this article that is of any public importance is whether or not Ravi advised the abortion.”

    Zoe: Exactly

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  66. Kathi – [you] end with Ravi being a breath of fresh air.

    I can deal with this one very quickly. I said But he did seem a breath of fresh air from some evangelical apologists …. ‘Did seem’ is past tense. I did listen to him for a while, 3 or 4 years ago, despite a lot being repetitive, and then became aware of the credentials issue and abuse accusations.

    I wasn’t so bothered about the credentials, it impacts his integrity and possible vanity, but no-one gets hurt by this; but the abuse was a different matter, because people can very much be hurt by this, to state the obvious.

    I stopped listening to him, as I couldn’t really get the allegations out of my mind. There was no satisfactory settlement to that as far as I was concerned, and with the best will in the world he needed to do much much better than he did. That was ages ago, and I’ve no intention of going back to listening to him.

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  67. KAS. Kudos to you for not listening to Ravi anymore. Please also email him and ask him to stop hiding behind lawyers and PR people. He needs admits and explain. rzim@rzim.org

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  68. Steven Baughman:

    Thank you, I think that I was more certain and knowledgeable about RZ than I let on. Not wanting to personally attack him (although I did so anyway), I did not say everything about my retrospective impression of him in person nor the impression I have from one of his books that was lent me earlier. These impressions are enhanced by what I read about him recently: what you mentioned.

    One mental test I have taken is scientific reasoning: data, conclusion, decide whether the data makes the conclusion true, probably true, provides insufficient information, probably false, false. I took it twice on separate occasions to make sure, but I did poorly each time. It was as though I lacked a compass, and at times I erred on the side of caution.

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  69. Crankybeach:

    As Lea pointed out in part, effects of abuse related trauma vary: memories may be unusually vivid (hyper memory) or unusually vague (hypo memory), for example.

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  70. Speaking of abuse in the Alliance, I remember my attention being drawn on maybe 2 occasions to an alpha female graduate student, sitting with a pair of male friends at a dining hall table by themselves. It was her facial expression that made her stand out to me. More recently I read a comment on Recovering Grace referencing sexual abuse at an unnamed Alliance foreign school. After googling that information, what did I find in at least one of the links? Her name (Beverly Shellrude Thompson). A natural leader who, for example, served as the graduate student president one year, she took a leadership role in exposing the abuses that occurred at the missionary children boarding school. In a documentary on the subject (All God’s Children), she appears prominently, and she helped set up a survivors website (MK Safety Net) to help former missionary kids, third culture kids, and their families.

    Some staff were decent; some alumni had happy memories of their time there. Some staff were sadists; some were perverts; some were both. One of the last, the school nurse, was accepted as a friend by her missionary parents. She made Beverly, then a toddler, her special little girl. She then gave her some very evil attention. Since she gave them cookies, it took years for Beverly to get over the notion that she had sold herself and the resulting shame. At the school, the nurse was most known for her dentistry, learned in Mexico. Even though anesthetic was available, she drilled children’s teeth without it, mocking those who cried.
    One dorm parent was appropriately nicknamed Adolph due to his terrifying prison regime. Beverly and some other girls put up with his nocturnal “tummy rubs” in order to get his attention, a scarce commodity at that place.

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  71. It would not be at all fair to imply that the aforementioned problem is exclusive to or even more true of the Alliance. Stories received by MK Safety Net indicate that the problem spans 22 denominations and a number of missionary organizations, eg New Tribes Mission. It is true that the Alliance leadership did nothing with the reports about the by then defunct school until they reached a wider audience. Apparently for damage control, they then investigated those accused and reached out and apologized to the victims.

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  72. There was another MK at the Bible college, although I didn’t know his background. I tried to connect with him but without success. I learned more later.

    His father, who carried generations of baggage, was abusive, and by the time the son was 5, the relationship was broken. His mother was also abusive, and both were busy as missionaries. The West Papuan Dani tribe that his parents were reaching out to was there for him, however. Every morning they picked him up; every evening they dropped him off. To him they were his family, and he was a white Dani. When they turned to Christ, he did as well.

    From the time he was 4 1/2, they began to sexually abuse him, engaging in quite a variety of activities, sometimes with his parents 10 or 20 feet away while they hid him from view. By the time he was 6, he was a sexual predator himself, trying to set up encounters with tribal girls his own age or younger. Further intimate abuse came from older boys at a Canadian MK boarding school.

