Earlier this year in our community, an upstanding citizen (by all measures – successful career, lovely family, nice house, etc., etc.) beat his 3 month old daughter nearly to the point of death.
Because she wasn’t a boy. Because she cried too much and for too long. He reached a breaking point. He was under too much stress. He was abused as a child.
Excuse after excuse was given at his recent sentencing.
He was sent to jail for 8 years, which is not enough by any means. He deserves 10 times that for what he did.
Stuff like this happens all the time, unfortunately, but I’m choosing to bring this case up.
Because my home church gave this man a job while he was waiting for his sentencing. I learned yesterday that 80 (!!) letters of support were written on his behalf, some read aloud in court, and were said to be from his fellow church members. Our church leadership allowed this man to be on church property during the week when minors were around, which was against a court order.
I’m outraged that my church – or any church – would surround a man like this and offer support. A child abuser is the lowest of the low. I’m all for showing everyone grace. I understand that we are commanded to love everyone and to offer forgiveness. But I am AGAINST surrounding and supporting the perpetrator of such a heinous crime in an effort to reduce his prison sentence.
I’ve considered visiting the county court house to get the court records from his sentencing because I want to know with certainty who wrote letters on his behalf. If it’s our pastor or anyone in a leadership position within the church, I’m done. A pastor or leadership team who supports a child abuser is a total deal breaker. I will not yoke myself with a pastor, leadership team, or congregation that doesn’t have a problem with child abuse.
This isn’t the only time either.
At the same time this case was happening, the children’s ministry director of our church – a woman – was indicted on five counts of sexual battery of a minor. She is fighting those charges, currently, with a trial date set in January 2019.
And what is my church doing? Surrounding her with love and support as if SHE is the victim. She is the perpetrator. She deserves jail time. She deserves to be told to not come to church and to stay away from children.
Once again, my church supporting the perpetrator of abuse toward a child.
It’s disgusting. No wonder people leave church and want nothing to do with it or with Christians in general This is what the world sees. They see a church supporting the wrong people.
You know who needs support within our church?
The victims of these crimes. The children and families that are hurting due to the shameful actions of these perpetrators.
The man who is a hard worker who’s truck broke down. He has no money, no way to get to work, he spent hours volunteering around church doing repairs and maintenance, and yet the church refused to help him.
Or the woman who has a brain tumor, is going through treatment, and having difficulty working as a nurse: the church refused to help her pay her electric bill.
Or the family that had been regular attenders for 10 years, didn’t show up to church at all for four straight months, and no one called to ask where they had been.
No one within the church noticed the struggle, the need for help, or the absence, and even if they did, they didn’t care enough to offer help, guidance, support, or encouragement.
Yet they help, support, and encourage child abusers.
This is not how a church should function. This is not how a church is CALLED to function in this world.
This is not THE church. This is not the body of Christ, doing His work.
This is a group of people in leadership working toward their own goals and for their own selfish ambitions. It’s a group of people trying hard to protect their favorites and leaving the rest of the flock to the wolves. Unprotected. Unsupported. Unloved.
Is it time to speak out? Time to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves? Time to help those who need it? Time to show those who feel unseen that they ARE SEEN and LOVED?
Yes. It’s time.