Here is something I read on Facebook.
I want to invite you to imagine that you’re a 13 year old girl in a Christian home.
You attend the church of a powerful pastor, who encourages local families to offer room and board to the young men attending the seminary he started in your town.
For the next three years, your family opens your home to a 24-year-old man who secretly grooms and sexually abuses you. You’re too ashamed to say a word until the point at which your silence becomes too costly. You suffer flashbacks and night terrors, panic attacks and stomach ulcers. Your body starts to betray your confidence; it was never meant to handle the trauma that’s been inflicted on it.
So you finally get the nerve to tell your horrified parents, who file a police report that very same day.
Now imagine that your parents alert the powerful pastor to the fact that one of his seminary students is a pedophile. Imagine that, rather than addressing the issue or protecting the congregation, the pastor sweeps it under the carpet, lectures your parents about failing to be more attentive, and writes you letters encouraging you to drop your legal pursuit for justice, warning you that it will make your family look bad should you let this thing go public.
Imagine that you discover your church leadership has actually petitioned the court to keep their documentation of their conversations with your abuser off the official court record so that they won’t look complicit.
Imagine that your family is essentially shunned by the church during this ordeal and written off as problematic and troubled.
Imagine that your pastor wrote letters to the court on behalf of your abuser, minimizing the harm you experienced, writing, verbatim, that your abuser “is not a sexual predator” explaining to the court that you were “physically mature for your age,” and referring to your abuse as “a secret courtship.”
Where would you turn? How much faith would you have in the church? How much faith would you have in God? What message do you think it might communicate to you about your value? Do you think you might be tempted to seek justice somewhere outside the place that broke you? Somewhere like feminism?
Now imagine you discover that the pastor didn’t learn his lesson through the messy ordeal with you. The church didn’t instate any abuse prevention policies, didn’t issue an apology for failing to protect and inform the congregation about the allegations of the predator in their midst (who was eventually convicted in a court of law), didn’t bat an eye or offer any support to your family through this time of suffering…
Imagine, instead, that you discovered the same thing happened again in the same town to a different family with a different predator, and again, your pastor wrote to the court on behalf of the pedophile, promising that he had been healed and was no longer a danger, pleading for leniency for this man that had “learned his lesson.”
Now imagine that an unsuspecting woman went to that church leadership asking for help finding a husband, only to be unwittingly paired with the convicted pedophile. You learn that your former pastor performed the marriage ceremony and asked God to bless the union with children. You learn that the pedophile sexually assaulted the baby born of this marriage.
And still the pastor refuses to apologize or grieve his complicity. Instead, his congregation grows. He’s the most intelligent man in town, and everyone knows that intelligence is next to godliness.
This is not the first time I have written about Doug Wilson and his cult following in Moscow, ID, nor will it be the last, I’m afraid. Last night, I shared a video of his daughter mocking feminism and taking jabs at the women in ministry who are doing the painstaking work of binding the wounds inflicted by men like her dad.
This is not my story, but I feel it keenly, and I think it must be told.
This kind of callousness and contempt is what breeds feminism in the first place. “They have dressed the wounds of my daughters lightly, crying ‘Peace! Peace!’ when there is no peace.”
If the church refuses to aggressively pursue justice, we cannot feign surprise or dismay when broken, hurting people look elsewhere to find it.