Pastor Kevin Swanson’s Blame Game When it Comes to the Dr. Larry Nassar Child Sex Abuse Cases

Kevin Swanson; Larry Nassar; Child Sex Abuse; Rachael Denhollander

Screenshot 2018-02-09 at 10.08.13 PM

Kevin Swanson from Generations.org

-by Kathi with editorial comments by Julie Anne

Kevin Swanson’s February 9, 2018 broadcast on Generations covered the recent gymnastics and sexual abuse case by now-convicted sexual predator, Dr. Larry Nassar. Right Wing Watch picked up his broadcast and noted that he blames immodesty in the sport of gymnastics for Dr. Larry Nassar’s behavior.

Julie Anne texted me at work and asked if I would be willing to write a snarky post about Swanson [JA here = is it possible to do a Kevin Swanson post sans snark? Serious question.] As much I can’t stand to listen to him speak, I decided to listen to the whole broadcast. Kathi is a glutton for punishment. I only asked if she would be willing to write about the modesty part that Right Wing Watch reported on. In fact, here is where she tells me on Messenger:

My (unfortunate) experience with listening to Swanson over the years has brought me to the understanding that he is never sympathetic to victims of sexual abuse, so I wanted to see if this broadcast would be any different. My snarky side turned to my angry side as I realized that he hasn’t changed one bit.

***

Starting off feeling snarky…

Swanson starts by blaming the civil magistrate for not doing anything about this twenty years ago. Does Swanson not understand that Nassar did not stand before a judge until 2016 because of all the people who were protecting him?

Starting to feel the anger creep in…

He then moves on to blame the parents for not attending medical examinations with their children. Ok, this is ridiculous. Did he not read the news articles? He sexually abused many of the girls WHILE the moms were in the room. It’s in the court documents. He positioned himself between the mom/adult and the girl. With one hand, he massaged on the outside of the clothes, the other hand couldn’t be seen by the mom. It was abusing beneath a draped towel or sheet. He was that brazen! There were reports that he was talking to either the mom or girl during this time. Nobody would have had a clue.

Does Swanson not understand that much of the abuse happened while the victims were at training centers or in college? Did he stop to think for one moment the guilt that a lot of these parents must feel for the abuse that happened to their daughters? I sure hope no parent/survivor listens to his podcast. Swanson follows this by stating that a father’s responsibility is to teach his daughter that the world is a dangerous place.

This is where I tell Julie Anne, “Can you believe what he said?!”…

those 3 dots mean something not suitable for delicate eyes

Swanson shifts the blame to the women now and says:

Young women have a responsibility, and they need to be trained in this. Our daughters need to be trained that they have a responsibility before God to cry out when something shameful is going on. We don’t hide sin. We don’t hide our sin and we don’t hide other people’s sins.

He’s nuts once again, and did not read the reports. Many of the girls had no idea that he was abusing them. Of course they didn’t like that he was digitally penetrating them, but he had them convinced that this was medical treatment. Their coaches said he was the best. Everyone said he was the best. They trusted him. It wasn’t until they got older and started putting 2 and 2 together that they realized this wasn’t medical treatment. Sorry, Kathi, carry on. . . Swanson then brings up Deuteronomy 22: 23 – 24 “If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.” He follows with the responsibility of the young woman:

She’s got to cry out! She’s got to cry out! She’s got to cry out! Absolutely, she’s got to cry out! Nooooooo, just no!

***

Starting to breathe again…

At the end of the broadcast Swanson commends Rachael Denhollander and praises God that she cried out, even if it was years later. I can’t believe he has the gall to commend her after criticizing the women for not crying out and hiding sexual sin.

Swanson then mentions Rachael’s interview with Christianity Today and commends her for speaking about the covering up of abuse/homosexuality at Sovereign Grace Ministries and by CJ Mahaney. (Specifically he states covering up instances of “homosexuality against little boys or fornication against little girls.”) Oh, for crying out loud!!! Again, Swanson gets it wrong. SGM and Mahaney are accused of covering up child sex abuse, not homosexuality. Is this guy living on our planet?  He also adds that Rachael may be “overstating the facts” which leads him to his final thoughts.