    He became a porn and sex addict, cheating on his wife. As a pastor, he hid knives in his words; by his own account he was good at it. He hit bottom after being caught in his unfaithfulness. His ministry career and reputation destroyed and his marriage in peril, he sought therapy. After 11 years of this, he put what he had learned in a novel. Originally merely intended to pass on his beliefs in a comprehensive fashion to his family, it was later published.
    You may have heard of it. It’s called The Shack.

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  73. @B Badger:
    “His father . . . was abusive. His mother was also abusive, and both were busy as missionaries.”

    Sorry, but aren’t missionaries supposed to “minister”? Makes you wonder what sort of vetting, if any, their denomination performed in selecting “missionaries” for the field.

    Makes me gag at all the church folk who laud and absolutely idolize “missionaries,” merely because “they’re out there sacrificing of themselves on the mission field, serving the Lord” (barf!).

    If this “missionary” couple was abusive at home to their own flesh and blood, what makes them think they have anything of value (such as love, for example) to offer complete strangers in a foreign land?

    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are” (Matt. 23:15 [NIV]).

    Like

  74. @Stephanie concerning the official title of “missionary.”

    You bring up some very interesting points of conversation. In my former abusive Baptist c’hurch, “missionaries” visited on various occasions as their need for fleecing more “money” out of the congregation arose to continue “their personal ministry.” One couple, who said they were “called” to minister in Canada for a number of years, were whining and complaining to all of us upon their “calling” back to the United States, because now, instead of the government paying for their personal health care, they would now have to find funding to pay for their own health care in the U.S. Guess getting a real job like the Apostle Paul wasn’t a prerequisite to being an “entitled missionary” in the modern day c’hurch system.

    I chose to be led by the Holy Spirit and not put tithes and offerings into the money plate that Sunday for those individuals as they were living lifestyles far more luxurious than most of those in the community struggling to pay their electric bills. And are not each one of us “called” to be “missionaries” right where we are when we become born again and children of our Living LORD……..Jesus!!!

    It appears that when theologians are “called,” the first to suffer are the family members…most likely, wives and children, for the sake of building up kingdoms of men instead of pointing folks to the Biblical Jesus.

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  75. @Katy/Stephanie:
    The Alliance pays its missionaries, but back then expected sacrifices included their children.
    Around the time of that they turned 6, even if the school year was underway, they would be sent to the “local” school for 9 straight months a year. For missionaries who didn’t want to be sent home, refusal was not an option, and in those days people tended to not question authority. Beverly’s school was hard to get to, and parental visits were discouraged. She thought that she had been sent there because she was a bad girl, and if she could only be a very good girl, her parents would come and take her home. They never came.

    Today, Alliance missionary children are home-schooled, and the small number of older children attending boarding school do so on their own volition.

    Missionaries in those days had the status of young men going overseas to fight, especially, like Beverly’s parents, when they went to Darkest Africa. The school was staffed by failed missionaries, eg couldn’t learn the language, may not have been able to relate to the nationals, may not have been able to adjust to the rigours of pioneer mission work. Once more, it was take the job or leave for home, never mind whether the work suited them or not.

    Apart from rage and frustration over being denied the work that they wanted and had trained for, there was being with the children 24/7 9 months a year, little training and supervision, no help, no accountability, no vacations. Some, obviously, had serious unresolved personal issues.

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  76. I think it’s important to steer this conversation back to the topic of Ravi and how he pressured Shirley to get an abortion when she was a minor. Thanks!

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  77. Kathi – re your post of 29 June 2:30 pm.

    Yes, I have given this some thought. Allow me to try to clarify.

    I do not question at all that this incident should be brought up. Never intended to. Nor did I intend to be callous. The timing seemed to me to be relevant (why bring it up now), in that this was a long time ago, and subject to the same problems as e.g. the Kavanaugh dispute. Being evenhanded, this applies to Ravi’s account of it (denial) as well. Steven B. has rightly pointed out this is not the absolute first time it has been brought up.
    Would it have been right or fair only to have mentioned Ramesh’s sin in sleeping with his girlfriend? That would not have been evenhanded. I wasn’t trying to heap condemnation on either of them, but a failure to acknowledge this at all imo weakens the power of the testimony. I have in mind an idea commonly held about this, but in view of the sensitivity of this post I would rather not discuss. (Leads to fruitless anger about ‘blaming the victim’ when that is not intended.)

    The Zacharias brothers’ Christian discipleship in their private life was lacking, to say the least of it. Your real faith is shown by what you are when no-one else is looking.

