Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Has Christian Fundamentalism Become Synonymous with Sexual and Domestic Abuse?

Note: For background info, please visit the embedded. The following is packed with them, and you may need a scorecard.]

After posting a link to a new article in the New Republic entitled Sexual Assault at God's Harvard in social media today, Eric Pazdziora drew attention to it. (Eric is an exceptionally talented musician, composer, and graduate student who was a featured contributor to the book, Quivering Daughters and has written much on the topic.)

Note: Patrick Henry College (PHC) designed for homeschoolers by the founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association and was referenced in as “God's Harvard” in the title of Hanna Rosin's book.

One of Eric's thoughtful commenters admonished us all to remember that these folks involved in this faction of the Christian Homeschooling and Quiverfull Movements are our fellow brethren – regardless of how offended we are about what happens to the victims. Though I would argue that many under that tent preach another gospel in many cases, I was reminded of an article that I wrote for Andrew Sandlin's ethics journal a few years ago. I concluded it as noted below.

Pray it with me if you're the praying sort and you feel so inclined.

The Christian woman living the balanced live manifests wisdom in the knowledge of the Word of God, applies the Word in faith apart from prescribed cultural formulas, brings glory to God through her ever more Christ-like and transformed conduct, and boldly speaks the life-transforming message of the Gospel to a desperate and dying world. Such a Christian woman’s unique gifts and callings largely determine how her actions will manifest all that God has poured into her. For the woman who finds her identity in Christ alone and not in identification with a prescribed group standard that is maintained through role performance, her life in the Kingdom of God is not eating, drinking, or even concerns of gender, but instead follows an agenda of righteousness, peace and joy under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14). 
The Apostle Paul addressed both legalism and God’s purposes in darkening the understanding of the Jews in order that salvation might come to the Gentiles. Although grace and salvation first came through the Jewish people to the Gentiles, these Gentiles were called to minister grace and the Gospel to the Jews so that both believing Jew and Gentile would find mercy and salvation. These gifts and callings of God unto salvation are irrevocable (Rom. 11). 
Just as Paul describes the tension between Jewish legalism and New Covenant liberty which resulted in ministry to both Jew and Gentile, I fervently pray that the disparities between those who reject the aberrant patriarchy described here and those who embrace it will miraculously work salvation and ministry within the whole Body of Christ in the fullness of time. 
By commitment to the rightful dividing and applying of the word of truth with all diligence to matters concerning gender, the tension created by the differences in the interpretation of Scripture can teach us balance within the Body of Christ which will mature and benefit the whole Body (Prov. 27:17). 
May the diverse gifts that the Spirit bestows uniquely upon all of God’s beloved women serve to edify the whole Body of Christ, exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think. When the curtains of this temporal life close, may both patriarchalist and non-patriarchalist alike be found within the embrace of God's mercy and saving grace, bringing us together into unity of the Faith (Eph. 4:13).

Notice a Pattern?

In light of other abuses coming to light concerning Bill Gothard (more than 30 young women including minors who reported sexual abuse by “his eminence, Brother Bill,” my heart is heavy. Recovering Grace (a organization of survivors of Bill Gothard's little empire) has given me permission to repost one of their articles about the matter concerning Gothard, as I find the subject so painful and chilling that I don't know what to say about it here. I have yet to post it. (I have a whole compendium of indexed posts and links concerning Bill Gothard HERE.) 

This follows on the heels of the dissolution of Vision Forum because of the scandal involving Doug Phillips, the former associate of Patrick Henry College's founder and chancellor, Michael Farris. (I also have a compendium of indexed posts and related links about Vision Fourm HERE.)

Yet another related matter that I intended to write about concerns Bob Jones University's (BJU) firing of the team of investigators, attorneys, psychologists, and child abuse prosecutors who were hired to investigate the preponderance of claims that the school failed to report felonies, most notably, reported physical and sexual abuse. It is presumed that the school hired the “GRACE” team (Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment) to assuage concerns about their practices.  ABC aired an episode of 20/20 which documented the widespread problem in 2011, and the. issue at the school culminated into a student protest called “Do Right BJU,” drawing even more negative attention to their alleged practices. (Many Bob Jones affiliates teach a misogynous doctrine that demonizes the victims of sexual abuse, regardless of age, as a type of prostitute, claiming that they are culpable for their own abuse.) 

In an attempt to keep the dirty laundry private a year ago, another Baptist organization, the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE), also fired the same team in February of last year, ostensibly to conceal public reporting of the sexual abuse of too many children within their organization. Read more HERE (Re: BJU) and HERE (Re: ABWE) about the history of these events. 

(See what I mean about not knowing where to start?  Get the scorecard.)

Please also consider signing the petition urging BJU to rehire the GRACE team to complete their investigation.

Full Circle Back to Patrick Henry...

Shortly after I embarked upon writing about the New Republic article (after grieving for the better part of a day), I was curious to see what Homeschoolers Anonymous had to say about the matter. 

 They have reported that PHC has responded. I invite you to read more there. It's the same, old, predictable story, I'm afraid. Women are "whores" and assault is solicited by "sluts" (Ez 16:23).  I'm too heavy in heart to say more.

I'm going to go back and pray for what I wrote in Fidelity. It's tough, however. But it has always been tough to find faith in the midst of so many circumstances.


SNAP Responds! (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).