Swanson’s final question asks whether or not churches should report abuse to civil magistrates. WARNING, WARNING, KEVIN SWANSON’S CHURCH IS NOT A SAFE PLACE IF HE ASKS SUCH A QUESTION. His answer is that churches should not take anonymous tips seriously, the church needs solid evidence that sin has occurred, and there must be two or more witnesses to the sin. Really? He is truly nuts. How many sexual abuse cases have 2 or more witnesses? I need blood pressure meds. Wait . . . do I have blood pressure meds?

Not once through this entire broadcast does Swanson blame Larry Nassar for his acts of sexual assault. Instead, he proves that he continues to remain unsympathetic to victims of abuse by heaping shame and blame upon them. Un-freakin’-believable. Wow. Kathi, I am never going to ask you to do a K. Swanson post again. This about did me in.

A Personal Story and a Sad Conclusion When Pastors Failed to Respond Appropriately to Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, Church response, Rob Porter


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You may have heard in the news recently about Rob Porter who worked for President Trump in the White House. Porter recently resigned his position as White House Staff Secretary after allegations of domestic violence from his two ex-wives surfaced in the media. It was disheartening to hear that both women reported the abuse to elders in their churches and to counselors. Somehow, he was able to get a job in the White House, although it was known by White House staff months before his resignation. (Source)

“When I tried to get help, I was counseled to consider carefully how what I said might affect his career,” Willoughby wrote in a blog post last year, adding later, “Friends and clergy didn’t believe me. And so I stayed.”

She also told The Intercept that when she went to her bishop about Porter’s anger issues, he cautioned that it could hurt Porter’s image. “Keep in mind, Rob has career ambitions,” she recalled the local LDS leader saying, according to the online news outlet.

“It wasn’t until I went to a secular counselor at my workplace one summer and told him what was going on that he was the first person, and not a male religious leader, who told me that what was happening was not OK,” she told the Daily Mail. (Source)

Although the above example was in the LDS church, I’ve written a number of blog articles about domestic violence in Evangelical Christian churches, and many times the response is the same.

Here is where I stand on this issue at the moment. If someone contacts me about domestic violence, I am very leery to encourage them to talk to their pastor or church leaders unless they know that their church has a proven record of helping survivors of domestic violence and has plans in place. Time and again, these women are subjected to secondary harm: spiritual abuse and emotional harm by their spiritual leaders who do not know how to handle these cases appropriately.

This tweet I saw recently was profound!

***

Yesterday, a comment came in on this post: Bethlehem Baptist Church Excommunicates Victim of Domestic Violence, but since it is an older post, not many will read it. I have posted the comment below. It needs to be read. Is this the outcome the church wants? Then church leaders need to get their collective acts together and help the survivors, and report the perpetrators!

I am so freakin’ tired of these stories!


***

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When I went to my pastor for help he would not even meet with me, he sent his wife instead. All she had to say, despite me being very clear that I was in fear for my safety, in addition to the emotional torment I was subjected to for years, was to keep praying for God to soften his heart. I was told to look inward and ask God to help me be the best godly wife I could be, because I should be the example of God’s love to my husband. My husband would see God working in me, as evidenced by me not fighting back, being submissive, always staying calm even in the midst of his chaos, and loving & respecting my husband despite how he was treating me.

When I did finally tell my husband I was filing for divorce, even though I had repeatedly been told that God hates divorce, I endured the worst physical assault ever dished out by him. I had a knife pulled on me, was threatened with death, and my 4-year old son ripped from my arms as I tried to flee after being held hostage for hours. I was finally able to get to a phone.

He went to jail. The divorce was finalized 3 months later. I called the pastor’s wife to tell her what happened. I got the standard, “I’m so sorry, if you need anything let us know.” I had no job, he had taken money from our account and hid it. I had 60 days to move out before the protective order expired.

