This article is must reading. Then it’s a must stop doing. In this article by Mike published on the blog mikeinsac.com, the author relates tragic stories of how churches tend to disbelieve victims of abuse by pastoral leaders. Please be careful of triggers in this post and in the article at the link.
“The teacher knew she was a mandated reporter, but decided to report it to the school instead of the police. She told one of the vice-principals. He was also a mandated reporter. But he decided to tell the elders of the church about the accusation. They told the Senior Pastor and the investigation was on…
They had not handled it correctly. They should have gone to the police.”
Why are churches slow to believe the survivors of abuse? Why do they often protect abusers? The author suggests the following reasons. Please read the article for the full details.
- Familiarity Bias – congregations assume they really know a leader.
- Over reliance on Personal Experience – the vast majority of people in a church have never known the pastor/principal/worship leader to abuse them.
- A Theology of Leadership Protection – members feel no compulsion to abstain from criticizing him privately, but as soon as someone brings the criticism into the public eye, everyone becomes his defender.
- He Who Controls the Microphone, Controls the Direction of the Discussion – When the Senior Pastor is an abuser, he is also the one who controls the narrative…
Retroactive Reality – church members fear their own spiritual formation is tainted as a result.
- Doubling Down – It has been proven that once people have taken a position, whether voting for a candidate or choosing a particular story to believe, they are more likely to keep holding onto that story even when evidence suggests they are wrong.
- Maximum vs. Minimum Harm Concept – most people will choose the path of least harm time and time again.
- Misapplication of Grace and Sin-Leveling – It is easy to see our own faults and think that we would want people to overlook our mistakes. But abuse is not a mistake.
I encourage you to read the full article and apply what you learn in your faith community. There is a spirit of murder against the women and children of this world and it’s time we start fighting back.
He was the principal of the Christian school which met at the church. His dad was the Senior Pastor. He had four years of teacher training and all the obligatory certifications, internships, and education needed. He added a Masters Degree in Theology and another Masters in Educational Administration. He was fully qualified to do the job he was doing.
During the five years he had been principal, his dad’s church had grown from 200 members to almost 1500. In that medium-sized town, the church dwarfed all the others. The main draw for newcomers was the Christian school.
And that’s when the accusations started.
One 8th grade girl told her teacher she wasn’t going to detention any longer. (Note: The school practiced corporal punishment and a very difficult regimen of consequences for even the smallest infractions. Detention often meant at least an hour of menial labor, supervised by a teacher or…
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