    You will, I hope, have noted as I said it twice that part of my concern was how Ravi devotees will view this testimony. Some of my reservations disappeared at a second reading, but they will only read it once with a view to dismissing it. (It is ironic that P & P’s J D Hall has taking this issue up, and you should see some of the comments there from Ravi supporters.)

    I have a personal acquaintance who underwent four abortions, subsequently became a Christian, and now ‘ministers’ to women in what they go through afterwards. Tremendous testimony to the grace of God. I hope Shirley has found this freedom. That’s the background to my mentioning it.

    Everybody comes at this from differing backgrounds. When Shirley mentions her 16 year old inside, a yellow warning light goes on for me. Maybe not for you. I know about submitting to Shepherds, and ‘covering’ and ‘discipleship’ (so-called), giving unwarranted loyalty to well-known Christian leaders with big churches, and then paying a price for it later. But allow me at least some consistency – I also believe I have to take into account my personal responsibility for what has gone on in my own past in this regard. It’s an area where Jay Adams of nouthetic fame actually does get it right!

    I read this testimony as a disinterested (as opposed to uninterested) third party, and I don’t feel a moral obligation to take sides or if you like to be judge and jury. I don’t as a rule disbelieve people unless there appears to be reasonable grounds for this.

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  78. KAS – I hear you. I guess I’m wondering if you heard us explain why it’s important not to question a victim/survivor on why she/he is choosing a certain moment in time to tell their story. Everyone has a reason. If she/he wants to share that information then she/he will. We are not obligated to know that, so it’s not helpful at all to ask the question.

    I love this Anne Lamott’s quote: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

    Liked by 2 people

  79. KAS, “The timing seemed to me to be relevant (why bring it up now)” “and subject to the same problems as e.g. the Kavanaugh dispute”

    I have a problem with you setting bars for victims like this. I’ll try to be charitable and say that this comes out of true concern rather than just being authoritarian and dismissive of those who are not in power.

    God gave us the full spectrum of emotions, which God himself also demonstrates perfectly through Jesus. There are those Christians who believe that no one (actually, no one without authority) has the right to be angry, but I think that is a cruel misunderstanding, at best.

    Anger gives us the energy to act, and while anger is somewhat neutral, it can come from a heart troubled by injustice and it can be used to create justice, as well as the opposite. So, what we see in Jesus’s actions towards the money changers was first anger driven by injustice (oppressing the poor worshipers) and drove an action that created justice (cleansing those from the temple). We also see Saul’s anger, which was driven by his own selfishness at seeing God’s justice, and drove him to act unjustly.

    As I said, in my own life, what nearly drove me to tell my story was the anger of seeing my abuser be appointed to be a church leader. I knew deep inside that it would be received the same way as Ford or Shirley, or the countless other victims who come forward – with disbelief and shame.

    So, maybe you are different, but I think not. You need to question your own response. Why do you respond to victims with disbelief and shame? Is it a godly response to find reasons to distrust those who come forward as victims? Are you bringing justice by questioning Shirley’s timing? Are you bringing justice by questioning Shirley’s motives? Or are you just perpetuating a culture that places an undue burden on abuse victims?

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  80. @B Badger

    Way back when, I watched a video produced by New Tribes for recruiting purposes. The essential point was that missionaries turned down by traditional churches and mission organizations could still be successful working for New Tribes. What really turned me off was the end of the video. It showed a native tribe dressed up in western clothes, singing “Amazing Grace” in their native language. So, in effect, the tribe was not only converted, but subsequently socialized into western standards of decorum and music, which I think is essentially a form of cultural abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  81. Mark – I’m not trying to set a bar or make things harder for complainants exposing evil deeds, whether in or out of a church or religious context. I also have no problem with the anger this may generate.

    It is fair to point out the problems half a century having elapsed since the events described and their being made public, if this isn’t in reality pretty self-evident. If you don’t like me bringing it up, at least consider how Ravi fans and supporters are likely to see it. I can think of one extremely cynical reason for the timing – yet plausible. I’m not going to say what it is, as someone is bound to consider I am giving my own opinion on this.

    Why do you respond to victims with disbelief and shame? I don’t think anything I have said on this is calculated to create shame, I’m not sure where you are getting this from. I said I don’t as a rule disbelieve people unless there appears to be reasonable grounds for this. I tend to reserve judgment if anything, that is not the same thing as not believing the complainant.