I never got a call from the pastor, or his wife, checking on me. Instead, the pastor was talking with my husband, because according to my pastor, “It takes two to fight and divorce was not the answer.” Again, it was my fault. All the church ever did was put the onus on me to be a better wife, pray for him, and extend him grace because his heart was hardened. No responsibility on the abuser. No support was offered to me, not even any kind words.

***

I left the church forever at that point.

***

I had already been made to feel like I just needed to do better, and now, I was the sinful one for leaving. I left the church forever at that point. And I left the misguided teachings of an ancient misogynist book we call the bible, behind as well.

My story is not unique and that is the problem. My story is rampant in churches across the entire world. Quite frankly, I came to the conclusion that if God really loved the church, He wouldn’t have allowed man to destroy it. But man has destroyed it because man built it, just as man wrote the book that dictates the lives of people that attend it. I finally realized it was all false teachings.

I refuse to believe in a God that allows this to happen – that allows his teachings to become so twisted that women literally die because they are told not to leave. I don’t want any part of it. And letting go of all of it was the most freeing thing ever.

But to all of you in the church that enable this to happen, that do nothing more than say “well those people aren’t real Christians.” you are failing your own make-belief god, because his church is the very reason that I no longer buy into the fantasy. My son was traumatized beyond what any of you could imagine, and I will not ever teach him that God will use his horrific experience to help others, or that this was all part of a divine plan. Unlike the Godly father, I will do everything to protect my son, never allowing him to think that his suffering is justified, so that it could glorify the holy narcissist in the sky.

These teachings, that boom, and the man-made institution of the church are dangerous. I’m glad this site is speaking out as if some people have enough sense to know that the sanctity of marriage is never more important than the sanctity of life, but it is too late for me. We would have been spared a lot had it not been for the fact that God hates marriage so much. Who cares about an eternity in hell if you are already living it here on this planet? At least I’m safe now, my son is safe, and I’ll gladly burn forever to stand up and speak out against a church and a God that allows this to happen to women.

 

 

photo credit: heinltier emotions via photopin (license)

Will Those in the Real Gospel-Centered Churches Please Stand?

Gospel-Centered Movement, TGC, YRR, Calvinists, Jared Wilson


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Over at The Gospel Coalition website, Jared Wilson has published the Top 125 Influences of the Gospel-Centered Movement.

Now, I admit at first, I had assumed that he was talking about all influential Christians. As I read more of his intro, I saw that he was really referring to the YRR (Young, restless, and Reformed) folks, aka Calvinistas (as referred to by the Deebs at The Wartburg Watch. Other names include, New Calvinists, or Neo-Calvinists, and Hyper Calvinists (but Jared didn’t name those three).

Taking a look through the 125 names, please note the lack of women listed. Also, take note of the number of men who are listed who are known to have been caught up in sexual scandals, clergy sexual misconduct, covering up sexual abuse, heavy-handed church discipline, spiritual abuse, hiding pedophiles, permanence of marriage belief, harmful to wives of domestic violence, etc. It’s almost a Who’s-Who list of evil (it’s kind of weird these abusive wolves would even be in such a list, but I guess they were “influential” at one time or another).

top 125 gospel-centered tgc

I, along with others, had a Twitter conversation with Jared. I was curious to know how the survey was done, who he reached out to. I wanted to know if he went outside of his own circle to ask people. How many people did he ask? I guess I’m slow, because when I think of influential leaders, in my mind, they are from different camps and for different reasons. I would ask people outside of my circle in order to have a wider spectrum of contributions.

It didn’t occur to me that this group is so insular. I know, I know, I should have known, but I keep giving them the benefit of the doubt thinking they would venture beyond their borders because it’s a big world out there and God can work in people across denominational and doctrinal boundaries. Or maybe it’s because I do not fit in a box. People would have a difficult time labeling me. I don’t like labels. But apparently this group does.

