I overheard an associate youth minister reporting to the Senior Pastor that a youth teenage girl told him that she had been raped. The Senior Pastor stated, “We have nothing to do with that.”
Growing up in America’s bible belt; I was taught primarily to be a good bible toting Baptist by women in Sunday School. However, the 11 a.m. service was ruled by a man in a long robe spewing a message supposedly from heaven. I can barely remember a time that I was more disappointment in the overall leadership’s response to misogyny and the public degrading of women than I am now.
Listening to several women from diverse backgrounds tell their personal experiences of misogyny and sexual assault by church leadership is reprehensible.
These accounts range from being touched in the choir loft by a creepy soloist as a 12-year-old girl with growing breast to being propositioned for sex in the Sunday school room by multiple youth ministers when no one was looking. I asked these women did they ever report these offenses to clergy or anyone? “Who would have believed me, they knew it was going on”-they are well-known; I didn’t want to get them in trouble”. As survivor of childhood assault I closely identify with each victim’s fear and common silence.
This continuation of the secret witness culture in part drives the disdain for traditional Christian values and thus perpetrating what many churches are facing as a decline in church attendance by millennials. I believe that ideology is less important than introducing moralistic treatment and upholding human rights. This must be spoken from the pulpit conductors; whom must call out the callous nature of church privilege.
- Is Christian leadership doing enough to address misogyny in and out of the church?
- What efforts or culpability does the church have in the societal harms perpetrated on womanhood?
The expectation of church leadership, mostly men in suits with extricable power is to teach loving principals and biblical truths. When this does not happen in a place such as the church that resounds holiness what does it do to the psyche of women who worship and serve under small gods steeped with predatory hypocrisies?
Pastors and church clergy roles are not meant to be superficial sin finders while ignoring their own or others maltreatment against women and girls. We tell victims of unwanted unwelcome abuse to report it, however, often when they do it goes ignored or is downgraded by so-called saints or hierarchy in the church.
- How does the shaded tint of power and male privilege transcend into the stained-glass windows of what is supposed to be sacred spaces thus cascading a shadow on righteousness?
When the church goes dark on misogyny and sexual crimes rather than shining a light on a problem that exist within its walls the self-worth of women become publicly diminished from privileged authorities. How is this any less criminal than Donald Trump’s remarks caught on audio and alleged criminal behaviors? Debasing the value of femininity and castigating women issues as unimportant is limiting and decisively sexist.
As a voice for others around the world who may go unheard, I plea to well-meaning overseers, use your net to catch more than fish, use it to catch the idol of misogyny. If God’s chosen take advantage or see women as fruit to be picked; then Jesus believers are abandoning the tenants of one of the bibles great commandments.
Per Exodus 20:17, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” Women are your neighbor to not be coveted (intruded upon) respect my God given right to be treated without patriarchy.
How is this any less criminal than Donald Trump’s remarks caught on audio and alleged criminal behaviors?