    You rightly talk of justice, no disagreement there, but this of necessity means being just to Ravi Zacharias, and hearing or allowing him to put his side of the issue. Once you have used the word victim or survivor you have already declared your opinion that Ravi (in this instance) is guilty. Justice is not helped by the testimony of a complainant being taken as proof of guilt of the accused – you couldn’t possibly have missed this in the Ford case. I found it rather disturbing.

    This works in reverse and here and elsewhere commenters have weighed in basically asserting Ravi is innocent and by implication that Shirley is lying. That’s not being just either.

    If I’m honest, there was an inbuilt tendency to think well-known ministries, whilst not being perfect (I don’t expect that), really ought not to be guilty of such kinds of abuse. The huge gap and hypocrisy between preaching holiness and being outright evil. I say was, as there is another scandal brewing in the Church of England amongst the conservative Evangelical side with multiple witnesses (the Anglo-Catholics had one in the person of Bishop Peter Ball). This has happened enough times in various church groupings in various places in recent years to be only too believable – including the long-term covering up of what had been going on. It’s very disappointing this part of the Anglican church also has skeletons in the cupboard. It’s not what you would expect from seemingly faithful men, even if very few in number.

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  82. @KAS

    Are you being honest here? Frankly there are signs in your language where you side with the antithesis of the truth. I believe the dialectical process is at work here and many have been hurt by the positions of complementarian ideologies and philosophies embedded in the hearts and minds of certain individuals.

    My advice….former comment threads may need peer review in which speech patterns err on the side of evil and wickedness, instead of the truth of the victim. Psalm 1:1, “Blessed is the man (or woman) who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.”

    When a daughter is raped, and chooses not to pursue the law in justice after the wicked sin, but rather suppresses the act and memory of the violent crime for a season in order to survive, heal, and go through the motions of living in this world, then becomes strong enough through her support system which has greatly aided in her healing and becoming whole again, becomes brave and courageous in exposing the wickedness and evil that has tried to destroy her life and her faith in Jesus Christ, she is labeled a “liar” by religious individuals who know not the justice of our LORD. And the complementarian minions come out by the droves in confirming the woman as a “liar,” a “tramp,” a “slut,” a “whore,” she had it coming because she wears “yoga pants or too short of a skirt,” or “she looks at guys the wrong way,” or “she’s a flirt, therefore she deserves torturous rape,” or she “had one beer too many,” or any other EVIL EXCUSE the religious community chooses to believe because the pseudo religious folks have a difficult time in believing in the truth.

    I have personally witnessed the slaughter of religious people against such a young woman who was brutally raped by the church board president’s son, which was kept “secret” from the rest of us lower laity pew sitters so that the wicked son could continue his philandering sexual ways amongst the young girls in our community. When a 501.c 3 religious person(s) hides sexual violence against another for the sake of the so called c’hurch or a’ssembly, you shall know KAS, that Jesus (the One of the Bible) does not live amongst that group, but in fact, the spirit of the anti-Christ is alive and well within he hearts and minds of the leadership/hierarchy/titled and entitled office holders who wield their power and authority over those they deem “the lessers.”

    Again KAS, are you completely sure that you side with the light of the truth, or rather, seek dishonestly through consciously using speech patterns in which the true victim doubt the reality of their truth/honest truth? I know what I believe about you.

    Liked by 1 person

  83. KAS, “I don’t think anything I have said on this is calculated to create shame” … “It is fair to point out the problems half a century having elapsed since the events described and their being made public, if this isn’t in reality pretty self-evident. If you don’t like me bringing it up, at least consider how Ravi fans and supporters are likely to see it.”

    So, you claim that you are not trying to shame the victim, but you (in both Shirley’s and Christine’s case) are questioning the timing of the revelations.

    “You rightly talk of justice, no disagreement there, but this of necessity means being just to Ravi Zacharias, and hearing or allowing him to put his side of the issue.”

    He was allowed to give his side, but, to date, has refused. How long does it take to make a public statement? What is also admissible is the overall character. “Dr.” Ravi has been called out for lying about his academic credentials. Again, he has refused to admit wrong or defend his actions, yet the credentials are being scrubbed where they can. As such, I don’t expect him to respond.