So, here are some tweets from the conversation. I tried to give enough so you can sense the tone and tension (which I found to be over-the-top). Continue reading

Rachael Denhollander, the Relentless Hero Who Loved Sacrificially, and Stopped Dr. Larry Nassar from Sexually Abusing More Girls

Rachael DenholIander, Dr. Larry Nassar, Sexual Abuse, MSU, USAG


rachael denhollander, dr. larry nassar

“Who is going to find these little girls and tell them how much they are worth?”   Rachael Denhollander

***

I normally write articles about church leaders or Christian groups. This is neither, but you will see soon discover that the hero in this story, Rachael Denhollander, is a Christian. In this story, you will see sacrificial love – love that puts the needs, safety, concern of others, far ahead of herself. It’s one thing to sacrifice for your family or friends, but Rachael sacrificed for strangers. She was steadfast, strong, determined, articulate, thorough, and unrelenting. She became a leader, a counselor, an encourager, a listening ear, and perhaps even a surrogate mother-like figure to many who had gone through the same horrific ordeal. For those who couldn’t speak, she became their voices; but by her bravery and courage, she empowered others to use their voice, even up until the very last day of testimonies.

This is about a highly publicized sex abuse case, not in the church, but in athletics. The Dr. Larry Nassar sex abuse case has been an important case. I like to watch cases like these to observe the tactics abusers or enablers use to hide the deviant behavior. When there’s one person who is abusing, many times there are others who enable the abuse. This is a classic case of systemic abuse just as we have seen at Penn State, in the Catholic Church (see Spotlight Movie), the Boy’s Scouts, and others.

Because of the graphic content in this post, I am issuing a trigger alert. If you have been sexually abused, this will likely be difficult to read. Use caution. Continue reading

First #MeToo, Now #ChurchToo: Sexual Abuse, Harassment, and Mishandling in the Church

#MeToo, #ChurchToo, Sexual Abuse, Harassment, Church

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The hashtag #MeToo has been trending for quite some time on Twitter. Women who have been sexually harassed or abused have been identifying themselves as survivors of sexual harm, indicating it with the hashtag, #MeToo. But now, there is a new trending hashtag, #ChurchToo. The stories that you can read in one little tweet are heartbreaking.

I wanted to share some here, and also invite those who have been on Twitter to feel free to share more here if they like.

If you are new to Spiritual Sounding Board, this is a blog that deals with abuse in church or church groups. We have dealt with all kinds of sexual abuse: sex abuse of children, sexual abuse in marriage, sexual abuse by clergy, wives of pedophiles, church leaders who have failed to report sexual crimes, church leaders who have blamed victims for sexual crimes, and also spiritual abuse which often occurs when a church leaders are involved in any capacity (perpetrator, counselor, spiritual advisor).

If you have been harmed sexually, this is a safe place. If you would like to share your story in more detail, you can in the comments, or to me privately: spiritualsb@gmail.com. Please feel free to comment using a pseudonym. This is your place to use your voice where it will be heard.

~Julie Anne Continue reading

Kari Benton Shares: Spiritual Recovery after a Lawsuit and Spiritual Abuse

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Let’s Discuss: The Keepers, Netflix Documentary Series about the Murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik and Systemic Sexual Abuse

The Keepers, Netflix, Cathy Cesnik, Systemic Sexual Abuse, Catholic Church, Spiritual Abuse, Clergy Sexual Abuse



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The Keepers is a new documentary series airing on Netflix. I have watched 5 of the episodes and it is excellent. If you have seen Spotlight, it is similar, however, the investigative reporters in this case are two grandmas who have spent the last three years compiling details of the case and trying to get answers as to who killed their beloved former high school teacher, Sister Cathy Cesnik in 1969.

Like the movie, Spotlight, the series uncovers systemic sexual abuse of female students at Archbishop Keough High School in Maryland by Father Maskell who was a counselor on campus. When I refer to the word “systemic,” I mean it is a whole system of cover-up and abuse. Father Joseph Maskell was not the only one who committed the crimes. His friends in high places also committed sexual crimes and helped to conceal the crimes: police officers, businessmen in the community, etc.

The first episode lays the groundwork for the story and introduces the main characters. Then, the second episode goes into repulsive, unimaginable sexual abuse descriptions. This episode is definitely difficult to watch and I would caution those who get triggered by topics of abuse to be very careful watching it. The second episode was the most difficult for me to watch, but this is important information to know how insidious these crimes were, not only sexually, but spiritually.

Because this documentary series is being discussed so much, I wanted to have a post specifically to address it, and especially to be a place where people can discuss how it may have affected them.

So, let’s use this post to discuss how the show may have affected us and try not to include spoilers for those who have not yet watched it.

Below, I have gathered a variety of links that may be of interest. I encourage you to check out the first link, especially. It is excellent.

Note:  While this sexual abuse scandal – also connected with the systemic abuse cover up with cases around the world uncovered by the Boston Globe Spotlight team occurred in the Catholic Church, Protestant churches are not exempt from these types of scandals. We know of the  Sovereign Grace Ministries sexual abuse scandal which is still ongoing. I am personally aware of several others that are “under the radar.” No one church group is exempt from systemic abuse.

***


Related Links

A website was set up for the movie here:  The Keepers. I am very impressed with the information presented at the site, from information about the series, to helpful resources for survivors, therapies, systemic abuse, how to help, etc.

The following links are related and may be of interest:

Josh and Anna Duggar Announce New Pregnancy After His Sex Scandal

Josh Duggar, Sex Scandal, ATI, Ashley Madison


 

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The eldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of TLC’s popular TV show, 19 Kids and Counting is in the news again. Josh and his wife Anna Duggar made an announcement on their family’s website. This announcement comes two years after accusations of:

  • alleged sexual abuse against his sisters and another young minor as a teen
  • having an Ashley Madison online account
  • paying for sex
  • entering a pseudo Christian “treatment” facility
  • separating from his wife, Anna

Continue reading

Second Amended Complaint Filed in Bill Gothard & IBLP Sex Abuse Lawsuit: 18 Victims in Lawsuit

Bill Gothard, Lawsuit, IBLP, Institute in Basic Life Principles, David C. Gibbs III, Sex Abuse, Sexual Grooming, ALERT

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Domestic Violence is NOT a Marriage Issue, but an Abuse Issue

Domestic Violence, Naghmeh and Saeed Abedini, Divorce, Marriage, Abuse, Church Response to Abuse

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Attorney Plans to File Another Sex Abuse Lawsuit against CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries

C.J. Mahaney, Sex Abuse, Failure to Report, Statute of Limitations, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Lawsuit, Pedophiles, T4G

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Bill Gothard Added to Lawsuit; Victims Alleging Sex Abuse and Rape

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While the Board of Bill Gothard’s Former Ministry, IBLP, Claims Judge Dismissed Lawsuit, Attorney for Plaintiffs Says Four New Plaintiffs Have Come Forward

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A Spotlight on Abuse and Death of VCY America Founder Vic Eliason

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After The Gospel Coalition Staunchly Defended CJ Mahaney in Sovereign Grace Ministries Sex Abuse Scandal, They Now Promote the Movie Spotlight (Sex Abuse Coverup)

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Three Pastors Challenge Dr. James Dobson’s Advice on Domestic Violence Which Could Put Victims in Harm’s Way

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Attorney David Gibbs III Discusses the IBLP Lawsuit and Answers Important Questions

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My Meeting with Heather Wilson to Discuss Doug Wilson & Sex Abuse Scandals

“Now where is the scandal in this?” ~Doug Wilson

Steven Sitler, Christ Church, Moscow ID, New Saint Andrews, Pedophile

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Doug Wilson’s Christ Church and Handling of Sex Abuse Cases to be Investigated by Insider?

Doug Wilson, CREC, Christ Church, Moscow Idaho, Randy Booth, Steven Sitler, Jamin Wight, Sex Abuse, Pedophile

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