    I don’t like your use of the word “justice” to mean legal declaration of guilt that is equivocating what I mean by justice, which is the ultimate truth of the matter. Consider Amnon and Tamar. Amnon was never legally declared guilty. Yet the Bible clearly says Tamar was raped. The Bible says Ahab was a murderer even though he was never legally declared guilty. So, you are again backpedaling from justice as a concept of what is right and what is wrong to have my private opinion about what happened. To go further, this is simply another “bar” you want to put in front of the victims. Do you agree with every legal decision? Why not? If justice is defined by what the courts declare, then you are a hypocrite if you simultaneously say that we cannot condemn Ravi based on Shirley’s statements, yet say that a court acted “improperly” (putting your private opinion over the legal declaration of the court).

    So, then, you must ask yourself… if you are, on one hand, placing personal opinion over legal declaration, and on the other hand, claiming that it is improper for us to have a personal opinion, then the obvious implication for us is to see the underlying consistency in your actions. That is, your personal opinion trumps legal declaration and rather than state that your personal opinion is that Shirley is lying, you are trying to soften the blow by subtly questioning our judgment.

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  84. He was allowed to give his side, but, to date, has refused. How long does it take to make a public statement?

    And let’s not forget, he responded to Shirley’s letter, and categorically denied everything that she accused him of. So that, apparently, is Zacharias’ side of the story. Based on that, we can now decide for ourselves which side is more credible.

    Can you guess which one I’m choosing? (Hint: It’s not someone with the initials R.Z.)

    Liked by 1 person

  85. It is fair to point out the problems half a century having elapsed since the events described and their being made public, if this isn’t in reality pretty self-evident. If you don’t like me bringing it up, at least consider how Ravi fans and supporters are likely to see it.

    KAS, if Ravi’s disciples are too blind to see what a self-aggrandizing, lying creep he is at this point, then their opinion on this matter is hardly worth considering. I’m thinking about what Jesus said about the blind leading the blind, and how it’s safe to ignore both and just let them fall into their ditch.

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  86. Let us NOT forget one undisputed matter. Ravi lied for 35 years about his credentials. Then he lied when he got caught. That is not disputed. Detective Steward, by contrast, was a cop for 37 years who knew that jail awaited her any time she lied. (Of course, cops lie sometimes, but we have zero evidence that she did, and massive undisputed evidence that Ravi did.) Why are we even having a discussion about whether Ravi might be telling the truth here? Especially since Ravi refuses to comment.

    My strong suspicion is that Ravi has asked his brother Ramesh to support him in lying about the abortion and his brother refused. That leaves Ravi with silence as his only option.

    Three months ago I contacted Ramesh to fact check something suspicious about Ravi. The next day the Toronto cops contacted me and threatened me with an investigation for “harassing” a Canadian.

    Ramesh does not support Ravi.

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  87. Katy – Again KAS, are you completely sure that you side with the light of the truth, …

    Absolutely, and without mental reservation.

    I do have a dissenting opinion on how evil is best exposed, and I think judgement/discernment/testing should be universal, that is, you discern the teaching and lives of the celebrity pastors, authoritarians and abusers, and you also exercise discernment as far as possible over allegations of abuse.

    You really don’t need to say much about dead religion and its devotees – what a friend of mine used to call the hypnotic, pharisaical, hypocritical, demonic spirit of religion. I’ve had more than one run-in over this, believe me. The flesh wars against the Spirit ….

    Regarding complementariansism, I would answer in this fashion. Fred Phelps was virtually a cult leader at Westboro Baptist, a man by all accounts full of hatred. I’ve been a member of a Baptist church, and attended another one for several years. They have the term ‘baptist’ in common, but that is all. The ones I attended weren’t cults with authoritarian leadership, nor did they ooze hatred for their fellow man. (Narrowminded yes, perhaps.) So with complementarianism – because some who own this word are bullies, it doesn’t mean others who use this (horrible word!) to describe a particular interpretation of scripture are also bullies. No interpretation of scripture could ever justify or lead to it proponents being bullies.

    Sadly, American pseudo(?)-evangelicalism spreads its garbage all over the world, English-speaking and beyond, where unfortunately it is all to often uncritically accepted. Inner healing to health and wealth, false apostles and prophets, positive confession and self-esteem, shepherding to generational curses. Being ‘woke’ might be next. I don’t think, as far as complementarianism goes, this has been very successfully exported. Which means I can say I have never met a complementarian bully.

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  88. I have a problem with you setting bars for victims like this.

    Mark, what it means practically is that victims are not allowed to speak when people might actually be listening. That is obviously a problem.

    (B. Badger, I know it’s OT but I appreciate the explanation around missionary children being sent to schools, which explains a few things I had not understood)

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